Saturday, 25 October 2014

Do you believe in training?

Do you have a structured training or development plan for each of your employees? Possibly not.

Do you send staff on training courses - or have trainers come to your premises?  For specific courses associated with new technologies, processes or .. ?

Yes.  Good!

Now the key question.  Do you regularly review - and then address - your own training needs?

No!  Well, why not.  You need to keep up to date, to expand your horizons, to upskill and reskill yourself.

Make it your own promise to yourself - to invest in yourself for the sake of the business.  Then, everyone wins.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Don't make the connection

Do you encourage your employees to manage their time, to structure their tasks, to be self-motivated. Good!  You should.

But you shouldn't expect that to have a significant impact on the performance of the business.

That depends much more on the effectiveness of the systems, process and procedures you put in place to link people and activities together.

So, if things aren't working, it is not likely to be the fault of your staff - its down to you, I'm afraid.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

And the secret is ...

I can be as guilty as the next person is hailing specific concepts and practices as being important determinants of improved business performance.

But we should stop searching for the 'secret' - the panacea - and concentrate on the basics.

High performance is about good organisation, good planning, effective design of facilities, systems and processes, effective motivation of staff and all those other things the management textbooks tell us about.

So, the real 'secret' is about doing all those things well in pursuit of a clear and shared organisational mission.

If someone comes offering you a simpler 'secret', they are selling you 'snake oil'.  There are few shortcuts in life. 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Don't Break the Chain!

A personal 'productivity' tip sometimes referred to as 'Seinfeld's Chain' after Jerry Seinfeld, the US comedian is a useful reminder of the need to 'keep at it'.  The story is that, when he started writing, Seinfeld would mark each day he had spent his planned time actually writing by putting a big red cross through that day on a large wall calendar.  After a few days he would have a chain of crosses - and it required him to keep putting in the effort so as not to break the chain.  Even when he had 'better offers' or when he felt ill, the motivation to keep the chain going was very strong.

The same approach can be used for anything which requires regular effort and activity - exercise, program coding, learning to play a musical instrument, etc.  it is not one long practice session that makes improvement - it is regular, incremental performance gains resulting from regular action.

So, when you feel the need to make changes, think how you can structure the activity so that a small amount of effort is required each day - even if that is only scheduling some thinking time.  Too many owners of small businesses claim they are too busy to plan ahead. Now put in that effort TODAY - you have to START the chain by putting the first X on the calendar.

Repeat daily until you have a chain of at least 5 Xs.

Now look at your calendar.  1 working week - 5 thinking sessions.  If you don't break the chain, that will be 250 in the year  ... and a potential transformation of your thinking, and your business.