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Feature Story:

Avoid These Common Hiring Mistakes: 10 Ways To Hire The Wrong Person Every Time--guaranteed! »

By Mel Kleiman

In my 20-plus years of teaching and consulting with business owners and hiring managers about how to "hire tough so they can manage easy," I've discovered there are 10 commonplace mistakes almost everyone makes that are guaranteed to result in bad hiring decisions and waste untold time, money, and effort. Thank God I've never had a client who's made all these mistakes at once, but it really only takes two or three to sabotage your efforts to hire great people. Are you guilty of any of the following?

Feature Story:

From Tasks To Individuals: Making The Transition From Manager To Leader »

By Timothy Bednarz

Managers are often task-oriented, and not necessarily focused on their employees. Leaders on the other hand are people-oriented; they work through and motivate their employees, utilizing their resources to perform assigned tasks in the most productive and profitable way possible.
Many managers confuse management with leadership, and feel they are automatically leaders because they occupy a position of higher responsibility. While this assumption is often true, many fail to display active leadership qualities. The roles leaders fulfill are different than those of managers, although sound management practices are complementary to effective leadership.
While some individuals are natural leaders, most managers must evolve into leaders both by investing time and effort in developing their abilities and by adapting their management roles to a more flexible, effective leadership style...

Feature Story:

Processes And People: Time To Renovate And Retrofit Your Customer-Focused Culture »

By Lisa Ford

Creating a customer-focused culture requires strategy and constant review. Each year you should review your goal setting and organizing efforts. Take the time to apply these same disciplines to your customer focus. I suggest going as far as renovation and retrofitting.
I encourage you to look at two areas - processes and people - to strengthen your customer focus.
Organizations' processes and systems can get complicated. Too often businesses have an internal focus that can create hassles for the customer. Customers want ease, simplicity, and responsiveness. No matter how the customer contacts your business, hassle free is their desire. Look at your website, social media, call center, phone handling, and in person contact. Where are the interaction points that can cause glitches, delays, and frustration? Evaluate how hard it is for the customer to reach you and get a timely response...

Feature Story:

Key Drivers: Motivation Must Be Personal To Be Effective »

By Timothy Bednarz

All employees are unique in what motivates them to perform to their capacity and excel in their profession. Most will do what is expected of them, but the motivated employee will go to great lengths to exceed expectations. The key is for managers to discover what truly drives their people. Once their motivation is understood, leaders have the power to get the most out of their employees.
Managers often feel there is no need to motivate their employees as long as the pay is adequate. Yet research has demonstrated that the majority of personal motivation is based upon a host of other significant factors such as achievement, recognition, responsibility, personal growth, and advancement.
Compensation is certainly a motivating factor, but it is often linked to these more prime motivators...

Feature Story:

Call And Response: Requesting And Using Feedback Can Build Consensus Among Team Members »

By Timothy Bednarz

Productivity is enhanced and empowerment achieved when leaders solicit, then act upon employee feedback, ideas, and concepts. Soliciting and acting upon feedback is the essence of leadership. The proper use of feedback allows leaders to build consensus among their employees and give them ownership of the ideas and concepts to be implemented within the organization.
There are critical differences between managers and leaders. Managers tend to direct and control without soliciting feedback and building employee consensus. Leaders, on the other hand, build their strength from group consensus, acting as facilitator rather than controller. They understand the power and synergy of combining ideas and working together to achieve mutual goals...

Feature Story:

Hiring: Finding The Best Employees »

By Mel Kleiman

Does your system screen out the best and hire the rest?

When it comes to recruiting and selecting new hires, it's amazing how many astute business owners and managers repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot.
I've made hundreds of best practice hiring system presentations, and whenever I ask if anyone in attendance has hired "the employee from hell," without fail, at least 20 percent of the audience will raise their hands. (And those are just the ones brave enough to admit it in public.)
Most of these hiring mistakes are the result of two behavioral tendencies that seem to be part of our all-too-human nature: 1) resistance to change, and 2) an inclination to take the easy way out.
When it comes to change, no one in their right mind would deny it's an entirely different world today than it was even a short 10 years ago...

Feature Story:

Where Credit Is Due: Don't Hesitate To Give Employee Recognition Frequently And Publicly »

By Timothy Bednarz

In some companies, under the premise that they will be perceived more meaningful, rewards and recognitions are given so infrequently as to in fact be meaningless. In order to be effective in generating long-term, concrete results, such rewards, recognitions, and motivation must be given liberally, frequently, and publicly. They should be fun, uplifting, and encourage all members of the workplace.
A critical aspect of leadership is the manager's role as cheerleader. Leaders need to keep their employees motivated and emotionally prepared to do business in a marketplace fraught with intense competition, rejection, and failure.
There are both tangible and intangible aspects of motivation. The intangible aspects of encouraging words and pats on the back, although not insignificant, can be quickly forgotten, while the tangible aspects are visible and durable...

Feature Story:

On The Take: How To Deal With Employee Theft »

By Patrick Barnett

Employee theft is a common crime that is not even regarded as such by most people who commit it. Taking an odd pen or few sheets of paper home is regarded by many as being a right rather than a crime and something that even the most senior managers can be found guilty of.
It's estimated that 95 percent of all companies suffer from employee theft, but it's probably closer to 100 percent. Serious theft, however, is a different thing entirely. There is a world of difference between the theft of a few pens and the steady depletion of stock through organized crime within a large organization. This sort of employee theft is estimated to cause more than 30 percent of all company bankruptcies, and many companies are in desperate need of a means of controlling it...

Feature Story:

Game Time: Don Copus Is Part Of The "team" At His Hungry Howie's Stores »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Don Copus likes to roll up his sleeves and get in the game with his employees, literally. At least a half dozen times a year, he gathers his Hungry Howie's employees for a corporate outing where you may find the Berkley, Mich.-based franchisee batting for one softball team, pitching for the other, or manning the grill. No matter how you slice it, Copus, named 2012 Hungry Howie's Franchisee of the Year, is an employees' employer.
"I want them to know that I am approachable," says Copus. "I want them to realize that I'm no different from them. I started out with less than most of them, but worked hard to get where I am today. I want them to know that I'm willing to mentor them."
A native of Indianapolis, Copus, who operates 25 Hungry Howie's in Michigan, Indiana, and Utah, grew up in a family of eight in a 900-square foot home, made cozier by parents who welcomed any neighborhood child in need of a meal or bed...

Feature Story:

Masters Of The Customer Experience »

By John Tschohl

What kind of value do you provide your customers?

I am often asked how I define exceptional customer service. Here it is in a nutshell: Speed, price, and technology--all built around service. That definition is especially appropriate today, given the fast-paced life we live and the budget constraints many of us face. When we are looking to make a purchase, we want to do it conveniently, we want it now, and we want it at a good price. That is true whether we are purchasing a car or carpet cleaning, an air conditioner or airline tickets.
How do you provide that exceptional service? Take a good look at how you deal with your customers, from initial contact to closing the deal. Are you welcoming, whether customers walk through your physical doors or virtual doors? Do you call them by name? Do you have a smile on your face and in your face? Do you provide the information that will help them make an informed decision regarding their purchase? Do you deliver what you say you will as quickly as possible?
Let me give you examples of three companies that go above and beyond to not only meet, but exceed, customer expectations...

Feature Story:

Restoring Order: Good Leaders Can Turn Chaos Into Order »

By Timothy Bednarz

The process of organizational change is complex. A number of associated factors have the ability to impact the organization's overall ability to successfully evolve. Improper development, management, and monitoring can result in the change process spinning out of control and creating chaos. In the center of this storm, it is the leader who must then wrestle control of events and restore order.
As individuals are making the shift from a management to leadership style, the entire workplace is being buffeted by change. The leader is no longer controlling the employee's actions, but guiding and directing them through involvement and empowerment. Properly executed, this should be a smooth transition. However, ill-conceived plans implemented by poorly prepared leaders and employees can turn the entire process into chaos...

Feature Story:

Generation Gap: A Crash Course In Managing 'Millennials' »

By Jennifer Kushell

Millennials provide a unique challenge for businesses today. Many business operators are struggling to understand this generation and how to get the most out of the employer-employee relationship. Here is a quick guide to those born after 1980 and how you can turn them into some of your biggest fans and assets.

Communicating: They do it differently than you. Let's start there. Veterans like face-to-face meetings, Boomers like phone calls, Generation X prefers email and Millennials do most of their communicating via cell phone, text messages and social media. Interpersonal skills and presentation skills often need work, so be prepared to explain what is important to you and expected in your line of work. But be open to letting them develop relationships through the channels they're most comfortable with...

Feature Story:

Passion Play: Leaders Talk About The Importance Of Loving What You Do »

By Timothy Bednarz

Great leaders are passionate. They possess an absolute love for what they do. Apple's Steve Jobs observed, "I don't think of my life as a career... I do stuff. I respond to stuff. That's not a career - it's a life!" Starbucks' Howard Schultz concurred when he said, "When you love something, when you care so much, when you feel the responsibility... you find another gear."
James Duke, of the American Tobacco Company, enthusiastically expressed his passion, when he noted, "I hated to close my desk at night and was eager to get back to it early next morning. I needed no vacation or time off. No fellow does who is really interested in his work."
McDonald's founder Ray Kroc couldn't say enough about his fifteen-cent hamburgers, and Walmart's Sam Walton was equally passionate about the value that Walmart offered to the average person...

Feature Story:

Reinventing Payday: Trim Your Payroll Costs With Electronic Distribution »

By Matt Merriam

Franchisees nationwide are looking for new ways to cut costs and improve efficiency. Payroll is an easy, and yet often overlooked, opportunity for companies to make operational changes that will have a direct, measurable impact on the bottom line. Electronic pay costs only 10 percent of the average cost of processing and distributing paper paychecks. The cost savings of having all employees use electronic pay is significant and provides added productivity as well as increased employee satisfaction. Electronic payroll also helps companies mitigate fraudulent activity that can occur when using paper paychecks. Despite the many benefits of electronic payroll delivery many franchisees approach to payroll has changed little over the years.

Employer Paycard Advantages
Employers will immediately eliminate the reoccurring costs associated with buying traditional paper paycheck stock with security features...

Feature Story:

Boss Evaluation: How Do You Impact Your Employees And Their Productivity?  »

By John Tschohl

In a recent survey, workplace expert Michelle McQuaid found that 65 percent of workers in the United States would be happier if they had a boss who recognized their good work. On the other hand, only 35 percent of those surveyed said they would be happier if they got a raise.
McQuaid also has found that bosses can affect employees' health by wearing down their immune systems and "leaving us at risk of more colds, diseases, strokes, and even heart attacks" and can make employees so anxious and stressed that they don't perform well at work. "We also take our bad mood home to the people who love us most and wind up damaging our relationships," she writes.
Thirty-one percent of the respondents to McQuaid's survey said they don't feel their bosses appreciate them, and only 38 percent said their bosses are doing a good job...

Feature Story:

Avoid The Pitfalls: 5 Things Failing Leaders Do »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Last time leadership authority Roxi Hewertson, President & CEO of the Highland Consulting Group, detailed five behaviors and attitudes that show up consistently in successful leaders. But Hewertson also finds that there are, unfortunately, five common traits of leaders who fail. It's not a place you want to be. So take heed and avoid these five costly mistakes.

1. Discount others' emotions and perspective.
Failing leaders just don't pick up on or value other people's signals. Or, if they do, they don't care, all demonstrating a fundamental lack of empathy. This emotional intelligence skill relates directly to social awareness. One cannot be a good leader without empathy, period. If the leader cannot walk a mile in someone else's shoes, he or she will have big blinders on and miss important information, ideas, and perspective...

Feature Story:

Get Involved: Effective Interaction Is A Necessary Component Of A Vibrant Workplace »

By Timothy F. Bednarz

Astute leaders guide and direct from the front lines of the company. Leaders are continually present and interacting with their employees in order to see what is slowly transforming and changing and what is causing unit frustrations. Frontline guiding and directing is a necessary process enabling leaders to apply their abilities to moving the organization forward.
There is a critical difference between the roles of a manager and a leader. While many managers are considered leaders, some not totally committed to sound leadership principles choose to direct from behind their desks. This results in relinquishing the advantage gained by immediate, firsthand knowledge of their organization's daily activities, progress, or frustrating hindrances...

Feature Story:

Performance Review: Using Assignments To Assess Employee Growth And Development »

By Timothy Bednarz

Effective leaders manage by keeping their fingers on the pulse of their employees' key activities. When tasks and assignments are delegated, leaders must take the time to review each employee's progress against goals to determine what, if any, additional training and coaching is needed to successfully complete the assignment or to enhance their skills.
There is a two-fold purpose of an assignment performance review. Leaders are receiving a progress report on the delegated task or assignment. They are allowing the employee to provide details and input on what has happened to date, and the results. The employee is also providing feedback on any problems, issues, and concerns that may have surfaced. This allows the leader to provide insights and to suggest possible courses of action, if needed...

Feature Story:

Cheer Up: 5 Questions That Can Help Ensure Happy Customers »

By Dr. Nido Qubein

Having a flock of happy customers is like having your own advertising agency.
A major study by a commission of business experts found that the typical happy customer will tell three friends or business associates about you. Word-of-mouth advertising through satisfied customers influences people to buy a product or service more often than all other forms of advertising put together.
Don't relax too much. The study also found that people who are unhappy with you will tell, on average, nine or ten friends. Negative comments are even more effective in destroying business than positive comments are in building it. It takes nine or ten positive comments to overcome one negative comment.
How can you keep customers satisfied enough to say nice things about you and keep doing business with you without losing money and working yourself to death? Building your business around repeat customers is the best way...

Feature Story:

Beating The Problems: Dealing With The Challenges Of Change »

By Timothy Bednarz

Managers are overwhelmed and burdened with many tasks and responsibilities in a constant quest to improve results. It is easy for managers to ignore the many challenges that confront them while hoping that issues will resolve themselves. However, rather than disappear, unmet challenges create a new set of problems that can represent a deepening morass from which managers must extricate themselves.
Problems and challenges are a regular and ongoing occurrence: some surface as daily tactical problems and issues, while others are more complex, time-consuming, and strategic in nature. In all forms, problems can overwhelm the manager and sap their productivity.
Managers must create a systematic approach to problem solving to allow time for their regular duties and responsibilities...



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