The Benefits of Recognising Your Team Success & The 3 Rules of Celebration

Have you, as a team, raised a glass to last month’s successful efforts? Don’t forget to celebrate you and your team’s success for the sake of improvement in team spirit and performance. There are several reasons why you should be recognizing team success if you aren’t doing so already. But first things first, what is success? Have you, as a team, raised a glass to last month’s successful efforts? Don’t forget to celebrate you and your team’s success for the sake of improvement in team spirit and performance. There are several reasons why you should be recognizing team success if you aren’t doing so already. But first things first, what is success?

How do you define success for you and your team? Is success making $50,000 in revenue in the previous month? Or is it a 60% year-on-year growth in terms of sales? Or is it winning an industry award? These benchmarks could be identifiers of success, however, success does not always have to be something that involves money or a long-term effort.

You should celebrate success whenever you achieve a goal. Short term objectives count. Personal efforts also count when the achievement contributes to the team’s common goals. Basically, everything that gets done and contributes to the mission of the team, is a team success.

For example, one of your customer support staffers goes an extra mile to satisfy a client. The client leaves a positive feedback regarding her service. You should definitely acknowledge her efforts and at the same time, you should encourage her to share her story with the rest of the team. Success sharing and celebration are both important. Both are extremely beneficial for team performance and should not be taken lightly.

Why should teammates share success stories?

Success stories can be very helpful. They are the practical tips others can adapt in order to solve similar problems. For example, a member of your customer support team gains an exceptionally high level of customer satisfaction because she works out an ideal flow to deal with inquiries and follow up with customers. Others can learn from such a workflow. Encourage her to share the best practices to benefit the whole team’s performance.

Besides, success stories are a great source of inspiration for others to excel. Think about why you read biographies of successful people in various fields from politics to arts. Not all the tips you come across are applicable to your personal and professional life, however, you are inspired by their strong will to excel at what they do and their passion to make a difference. Such aspiration is likely to affect you more if it comes from people you know and whose work you value.

Sharing stories helps strengthen your team as they become more and more familiar with one another. For example, your manager knows which skills your sales agent excels at and what inspires her. She will find out the best way to work with her in the future. As an owner/manager, you will also find it much nicer to supervise a close-knit team.

Why should everyone recognize everyone else’s success?

Recognizing success is very powerful. Peer recognition brings fulfilment because it reinforces the meaning of one’s hard work. When you show your respect to one’s achievement, you are likely to boost his or her self-esteem, which is the second highest need of a person according to Maslow’s hierarchy.

Moreover, a manager can motivate an employee a great deal by showing gratitude and appreciation towards his or her accomplishments. This motivation will make it more likely for the employee to work harder and be inspired to contribute more and more to the team. Mutual respect creates a stronger relationship between team members and increases the level of loyalty.Recognizing both individual and team achievement helps build a sense of solidarity and identity for the whole team.

How to share and celebrate success

The story

Sharing success is like telling a story. You want to tell a good story that has an impact. You want to help and inspire people to achieve their own goals. Here are some tips for a good story.

Focus on useful content 

You want your audience to take home practical tips. Think of the exact step-by-step process that you have taken to achieve a goal. Share these steps as a tool to solve a similar problem.

Be inspirational and authentic.

You want to inspire your audience to gain something for themselves. Think back to the obstacles, especially mental blocks, and how you overcame them. A story that talks to one’s feelings tends to have a stronger impact in the process of being remembered.

The celebration

As manager, you should take time to celebrate employee achievement. Show them that you do not take their hard work for granted. Besides, it is helpful to create an environment where teammates can easily recognize and celebrate each other’s success. Here are some tips for you, as manager, to make a positive impact with recognizing employee achievement.

Do it soon  

One rule for recognition is the earlier, the better. As a manager, you should always know what is going on in your team. If your employees do something great, you should be the first to notice and congratulate them. Give them a handshake or high five as soon as you can. An official congratulations or a bonus can come later, but there is no reason why you should wait to say thanks to an employee for his or her hard work.

Make it public

A public recognition is much more impactful than a private one. You don’t have to put up a stage with flowers and stereo sound system every time, but a compliment in public is far better at boosting one’s esteem than one sent via an email or even 1-on-1. A celebration only feels like a real one with a crowd. That is why we gather for fireworks to celebrate a new year or a national holiday. As manager, you could hold weekly meetings (e.g.15 minutes of heroism) to make success acknowledgement official and public.

Add a bonus or a token gift 

A high-five or a handwritten thank-you note is great but more is in order in many cases. Rewards and hard work often go together. Depending on the level of achievement, a certain form of reward is due.

Rewarding your employees is important, but you should learn to do it appropriately and perhaps in a creative and authentic way.

Rewards can come in all shapes and sizes, and can involve cash or non-monetary rewards. Traditional rewards often include a monetary bonus or a pay raise. Inarguably, most would be happy and motivated with a bigger pay check, however, there are rewards that can be just as effective that will cost the company far less. To name a few ideas:

• A day-off pass to use for extra time off or flexible hours
• A nice, long lunch to celebrate the achievement together
• A voucher from a fine restaurant in town
• A massage gift card
• A one year Spotify subscription

Do you have some good ideas? The key is to link a reward to the employee and his or her accomplishment. For example, a junior salesperson reaches a milestone of the first $10,000. A pen holder made out of the number 10,000 to be put on his desk would be a nice gift because it will remind him of his achievement every day. Go an extra mile to find out what your employees like, what their hobbies are, and what they are passionate about. For example, if an employee likes reading, a book signed by his or her favourite author could make a great gift. Personalizing rewards shows that you not only care, but will go the extra mile to make sure your employees feel recognized.

In brief

Building a great team is a challenging job. You should take pride in your team’s success by taking the time and effort to celebrate it. Whenever you achieve a goal, acknowledge your appreciation in a timely and public manner. In addition, don’t forget to give a reward or a token gift. Recognize employee achievement and you will reap the rewards from their motivation and loyalty.

 

Source https://blog.impraise.com/360-feedback/the-benefits-of-recognizing-your-team-success-and-the-3-rules-of-celebration-360-review

The Golden Rules of Goalsetting

Five Rules to Set Yourself Up for Success

Have you thought about what you want to be doing in five years’ time? Are you clear about what your main objective at work is at the moment? Do you know what you want to have achieved by the end of today?

If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction; it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. Think about it: having a million dollars in the bank is only proof of success if one of your goals is to amass riches. If your goal is to practice acts of charity, then keeping the money for yourself is suddenly contrary to how you would define success.

To accomplish your goals, however, you need to know how to set them. You can’t simply say, “I want” and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve, and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it. In between, there are some very well-defined steps that transcend the specifics of each goal. Knowing these steps will allow you to formulate goals that you can accomplish.

Learn five techniques for setting effective goals.

The Five Golden Rules

1. Set Goals That Motivate You

When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you: this means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. If you have little interest in the outcome, or they are irrelevant given the larger picture, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is key to achieving goals. Set goals that relate to the high priorities in your life. Without this type of focus, you can end up with far too many goals, leaving you too little time to devote to each one. Goal achievement requires commitment, so to maximize the likelihood of success, you need to feel a sense of urgency and have an “I must do this” attitude. When you don’t have this, you risk putting off what you need to do to make the goal a reality. This in turn leaves you feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself, both of which are de-motivating. And you can end up in a very destructive “I can’t do anything or be successful at anything” frame of mind.

Tip: To make sure that your goal is motivating, write down why it’s valuable and important to you. Ask yourself, “If I were to share my goal with others, what would I tell them to convince them it was a worthwhile goal?” You can use this motivating value statement to help you if you start to doubt yourself or lose confidence in your ability to actually make the goal happen.

2. Set SMART Goals

You have probably heard of SMART goals already. But do you always apply the rule? The simple fact is that for goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART. There are many variations of what SMART stands for, but the essence is this – goals should be: Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time Bound.

Set Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as “To reduce expenses” how will you know when you have been successful? In one month’s time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years’ time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence. However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn’t have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to “raise the bar” and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you’ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you’ll fritter your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

Your goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

3. Set Goals in Writing

The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. You have no excuse for forgetting about it. As you write, use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.” For example, “I will reduce my operating expenses by 10 percent this year,” not “I would like to reduce my operating expenses by 10 percent this year.” The first goal statement has power and you can “see” yourself reducing expenses, the second lacks passion and gives you an excuse if you get sidetracked.

Tip 1: Frame your goal statement positively. If you want to improve your retention rates say, “I will hold on to all existing employees for the next quarter” rather than “I will reduce employee turnover.” The first one is motivating; the second one still has a get-out clause “allowing” you to succeed even if some employees leave.

Tip 2: If you use a To-Do List , make yourself a To-Do List template that has your goals at the top of it. If you use an Action Program , then your goals should be at the top of your Project Catalog.

Post your goals in visible places to remind yourself every day of what it is you intend to do. Put them on your walls, desk, computer monitor, bathroom mirror or refrigerator as a constant reminder.

4. Make an Action Plan

This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term. Read our article on Action Plans for more on how to do this.

5. Stick With It!

Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity, not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high.

Key Points

Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it the first place, your odds of success are considerably reduced. By following the Five Golden Rules of Goal Setting you can set goals with confidence and enjoy the satisfaction that comes along with knowing you achieved what you set out to do. So, what will you decide to accomplish today?

Source https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm

6 Things Great Innovators Do Differently

Take a look at any successful enterprise and you’ll find innovation at its core. That was just as true a hundred years ago when Henry Ford perfected the assembly line as it is today, when modern day giants like Elon Musk bring cutting edge technology to market. Innovation, as I’ve written before, is how people come up with novel solutions to important problems.

Take a look at any successful enterprise and you’ll find innovation at its core. That was just as true a hundred years ago when Henry Ford perfected the assembly line as it is today when modern day giants like Elon Musk bring cutting edge technology to market. Innovation, as I’ve written before, is how people come up with novel solutions to important problems.

The tricky part is that every organization faces different types of challenges. Some, like Intel, focus on improving old technologies, while others, like MD Anderson Cancer Center, strive to make fundamental new discoveries. There are also those that innovate business models, marketing campaigns and many other things.

That’s why there is no “one true path” to innovation. There are, in fact, as many ways to innovate as there are types of problems to solve. However, in researching my upcoming book, Mapping Innovation, I noticed that there were universal traits across every organization I looked at. From corporate giants to startups to world-class labs, here are the 6 things they had in common.

1. Seek Out Problems

Most people think that innovation starts out with a great idea, but the truth is that it starts with a great problem. Whether it’s Steve Jobs looking for product categories that “suck,” or scientists exploring the fundamental nature of the universe, every innovation starts out as a tough problem that needs to solved.

One thing I noticed about the innovators I researched is that they didn’t just wait for good problems, but they actively went searching for them. Jim Allison, who developed cancer immunotherapy, told me he just liked “figuring things out,” while Charlie Bennett’s interest in finding computation in the natural world helped lead to quantum computing.

I found the same thing when I looked at organizations that are able to innovate consistently. IBM Research has, throughout its history, set up “grand challenges” and searched for unresolved problems in the marketplace. Experian has set up a special unit, called DataLabs, to seek out and solve its customers’ problems. Google’s long-held practice of “20% time” is essentially a human-powered search engine for problems.

So hiring smart people and encouraging creativity are not enough. if you want to make your organization more innovative, the best thing you can do is to think seriously about how you search for problems.

2. Choose Problems That Suit Your Capabilities, Strategy And Culture

After World War II, groups of natives in the South Pacific called cargo cults, built makeshift airstrips complete with antennas protruding out of coconut helmets, improvised headphones and guys waving sticks to signal airplanes in the hopes that valuable cargo would drop from the sky. They had seen soldiers employ similar tactics and were following suit.

Of course, it never worked. Indeed, it seems more than a little bit silly. Simply setting up an airstrip is not what causes cargo planes to fly across the world to a particular location. Anyone who would believe such a thing is missing some very basic principles of how air travel functions. It is patently absurd. Yet modern managers find it completely sensible to try to learn the one thing that can make you innovate like Steve Jobs or the 5 habits that made Elon Musk an innovator. Much like cargo cults, they believe that simply emulating the same tactics will yield the same results, regardless of context. Perhaps not surprisingly, they don’t fare much better than the islanders.

The truth is that your innovation strategies need to suit your capabilities, strategy and culture. Just because something worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work in your organization. You need to build your own innovation playbook.

3. Identify The Innovation Strategies Most Likely To Solve The Problems You Face

Too often, we treat innovation as a monolith, as if every problem was the same, but that’s clearly not the case. In laboratories and factory floors, universities and coffee shops, or even over a beer after work, people are sussing out better ways to do things. There is no monopoly on creative thought. But that leads us to a problem: How should we go about innovation? Should we hand it over to the guys with white lab coats? An external partner? A specialist in the field? Crowdsource it? What we need is a clear framework for making decisions.

As I wrote in Harvard Business Review, the best way to start is by asking the right questions:
(1) How well is the problem defined? and
(2) How well is the domain defined? Once you’ve asked those framing questions, you can start defining a sensible way to approach the problem using the Innovation Matrix.

Show me any successful innovator and I can show you another that is just as successful and does things very differently. The key to innovating effectively is not the objective merits of any particular strategy, but whether that strategy addresses the problem you are trying to solve.

4. Leverage Platforms To Access Ecosystems Of Talent, Technology and Information

Traditionally, strategy was largely seen as a game of chess in which managers sought to optimize their value chain, maximize bargaining power with buyers and suppliers and minimize threats from new market entrants and substitute goods. Yet today, the nature of power has changed and advantage is not determined by what assets you control, but what you can access. That’s why today, firms must leverage platforms to access ecosystems of talent, technology and information. Even the internal capabilities of the largest corporate giants pale in comparison to those which can be found outside the boundaries of an organization. As Bill Joy, put it, “no matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.”To understand how this is playing out, consider the case of Microsoft and Linux. Back in 2001, CEO Steve Ballmer saw Linux and other open source technologies as a serious threat to its business and went so far as to call Linux a cancer. Yet today, Microsoft not only actively participates in open source communities, it’s even learned to love Linux. Why the change of heart? It realized, as have many other tech giants, that while it’s difficult to compete with an ecosystem of tens of thousands of developers, you can make a great business by accessing their talents and building on top of their work.

5. Build A Collaborative Culture

Many thought that the digital age would lead to a more solitary existence. With so much you can access through your computer screen, why would you need to go to an office? In fact, just the opposite has happened. While remote work has become a reality, it’s much harder to go it alone than it used to be. In fact, collaboration has become a competitive advantage. To understand why, let’s look at scientists, who probably have the greatest potential to work alone. Yet they are increasingly choosing to work in teams and those teams vastly outperform solo performers. The journal Nature recently noted that the average scientific paper today has four times as many authors as one did in 1950.

Collaboration was also something I repeatedly came across in my research for the book. Not only was the point continually stressed by almost everybody I talked to, I also noticed that in response to my fact checks my sources invariably pushed me to give more credit to others and less to themselves. As MIT’s Sandy Pentland has put it, “We teach people that everything that matters happens between your ears, when in fact it actually happens between people.”

6. Understand That Innovation Is A Messy Business

When we think of innovation, we often conjure up visions of Steve Jobs wowing the crowds at Macworld, but the truth is that innovation is a messy business. Part of the problem is that we mostly see successes, while failures often go unnoticed or are swept under the carpet. We get taken in by myths and gloss over the realities. Consider the case of Alexander Fleming. Many know the story of how he “accidentally” discovered penicillin one day when a mould contaminated a petri dish in his lab. But few realize that his work lay dormant for over a decade until another team of scientists saw its potential and put in the years of work needed to engineer it into a miracle cure. That’s why so few organizations can innovate well.  It is such hard, heartbreaking work. It doesn’t lend itself to shortcuts or “silver bullet” solutions. Truly breakthrough innovations are never a single event, nor are they achieved by one person, or even within a single organization. Rather, they happen when ideas combine to solve important problems.

By Greg Satell

Source https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2016/09/16/6-things-every-organization-needs-to-innovate/#c869f5513c05

5 Tips for Small Business Stress Management

Every part of your business has the potential to stress you out and keep you up at night — lack of sales, too much debt, not enough money, issues with employees, problems with equipment and operations. Your brain will constantly be going. All your problems and thoughts will be whirling around, making you tired and anxious. The pressure of constantly finding ways to grow your bottom line in business builds up.

Owning a business is stressful, and you can’t really escape it. The sooner you learn small business stress management, the better. As a serial entrepreneur, I know a lot about small business owner anxiety and stress. Here are my five tips for combating small business owner stress.

1. Remember what’s going right.

As you’re building your business, it is easy to only focus on the things that are going wrong. You can become stressed when you’re looking at all the things that are behind schedule, underfunded or need to be fixed. You can improve your stress management in business by reminding yourself of the things that are going right. List out all your accomplishments and any small business milestones you’ve achieved. There are probably more than you realize. Don’t neglect even the smallest accomplishments. Put your list somewhere you can easily see it, such as on your desk or the wall. Whenever you feel stressed about all the things that are going wrong, look at your list. Take a moment to remember all the things that have gone right.

2. Rank your tasks.

One of the causes of stress in business is having so many things to work on that none of them get done. If you try to do a little bit of each task, you will complete few of them. Don’t try to do everything at once. Try to focus on one or a small number of tasks at a time. You need to prioritize your goals. Write down everything that you need to complete. Then, rank your tasks from greatest to least. The things you need to do first should be at the top of your list. As you work, focus on the most important tasks. Once you finish those, you can move down the list. You’re essentially creating an agenda for yourself. Now, some people might get stressed when they see the number of tasks they need to do. Try not to get overwhelmed by the length of your list. Focus on what you need to work on next.

3. Purge your brain.

As a business owner, there’s rarely a separation between work and home. You’ll constantly think about your business and the things you could be doing. Sometimes, you can’t stop thinking about your business. Your brain is on nonstop, even when you’re trying to sleep. When my brain won’t shut down, I write everything down that my mind is trying to process. I’ll write down my problem, possible solutions and miscellaneous notes. Sometimes writing everything out can take a while, but it’s worth it. After I write everything down, I can relax and sleep. My brain doesn’t have anything to process because I put all my thoughts in a safe place. I don’t have to worry about my business for a time because I know everything is waiting for me later, and I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.

4. Take breaks.

This is probably the simplest piece of business owner stress management advice — take a break. If you’re constantly spinning your wheels, not getting anywhere, and stressing about the problem, taking a short break might be all you need. Stepping away from the stressor for even 10 minutes can refresh and calm you. Taking a break can even prevent burnout. When you take a break, do something that relaxes you. Go for a walk. Get some coffee. Call a friend. Watch a funny video. Don’t do anything business related. When you get back to your business, you will have a clearer mind. You will have fresh energy to tackle the task. And, stepping away might even open your eyes to a new and better way to complete the task.

5. Take care of yourself.

Good health is important when you’re an entrepreneur. Running a business takes a lot out of you. Your small business comes with long nights, early mornings, no weekends and no sick days. Your nonstop life puts strain on your body, and then you add stress on top of that. You need to take care of yourself. Don’t forget to do the simple things. Drink water throughout the day. Regularly eat. Get some sleep. Try to do some additional things, too. Go to a health food store and buy some natural supplements. Reduce your caffeine consumption. When you’re healthy, your body can better handle the stress. If you can, regularly exercise. While exercise will make you physically fit, it is also a great method of small business stress management. Through exercise, you can release your anxieties and frustrations. You can clear your mind and relax. Even a small amount of exercise can reduce your stress.

By Mike Kappel, CEO of Patriot Software Company CEO

Source https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/296698

How to Recruit Employees for Small Business

Tips to Get the Best Recruits for Your Small Business

How to recruit employees is always a top concern for any small business that needs them. Employees are always aging, changing careers, or becoming unable to continue in their positions for one reason or another. And now economists warn that future demographic trends will contribute to a shortage of high quality employees – and small business jobs will go begging. According to some experts, the labor force is shrinking, as more Baby Boomers are leaving the labor market and birth rates have been declining.

What’s a small business owner looking for top quality employees to do? Here are some tips for recruiting staff that will increase your chances of attracting (and retaining) the people you need.

How to Recruit Employees for Small Business

1. Find out what the going rate is for the position and match it.

One common mistake small businesses make when creating a position is to base the salary on their budget rather than the market realities. Doing so only makes it more difficult to recruit employees at all, let alone attract top quality ones. If the starting salary for a retail sales person in your area normally makes $10 an hour, why would someone want to accept your $8.75 an hour job?

2. Offer ​an employee benefit program.

Employees consider an employee benefit program a necessity, not a perk and positions that offer benefits will always trump those that have none. On top of that, if you’re going to attract high quality staff, your company needs to offer high quality benefits – and that means offering employees at least life, medical and dental coverage. If your small business does not have an employee benefits program, talk to your insurance company about setting one up. One of the advantages of belonging to business organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, is that they offer more inexpensive insurance including employee benefit programs, so check with the organizations you belong to first to see if you’re getting the best deal possible, so you can pass it on to your employees. (See also: Definition of Taxable Benefits in Canada and Employee Gifts as Tax Deductions in Canada.)

3. Make lifestyle part of your employee recruitment offer.

Many employees are just as concerned about the quality of life a position offers as they are about the amount of money it will bring in. If you’re fortunate enough to be located in an area with great skiing, beaches, extensive hiking/biking trails, excellent golf courses or other attractive features be sure to play them up when you’re trying to recruit employees. That being said, be sure to promote a really great work-life balance for all your employees. Doing so not only makes for a great work environment, but your employees will also want to come in to work when they’re allowed to have time off or don’t have to take work home with them. Another benefit: it increases productivity, while cutting down costs related to absenteeism and bad work behavior.

4. Emphasize the benefits your small business offers.

Make your company more attractive to potential employees by offering things such as flexible hours and work at home options. Among the more unusual benefits, some small businesses offer are being able to bring a pet to work, babysitting and childcare services, and allowing employees to power-nap during the day.

5. Be creative with perks.

As a small business, you may not be able to offer the perks large (corporate) companies are able to offer their employees, but you can offer a reasonable facsimile. For instance, many large companies offer on-site health facilities such as a fully-equipped gym. Chances are as a small business, you’re not going to be able to add one of these to your premises, but you could offer employees coupons to use local gym or spa facilities. Some businesses also offer discounts to employees of neighboring establishments. Chat up your neighbors, suppliers and distributors to see how you can take advantage of discount programs for your employees. Not only will you be injecting money back into your local economy, you’ll also be helping out other small businesses in the area. And your employees will likely appreciate saving a few extra bucks. (Read more about the Affordable Perks Your Small Business Can Offer Employees.)

6. Offer employees some way to move upwards.

Most employees aren’t looking for jobs where they’ll do the same thing for the next thirty years. They’re looking for positions that offer opportunities for advancement. What will the position you’re offering promise a new employee? The chance to develop new skills? A stepping stone to a position with more responsibilities? More money after a certain amount of time on the job? Whatever it is, be sure to get the future possibilities on the table when you’re trying to recruit someone.

7. Create an employee incentive program.

Employee incentive programs not only reward good employee performance, but give prospective employees something to look forward to if they come work for you. Whether it’s an annual company-paid retreat or a program where employees collect points that they can trade in for cash, employee incentive programs can increase your chances of attracting the people you want to hire.

8. Institute a profit sharing program.

There’s no better way to give employees a stake in a company’s success. For businesses that look like they’re going somewhere, profit sharing programs can be a powerful inducement to people to come work for you instead of for someone else. While it may not for every business, you may still be able to find ways to help your employees take part in the business’s profit – and feel like a valuable part of the team. After all, your employees are part of your business’s success, so why not share it with them? Something you’ll want to consider before you try to establish a program is who will set it up, you or someone else? Once you know that, you should draft a plan, set up a trust, establish a record-keeping system and make sure you have a written plan you can offer employees. The National Federation of Independent Business has an outline of setting up profit sharing for small businesses which may be in the form of regular bonuses. Be sure to check with a lawyer or expert to see if there’s a way to start.

9. Sweeten the pot.

When competition for employees is fierce, a plain old signing bonus may be what’s needed to recruit the high quality employee you want and keep them from joining the competition. If you choose to do this, keep in mind two important things in mind. The signing bonus has to be large enough to matter and the signing bonus has to be contingent upon a certain length of employment. Otherwise, you’ll be running a revolving door as people sign up, take the money and run.

10. Widen the scope of your advertising.

It’s not enough to place an ad in your local newspaper anymore. Your chances of attracting the employees you want will be much better if you broaden your advertising. For examples, place ads on job websites and college/university campus boards. Advertise in other towns or cities. Go onto social media and advertise on Facebook and Twitter. (See 7 Easier Ways to Find Employees for more ideas on spreading the word about your employee search and hiring tips.) And if you have other employees, don’t forget to get them involved in the employee recruitment hunt. For example, you can offer signing bonuses to those who successfully refer a new employee.

Make Yours the Offer They Can’t Refuse

There are qualified people who can do what you need done – you just need to attract them to the positions your small business is offering. Developing an employee recruitment policy based on the tips above will give you a better chance to recruit the high quality employees you’re looking for.

BY SUSAN WARD

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/top-ways-to-attract-quality-employees-2948197

Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It)

When people find out I’m an executive coach, they often ask who my toughest clients are. Inexperienced leaders? Senior leaders who think they know everything? Leaders who bully and belittle others? Leaders who shirk responsibility?When people find out I’m an executive coach, they often ask who my toughest clients are. Inexperienced leaders? Senior leaders who think they know everything? Leaders who bully and belittle others? Leaders who shirk responsibility?

The answer is none of the above. The hardest leaders to coach are those who won’t reflect — particularly leaders who won’t reflect on themselves.

At its simplest, reflection is about careful thought. But the kind of reflection that is really valuable to leaders is more nuanced than that. The most useful reflection involves the conscious consideration and analysis of beliefs and actions for the purpose of learning. Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning. This meaning becomes learning, which can then inform future mindsets and actions. For leaders, this “meaning making” is crucial to their ongoing growth and development.

Research by Giada Di Stefano, Francesca Gino, Gary Pisano, and Bradley Staats in call centers demonstrated that employees who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting about lessons learned performed 23% better after 10 days than those who did not reflect. A study of UK commuters found a similar result when those who were prompted to use their commute to think about and plan for their day were happier, more productive, and less burned out than people who didn’t.

So, if reflection is so helpful, why don’t many leaders do it?  Leaders often:

Don’t understand the process.  Many leaders don’t know how to reflect. One executive I work with, Ken, shared recently that he had yet again not met his commitment to spend an hour on Sunday mornings reflecting. To help him get over this barrier, I suggested he take the next 30 minutes of our two-hour session and just quietly reflect and then we’d debrief it. After five minutes of silence, he said, “I guess I don’t really know what you want me to do. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been doing it.”

Don’t like the process. Reflection requires leaders to do a number of things they typically don’t like to do: slow down, adopt a mindset of not knowing and curiosity, tolerate messiness and inefficiency, and take personal responsibility. The process can lead to valuable insights and even breakthroughs — and it can also lead to feelings of discomfort, vulnerability, defensiveness, and irritation.

Don’t like the results. When a leader takes time to reflect, she typically sees ways she was effective as well as things she could have done better. Most leaders quickly dismiss the noted strengths and dislike the noted weaknesses. Some become so defensive in the process that they don’t learn anything, so the results are not helpful.

Have a bias towards action. Like soccer goalies, many leaders have a bias toward action. A study of professional soccer goalies defending penalty kicks found that goalies who stay in the center of the goal, instead of lunging left or right, have a 33% chance of stopping the goal, and yet these goalies only stay in the center 6% of the time. The goalies just feel better when they “do something.”  The same is true of many leaders. Reflection can feel like staying in the center of the goal and missing the action.

Can’t see a good ROI.  From early roles, leaders are taught to invest where they can generate a positive ROI — results that indicate the contribution of time, talent or money paid off.  Sometimes it’s hard to see an immediate ROI on reflection — particularly when compared with other uses of a leader’s time.If you have found yourself making these same excuses, you can become more reflective by practicing a few simple steps.

Identify some important questions. But don’t answer them yet. Here are some possibilities:

• What are you avoiding?

• How are you helping your colleagues achieve their goals?

• How are you not helping or even hindering their progress?

• How might you be contributing to your least enjoyable relationship at work?

• How could you have been more effective in a recent meeting?

Select a reflection process that matches your preferences.  Many people reflect through writing in a journal.  If that sounds terrible but talking with a colleague sounds better, consider that.  As long as you’re reflecting and not just chatting about the latest sporting event or complaining about a colleague, your approach is up to you.  You can sit, walk, bike, or stand, alone or with a partner, writing, talking, or thinking.

Schedule time.  Most leaders are driven by their calendars. So, schedule your reflection time and then commit to keep it. And if you find yourself trying to skip it or avoid it, reflect on that!

Start small.  If an hour of reflection seems like too much, try 10 minutes.  Teresa Amabile and her colleagues found that the most significant driver of positive emotions and motivation at work was making progress on the tasks at hand. Set yourself up to make progress, even if it feels small.

Do it. Go back to your list of questions and explore them. Be still. Think. Consider multiple perspectives. Look at the opposite of what you initially believe. Brainstorm. You don’t have to like or agree with all of your thoughts — just think and to examine your thinking.

Ask for help. For most leaders, a lack of desire, time, experience, or skill can get in the way of reflection.  Consider working with a colleague, therapist, or coach to help you make the time, listen carefully, be a thought partner, and hold you accountable.Despite the challenges to reflection, the impact is clear. As Peter Drucker said: “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection, will come even more effective action.”

By Jennifer Porter

https://hbr.org/2017/03/why-you-should-make-time-for-self-reflection-even-if-you-hate-doing-it

Avoiding the Blame Game: How Culture Helps Promote Teamwork in Business

When something goes wrong in business a common reaction is to try to shift the blame. More often than you may think, regardless of the position they hold, employees seek to find ways to avoid accepting responsibility for their mistakes. This leads to many businesses having to deal with what is known as ‘the blame game’ on a regular basis. Of course blaming others – or indeed management processes – for mistakes is counter-productive and greatly decreases a business’ efficiency and effectiveness. Furthermore, it leads to businesses wasting time finding out who caused the problem, rather than seeking to both solve and learn from it.

So, how can businesses avoid the blame game and encourage staff not to shift responsibility on to someone else when things go awry? Actually, one of the most effective ways of achieving this is through generating a strong, transparent and supportive culture. Here are 4 ways you can help create a culture that turns the blame game on its head and boosts teamwork, productivity and efficiency.

1. Promote ‘Just Culture’ in the workplace
Many industries, from aviation to healthcare to manufacturing, understand the importance of ‘just culture’ in the workplace. ‘Just culture’ – which makes up part of overall company culture – can be described as companies creating an environment wherein mistakes are seen as part and parcel of everyday business. Instead of being lambasted for their errors, employees are encouraged and supported to come forward if they do something wrong.
Businesses that promote just culture facilitate honesty amongst employees and ultimately improve a company overall. It is only through employees owning up and having the confidence to face up to their mistakes that companies can learn and build upon errors that are made. A company that ignores ‘just culture’ risks having employees sweep mistakes under the rug, or incorrectly blame others for their wrongdoings, which can have hugely detrimental implications for a business.

As business owners and managers will know, more often than not mistakes are made because of bad systems or incorrect processes. Harnessing a company culture that promotes admitting to mistakes allows businesses to learn and build upon them, ultimately improving company processes. Simply put, employees are much less likely to make the same mistake twice if their initial error has been openly discussed and they have been supported in rectifying it.

2. Ensure psychological safety
‘Just culture’ helps to foster an environment where employees are more honest and open, and therefore feel more psychologically safe. This is crucially important in business. Ensuring employees feel psychologically safe is of paramount importance when it comes to the mental wellbeing of staff members. We all know the age-old mantra, a happy worker is a productive worker – and unsurprisingly a big part of that happiness comes from mental wellbeing. Businesses should empower employees to admit to mistakes by promoting the idea that, in owning up to a mistake, they are helping rather than hindering the business. This makes for a more open, happy workforce and more efficient and effective management processes. A win-win for all.

3. Encourage looking out for each other
Employees who feel isolated are more likely to try to cover up mistakes and, if they get away with it, they could fall into a vicious cycle of hiding wrongdoings. Making sure that employees look out for each other is an important way to improve teamwork, and preventing of covering up mistakes. Rather than making employees feel like they are grassing on one another, employers should encourage staff to assist those that seem under pressure and make sure employees know they can ask for assistance when necessary. Promoting the idea that employees are ‘all in it together’ is a great way to stamp out a cover-up culture and detect issues among staff early on. After all, early detection of an issue is the best way to prevent it from spreading and becoming a much bigger problem for the business as a whole.

4. Educate management in dealing with problems
Let’s be clear, mistakes in business are commonplace. There will always be issues that arise and making sure that management is prepared to deal with problems which are reported is crucial to the smooth running of a business. Knowing how to support staff in need, how to correctly respond to an incident when it occurs, and how to treat those who have made a mistake in the correct and appropriate manner are all areas in which management should be well versed.
Generating a company culture that treats mistakes as blips that are actually necessary for the advancement of the business not only empowers workers to admit to mistakes, it improves productivity and benefits a company in the long run.

https://www.thehrdepartment.ie/the-hr-advisor/avoiding-the-blame-game-how-company-culture-helps-promote-teamwork-in-business

Predicted Business Trends and Practices For 2016

This article will focus upon listing some of the business trends and practices predicted for 2016 by various media and business groups.

1) Same Day Delivery and On-Demand logistics companies will continue to grow as larger companies (Uber, Amazon, Woolworths) test their capabilities in this growing industry.

2) There will be a large increase in the number of businesses up for sale due to Baby Boomer’s reaching retirement age.

3) Customers will wield even more power over businesses through social media technologies that are focused on product/business reviews.

4) Customer relationships developed through personal relationships and human connections will continue to play a vital part in repeat and return business despite the growth of technology that limits this factor.

5) Businesses will be looking to increase both their cyber security and their data security capabilities.

6) There will be continued large-scale adoption of cloud computing for large and small businesses alike.

7) There will be an increase in the number of businesses that use mobile ‘beacon’ marketing or mobile location-based marketing.

8) Businesses will have more reasons to develop their mobile marketing and websites as search engines weigh mobile friendly sites much more heavily in their ranking algorithms.

9) Businesses will utilise applications that are mobile friendly and cloud based to help them run their front, mid and back office. The ability to work from your mobile will be a growing trend within 2016.

10) Data analytics will be the focus for small businesses in 2016, while emotional and predictive analytics gains ground within the business world.

11) The costs of cloud computing will continue to fall but the cost of cloud management and analytics will remain steady as demand grows.

12) There will be an increase in top-level domain names in 2016, such as those that are delineated by location “.syd” or by profession/field “.lawyer” or “.it”.

13) Businesses will need to update their payment systems to utilise the many online and alternative payment methods (Square, Bitcoin, Apple/Google Wallets, NFC Technology, mobile payments and EMV chips etc).

14) The small and medium business world will see a huge increase in the “software as a service” market. Applications such as Office 365, Google Apps or Okta will see a significant amount of growth within the SME marketplace.

15) Technological accessibility (huge supply and low costs) in the realms of PoS Systems, CRM Software and Marketing Platforms will help support the continued growth of start-ups and small businesses.

16) Adapt or Die will be a trend that gains more traction within 2016 as businesses that do not familiarise themselves with new technologies and growth areas such as cloud computing, data analytics and ‘software as a service’ will suffer the consequences.

17) Increasing employees social engagement within businesses through social programs and charity programs will be increasingly popular to building healthy work cultures during 2016.

18) There will be a resurgence of the traditional marketing fields of relationship building and word of mouth marketing as the market becomes further saturated with social media marketing.

19) There will be a huge increase in the amount of targeted marketing carried out by businesses in all industries to combat the mass generic marketing that is the stable of the digital age.

20) Small businesses will utilise modern tools such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, Smallknot, Rockethub or Youtube to build hype and access funding for development directly from customers. They will also use these platforms to offer genuine and mutually beneficial communication.

21) Video marketing and real-time customer feedback will be a huge growth area through platforms such as Periscope, Meerkat and Twitch among others.

22) There will be continued growth of “Re-Marketing” within the advertising world and small businesses may come to rely on pay per click advertising schemes.

Business Innovation: Not Just A Buzz Word

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” Steve Jobs

In business today consumers are spoiled for choice and have nearly unlimited access to alternative vendors due to internet. In this era it is no longer good enough to just be one of the multitude, in order to prosper, succeed and lead business owners must look to the future. The future is accessed not by surviving but by identifying problems and innovating to solve them. As Steve Job’s said in a business market that desperately needs leaders innovation can be the distinguishing factor.

While many of you may be saying “my company constantly has to innovate due to factor X” or “we ARE innovators within our industry because of Y” there will be some who say “We don’t need to…” or “We don’t have time” or even “We can’t afford to…”. Innovation like Job’s also said isn’t about how much time or money you can pump into solving a problem it’s about creating the environment and having people thinking about the problem in a creative way. With that being said here are four ways you can help to foster an innovative environment:

Establish a Formalised Innovation Process 

The first barrier to fostering an environment of innovation in any business is creating a process or means for ideas and solutions to be communicated, examined and tested. What this basically means is that if an employee or manager was to come up with a great idea for solving a problem or innovating an old process what would they do with their idea? The first step for fostering innovation in this case would be to have a clear line of communication for the idea. The process for communicating ideas and solutions can take the form of a informal ‘innovation’ manager who documents and presents the ideas to upper management, innovation roundtables at staff meetings, suggestion boxes or office hours for managers, allowing free communication. The important point is that there is a formal means of communicating ideas for staff and managers in a way that will be healthy and productive.

That being said arguably the best means of formalising innovation is to add a “P&S Discussion” (Problem & Solution) to staff meetings. You can present to the group 2-3 problems that are being faced by your company whether it is adding value, refining/improving redundant processes or fixing operational efficiency, provide some easy problems and then supply a more difficult problem. Small successes will help foster a positive and creative thinking environment while the larger problem will provide a challenge. Using this method it is almost always a good idea to split your meeting into micro groups and give staff time to brainstorm solutions. Allowing staff to work together in groups can help foster creativity and will allow multiple levels of expertise, experience and prior knowledge to look for solutions together, as the old saying goes “two (or more!) heads are better than one”.

To help foster the critical and creative environment during these discussions try offering small incentives for participation or the best/most ideas. These reward don’t have to be large or monetary but can be anything your employees might view was a motivator such as a provided lunch or extra break time. A tally or displayed points board and the nature of giving incentives should help to motivate your employees not only through the reward but by a desire to compete against their peers. Creating competition in a healthy manner (observed) can often drive employees to think outside the box and can provide real value when it comes to innovation.

Innovating To Appropriate Scale

What this step really means is that business owners have to carefully choose how large of a idea or innovative project to implement. An innovative idea and its planning should target either a well known problem or provide a new way to add value to your business. The reason this is important is because business is driven by consumers and unfortunately consumers wants and needs change over time, stability is a lie. If your company comes up with a great new process or idea but it will take 12-18 months to implement, will it still be relevant and what if it doesn’t add as much value as you thought at a later date? Investing time and resources into designing, planning and implementing a new process or idea can be costly so owners and managers should think about what their desired outcome for that particular innovation will be and how long it will convey a competitive advantage. In today’s rapidly evolving business environment where the average life for some of the largest companies on the S&P 500 has declined from 61 years in 1958 to 25 years in 1980 to only 18 years in 2011 (Reuters) it is clear that competitive advantages erode quickly. What these statistics show is that change is constant and fast in big business so it is undoubtedly doubly so for small to medium enterprises. An evolving, transient business environment needs quick cycle innovation in order to convey an advantage however short term. It is this “Transient Advantage” created through quick cycle innovation rather than slow cycle innovation that Rita Gunther McGrath would argue in her book The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business that drives business profitability and success.

In industries where competitive advantages quickly erode such as fast-moving consumer goods, travel agents, electronics vendors, publishers or service industries any change that provides a competitive edge can mean the difference between profit and loss. That being said larger scale innovation and planning can be successful but more often than not the safer option is to innovate your business through quick cycle innovations as they still provide benefits but for less potential loss. Any company looking to grow their business in these industries should be looking at innovation as a driving force for growth and due to the transient nature of those industries their mantra to borrow from the US Marines should be “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome (in a timely manner)” through innovation.

For more specific information regarding creating a transient advantage see next month’s article.

Collaborate With A Partner 

This step’s value for fostering innovation cannot be underestimated. While making your employees think about creative solutions for problems is a good start to innovating processes and business models there is something that is even better. Having your company and employees work collaboratively with other employees or businesses. Collaborating with a partner for innovation may take the form of having an annual meeting of multiple store owners or managers where solving problems and innovating is the focus or it may also be a partnership with another business that can provide a service or expertise that your business currently lacks. Resurg would be an example of a potential business that could help foster innovation and collaboration through our Performance Workgroups Program where we gather non-competing businesses in the same industry to discuss problems and solutions. These Workgroups are content rich and ideas focused and look to provide tangible goals and targets for members to work on over the year.  Even attending industry conferences or networking meetings can provide worthwhile opportunities for collaboration. Don’t be afraid to seek expertise from your industry just choose your partner well.

Understanding Failure and Using It

While this tip may seem very self explanatory and common sense it is integral to the success of any company looking to innovate. Companies that understand failure is an inevitability are better prepared to deal with that fact when it happens. Failure is just the opportunity to re-examine the problem or plan and strengthen it. Failing during the innovation process should not be seen as the end but just the beginning of the process as the best solutions often come from trial, error and thorough testing. Having an environment where an idea’s failure isn’t viewed as a negative will encourage staff and managers to experiment and improve their ideas. Failure shouldn’t be the killer of creativity and innovation but the impetus for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Word From Our Members

We sat down and chatted with the members of our helloworld Workgroups, and here is what they say about being in the program and the various benefits they experience. Read more