Posts Tagged Risk Management

Assessing Employees

Performance reviews are not new, and at the end of a probation period employees are often given vague reasons as to why they are kept on by the company or ditched… Sometimes non management staff have been perplexed by these moves and the reasons given can be as vague as the decision itself.

 

Steve Gray's assessment tool

 

To ensure an effective decision is made effort needs to be put into assessing the person and their efforts in the role. So I scoured the web for ideas, and coupled that with my own thoughts and came up with this checklist to assist in making decisions as well s being able to pinpoint areas for development which might go under the radar.

A contemporary business might give the list to the employee early in the probation period (probably not on day one…) and let them know what sorts of things you are looking for at the end of the process. Of course  you would do your own research and fact gathering from their peers and supervisors to ensure an effective mix of facts can be utilised.

EmployeeAssessmentTable

Check it out it’s three pages I feel sure  you will want to use often to ensure your staff are doing more of the right things by your organisation.

 

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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You did what?

Image courtesy of Idea Go from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Idea Go from freedigitalphotos.net

Your business, what have you been up to? I know last time we caught up you had a lot to say about how things were not as good as you would have hoped and you now wanted to give things a boost… so…

  • Did you do more sales this week?
  • Perhaps you tweaked systems to get more sales? – Marketing – Management – Operations…
  • Did you make adjustments to what you offer so you can sell more? Products – Services, perhaps packages of items and or services to make them more attractive?
  • Maybe you gathered the sales team and had a chat about what’s working and figured out what they are up to?
  • You worked on your profile of your ideal customer and from that tweaked your marketing?
  • You reviewed your business plan
  • Worked on your SWOT analysis
  • Worked with your bookkeeper to get more figures on average dollar sales, profitability etc…

Perhaps you did these things instead…

  • You decided it was all too hard and sat about chatting about what you ‘think’ you are doing
  • You put in long hours but have little idea about what took place…
  • You keep telling people it’s all too hard…
  • Stood in the window watching a few people walk by and of those that did, few came in to buy…

Take a look at the first list, did you come close on any of these, or did the week magically ‘slip away’ again this week like in the second list? Chances are you lost the week to procrastination, talking but doing little else.

If you are running a business based on ‘best practice’ or are wanting to, then you should be asking what are the top businesses in my field doing and how am I matching or exceeding that? Chances are they are selling more than you buy using best practices.

Without sales you have no turnover and that impacts right down the line eventually. Therefore what you have to offer becomes a vital part of what you do, if people don’t want what you have in the first place then how can there be any sales?

Perhaps you need to explore what you have on offer, is it good enough for people to bother with or could it be better?

Is it time you took a reality check and figured out what you need to be doing to make your business perform better? Probably, create a plan then work it. Make sure more sales or ‘better’ sales is at the cornerstone of what you are planning.

If you need to pay someone to help you improve your buisness then consider doing that, it might seem to cost in the beginning, but eventually it should become an investment.

Regards

Steve Gray

 

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Let’s build a crumbling mess

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

You actually wanted to create a solid business but what happened next didn’t turn out that way. In the beginning you will take care to make it look good and it will hold together for a few years, but most assuredly it will crumble. The ‘business’ fulfills a need, a void, and as such it has merit in the marketplace so let’s build it, time is of the essence!

It will provide shelter, seem warm and inviting, but then some cracks will appear, soon we will then fill these gaping holes with false hope, ask for some asisstance from the cavalry… But alas none will come. Soothsayers, mystics and others with potions and wisdom seemingly produced by ‘slight of hand’, will offer ways forward, but no such road will be travelled.

There, as the last vestige of hope is held aloft I will concede, that the real hope, the real failure, the real demise was visible, right there in the beginning, the mystics and others were right.

If only we knew then what we know now… We would not have dragged so many others into this screaming heap of maudlin mayhem, mind you we did a great job of ‘dressing it  up’. At its peak it looked like a princesses castle, bright and shining in any light. The challenge was what to do when the lights went out…

Alas no, there was no escaping the ego driven, maniacal ‘team’ building a tempestuous empire, despite protests from more knowing folks. No, it was all our doing, we created it, we ordered it to be fashioned into the shape it was… Underneath we fuly knew it’s demise was certain.

Sure we could have stopped, but the time seemed right. Sure we could have done things differently, but it weemed as if we had little in the way of suitable resources. Sure we blamed others, but ultimately it was us who selected them on their merits, qualifications and that all so imporant rapport we had with them, they were so like us it wasn’t funny.

Now as we look back and consider what could have been, indeed what should have been, some of us are filled with a sense of dread, a sense of “what if we had just done things differently…” No, there was no way to change the past, it is what it is, a crumbling mess, a shadow of its percieved former glory.

We now understand what numerous wise people had said about having a good foundation to build on. We also understand that in one persons life things will change, and if luck is on the side of the person with a solid vision then an amazing legacy can be left. A legacy that provides the guidelines on which people can chisel away at the notion and vision of utopia, a legacy where people of strong means can guide those not so fortunate. A legacy where financial profits are not the only hallmark of a growing organisation.

Perhaps we am now reflecting on those around us who built stone houses while others made theirs from straw, or are we simply sensing that what we did build, although we used stone, had mud instead of mortar to join it and therin lies the problem.

One thing is for sure there are many things that made the crumbling mess, it started with a smallgroup of us and then became an extension of us, the team were a bunch of people who knew when to say yes and although they could have said no for all the right reasons, they failed to do so.

More things come to mind about how this disintegrating behemoth so stunningly limped, then stumbled into ruinous oblivion. Seeminingly the more that was added on, the more the rot set in, in the foundations and framework. like termites so busily doing what they do so well, so efficiently, but over time the hollow remains can no longer support the once ‘glorious facade’.

It’s simple to say it should have been an easy ride, serve the customers, make a profit to sustain us in quiet times and build from. Work with more of the ‘right people’, plan well and above all listen to your heart and temper it with reasoned debate… but no, that didn’t happen.

What did happen causes heartache and pain. So many gave so much for so little, clearly the crumbling mess was more than just physical materials, it in fact ended up creating huge emotional burdens far more invasive than we can imagine. This can not be apologised for, we can not know how deep the viens of pain run, nor how much can be attributed to the physical ‘crumbling mess’, or the lack of human compassion the driven team possessed.

It’s all over now, the sordid details and their oh so high level of importance at the time, the losses, the pain and anguish. Finished, complete, time to move on. Time to learn and start a fresh, time to let others explore, build and ‘run riot’ in the marketplace. It’s also time to believe that others will learn from the details of this crumbling mess. A time to hope that they have the desire to create a positive legacy rather than the afore mentioned disasterous, deluded crumbling mess.

 

Regards

Steve Gray

 

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When business gets fuzzy

Perhaps you know what I mean just from reading the title, ‘When Business Gets Fuzzy’. Those moments when it’s all a blur, you can’t seem to get much done, but you are busy enough.

Image courtesy of stockimages from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages from freedigitalphotos.net

Your to do list looks like a scrawl of badly drawn doodles, your planning efforts with others become more like a blah, blah, blah session and nothing much seems to happen. You do alright chatting with your team, they like the time out and get some of their own doodling done.

Your business seems to continue on okay with work coming in and going out, but the details seem to be fuzzy at times. You get the sense you are turning up but not much is motivating you to be there, It’s like the light is on but no one in home. Perahps it’s not a big deal for now, but if this continues you could be setting your business up for a difficult time.

Let’s explore some ways to get the clarity and motivation back so the ‘fuzzies’ don’t wipe you out and flatten the business..

Make a list – The list shoud be about what you love about the business, why you got started, what you hoped to achieve. Go searching for what motivated you in teh first place, you might just find a solid answer amongst the list.

Get inspired – Other people in your busness or your industry will have good reasons for doing what they do, if they are inspired start asking them questions to search for answers that might just suit  you too.

Check the foundations – Just as a building needs solid foundations so to does your business. Have a look at the mission and vision, if you have one, and the values that underpin these. Are any of the values inspiring? If not why not… Ask your team about them and how they work with these or not. Now do what you can to shore up teh foundations and get things right again, the key to your ‘fuzzies’ could well be here.

To do list – Make it big bold and ‘bodacious’ make it so you want to work on it. In the age of techno gadgetry your to do list is probably buried alive in a bunch of ‘apps’ and while it can link to calendars, cook your eggs just right and hail a taxi for you (well almost)… Becuase it’s hidden, it becomes ‘out of sight out of mind’. Generally others can’t see it and that might be useful for some things on the list for others that’s a nuisance. Try a written list on brightly coloured paper for a change.

Set gnarly goals – You know goals can work in some situations, as  a milestone, as a point to aim for as a device to rally the troups with. Select goals your teams can achieve and ones that they can have ownership of, but what about you… what goals are you setting for yourself? Whatever the goals are, gather people around you that can assist you to make them happen. These people can become unreasonable friends or associates who can hold you to a higher performance level than you might be used to, it’s a sure fire way to beat the ‘fuzzies’!

Passion systems are go! – If you were once passionate about your business you might now have some pointers to get you back on track, kow that passion only really works if you have a system to make it work. All of the above points could do that.

Now you have read the six points, what comes to mind for you… A counselling session, a few new ideas, some ‘ah ha!’ moments or soemthing else? Let’s hope that whatever it is it makes sense to you and can provide a solid way forward so you can take the fuzzies on and make some clear decisions about what you want to have happen next.

Regards

Steve Gray

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The Analysis

Sales bags

Image courtesy of Idea go from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Your business has been going for a few years, things are settled to some degree and you have accumulated enough financial data to start making some planning sense out of the numbers.

You know the amount you take home isn’t much and you avoid talking about it hoping things will pick up but things are not improving. You note to yourself how easy it is to lose track of what you need to do, crunch the numbers. So get to it and start crunching!

What’s that? You don’t know what to look for, well try these pointers as a starting point.

  • How many sales per week – How many people bought something, then ask how many items on average did they buy? these figures can be useful, if you know that 200 people came into your shop for instance and only 20 of them bought, that might seem a sad number, however if 15 of those 20 purchased 10 items that might make a big difference, especially in a store with higher priced items.
  • The average dollar sale – How much did you average for each sale you made, e.g for each person who purchased, what is the average they pay? If the average is high and you notice the daily takings start off low, then it’s reasonable to expect the next few sales will be higher.

Using the above as starting points you can now see where you have to focus your attention, either you need to get more people in the door, or get more of those currently coming in to buy more. Let’s say 80% of people in the door currently buy, then you need to find ways to get the average dollar value spent to rise. If the percentage of purchases is low then you might need to get the number of visitors to rise. Having both rise would be a big bonus!

In an age where most people are keeping a close watch on their business figures due to having to comply to tax guidelines and most are using accounting software to do so then you can extract lots of data from most of these programs or at least export the raw data to put into a spreadsheet to get the reports you really need.

I have the data what now?

  • More customers – If you need more, then your marketing needs work. Can your ideal target market readily find you? Focus on these people in the best way possible to boost your numbers. What about the level of new customers coming in each week, do many of these people stay or move on, then perhaps the customer service side of the business needs work to retain more of the already existing numbers of prospective customers walking in.
  • Higher average dollar sales – Try up-selling, “Oh if you buy that do you need this as well?” the add ons can be the difference between make or break some times. Try raising your prices, perhaps your prices are already too low (you do research your competitors…Don’t you?)

To recap you either need to be getting more of the right people into the business to buy, or you need to up the value of the sales made. Now search in the rest of our resources to find ways to do just that.

Regards

Steve Gray

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The ideal business

Sounds like a great title huh, you probably thought, oh is it one that makes great $$ (yeah) and does it have incredible profits (well YEAH!) and does it mean I have to hardly run it… and don’t have to have many skills???? umm probably not.

What I’m thinking of here is the structural side of the business idea, rather than the sort of business it might be. So no it’s not the far out super freaky pizza business that serves east west Tex-Mex surprises with a Thai influence.

Imagine a business, where you have made things tick over nicely the staff are stable (and happy), your customers like what you provide and the way forward looks good. Income and profitability tick over nicely and you wonder about the bigger picture now you have more time to, you replaced yourself multiple times with great people and can sit back and “enjoy the view”. Now it’s time to look that bit further, or perhaps differently to cause your business to do more of what you want it to.

You know when to put on new staff, knowing when the rest of the team are pushing the limits, and you can handle the ‘lag time’ until they are ‘up to speed’ in the role. You have great measurement tools in place to know what’s working and what’s not. You know what the profit margin is and where it goes to.

What next? Is this it, is this the holy grail of your business goal/s? Are  your challenges at an end? Do you simply sell it off and retire (early?) or do you go for the thrill of the chase… the adrenaline injecting process of doing more, and creating anew to push yourself that bit further.

Let’s go for the latter… Lets explore how you can replicate the process to explore success in business and do more, be more have more. After all we live in a world of abundance and by the sound of things if you have read this far you have probably said to yourself yes I do all these things and I am in that lovely lofty position to be able to do more.

You have created an ‘organism’ which grows, it’s more than just sustainable and you can stand back and enjoy the benefits of it’s growth. Now take out a pen and pad and jot down the mechanics of the business, what makes it tick, what makes it profitable? What sets it apart from your competition to the point where you don’t have to even be there anymore to enjoy it.

Take that list and ask, Can I develop a formula from our current successes to be able to reproduce that in other businesses… short answer will probably be yes.

I suggest at this stage  you take a look at the list in a way which deals with the essence of the success and not just trying to think about other businesses you might like to try out or test. Look at the structure, how information flows, the team and culture, the values and beliefs, all the things which can cause the internal structures to remain steadfast and provide the right sort of support for growth.

Now you know what makes your current business tick and the building blocks for ANY new business, it’s up to you to act on the information.

If you create a new business or five, hold this thought in your mind… “in war success has never come to those who fought on more than three fronts” (go on prove me wrong…) it’s said this was Hitlers downfall in the end. So how will you as a business owner develop more businesses without this happening.

Firstly you will be mindful of it, secondly you will probably recognise that each business will not be run by you, you simply provide the ‘right structure and resources’ then step back and advise on ways to tweak the enterprise to generate greater success.

Go on, give it a go, if things go well through great planning you will end up with a site of businesses making good profits you will be able to share around with others, therefore creating more positive abundance in the world.

 

 

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