Manage Client Relationships

Clients are the lifeblood of any business – we can’t survive without them. You could go as far as to say that no matter what industry you work in, you have one primary goal – that is to serve a client.  Internal or external, we must meet a client need to ensure that tasks and functions meet expectations.   Yet many businesses treat their clients as a given – an expected commodity. It is this mentality – particularly in the current environment – that can severely damage a business for years.  

Consider these 7 questions:

  1. What compelling ideas can you bring to your clients?
  2. What ‘Core’ relationships are you going to focus on developing this year?
  3. Do you build trust your clients?
  4. Are you clear about whom you do and do not want as a client?
  5. What are you going to do this year to ensure that clients call YOU?
  6. Which established clients of yours will you ask for a reference or referral this year?
  7. Can you clearly communicate to clients how you can help them and their businesses GROW?

If you or your team members struggled to answer these questions, perhaps this Business Skills Workshop is for you! Developed in partnership with Marie Farrugia of Time for You (www.timeforyou.com.au), the purpose of this Business Skills Workshop is to provide participants with the skills, tool and behaviours to ensure that they manage client relationship effectively for their own, and their businesses, prosperity.

The key themes for this workshop include:

  • Why Manage Client Relationships?
  • 6 Keys for Client Relationship Management
  • Building Your Personal Networking Tree
  • Enhancing Personal Networking Relationships
  • Best Practice Communication with Clients
  • Understanding your Clients Needs
  • The 4 Steps to Client Development
  • Institutionalising the Growth of Client Relationships
  • The 7 Principles of Dealing with Client Crises
  • Personal Development Requirements to Grow Client Relationships

All topics covered employ the use of case studies, activities, practical examples and experiences of the participants and facilitators to enrich learning and aid knowledge retention. Each participant will leave the workshop with a client development framework to ensure that learning is put into practise.

Designed for: Account Managers, Client Relationship / Liaison Managers, Sales Managers and people seeking to excel in a client-facing role.

Duration: 1 day

Booking: To book a Presentation Skills workshop for your team members or supervisors, call our helpful and experienced staff on 0409 627 270 or click on the link below. 


When Change Fails, Change Again – And Again!

When Change Fails, Change Again – And Again!

By Abhijit Bhattacharjee

All of us are familiar with this phenomenon of never-ending changes in organisations. As a concept, change is fine, and shows signs of an organisation adapting to its changing environment. Except that, the type of changes I am referring to are primarily about changes in structures, or more appropriately, organogram. Some organisations have this unbounded faith in the powers of structural change to bring about magical changes in the organisation that before the dust has settled on the last round of musical chairs, another round of changes to the organogram has already begun.

In my consulting career, I have seen organisations who play around with their structures so much and so frequently that it is not unusual to see them come back to what they had moved away from five years ago. Every ‘big idea’ of change usually comes with a proclamation from leaders about how wonderful the future will look like, and yet they end up looking pretty much the same! The staff have by now seen this ritual year after year, and the ‘survivors’ among them have learned to live with these, and the rest live from one day of uncertainty to another.

There is another type of organisation where structures are not the focus, but they systems and procedures keep changing continuously, at a pace where no one is quite sure what the current regime is. Manuals and procedures are churned out at such regularity that managers who have the responsibility to operationalise these spend most of their working lives trying to figure out what the latest commandments are.

Everybody in the organisation complains about the heavy bureaucracy and ‘red tape’ that results from heaps of manuals and procedures laid on top of each other. Yet with every new situation or challenge the organisation confronts, the default is to go into the print room and bring out another set of guidelines and procedures, hoping against hope that from some of those pages will emerge a solution. And everybody will live happily ever after.

Unfortunately, the ‘ever after’ moment never arrives, and the leaders complain of staff’s inability to adapt, and the staff walk around like zombies lost in the labyrinths of the organisation.

A fundamental element missing in most change processes is a lack of focus on the culture and style – i.e., corporate culture, shared values, work ethic and leadership styles.

Let me share with you an example, which is not uncommon in many organisations:

Some years ago, I was involved in helping a large international humanitarian organisation to put in place a systematic performance management system. We undertook extensive consultation at all levels of the organisation and introduced something which was developed through months of iterative exercises.

This had buy-in from all managers and senior leaders of the organisation. A detailed roll-out strategy involving briefings and training for all managers and staff was implemented over a six-month period. The system was as good as one could get, and the commitment, so we thought, of the organisation was clearly there to use it to bring about fundamental changes in the ways of staff development and performance management.

Some months ago, I was back again in this organisation to assist with a review of their humanitarian work. This gave me an opportunity to see for myself how the staff appraisal system actually worked in practice after three years it was introduced.

The system on paper, the forms, the guidelines and the instructions are all up-to-date, and couldn’t be better. However, in its actual use, things were different: although managers were trained, it is not integrated into the development of managers, and many managers do not believe that it (staff appraisal) is actually important to do and may be actively discouraged by more senior managers from using it as this was not valued by the management.

This, coupled with the fact that the performance appraisal was not linked to any management decision-making processes (training, promotion, sanction), influences the collective belief about its (ir)relevance. Staff and managers now engage in a game of going through the motions of conducting the appraisals which are now reduced to the task of filling in forms once a year.

Work ethic, collective beliefs and values demonstrated by the management didn’t quite nurture the appraisal system in the organisation.

Three important things to remember in any organisational change process:

1. Most often leadership is preoccupied with changing structures or systems (procedures, policies, etc), and ignore a key element in organisational systems – the culture which embody and reflect the values, beliefs and work ethic within the organisation.

2. Leaders need to live the organisational values by bringing to life and demonstrating what it values most in its day-to-day work.

3. Good leaders know that structures and systems can take you only this far, but if issues of culture are not addressed, business practices don’t change.

Abhijit Bhattacharjee is a change management and strategy consultant, who advises international aid agencies and United Nations organisations globally. He also works with non-profit and public sector in over fifty countries.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Abhijit_Bhattacharjee


What is Leadership?

Discussions regarding leadership and the qualities, traits and skills you must possess to be a leaders have existed for thousands of years. Place 15 people in a training room and ask them to discuss ‘What is Leadership?’ and you can end up with hundreds of responses, all of them being right for the person that thought of it. Here are a few examples:

‘Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing.’ Warren Bennis, Ph.D  

‘The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.’ Ken Blanchard  

‘When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally.’ Lao Tse  

‘A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.’ John C. Maxwell  

‘One measure of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you.’ Dennis A. Peer  

‘Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a man’s personality beyond normal limitations. Wishing won’t make it so; doing will’ Peter. F. Drucker      

The problem in defining leadership is that our ideas on leadership are shaped by a variety of beliefs, culture, expertise and experience. Our definition is also coloured by who we have been led by and the positive / negative behaviours they demonstrated. More than one leader can trace their leadership style to an early influence ie “I want to be just like……” or “I never want to be like……”. Both positive and negative examples of leadership are powerful drivers for shaping leadership expectations.   Further, leadership requirements can change depending on the situation that a leader is placed in. The skills required to lead a not-for-profit organisation are different to those required to lead a corporate or military organisation. Winston Churchill is an example of a leader who led his country brilliantly during World War II, but was not as successful in leading his country in peace.    

So how can we try to simplify the leadership debate? I would put forward that leadership is about influencing others. Paraphrasing some of the leadership quotes presented above, leadership is getting others to willingly assist you in completing a task / venture that you have set. You will notice that I have used to the word ‘assist’ when completing a task, as I believe that a leader needs to be involved in the task they set. Whether that involvement is clearly defining the task, providing encouragement or showing people how to do something, it is imperative that a leader ‘walk’s the talk’ and is involved. It may not be necessary to complete every step of a task side-by-side with the people you are influencing, but a key component of influence is having the respect of the people you are influencing and ensuring they do not feel taken advantage of.  

A further key aspect of leadership is action. The best leadership intentions will count for very little if no action takes place. If leadership is defined as influence, then that influence must be used for a purpose. The best leaders are recognised hand in hand for two things; the leadership style in which they influenced others and what their leadership achieved. Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler – leaders that are instantly recognised for their leadership style as well as their actions.  

I might be criticised for including the last leader in the previous paragraph, but he highlights an additional requirement of leadership and an adjustment to the definition of leadership. Leadership influence can be positive as well as negative, and Adolf Hitler highlights that example. To be a respected leader, the influence that is exerted over others must be positive and result in a  positive outcome.  

‘Leadership is positive influence that results in positive outcomes.’  

As already stated, leadership is shaped by a variety of beliefs, culture, expertise and experience. That being said, if leaders applied this definition as their benchmark for leadership success and measured themselves against its expectations, perhaps more would deliver positive results.

Want to develop the leadership ability within your business? Michael Peiniger is a leadership and team development specialist who helps CEO’s and heads of business ‘develop leaders’ within their organisations. As a specialist facilitator working with the top businesses in the country, he can provide your managers, supervisors and aspiring leaders with the skills, knowledge, behaviour traits and attitudes that will make them successful in your business. To discuss your leadership needs, call Michael on 0409 627 270, email

michael@kameleons.com.au or hit the link below. You can reach him at or hit the link below.


Attitudes Should Be a Part of Leadership Skills Training

Attitudes Should Be a Part of Leadership Skills Training

By Andre Boykin

If you hear a motivational speaker you can probably make a safe bet that at some point in the speech there is going to be a discussion about attitudes. Motivational speakers know how important attitudes are for anyone to achieve what they want to achieve. What we don’t see is a lot of talk about attitudes in leadership development training. Before we get into that, let’s look at the role attitudes play in business.

Even though there is a lot written and spoken about attitudes, we still don’t understand them. Attitudes are viewpoints or outlooks that are unique to us as individuals. The attitudes that we have are habitual ways of thinking. Attitudes are not opinions because opinions tend to change frequently. Attitudes, on the other hand, tend to remain constant over long periods of time. It is these habitual ways of thinking or attitudes that determine our behaviors.

In business attitudes are often the last thing considered for achieving business goals. Let’s look at an example of how attitudes are often overlooked until it is too late. Usually when a business looks to hire someone they make sure that the person has the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job. In fact, a company will usually invest in the individual to develop further the skills and knowledge of the person they hire. Conversely when a company gets ready to fire someone, isn’t it usually about the attitudes of the person? Still, very little if anything is invested in developing attitudes.

Attitudes are really the multipliers of performance. While skills and knowledge are necessary to perform a job successfully, it is the attitudes that determine the level of excellence in a job. You probably have seen where a person who had tremendous skills and knowledge but, had poor attitudes did not succeed in the job. And, you probably have seen where someone with mediocre skills and knowledge but a great attitude excel in the job. Why is that? The reason is: attitudes are the multipliers of performance.

Leadership Skills Training & Attitudes

So if attitudes are so important to the success in the performance of a job, why don’t you train attitudes as a basis for leadership skills training? In leadership skills training usually there is a focus on competencies that make a great leader. The leadership competencies would include communication, problem solving, decision making, goal setting, conflict resolution, and so on. It is very rare to see a module on attitudes. Yet attitudes are a key component of great leadership.

Some attitudes that you would want to see in a leader are:

  1. Being a self starter
  2. Willing to take responsibility for their own actions and actions for their team
  3. Empathy
  4. Being open minded
  5. Being resilient
  6. Having a results orientation
  7. Being customer focused

Each one of these attitude areas has skills associated with them; but, it is the mindset or attitudes that a person has in each of these areas that is going to determine how successful the person will be.

If more emphasis was placed on attitudes in leadership skills training the effectiveness of the leadership would improve, customer and employee satisfaction would escalate, and overall productivity would increase. Look at how you develop your leaders and ensure that attitude development is part of your leadership skills training.

From: Andre Boykin – Managing Partner, CAPITAL iDEA and Co-Creator of Leadership Development Essentials.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Andre_Boykin


Leaders – Postponing a Difficult Conversation?

Leaders – Postponing a Difficult Conversation?

By Sharon Rich

Ever had to give an employee a negative performance review? Or tell a direct report you’re letting them go? Have to tell a boss that his way of doing business is causing problems? Need to confront a friend about asking too much without giving back? Been on the receiving end of a confrontation?

I’m hearing from a lot of leaders this week about difficult conversations they’re having…or not having. After all, most of us, when confronted with a difficult conversation procrastinate, hoping the situation will fix itself or that someone else will deal with it. Meanwhile, we get angrier and more frustrated while our opponent gets more and more set in their ways.

Then we tell ourselves stories about what we know will happen if we do face the person, until the conversation attains epic proportions in our minds. And we become even more paralyzed.

Of course, sometimes situations do resolve themselves, and we, of course, do want to give people a chance to address challenges on their own. However, if acute situations don’t resolve themselves immediately, they quickly become chronic and often worsen. The ripple effect of an intolerable situation intensifies until you have a crisis on your hands.

How are your difficult conversation skills? Can you navigate difficult conversations gracefully while creating the most positive possible outcome?

There are the obvious things to remember: prepare, know your purpose and intended outcome, don’t have a difficult conversation in an emotional moment, know the law if you represent the company, etc., etc.

Here are 5 useful less-obvious perspectives for difficult conversations:

1. Develop an attitude of service. Regardless of the topic, be there to help the other person. Do not make the conversation all about you. Don’t expect or need to be taken care of or for the other person to see the situation your way.

2. Check your assumptions. Some people want to be let go. Sometimes the person does not intend for their words to be interpreted as you heard them. Some people want to be confronted. Be as curious and open-minded as possible.

3. Find a positive mindset. Do whatever internal work you need, to go into the conversation very clear that this conversation will address a situation that needs resolving and that this is what is best for all in the long run. Look forward to achieving resolution and it will be more likely to go well. If you dread the conversation, it will be more likely to be dreadful.

4. Set your own pace. You control what you say and when you say it. Resist the urge to jump in defensively or let the other person’s pace determine your own.

5. Listen. Say what needs saying and then shut up. Listen to the other person. Listen for what’s not being said as well as for what is. Reflect what you hear and engage the other person in finding their own solutions.

Remember that it’s better to have a conversation when the degree of difficulty is at 3 than to wait until it hits 8. 9 or 10. And if you have the conversation early there are often more options available than later when your hand is forced.

Hope this is helpful.

Sharon Rich works with business leaders, aspiring leaders, and leaders in transition, who are smart, successful and frustrated. What used to work is no longer working. They keep pushing forward but aren’t getting the results they want and need. They feel ineffective and they may be suffering a crisis of confidence as a result. She partners with them to create fresh strategies that produce more effective outcomes. Get a complimentary Leadership Incorporated Special Report: 11 Things Smart Leaders Do to Waste Their Company’s Money and Lose the Respect of Their People OR “10 Mistakes Smart Job Seekers Make in Social Media”. 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sharon_Rich


Does Integrity Reside in Your Business?

Does Integrity Reside in Your Business?

By Cookie Tuminello

“Integrity is not a 90 percent thing, not a 95 percent thing; either you have it or you don’t.” – Peter Scotese

Opening up the newspaper or turning on the news can be a really scary act these days, which is why I don’t recommend doing either of these activities on a regular basis. It seems as if greed and lack of ethics are running rampant in every facet of our lives. The world of business has gotten so far out of hand that almost everyday the powers that be are uncovering yet another ponzi scheme or swindle scam that makes casualties out of honest, hard working folks who trusted the system and have now lost everything. What does it say about human beings who would sacrifice everything for the almighty dollar?

How did we get here? Better yet, how do we get back to what really matters, namely core values, trust, respect, and building relationships instead of tearing them down? Whatever happened to the word ‘integrity’ in our personal and professional lives?

By definition, integrity is the alignment of everything that we do, say, act, think, and be in a way that is respectful to ourselves and others. It’s not a 90 percent thing or a 95 percent thing: either you have it or you don’t. In other words, if your actions don’t match your mouth, it ain’t happening.

There was a time and not that long ago, where the customer depended on the honesty and integrity of the merchant they were doing business with and respected them for their principles. If a salesperson said that “X” was going to work, you simply accepted what they said at face value and believed them. Plus if “X” didn’t perform the way you expected, you got on the phone, called the store where you purchased the item, registered your dismay, and they promptly fixed the problem to YOUR satisfaction, not theirs.

For those of you who are reading this and saying, “Yeah, but Cookie, things are different these days. We’re living in a different world, and you seem to be stuck in the Dark Ages.” Um, nope, I’m not. Things have gotten way out of hand and it’s time for a return to what’s really important – values, integrity, and honesty. I’m seeing glimmers of light that a new way of doing business is rapidly approaching and I for one am glad to see it coming.

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself to see if you are walking your talk in your business:

1. How do I handle customer complaints? Do I put off returning customer calls because I know they might have a problem that I’ll have to deal with, or do I face them straight on, handle the situation immediately knowing that a satisfied customer is a repeat customer? It is twice as hard to secure new customers as it does to keep your existing ones happy, so take good care of the ones you already have. Build relationships, not adversaries.

2. Am I proactive instead of reactive? Do I willingly own up to an error in judgement on my behalf with both my customers and team? If I make a mistake, am I honest enough to stand up and admit it? Or do I shut up and wait for someone else to find the error and only then react? I can guarantee you that if you wait to get ‘found out’ you’re going to end up with egg on your face every time. And believe me when I tell you that no amount of soap can get you out of a sticky situation.

3. Am I working for the betterment of my customers or simply chasing a buck? Do I sincerely care that my customers and team members are happy to interact with me, or am I simply making a sale for the sake of the dollars in my bank account? If you’re working for the glory of the dollar, you’ll end up miserable. However, if you’re in business to serve your customers with the best possible experience, you’ll not only reap amazing financial benefits, but you’ll be able to sleep a whole lot better every night.

So folks, what’s it going to be? Honesty or lying? Dollar chasing or contentment? Integrity is an all or nothing thing. There are no grey areas. You’ve either got it or you don’t. When you’ve got integrity, you’ve got success and peace. Try it. It works

Cookie Tuminello, also known as ‘THE Team Builder of the South’, has been empowering CEO’s, managers, business owners, and team members and igniting productivity since 1999.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Cookie_Tuminello


Building an Extraordinary Team

Building an Extraordinary Team

By Tim Link

Have you ever participated in a team or led a team that delivered less than stellar results? If you’ve had this experience-and most of us have- then your team was likely missing one or more of the characteristics of high functioning teams. A high functioning team can accomplish things a group of independently functioning individuals can never accomplish. This is hardly earth shattering news. So if highly functioning teams are so important, why do so few teams deliver results?

As the Total Quality Management movement gained momentum in the United States in the 1980’s, there was a heightened focus on teams. Teams were often used as a forum for surfacing ideas on process improvements that would help manufacturing become more efficient, and when these process teams were successful, an additional benefit of teams was realized: teams could also help improve employee engagement and satisfaction.

Eventually, companies grew to understand that happy employees created happy customers, and while the emphasis on teaming remained, the strategic reason for teams was often forgotten. Teams were often formed only as a “feel good” device to make management feel like they were doing something. As a result, individuals and organizations became increasingly dissatisfied with the teaming process.

In cases where teams don’t work, it’s often because team members have been chosen based on availability instead of specific skills and abilities. And many times, teams are assembled as a way to keep the troops happy by providing them a forum to provide input, without a full organizational commitment to translate their input into something meaningful. These approaches are a waste of time.

In his best selling book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” Patrick Lencioni uses the story of a fictional team to elegantly illustrate five very simple characteristics that must be present for a team to be fully functional. Ensuring the presence of these characteristics will help ensure that the collective work product delivered by your team will be extraordinary.

The Heartbeat of an Extraordinary Team

Often when a team comes together the primary motivators of team members are to impress, protect, judge or criticize. Because they operate with the assumption that “it’s a jungle out there” and they feel pressure to be perfect, people are conditioned to value strength, power and results. Weakness, vulnerability or mistakes are to be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, when “strength” and “power” rule, there is no ability to assemble on neutral territory, admit to the unknown and create solutions from a place of learning rather than share answers from a place of knowing.

What is missing is trust. The basic element of trust is the heartbeat that continuously feeds and nurtures teams. Trust allows team members to shift to a place of collective learning that’s critical to the success of a team. Trust is so fundamental to the team process that without it, a team cannot be successful. Regrettably, ensuring an atmosphere of trust is often overlooked.

Here’s what happens in teams without trust:

• People avoid conflict and don’t say what they really think in a misguided attempt to maintain harmony. Unfortunately, all this does is send conflict underground, allowing passive aggressive behavior and secret agendas to flourish.

• People fear retribution for articulating an opinion outside of what’s generally accepted in the organization. Thus they either learn to “tow the party line” or find another job.

• Individuals conceal their weaknesses and mistakes due to a focus on defending themselves and/or advancing their careers. This prevents members from engaging in healthy dialogue and debate which inhibits the development of creative solutions.

• People judge and criticize in an attempt to protect their individual power base.

Building Trust as the Cornerstone for Extraordinary Teams

Without trust, the other four dysfunctions of a team are allowed to flourish. It prevents healthy conflict and makes it virtually impossible for the team to realize the benefits of comparing and contrasting different opinions in an environment of respect and healthy debate. When potential issues-be they technical or interpersonal- are not aired, real commitment to a decision or plan of action cannot take place.

Team members simply pay lip service to agreed upon goals and do their own thing anyway. When they don’t really buy into the group goals, they avoid accountability both for themselves and other team members. They avoid accountability because they are not sure what is expected of themselves or their co-workers. This creates an environment where each member becomes more focused on their own career than the results of the group. And obviously, you can’t have a successful team if each member is more focused on their own goals than the team goals.

The Role of the Leader

The executive team or team leader plays a crucial role in determining the success of a team. How they behave sets the tone for the rest of the team. In order to create an environment of trust, the team leader must be willing to be vulnerable. They must be willing to take risks in order to show other team members that it is safe to do so.

Taking risks makes room for healthy conflict but the team leader needs to be careful not to immediately jump in when things get heated. The leader needs to have a healthy tolerance for respectful, and sometimes emotional debate. If the leader shuts down conflict, team members learn that conflict is “dangerous” and don’t develop the ability to drive through the conflict that is an inevitable part of developing creative solutions.

The leader must also ensure a consistent focus on results. If team members feel there is an over focus on keeping peace, protecting sacred cows, or burying potentially negative issues, they will read it as permission to do the same.

What You Can Do to Turn the Tide

Establishing trust first requires that team leadership, whether formal or informal, authentically models vulnerability and risk taking. Secondly, a process involving an intentional focus on creating trust will help build the cornerstone that leads to achieving extraordinary results. Some ideas for the process include:

• Personal sharing of individual stories in a way that the team learns both the unique talents as well as the personal triumphs and challenges of individual members.

• Personality and Behavioral Preference Profiles. Popular tools and assessments for this include DiSC, Meyers Briggs (MBTI) and Birkman. These types of assessments provide a non-threatening way for people to understand the strengths, weaknesses, thinking styles and communication styles of each team member. They help teams come to appreciate the differences among them.

• 360 Degree Feedback – An experienced coach can interview individual team members and debrief the overall team on concerns, fears, opportunities and other themes and patterns that exist within the team. When shared in the appropriate way, a coach can help a team use these collective insights to build a solid foundation of trust.

Extraordinary teams are not created by accident. Although they may have a high level of conflict they also have a high level of trust. They also have strong leaders who can both model team behavior and allow a certain level of trust. Read Patrick Lencioni’s book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” to learn more about you and your team can achieve the results you want.

Copyright (c) 2006 Tim Link

Tim Link is an executive coach and management consultant with a record of successfully guiding leaders and organizations from small business through Fortune 50 to increased employee productivity and satisfaction. Link Resource Group provides customized business coaching, consulting and leadership training programs, both large and small. http://www.LinkResourceGroup.net

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tim_Link


Team Building – Your Beliefs Can Create Success or Failure!?

Team Building – Your Beliefs Can Create Success or Failure!

By Andy Britnell

Before Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, people believed it was an impossible feat which would kill the person who attempted it. Bannister achieved it, though, because he was one of the few people who believed it was possible. Once he had achieved that goal, other people started to break the four-minute mile too!

So our own personal belief can help us achieve something or prevent us achieving something – that is very clear to most of us. There is unfortunately another truth that is more difficult to grasp. This is that our beliefs about other people can prevent them from reaching their full potential.

According to James Rhem, of the online National Teaching and Learning Forum (www.ntlf.com), “When teachers expect students to do well and show intellectual growth, they do; when teachers do not have such expectations, performance and growth are not so encouraged and may in fact be discouraged in a variety of ways.”

So take a minute to review your team members. Are they all equally capable in your eyes or do you have a few favourites – are the ones that do well, the ones you have a positive belief about? Do you have the same positive feeling toward the other people, whom you may not feel to be as gifted?

Give your team the best possible chance to succeed. Make a point of believing in them. After all, a belief is merely a certainty about something. You might like to check these positive assumptions for yourself to see if you live up to them:

1. Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have – people make the best choice available to them at any moment in time, based upon their life experience and choices they are aware of. If someone is not behaving in an appropriate way, they need to be given other choices to consider.

2. There is no failure, only feedback – it is more valuable to view yours and others’ experiences in terms of a learning frame rather than a failure frame. If someone does not succeed, they have not failed – they have just discovered one way not to do a particular thing.

3. A person is not their behaviour – this is really important in terms of respecting someone’s self esteem. If someone makes a mess of something, it doesn’t mean that they are a mess! Behaviour is what someone does, says or feels at a moment in time. It is not their self or their true identity. Make sure you challenge someone’s behaviour and not the self – a person’s self is greater than their behaviours.

4. The meaning of a communication is the response you get! If you do not get the response you require when communicating with your team, you probably need to change the way you communicate.

Bear in mind that everyone has a different life experience and the meaning of a word for one person may be completely different to another. Remember that voice tone and facial expression also communicate information, and people may respond to these just as much as they do to what you have said.

So check out your beliefs about the various members of your team. Believe in them, all of them, and they will more than likely surprise you!

Andy Britnell’s training and coaching products maximise the potential of your staff and cut out the unnecessary costs incurred by low morale, high turnover and repeated recruitment.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Andy_Britnell


Essentials For Building a High Performance Team

Essentials For Building a High Performance Team

By Dennis Sommer

Teams represent a very powerful mechanism for getting significant results in organizations today. Much has been learned about the development and implementation of teams over the past few years. We have seen what works, what doesn’t and the best approach for developing and nurturing teams.

A new class of teams are evolving that have the potential of replacing traditional hierarchical organization structures with a flat, self directed, cross functional, process oriented structure. High Performance Teams are a special class of team that has the ability to easily adapt in a rapidly changing environment and is an essential element for highly successful organizations. The first step for building a high performance team is understanding the essential team ingredients that create a recipe for success.

Meeting organization goals is a top priority for leaders today. These goals include increasing business efficiency, creating competitive advantage, improving internal customer satisfaction, controlling costs and leveraging intellectual assets. The first question asked is “How” can this be accomplished. Many organizations have struggled with this answer and very few have found an answer that is successful.

For those organizations that have been successful, it all started from the bottom up, developing a strong team to develop and implement a solution that will meet the organizations goals. These unique, highly productive teams are now commonly referred to as “High Performance Teams” and are essential for meeting critical organization goals.

Therefore, building high performance teams is a top priority for many leaders. The benefits and value produced by these teams are very clear and being viewed as essential tools in their business strategy.

High Performance Teams produce the following benefits.

1. Increased productivity

2. Improved customer service

3. Ability to do more with less

4. Increased innovation

5. Ability to quickly adapt to change

6. Ability to solve difficult, critical problems

Team Essentials – The Ingredients

So where do we begin? Like a great chef making the perfect souffle, we must follow a recipe that will deliver the best possible outcome. This recipe includes the ingredients, preparation and the process for making the perfect souffle If you forget an ingredient, add too much, eliminate preparation steps, or change the process you will not end up with the results you are expecting. For leaders, this translates into ineffective teams that can not meet critical business goals.

For today, lets look at the ingredients necessary for building a high performance team.


Trust in your team, their trust in you and the trust between the team members is the core ingredient that holds everything together. You develop trust by setting guidelines for team behavior and decision making, where the people have certain freedoms to make decisions, take risks and speak their minds. They will also have certain obligations to always speak the truth, work with other teams, be accountable for decisions and actions and to learn from the their mistakes.

Leaders who have rules and policies for everything create an environment of bureaucracy and stifle team performance. The environment is orderly and structured, but leaves little room for team members to use their own judgment, take ownership or be motivated to complete tasks quickly. On the other hand, leaders who have no guidelines for the team run the risk of leading a team in chaos. Neither of these work.

Implementing guidelines where people are trusted, promotes an environment where team members will give their best, produce more and with improved quality.


High performance teams share and support a “Vision” of what the team will accomplish. Team members are highly focused on meeting their goals and objectives. Leaders work with the team to develop a vision that brings real meaning to the work that is being performed.

The vision defines the future state and is clear, defined and concrete. The team needs a winning, inspirational vision that will motivate them to go above and beyond when the effort is required. Lets look at a few great vision statements: Rid the world of AIDS, Triple the productivity of every manufacturing plant, or Increase customer satisfaction to 100%.


The next key ingredient is “Optimism”. High performance team members have dreams for achievement. These dreams are fueled by the leaders optimism. It is true that team members will flourish when they have hope and they will give up when they don’t. High performing team members thrive on accomplishment and recognition they get when working through difficult problems and persevering. This perseverance requires optimism.

The responsibility of a leader in an optimistic environment is to be realistic and optimistic at the same time. Realism is important because it acknowledges the facts of the situation no matter how unpleasant they are. An optimistic environment dictates that given the facts of the situation, the team will continue to work toward their goals. When teams lose optimism, it is the responsibility of the leader to coach the team to get them back on track. Together the team acknowledges the situation and begins to generate ideas for solving the current problem.


A leader must make the environment enjoyable to work in. Team members perform at their peak when they enjoy what they do and with whom they do it with. Enjoyment doesn’t mean you play cards all day long. Real enjoyment comes when the leader and team are deeply involved in working a critical problem and they persevere together as a complete unit.

The leader sets the tone for the team. Setting the tone for an enjoyable work environment is accomplished by showing that you enjoy your job, that you like the people you work with and that you appreciate their hard work. Thank team members for working through the weekend. Let them take a long lunch if they worked 12 hours the previous day. Praise them for new ideas. Never blame team members for mistakes, laugh and learn from the mistakes. Keep the team focused on winning instead of failing.


High performance team members are self directed. When empowered to accomplish a goal, these team members take ownership of their responsibilities and are committed to succeed. Leaders of high performance teams work to focus the “Team” on “What” needs to be achieved. The “What” is defined as the vision, goals, objectives and milestones for the team. The “How” work is to be accomplished must remain the sole responsibility of the team. When leaders start telling teams how the work is to be done, the team becomes de-motivated and performance drops dramatically.


The final ingredient for a high performance team is developing an environment where team members can grow. Top performers need to learn new skills and be permitted to develop and implement new ideas to work at their peak. Creating an environment where team members can experience different roles, cross train, work with diverse teams and learn new specialties will develop team members who are more self assured, who listen, and are more open to new ideas. This strategy of continuous learning will keep the team energized and motivated to perform at the highest levels.

A Final Word

As a leader, you have the power to influence the people and performance of the team. If you truly believe in creating an environment where Trust, Vision, Optimism, Enjoyment, Empowerment and Opportunity are encouraged, then you will build a solid, sustainable and high performing team.

Copyright 2006 Dennis Sommer

Dennis Sommer is a widely respected and world renowned authority on sales, business development and leadership performance improvement. He is a leading adviser, author, and speaker providing clients with practical strategies that improve personal and organization performance. He has held numerous consulting, sales, and leadership level positions with Accenture, Jo-Ann Stores, and CA, Inc. Please contact Dennis at: dennis@btrconline.com or http://www.btrconline.com

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Have a Passion for What You Do

Have a Passion for What You Do

By Shawn Doyle

“I am a firm believer in the theory that people only do their best at things they truly enjoy”

-Jack Nicklaus, Pro Golfer

How is passion defined? Webster’s defines passion as: “Pervading spirit, ruling passion, master passion, fullness of heart, flow of soul.”?Why is it important to feel passion for what you are doing, both professionally and personally? One reason is that, if you are passionate, you are motivated. If you are motivated, then you are passionate! Have you ever met someone who is passionate about his or her work? It probably made a huge impression on you.

Let me tell you about Kevin Brown. The first time I walked into the meeting room, at a hotel in Philadelphia, Kevin Brown was setting up tables for my meeting. He came over with a big smile and said, “ I am Kevin Brown, and I would like to welcome you to our home- I want to make sure you feel at home when you are here, and if you need anything give me a call. I am employee of the year and I will exceed your expectations, because when you care, it shows.” Kevin Brown works at the hotel setting up the tables for meetings and banquets. I have never had a meeting in Philadelphia at any other hotel. Kevin Brown is passionate about his work. My first question when I walk into the hotel is, “Is Kevin on duty tonight?” Kevin Brown’s passion for his work is an incredible value for both his employer and for him.

Think about it. Whenever you experience someone who is energetic and passionate in a store, restaurant, or business, doesn’t it impress you? When you experience the opposite of that, doesn’t it make a negative impression?

Having a passion for what you do has several advantages:

•It keeps you fired up and motivated!

•It makes what you are doing fun.

•You can be an inspiration to others

•You will be more productive

•You will be more successful.

People who are passionate have more energy, enthusiasm, and charisma. It is like a high powered jolt of electricity. A person who is passionate loves what they are doing so much, that they eat, drink and sleep it.

So you are now saying to yourself, “Yeah right, but what if I am not like that? What if I am not filled with that kind of passion? What if I never feel that kind of passion?” You may also be saying, “This guy is crazy, and the passion thing is for the birds.”

If I may, I would like permission to be very blunt with you (picture me close up to your face): you haven’t found what you are passionate about. If you are not passionate about your work and your life, then change it! Stop complaining and do something. Life is too short to keep doing what is passionless and mundane! But you must make that decision.

I recently stepped into an elevator and said “hello, everyone.” Everyone on the elevator looked at me like I was a little crazy and kind of mumbled. Come on! Wake up, world! When you feel passionate, energized, upbeat, optimistic, and proud of what you are doing, you will be motivated, and will get more accomplished than you ever thought possible.

Shawn Doyle is the President of New Light Learning and Development ?(http://www.newlightlearning.com) a company specializing in Leadership Development. He has also authored five books on leadership sales and motivation. His latest book The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Training has just been published by HRD Press. Sldoyle1@aol.com

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Stay Motivated: Keep Growing and Achieving

Stay Motivated: Keep Growing and Achieving

By Shawn Doyle

Have you or a friend ever been in a rut? You probably have known someone who was in a rut, living a life of routine, monotony and dullness, maybe even depressed.

Do you have a friend or know someone who is excited? Upbeat? Energetic? What is the difference between the two?

I believe the difference between the first person and the second is the first person is not growing and achieving.

The human mechanism I believe is “wired” naturally for growth and development. As children we are growth machines physically, emotionally and mentally. We go to school, take dance lesson, play in sports leagues, and join the scouts.

These are all activities that lead to growth and achievement. Then, after all those years, we graduate and get a job. That’s when some of us put on the brakes and just stop learning and growing. We are “busy” with work, family, bills, and chores. The idea and practice of growth and achievement goes away for some of us as life takes over. Then at some point, the drive and motivation slips away and we are in the rut. We get stagnant.

Have you ever seem a swimming pool at the end of the winter? It is dirty and overgrown with algae and mold and it looks like it can never be restored. It has been stagnant for three seasons. It hasn’t been cared for and there has been no activity. I believe that we as humans operate in a similar fashion. If we are not active and engaged we stagnate.

Many studies with the elderly have tried to uncover some of the reasons for senility and the slowing of mental abilities. Shockingly, they found the reason to be the lack of activity and lack of stimulation, in other words they had grown stagnant!

This is proof that when the brain isn’t used, the capacity lessens. ?So one of the questions that you should ask yourself is to loosely quote Janet Jackson is “what have you do for you lately?” In other words, what have you learned in the last year? Not by accident, or because it was part of your job, but what have you learned on purpose? What have you gotten better at? How have you grown?

Growth Is Required and Expected

Why must you keep growing and achieving? Well, we live in a fast, crazy, and rapidly changing world and change is happening at a more rapid pace every year. If you stay the same and don’t grow, you are actually going backwards while the world passes you by! In order to stay competitive and to keep up with change you have to grow and get better every year. This will also keep you motivated because you will have a feeling of accomplishment each year.

In a recent book Deepak Chopra said that the human body is in a constant state of change biologically. We have new skin every 5 days, and a new liver every eight weeks. So the person we see in the mirror is in a state of constant change and there is a new “we” every few weeks. So if that is the case shouldn’t we be willing to keep growing intellectually, spiritually, professionally and personally?

I recently went back to the hometown that I had grown up in, Martinsville Virginia. I can’t even begin to tell you how shocked I was! The house I had grown up in had been bulldozed, now an empty lot. Roads were gone, stores were closed and torn down, new shopping centers had been built and institutions that were the lifeblood of the town were vapor. The reality is that the world is changing around us daily but we just don’t notice. When we go back to a town after a long absence the changes are much more apparent. If the world around is changing, should we not change with it? Be willing to re-invent yourself!

Here are some tips to help insure that you keep growing and achieving:

• Set Goals. Once a year, sit down in a quiet spot and really look at your goals for the year. Analyze what you did last year and all the accomplishments. You may be surprised by what you have been able to do. Next set goals for yourself for the next year. Look at each important area of you life. Next look forward 3-5 years and ask “what do I want to be doing in five years?” See if the goals for the upcoming years are helping you to head in that direction.

• Learn. Set a goal of reading a certain number of books for this year. Mainly read non-fiction on topics that are areas which you need to improve. Take a class. Go to a seminar. Learn a new skill. Everything that you learn is linked to everything you know and do- so learning will enhance every aspect of your life.

• Experience. Arrange to experience new things that you have never done before. If you have never seen a symphony go see one. If you have never seen a certain town go visit it. If you have never played paint ball -do it! The more new things you experience the more you grow. Try new directions and your life will be enhanced.

• Aim for your weaknesses. Create an all out assault plan for attacking your weaknesses. Target them and work on making them less of a liability. Do you remember the old T.V. show Kung Fu? There was a famous scene in which “Grasshopper” went to the master for advice. The master replied, “Remember Grasshopper, it is a strength to know your weaknesses.”

Analyze your weaknesses and then pick two or three that you really want to attack. Then develop an action plan to start working on them. Don’t wait to work on them, start working on them tomorrow! I soon as you start making progress you will be motivated, because you will feel that you are making progress. I am a very creative person and very right brained. This makes me tend to be unorganized. Because I have identified this as an area of weakness I have been able to make significant progress in this area.

• Decide what you don’t know. Be observant and notice throughout the year what information you don’t know. This is information and knowledge that either you want to have to need to have. Let’s say you are an accountant and there are some new accounting procedures you keep hearing about.

Ignorance as the old saying goes is not bliss, find out! Attend an industry conference, call someone in the industry, but a book, go on the internet, and dig! Find out and be curious. You will grow professionally and personally and your credibility and confidence will be increased, as will your motivation.

• Exercise. There is no question that if you want to keep growing and achieving that you need to exercise. I am not saying you have to look like a world champion body builder or run like a track star. I am saying that exercise will help you grow and improve your physical and mental health. Your exercise should be regular and consistent, and should include both anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Lastly exercise will give you energy; vitality and you will feel GOOD about yourself.

• Network. They say that “birds of a feather flock together.” Decide what birds you are going to flock with. Network with people who are dynamic, goal oriented and growing. Find out about and try to meet the people in your industry who are “in the know” and network with them.

So you, your body and your mind are wired to grow and achieve. To not grow and achieve is not what you are meant to do. Lastly, if you are growing and achieving not only will you be motivated, but you will also be a source of inspiration and motivation for others.

Shawn Doyle is the President of New Light Learning and Development (www.newlightlearning.com) a company specializing in Leadership Development, motivation and creativity. He has also authored five books on leadership sales and motivation. His latest book The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Training has just been published by HRD Press. Sldoyle1@aol.com

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Know Your Values

Know Your Values

By Christine Compton

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.” Ayn Rand

Have you ever consciously looked at your values and worked out what is important to you? More often than not we go through life without recognising what it is that drives us, what we’re truly searching for. The following exercise is designed to help you get clear about what it is you want, the principles that truly govern your life.

When your lifestyle harmonizes with your values things have a way of flowing, everything just feels right. By the same token when your way of life does not reflect the values you hold dear it can seem that you’re constantly swimming against the tide, that you’re perpetually stressed and frustrated.

The following exercise can help you clarify your values, the principles by which you live.

Look carefully at the following list of words:

Wealth; happiness; love; companionship; autonomy; charity; community; success; health; respect; creativity; dignity; integrity; recognition; authenticity; beauty; peace; family; humour; orderliness; fame; status; self-expression; justice; influence; spirituality; adventure; honesty; nurturing; leadership; service; power; commitment; independence; stimulation; relaxation; risk; security.

You may think of others that aren’t listed in which case just add any that come to mind. Some of the words may mean the same to you, depending on your interpretation of them, and you can group those together as one value.

Having considered the list carefully, go back and score each value from 1-10, depending on how important it is to you with 10 being very important. Be as honest as you can. This is not about listing what you think your values should be. No one else is going to see this exercise – unless you choose to share it with them. There are no ‘shoulds’ – it’s about listening to your heart, rather than your head. Remember, when your way of life doesn’t reflect the values that are important to you, you are out of alignment and will struggle to feel fulfilled.

Once you’ve worked your way through the list, scoring each, choose 6 that seem really vital to you and then ask yourself whether your lifestyle truly reflects the 6 values you’ve highlighted.

When you know what your true values are you may look at a prospective job, a relationship, where you live etc. and see that you need to make some adjustments to bring things more into line with your values.

For example, ‘peace’ might have figured in your list of 6 values. What does that mean to you? Quiet, when you’re actually living in a very noisy environment? A calm domestic life when it’s maybe often fraught and angry? Or perhaps there are battles going on at work, personality clashes that are causing tension and stress. Or are you searching for an inner peace, maybe some kind of spiritual calm? You need to be very clear about your interpretation of your values.

Take time over this exercise. You need to be really honest with yourself if you’re serious about making changes in your life, getting ever-closer to who you really are and what you truly want from your life.

Finally, you may choose to create an affirmation from the 6 values you have selected as being the most important to you. For example, ‘My life is filled with creativity and adventure. I am healthy and successful in everything I do and I feel loved and respected by my family, friends and colleagues.’

Christine Compton is The Vision Coach and helps people create the blueprint for their life and start to live the life they only ever dreamed of.

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8 Ways To Motivate & Improve Staff Performance

8 Ways To Motivate & Improve Staff Performance

By Kennette Reed

A stronger economy means more opportunities for you, and your staff. How do you keep them from looking for greener grass? Provide staff assistance, opportunities for enrichment, and an environment that increases enthusiasm. The processes of involvement, observation, interaction, and feedback buildthe foundation necessary for staff engagement, involvement, and motivation. The key is to create a staff-keeping environment now.

Here are 8 key steps ?to take:

1. What you do vs. what you say.

You are the company compass and barometer. What you say, indicate, espouse, or demand of others must match what you do. Being an involved, observant, available, and caring manager or owner sets the standard of behavior for others.

2. Share goals

If you hate to be on the outside looking in, don’t you think others might feel the same? Bring staff in by sharing departmental or company goals. The journey you have in mind may be one that creates excitement and enthusiasm in them too.

3. Solicit feedback

They say two heads can be better than one. Sometimes we can be too close to a situation to see it from multiple angles. Soliciting feedback can offer different perspectives. It also provides staff with an opportunity to actively participate in company planning and changes, and allows you to experience different aspects of them, and vice versa.

4. Observe

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” What you see when staff are working, relaxed, celebrating, or operating to meet a deadline are the scenes that truly describe how your organization works. The ways in which people act (and interact), speaks volumes about an organization. Observing, allows you to see what’s working, and where change may be needed.

5. Cross-training

Walking a mile in someone’s shoes not only allows you to experience what they experience, but it can be the root of empathy. A cross-training program allows workers to experience other responsibilities and departments within the organization. It also prepares the organization for staff shortages, and allows workers to take a break from the routine of their regular tasks.

6. Relate to individual goals

Organizational goals can often be in alignment with the goals of individuals within the organization. Support individuals toward attaining their goals. The direction they are headed, may be exactly where you have a current or future need.

7. Open communication

It is important for staff to feel they can communicate their suggestions, concerns, successes, and misses, without fear of retribution. Assure staff they will be heard, acknowledged, and supported. Then, make sure you do exactly that.

8. The Final Piece

In a recent study conducted by Nelson Motivation Inc, “78 percent of employees indicated that it was “very” or “extremely” important to them to be recognized by their managers when they do good work, and 73 percent said they expected that recognition to occur either “immediately” or “soon thereafter.” Of the top 10 recognition factors staff ranked as important when they did good work, 4 were types of praise – personal, written, electronic, public – generated by those they hold in high esteem.”

Kennette Reed is the principal consultant with Kennette Reed & Associates. Her firm provides nationwide customer and staff retention, performance improvement, and executive coaching solutions. She is also a nationally know speaker and the author of several books. Her firm has offices in San Leandro, CA and Snellville, GA. For more info, visit the company website http://www.kennettereed.com , email kreed@kennettereed.com or phone 510-352-2121.

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