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Feature Story:

Business Busters: 10 Ways To Avoid Career Killers »

By Daniel C. Steenerson

Fundamentals are stressed in everything from sports to business. Focus in on basic tackling and blocking and success is much more likely to follow. Here are 10 ways to avoid career killers.

10. Set 'em and forget 'em goals. Successful people treat goals as "do or die."
9. Complex communication. You can't persuade people who don't understand. Keep it super simple.
8.  One-shot-wonder effort. If it's worth trying once, it's worth following up and persevering. Most achievements occur after several rounds of follow up.
7. Treating others how you want to be treated. Instead, deploy Tony Alessandra's Platinum Rule: Treat others how they want to be treated.
6. Trying to make brilliant decisions instead of facing the hard decisions...

Feature Story:

Background Checks: Follow The Law When Checking Out Employee Candidates »

Multi-unit Franchisee

You need to hire smart and you'd like to hire efficiently, but not so fast. When making a hiring decision, you might need a bit more information than an applicant provides. After all, some folks give false or incomplete information in employment applications. And workers probably don't want you to know certain facts about their past that might disqualify them from getting a job. Generally, it's good policy to do a little checking before you make a job offer.
However, you do not have an unfettered right to dig into applicants' personal affairs. Workers have a right to privacy in certain personal matters, a right they can enforce by suing you if you pry too deeply. And, you may be legally required to follow certain procedures - such as getting the applicant's consent in writing - before you can get certain records...

Feature Story:

Productive Failure: Turn Your Mistakes Into Learning Opportunities »

By Dr. Nido Qubein

We learn by doing. Think about the basic skills you've acquired in life. You learned to walk by pulling yourself up, turning loose, and taking a step. You fell the first time, but you got up and tried again. Each time you did it a little better than the time before. You were learning by doing.
You learned to drive a car by taking one out on the highway with an experienced teacher who could give you instructions and point out your mistakes as you drove.
With each endeavor, you started as a novice, and you learned proficiency from the mistakes you made. It's that way in any undertaking. When you take action toward your goals, you will make mistakes. Don't worry about it. Everybody makes them. Successful people learn from theirs...

Feature Story:

Searching For Success: 7 Sure-Fire Success Principles »

By Daniel C. Steenerson

Success is something everyone wants but only a few achieve. However, it doesn't have to be that way. No matter where you are in your career - from job seeking to having held the same position for an extended period - there are principles you can apply to ensure your success. Below are seven sure-fire success principles you can start using right now:

Feature Story:

Performance Issues: 4 'Bad Leader Behaviors' That Affect Productivity And Profits »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

What can business leaders and managers learn from watching the earnings of publicly traded companies?
"Plenty," says Kathleen Brush, a 25-year veteran of international business and author of The Power of One: You're the Boss (www.kathleenbrush.com), a guide to developing the skills necessary to become an effective, respected leader.
"When looking at the corporations reporting lower-than-expected earnings, you need to read between the lines. They are not going to admit that the reason is a failure of leadership, but 99 times out of 100 that's what it is."
She cites Oracle, the business hardware and software giant, which recently reported a quarterly revenue shortfall based on a decline in new software licenses and cloud subscriptions...

Feature Story:

Trust Factor: Change Cannot Be Achieved Without The Building Block Of Trust »

By Timothy Bednarz

The need for trust in the workplace and communication therein is understood by many leaders to be the foundational building block of the organization. The degree of trust developed will impact employee performance and retention, the development of teams, and implementation of organizational change. Regardless of size and industry, organizations are comprised of individuals who desire the same thing: the ability to trust those they work with. People cannot trust an organization, but they can trust their superiors, employees, and associates.
Issues of broken trust and personal betrayal are far from just the result of restructuring, downsizing, or other major organizational events. They are the product of the numerous micro-decisions that leaders and managers make every day...

Feature Story:

Control Issues: Even When You Can't Control Events, You Can Control How You Respond »

By Moe Glenner

As a professional pilot, I meticulously pre-plan my flight including strong and continuous consideration and planning for the weather. I can't control the weather, but I can control how I react to it, including choosing to divert or not fly in it at all. However, there are times that, despite the planning, Mother Nature has her own little surprises. Regardless, as Pilot in Command (PIC), I must continue to safely fly the plane.
It is no different with life's surprises for any of us. Sometimes we can anticipate them and pre-empt either the change itself or its impacts. Other times we may not be able to control the events themselves, but we can certainly control how we react to them and our consequential actions afterwards.
Ask yourself this question: Do events control you or do you control events? Or better yet, are you influenced by life events or do you influence life events? How many times are we faced with a situation that seems hopeless and resign ourselves to whatever fate presents?
Typically, this will happen at what I call a "failure moment...

Feature Story:

Team Works: Group Decision-Making Can Result In More Positive Outcomes »

By Timothy Bednarz

One of the primary reasons organizations and companies go through the effort of developing a qualified team environment is to produce better decision-making that results in more positive outcomes. This creates a more effective, efficient, and productive work environment that helps ensure the success of the organization.
Good decision-making is facilitated by open and effective team communication that allows teams to consider all perspectives and points of view. The synergy of the team allows it to make decisions and outcomes that individuals alone would be unable to reach. Properly done and implemented, effective team decision-making makes the job immensely easier for everyone involved.
When leaders build an effective team structure and facilitate its activities, they will find that teams are more effective and productive at making decisions than leaders alone would be...

Feature Story:

Zero Tolerance: The Ramifications Of Harassment On Your Business »

By Timothy Bednarz

The role of the leader is to create a smooth operating and empowered organization that frees employees from obstacles and barriers to their personal productivity. The presence of harassing behaviors and those who would use them against their fellow employees destroys any and all empowerment and organizational cohesiveness a leader builds.
Harassment in any form humiliates and frustrates not only the victim but the employees forced to witness these behaviors on a consistent and regular basis. A "conspiracy of silence" typically develops that creates an organizational tolerance of harassment even when corporate policies are in place to prevent harassment in any form from occurring.
While harassment may not be tolerated at the higher levels of management, it can be present in the lower echelons of the organization...

Feature Story:

HR Headaches?: A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Can Offer Relief »

By Layne Davlin

The primary concern most fast food business and franchise owners encounter is the balance of front of the house demands and back of the house operations. Both of these areas require attention and both serve as pillars within the operation. For franchise owners, many of you can multiply this by two or more depending on the number of operational units you own.
This is why most franchise owners perceive many of the back of the house necessities as daunting tasks, many of which are taking up valuable time that could be spent managing food costs, employees, and meeting customer expectations. Although a majority of franchise owners employ an in-house human resource member, the process of following up and delegating still exists. This prompts the question; So how much time does an in-house human resource and payroll processor really save you?
What if you could reduce the cost and time spent managing these tasks and also protect your businesses from non-compliance when managing employees? Would you?
Let's face it franchising is tough, not to mention the ever-growing list of demands from all levels of legal accountability - including employees...

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...



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