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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...

Feature Story:

Getting It Right: 10 Tips For Hiring Winning Employees »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Earlier this year we interviewed representatives from companies that specialize in helping business operators hire smarter. These experts identified characteristics of the best hiring strategies and processes that can be utilized by multi-unit franchisees. Some of these may seem like no-brainers, while others may provide an "Aha!" moment. Implementing these practices into your hiring process will generate improvements in the performance of both your front-line employees and your bottom line.

Feature Story:

Magnetic Managers: Retaining Your Top Employees »

By Mel Kleiman

How do you feel when a valued employee gives notice? Are you shocked? Disappointed? Do you feel like you've been jilted? Do you have the uncomfortable feeling it was somehow your fault? If so, you are probably right.
The #1 reason really good people leave is because they are dissatisfied with their relationship with their immediate supervisor or manager. You may have heard the old saying, "People join companies, but they leave their managers."
While that great employee probably told you the reason was "for more money," a study of more than 19,000 employee exit interviews by the Saratoga Institute found that only 12 percent of employees left their jobs in pursuit of higher-paying positions. On the other side of the equation, nearly 90 percent of employers think the #1 reason workers leave is for higher salaries, but only because that's what they're most often told...

Feature Story:

Taking Credit: Technology Automates Tax Credits »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Automating the hiring process has a number of benefits for multi-unit franchisees, from speeding the hiring process to helping identify higher-quality candidates. But don't overlook technology's ability to help find tax credits along the way.
JobApp Network was one of the pioneers in screening for tax credit eligibility during the job application process. CEO Blake Helppie says JobApp is still the only hiring solution that, by virtue of its phone-based application process (provided along with its core web product), can screen individuals who don't have web access for tax credit eligibility. He says individuals eligible for tax credits are about twice as likely to apply by phone as those not eligible. "This is what one would expect, quite frankly, given that most tax credit eligibility 'buckets' are highly correlated to economic factors, like recipients of food stamps and other government assistance," he says...

Feature Story:

E-Satisfaction: Everything You Do Should Focus On The Customer »

By John Tschohl

"A business that fails to satisfy its customers is worth nothing."

I made that statement in e-Service, a book I wrote in 2001 about how to build a successful e-commerce business, and it's as true today as it was then. If you don't give your customers what they want, when they want it, and how they want it, you won't be in business long.
If you want to survive--and thrive--especially during these tough economic times, it's critical that you focus on customer service. If you don't believe that, look at Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of amazon.com, which had sales in 2011 of $48 billion, a 41 percent increase over the previous year.
Amazon has 164 million customers, more than 20 million products - and a reputation of providing unprecedented customer service...

Feature Story:

Interaction Plan: Encouraging Questions Can Improve Open Communications »

By Timothy Bednarz

Leaders are confident that they are capable, through their actions and attitudes, of creating a healthy work environment. They foster open communication that encourages employees to freely ask questions and discuss any concerns.
True leadership requires open and regular interaction between leaders and employees. Leaders understand that they cannot lead from their office or behind a desk: to get a sense of what is actually happening in their organization, they must be actively involved.
It is important to understand that good leadership doesn't demand leaders directly help employees perform their jobs. Rather, by simply maintaining an active awareness of what is going on in their organization, leaders can anticipate problems and opportunities, and respond accordingly...

Feature Story:

Mission Possible: 16 Ways To Motivate Employees And Celebrate Their Successes »

By Timothy Bednarz

A leader's primary function is to help employees develop a strong belief in the mission of the company and the importance of their individual jobs. Their secondary function is to ensure optimal results from delegated assignments and tasks given to employees. Excellent results spring from methods of motivation that help employees feel successful and increase their effort toward achieving goals and increasing performance.
Employees are the chief resource leaders can utilize to maintain and enhance their leadership abilities. Therefore, understanding and applying appropriate motivational methods for employees on delegated assignments is important for leaders. By motivating each employee to perform at their maximum level of efficiency, leaders also maximize their own success...

Feature Story:

Shifting Control: Survey Finds Employers And Employees Reaping Rewards Of Healthy Choices »

Multi-Unit Franchisee

More employers are offering benefits that encourage employees to improve their health in 2012, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released this past summer.
Over the last five years, benefits that reward employees for improving their health have jumped - a sign that organizations recognize employees value these benefits and are looking for ways to cut business costs. For example, the percentage of employers offering health and lifestyle coaching jumped from 33 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2012, and rewards or bonuses for completing a health and wellness program increased from 23 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in 2012.
"Employers recognize that providing employees with the opportunity to improve their health can increase morale, confidence, and productivity," says Mark J...

Feature Story:

Reaching The Peak: 10 Ways To Lead Your Team To Top Performance »

By Dr. Nido Qubein

It's probably true that most people who work with us will never care as deeply as we do about building our business and serving our clients. If they did, they'd probably be working for themselves.
Yet there's a great deal we can do to raise the level of their commitment and inspire them to peak performance. The operative word in the preceding sentence is inspire. You can demand that people who work for you be punctual, or that they perform at a certain level of output, or even that they do things reasonably well. Yet real commitment can only be inspired. And, inspiring people is what great leaders like John F. Kennedy and Lee Iaccoca did best.
How do great leaders such as these inspire others to commit themselves to their goals? It's not just that they have charismatic personalities, or that they give a lot of high-powered motivational talks...

Feature Story:

Held Accountable: Accountability Stimulates Individuals To Do Their Best »

By Timothy Bednarz

Today it seems that much of what we hear focuses on a lack of accountability. It resonates inside business practices as well as being far reaching in the character of influential people within our political environment, cultural role models, and those responsible for influencing and teaching our children. Accountability is an important topic to consider, especially in business today. After all, a lack of accountability in the workplace does produce both intended and unintended consequences that can affect so many people in a brief amount time.
The choices we make and the paths we choose to take all come with associated levels of accountability and accompanied consequences. Many in the business setting tend to have extremely higher stakes and risks...

Feature Story:

What Do You Expect?: When Motivating Employees, Expectations Are Everything »

By Timothy Bednarz

During the 1930s, researchers from Harvard University conducted productivity studies at Western Electric's Hawthorne facility that demonstrated how management attention generates immediate productivity increases. However sustained, long-term productivity is facilitated when management communicates the consistent message that employees will perform to the expectations of established standards.
More than 300 additional studies support the fact that an employee's achievement goes beyond their individual personal ability and mirrors their manager's expectations. These findings indicate that employees perform in accordance with what is expected of them, even above their own beliefs in their abilities. This fact can play a significant role when it comes to individual performance...

Feature Story:

Developing Leaders: Implementing A Mentoring Program That Gets Results »

By Greg Smith

How do you retain and prepare your best talent to lead? Mentoring programs are one of the most effective tools in achieving business results. The authors of the book, War on Talent reported, "Of those who have had a highly helpful mentoring experience, 95 percent indicated it motivated them to do their very best, 88 percent said it made them less likely to leave their company, and 97 percent said it contributed to their success at the company."
Many organizations have discovered providing a mentor for high performing employees not only helps them settle into their job and company environment, but also contributes to a lower employee turnover rate and greater job satisfaction.
A mentor is essentially someone who serves as a counselor or guide...

Feature Story:

Stimulus Package: Ten Principles Of Employee Motivation »

By Nido Qubein

One of the questions I hear most often from executives is "How do I motivate my employees to do the things I want them to do?"
The answer is: You don't!
We can't motivate people. They are already motivated. But we can determine what motivates them and use this knowledge to channel their energies toward our company goals.
From my 20 years of helping executives solve their people challenges, I've learned a few basic principles about motivation. Let me share them with you:

1. All People Are Motivated.
Some people are like water in a faucet. They have the motivation; all you have to provide is the opportunity. The water is already motivated to flow. But it doesn't have the opportunity until you open the tap...

Feature Story:

Plan Of Action: How To Establish Meaningful Performance Standards »

By Timothy Bednarz

Performance plans are action plans, not static documents. Effective performance plans must detail the specific actions leaders and employees must follow to accomplish the goals and objectives set within it. Leaders understand that without meaningful performance standards, measuring and evaluating individual performance becomes difficult if not impossible. Once the plan is implemented, meaningful performance standards allow leaders to modify and adapt their plans to actual conditions.
Leaders must use solid standards to monitor and evaluate all aspects of performance. Any measurement used should determine and create an action both on the part of the employee being evaluated and on the part of the leader performing the evaluation.
There is a natural tendency for a leader to focus his or her activities on more prominent areas that will be highlighted and spotlighted, yet every element of the performance plan must be fully addressed...

Feature Story:

Uncommonly Poor: 12 Simple Solutions To Create Exceptional Customer Service »

By Lisa Ford

Customer service is mostly average, mediocre, or worse. I find it amazing that the delivery of high quality customer service is so uncommon even with all the talk and focus on the topic. When speaking to groups of CEOs recently, the attendees indicated that customer service is "not rocket science." The reality is many of their employees are not delivering the basics. It is tough to move on to a discussion of "customer experience" when the basics are not the standard.
Here is my list of the 12 fundamentals of customer service. The list is short and to the point - no need to elaborate on simple steps that should be the norm for all teams interacting with your customer.

Feature Story:

Building An 'A' Team: It Starts With The Hiring Process »

By John Tschohl

Steve Jobs was a master at many things. He built Apple into a multi-billion giant, and he did it in large part because of the people he hired. His goal, he said, was to hire people who were creative, wickedly smart, and slightly rebellious to help him build "the company that would invent the future."
To say that he met his goal would be a gross understatement. In Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson quotes his subject as saying, "I've learned over the years that, when you have really good people, you don't have to baby them. By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. The original Mac team taught me that A-plus players like to work together, and they don't like it if you tolerate B work."
Bradford D. Smart, Ph...



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