Posts Tagged communication

New recruit blues

Recruit circleThe good people on the twentieth floor in the HR Dept decided to place a new recruit in your department. Sweet! you need an extra hand, you know the person has been through the induction program on the fifth floor and is “ready to make a solid impression”.

After a short while you find things ending up in the wrong place, time is lost searching for those ‘things’ and training the ‘newbie’ in the job specific details they need to get going, is taking its toll on the work you need to get done.

You knew it might happen, the new person has to find their feet,and in time you get the impression they will be a solid contributor to your team. So what to do to make their start positive, get to a productive point fast and not lose the ‘things’ that everyone needs?

Firstly, know as much about the person as possible in advance… Hopefully you don’t find out about the new person at 5pm Friday with them starting at 9am Monday! If you have been part of the hiring process you might know them very well, if not chat with HR about what’s in their resume, how they handled the interview etc, then check out social media for more details on likes and dislikes.

Secondly, be nice… If  you are a grumpy pain the the butt type of person and are not willing to change long term, see what you can do in the short term. Make the person feel at home, be polite, show them around, introduce them to the other team members. Show them their workspace and where the important things are… toilets, lunch room etc.

Thirdly, give them a buddy… A person who can relate to the ‘newbie’ pass on all sorts of vital information, how things work and has a good grasp of “who’s who in the zoo” this person can do most of the training part with you as a go to sidekick.

Finally, meet chat and listen… The new person can settle in fast, so find time to sit with them and have a chat about how things are going, any specific challenges they might face and ways they might overcome them.

Oh sure there are about a hundred other things you can do to add to this list, like checking their productivity at relevant stages every so oftem against Key Performance Criteria, and even asking them for suggestions on ways to improve things (remember to listen…) and the list goes on.

Make the person feel part of the team fast, then you can sense the notion of having set someone on the right path with the right support.

Regards

Steve Gray Free Business Tips

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Persistence pays

signpost marketing

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

You know that when you learn something new, persistence pays, if it’s a musical instrument, practice practice PRACTICE! it’s that ability to ‘keep on keeping on’ that pays dividends.

The same with some aspects of business, being able to continue with somethingthat might seem a little tenuous at times can pay off.

Marketing is one of those areas. Some people place an advert and hope it will yeild results on the first go, often it takes 8+ placements of that advert to get some form of result.

Social media is a key marketing tool these days for many businesses, and being persistent with the posts you make is therefore a useful thing to ensure people notice your business.

Think about the ways you can leverage this to your advantage, and tackle some of these ideas as well:

  • How can you be persistent with Public Relations material to try and get free advertising and being seen by the media as an expert in yoru field so they can come to you when they want to know about your line of business.
  • How can you plan to ensure you have a marketing activity happening at least once a week? and no having a website up 24/7 is not something you should count on for this activity…
  • What is ‘best practice’ in your industry? and  how can you match your marketing efforts to this?
  • What innovative ways can you get the business name out to more of your target market? Think promotional products, think stand and hand out samples in retail, think, research explore and come up with some that are cost effective and useful
  • Which company local to you is your biggest competitor? How can you beat what they do in their marketing to take some of their market share?

Being persistent in  your marketing efforts is the same and persistence in  your management, leadership, operational tasks and compliance issues. you have to do it, you have to make sure it’s working and now is the ideal time to start!

Regards

Steve Gray

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Are you scaring employess away?

Image courtesy of Stock Images from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stock Images from freedigitalphotos.net

You hire people, you want the best, you are given guidelines to follow, some formal and some informal (e.g pick a woman)…

You find the job description template, write a description and send it off for approval.

The supervisor reads it, sees that it’s comprehensive and approves it, based more on the key selection criteria and the basic job description.

The process continues and you get what you get, a new employee. Hopefully they are a fantastic fit to the team and in a short space of time become a profitable addition to the organisation, however reality tells an all to common different story, at the end of the probation period, the person is ousted and the process begins again. Or worse, the person makes it through the probation period and becomes an anchor weighing things down often for a variety of reasons.

But I have an issue or three with the approach that causes this drama to happen.

Most job descriptions I have seen are too wordy and can actually scare people away from applying, and sometimes those that do apply find the job is not what they thought it would be, or they have the wrong ‘disposition’ (attitude, personality etc) for the job.

I have applied for enough positions to see this first hand and I now believe there should be a more relaxed approach, at least in the first instance.

Okay so there are those who say the idea is to attract more of the right people so you don’t end up getting too many applicants for the role, fair enough, but find another way of doing it rather than trying to bury people in detail and scaring them off.

The ideal employee is probably a fun team player, a person who is interested in more than just the role (it might be seen as an entry role to the organisation). Of course they will have the qualification to do the job, but the right attitude and personality will make them a better fit to the whole system, not just the technical aspects of the role.

Start thinking about how you can get a simpler approach started, then add the details in at another layer if need be.

Simply put, your current processes might just be causing long term headaches for the organisation.

Regards

Steve Gray

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Ready for answers to your business success?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

Your business does what it does, you have built it up to be all it can be.

You realise there are only a few things you need to make happen to get positive results.

More sales, more customers and effective systems to deliver the results, right? But other ‘things’ seem to get in the way of this simple approach and you are left wondering what happened.

The simple answer is, there is more to your three pronged approach than meets the eye.

Here’s how it works…

  • Energy – Your team has a certain amount of energy to give to the job they do, things happen to boost or sap that energy, harrassment, poor pay, poor training, poor leadership can sap energy… Get the point, and get good at these things
  • Flow – When things are going great your people seem to get a lot done readily, it all seems to come together like a well thought out plan but more automatically and with greater ease, people will be happier, relaxed and able to get on with things
  • Systems – The policies, procedures, checklists, coaching and mentoring. If these are done well, people know they are working for an organisation that wants positive results. They feel supported and can get on with what they do best
  • Positive values – Things like respect, cooperation, service and quality all come into it. Check your organisations mission and vision, are there values clearly spelt out as part of that? There should be, to ensure all your team are focused on the right approach to each other and the customers.
  • Useful communication – Lot’s of communication takes place, but is it useful? Arguing with customers… not useful (well, rarely anyway). The same with the staff, how well do your team communicate with each other? Excellent leadership often starts with positive and useful communication – Talk, listen and make great notes to implement solid results. Coach and mentor your leadership team to coach and mentor their team members in fantastic ways to make the organisation work effectively

Now you are about to ask “What happens if I don’t have those things or they are out of alignment?” Simple, things slide… Sales, Customer numbers, energy is sapped and the results of all this can cause your business to fold in on itself.

What to do to solve the challenge? Call me to tailor a suitable approach for your organisation 🙂 Ok if that’s not possible take each pointer in this list and work on the details of it with all your people.

  • Learn to train your people to pursue all these points to build organisational excellence
  • Brainstorm with your team to find out how they can assist with these points
  • Listen to the feedback your team provides, then figure out how to implement the positive changes they point out along the way
  • Communicate the positive changes as you introduce them
  • Live with the notion of organsiational change, it happens, so make it happen in a useful way to get positive results NOT the opposite

It’s now up to  you to put this information into action, it may not be easy, it may take a while to achieve, it all starts with you.

 

Regards

Steve Gray

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It’s all in the details

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

I have a few places I shop at for “musical items”, with about three places to choose from locally and a bunch just an hour up the road I am a bit spoilt for choice, not to mention the online stores. Today I was zipping by one of the three ;local ones and needed one simple item.

In a customer service sense I like to shop live, rather than onlilne, so I get to compare details, brands, friendliness, and sometimes even price, note how that comes in last…

This morning while looking and asking questions I was wonderfully surprised by the gent doing the serving. Firstly on the bench there was a beautifully hand crafted instrument, it looked like an eight stringed banjo, but I was soon mesmerised by the gent picking it up and saying “it’s a Ukelele… hand made in Australia, listen to this!” he played a few chords and it a lovely resonant warm tone that beckoned forth. Simply exquisite!

From that point he could have sold me a few items, I was captivated and it was there that the details all kicked in.

There was no “Can I help you?”, and thank goodness for that! There was no hurried “Yes what can I get you?” No no, it was a very dignified honest approach, I felt welcome from the ‘get go’ and for the first time in ages I felt like I could readily ask questions about a whole bunch of things, so I did, a few minutes soon turned into about twenty.

I bought what I came for and left with a spring in my step, I had found soemone who clearly has a delight for musical things, an interest in quality, and the the discussion on alternative instruments was quite fascinating.

I was impressed, I bought, I gained more knowledge and feel as if I could go back and readily interact some time soon, I even went as far as to allow him to add me to their data base!

The only thing that bothers me is if the guy serving me is not there the next time I go in. I have shopped there before and have mixed feelings about some of the other staff. Indeed another staff member in the shop today was a surly so and so, and I deduced that just from her facial expression/s.

Next time I will stride in with confidence but perhaps fully expect to be let down, due to past experiences perhaps weighing heavily in the background.

What can we learn and put in place from all this?

  • Be genuine – I felt it right from the start, he was interested and interesting, warm and inviting.
  • Be nice – Welcoming, open and friendly, he even used my name as I left wishing me a good day, nice touch!
  • Know your product/s – My questions were answered with clarity and interest as well as showing a depth of experience, I know he knew his stuff.
  • Offer more – I got added to their data base becuase he offered me the opportunity, simply by asking if I was on the data base already, I then asked if he would like to add me, no hard sell from his side of things.
  • Impress me – The hand made instrument on the front bench had me from the start, how it looked and sounded, I loved it (although not a big Ukelele freak per se).
  • Leave me on the up – I felt good leaving, and felt so pleased here I am writing about it!
  • Train your team – Pick up on the details that work in teh intereactions your staff have with the cutomers, then figure out what is the most genuine way to make those details a reality. Now train the team in the details.

If you are into causing your customers to love what you have to offer, be all you can be to cause people to love what you have and how you present it, they will be back for more… Now to make it a consistent offering!

 

Regards

Steve Gray

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A Sense of Belonging

Which would you rather have, a team that turns up because they have to or because they want to? The latter right… Why? Because they don’t have to be there, their mindset is different, they might shy away from a challenge if they think their mortgage is on the line, but they will put in for the greater good of the team simply for one reason, a strong sense of belonging. 

Image courtesy of Stuart miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Not just any sense of belonging, no no, as I eluded to in the opening paragraph, there are more reasons to want to do something, than if you have to do something.

Sounds easy, if I was talking about a club or group people belong to, people would soon get that stronger connection. However I am talking about a business, an organisation that people mainly get paid to work for, an organisation where the numbers often seem to be king, no profit no go…

So how do you as the business owner/manager cause this sense of belonging to go beyond the basics of need and get to a top class “one in, all in” situation where you know the people want to be there?

Connect, find ways to cause people to be part of a greater cause, ways to be aligned with the heart and soul of the business. Ways to communicate that they will benefit, just as deeply as you do by doing more, being more they will in return get more.

Perhaps the more they ‘get’ will be satisfaction, a warm sense of “I am part of something worthwhile”, the concept that the money is there but there is more to the equation.

Sounds far fetched perhaps, but in reality there are organisations where people willingly put in, willingly go the extra mile and hang in there to do it all again. Why? A sense of belonging, belonging in such a way they realise that the sum of the parts is greater than the value of the individual parts. As a team they can do more, as a connected and active team with a shared sense of belonging they can evolve to do MUCH more.

How then do we connect these ‘disparate parts’ to become cohesive, to join as one and be a truly mighty force?  Language… It’s what sets humans apart from other animals, it’s what ensures we can, discuss, plan, explore, find answers and ensure a higher sense of belonging can take place.

If you have ever noticed that people who use casual language, slang and the like to get through their daily routines, you will have probably noted their position in life is not one which often inspires. These people often seem to lead lives of deep desperation, working on minimum wages and struggling at every turn. While others with more developed language find ways to forge forward, to explore better options in life, to find depth and more profitable outcomes, and I don’t just mean financially.

Language

  • It helps us express the values we want our teams to align to
  • It gives us the chance to influence people to do great things
  • It assists us to lead
  • It provides opportunities to learn more, explore and pursue our dreams

How are you using language to better your teams, lead, influence and explore better ways to live and be a positive part of this world? Hopefully you will start with the positive values your organisation stands for and ensure your people are with you every step of your value motivated life. Without language we have little to commend us.

Regards

Steve Gray

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Did You ‘Value’ Your Business?

In the past set of nine articles I have outlined some ways to look at the values your business operates with. Now it’s up to you to take each and develop some guidelines around each for how you want your team to operate. May I suggest you hand the list to your top people, give them a head start, tell them to develop some ideas and options and email them to you (compile the details in a  group meeting). Then develop an organisation wide set of values, possible scenarios and situations around them.

Compile the guidelines into your master operating procedural documents, begin to live it, refer to it and explore all it has to offer.

Any future steps the organisation takes should be done in light of these core values, then over time these can be ‘tweaked’ to suit.

Now you are fired up to tackle this as a project (even you small business operator…) then here is a link you can email to your team to work with.

Adaptable

Quality

Passion

Accountability

Integrity

Collaboration

Tolerance

Respect

Leadership

And another article on values to tie it all together

 

Now look at how you bring the various aspects of this together to create great results for your business by taking positive action.

Oh and while you are at it, get your team to explore any other values they think would be useful for your business, drop me a line to let me know via the comments for this post and I will take a look and consider adding them in.

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