DISC: Better teams > Better results

Picture your business as a school bus, a really important school bus, and you have taken great care to be sure that the people who sit in the seats on your bus are the right people for the seat. Your Vice-President, CFO, maybe even your HR director and Sales & Marketing directors all have a seat at the front of your bus. Seats further back are filled with managers, supervisors, and others in your business. In normal day-to-day operations, you can comfortably drive your bus down the road you’reIs this your bus? following and avoid the bumps, potholes, and deer in the road.

But what happens if you face a detour? You may find out that the bus you are driving looks like the one on the right. Your detour could be:

  • a fantastic project or contract, the likes of which you’ve been working on for quite a while now;
  • an unexpected loss of business, and you need to make internal adjustments FAST.

You are now lost and you need to get back on the right track ASAP. 
Start by identifying your process issues.

  • Where are your problem areas?
  • Where do you need to allocate personnel in order to manage the problems you’ve uncovered?
  • What are you missing?

Your key to revealing your way through the detour: your people! Those very same people sitting on your bus understand your business from their unique perspective and talents. This knowledge is invaluable to you, and it’s what’s really been moving your bus down the road. But how do you harness this and put it to use?

DISC is your key to revealing the talents of  your people. In order to switch your bus to an updated model, my clients use DISC because it shows you the talents ofMove up to a new bus! the people who work for you. You may use a very different configuration of people for specific topics. Having your DISC results readily available in a spreadsheet format like you get with KITE DISCtest24/7 gives you the ability to quickly assemble the people to remodel your bus.

Detour done and back on the road to success. You may choose to continue along the detour, or you may choose to return to your original route. My points are that:

  • your choice needs to be informed,
  • your people hold the key to your being informed, and
  • one of the tools you use to become informed is DISC.

As you’re driving your bus down the road today, why not stop for a minute and visit with me to see how I can help you? I’ve been using DISC with businesses just like yours for many years. Happy trails!

DISC: The Analytic Tool that can do so much for You

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Better teams > better project management

Better teams > better project management

Pick your situation:

  • You are a business owner and you are hiring an employee or employees
  • You have an important project and you need to assemble the best team and you’re not sure how to do that
  • You are an HR professional, and the people you are hiring are not working out, and you need to know why

These are a few we’ve thought of, and we are pretty sure there are more ways you’ll discover where you can and should use DISC to understand someone’s style and how the person will fit with your business.

The use of analytics like the KITE DISCtest24/7 has grown in recent years as the world recovers from economic turmoil. Why? Because the cost to make a mistake is just too high. Misfits cost us money. We need a tool that will help us spot a misfit BEFORE we hire them or add them to a team.

I am working with a client who made a mistake in hiring a few months ago. My client thought the new hire was a good match for the business. He had sales experience in a number of industries. My client had a gut feeling the new hire was a good fit and spent many hours training the new hire in the product and introducing the new hire to existing clients. In other words, setting the new hire up for success.

My client was super surprised when complaints about the new hire started rolling in rather than orders for the products. Another shocker was when the new hire failed to show up at appointments. A little over 90 days from hiring, the new hire was out the door. That amounted to thousands of dollars in payroll, the value of my client’s time, stressed out co-workers, and other expenses.  It was a disappointment for my client!

Needless to say, we are going to use analytics and the KITE DISCtest24/7 to understand the top three applicants as my client takes steps to replace the misfit.

The complexity that is an integral part of humanity can be understood when we use readily available tools. We’ve all had to work with a misfit at some point in our lives. When we avoid the misfit situation, we are all happier and our business runs more smoothly. Isn’t peace of mind worth it to you?

Business Growth: Brand Development

Your brand is your reputation

In the fall of 2011, we bought a Kenmore washer. We didn’t hesitate because we knew from many years of experience that Kenmore is a reliable brand and we would get many years of laundry done with that washer.

Wrong! That Kenmore is now dead 2 years later, almost to the day. We’re replacing it with a GE we purchased from another retailer, and we won’t go near a Kenmore again. For us, the entire Kenmore brand is now off limits.

In the steps of brand development, the decision makers at Kenmore have made a mistake. They’ve trashed the brand they spent decades developing, and they are going to have a very difficult time re-establishing the brand in the future (assuming they get the chance to rebuild it).

Your brand is your reputation. Whether your business is a small one-person shop or a big corporation, your brand can be developed to bring in new business and to up-sell to existing customers.

Think of your company brand and where it ranks it in these descriptions for the group of people you do business with:

  1. Awareness: I heard of that brand
  2. Preference: I like it
  3. Desire: I need it
  4. Urgency: I have to own it
  5. Purchase: I’ll buy
  6. Evangelism: I’m glad I own it and you would be, too

The key to business growth is to nurture a group of people who are at each step in the brand awareness process.

Your goal is to develop a group of people at the Evangelism level because this is where the strongest referrals come from. This may mean that you need to take some steps to shift your focus away from the Purchase level where so many businesses stop. Business growth and brand growth take place at the Evangelism level at the highest profit levels. To take your business and your brand to the next level, contact me today so we can get started.

Business Strategy: Focus using time chunking

Focus using time chunkingFocus: a time allocation issue
I’ve tried the serious and intense time management stuff. I’ve managed my time in 15 minute increments. I’ve kept a list of tasks and projects. I’ve worked on one of those tasks or projects at a time and used my timer to keep myself on my schedule.  My outcomes?

  • Stressed because I could not keep to my schedule
  • Tasks not completed because of interruptions

My focus strategy: I chunk my time
Chunking works for me and it might work for you. When you chunk your time, you step away from your task list and instead first look at how your week and days flow. I only chunk the current week. Here’s how I look at my time chunks:

  • Work week
  • Work day
  • Morning
  • Afternoon

With my calendar handy, I next look at my scheduled meetings, coaching clients, lunch appointments, and networking sessions. I now understand when I’m going to be in the office and when I will have a chunk of time.

The quality of a chunk of time is definitely worth your consideration. If you spend your first hour putting out fires, acknowledge this, allow for it in your chunking by scheduling it in that time slot. Putting out fires is important work!

Once you understand your time chunks for the week, go to your task list to fit your tasks into your time chunks. Be true to your plan if at all possible. I give you permission to reassign your tasks to another time chunk because we all know time chunks can change between Monday and Friday.

My hint: I acknowledge the completion of a task by highlighting it in yellow rather than crossing it off my list. I prefer the color to show my success.

The ROI of focus
While the term Return on Investment (ROI) is often used in financial areas, it applies here to the benefits I get when I chunk my time:

  • Feel more in control and successful at completing tasks
  • Complete more tasks than I do when I don’t chunk my time and respect my time chunking
  • Operate more efficiently and cost-effectively

Would you like to talk about time chunking and how it can work for you? Give me a call today at 910-215-0077. I look forward to our conversation!

Business Coaching: Your Emotions and Decisions

Once upon a time, I received an email. When I read it, I thought it said my sky was falling. Then I stopped and asked myself a series of questions to take my emotions out of the issue. It turned out that my sky was not falling, that the person sending me the email was under stress and had expressed their stress (with a situation that did not involve me) in their choice of words in the email they sent me.

If this has ever happend to you, either in an email, a conversation, or a business meeting, I suggest that your first step is to acknowledge your emotional response internally.
Whoa! Why has this statement upset me? What emotion am I feeling AND WHY?
You already know that your internal physical response to stress is not beneficial to your longterm health and happiness. You owe it to yourself, your career, and your long term goals to take these few seconds to monitor and understand why statements upset you. The more you understand about your behavior, the stronger you become.

Customer Loyalty: Handling Complaints

At the root of it all, a complaint is a gift. Why? Because it’s feedback. We don’t often receive feedback, and more often than not, companies rely on the outdated and faulty customer satisfaction survey.

Be sure to read my post on the 3 company values that lead to emotional connections with your customers. You will need to be sure you have these values firmly in place in your business and you discuss how your business is managing these values on a regular basis (like at monthly employee meetings).

If you are tempted to either (a) hide from the customer so you don’t have to deal with their issue or (b) treat the customer like a grump who doesn’t know anything, here are some tidbits based on research that demonstrate how your management of complaints impacts not only your repeat sales, but also your chances for referral business.

  • If a customer has a minor problem and it is handled quickly, 95% will repurchase
    from your business; 82% will purchase again even if it is a major problem that has been resolved.
  • If the problem is not resolved and the problem was a major one, only 14% will
    repurchase.

A complaint is a gift and an opportunity to show the customer how
good your organization really is. It also provides important information on how
you can get better by changing a process or improving a procedure to prevent a
repeat occurrence with this customer or any others!

Keeping track of complaints therefore becomes a very important function within your company’s internal processes. You need to have your complaint management system in place now, before you have a complaint and if you are in the middle of managing a complaint. The steps you follow are these:

  • Thank the customer for bringing this to your attention
  • Offer an apology
  • THEN find out the cause of your customer’s issue

The thank you and the apology create a huge emotional shift in your customer’s
mind. It shows a great deal of empathy and sends a strong message that the most
important consideration is how the customer feels rather than who did what to
create the problem. If your customer feels someone at your company cares about them, they are less likely to blame your company for problems.

Business Growth: Being Extraordinary

Extraordinary things only happen to extraordinary people.
– Reepicheep

Reepicheep from NarniaI had the opportunity to watch the third installment in the Narnia series with our 8-year-old granddaughter recently. Reepicheep is the mouse character pictured at the right. At one point in the story, he says to Eustace that extraordinary things only happen to extraordinary people.

I firmly believe that Reepicheep is right, and I’ll let you in on a little secret. I see this in the people I meet every day. Your story is phenomenal. You’ve done some remarkable things.

You see, I think that we are all extraordinary people, without exception. If you think you are common, ordinary, and not worthy to be called extraordinary, I hope you will read on and consider my argument as to why you are, truly, extraordinary and why you should use this to guide your business tactics.

Right now, today, are you where you thought you’d be when you graduated from high school? College? Discharged or retired from the military? From my conversations with many of you and my personal experiences, we have all made choices during our lives that have brought us to this point. These choices and the resulting experiences are what makes you extraordinary. There is no duplicate of you. You are the only one who has your unique combination of life experiences and personality. This gives you a unique perspective that you should use to your advantage.

How can you use your perspective to your advantage? By designing business tactics customized to take advantage of your experiences. This might require some introspection on your part, but it will be worth it if the exercise moves you toward the outcome you want.

We all know we have to be different from our competition. What makes you extraordinary is what will serve you as your differentiator from your competition. Sometimes, our differentiator is so different from our competition that we have difficulty believing that we can be successful. If you are in doubt, step back and analyze everything – your feelings (including your doubts), the true reality of the situation, and how your experiences will make you the better option for your target market.

It’s a well-known fact that YOU are the biggest impediment to your success. You’re wasting precious time. You have to get on with being extraordinary.

Business Growth: Make the Domino Effect Work for You

As kids, we used to set up our grandmother’s dominoes in what we thought were intricate designs and then set off the chain reaction and enjoy watching those dominoes all fall down.

A couple of thoughts come to mind as I think about this:
♦ There is no one set pattern that must be followed in order to get the dominoes to fall down. The business world is much the same. We all bring our unique talents and experiences to our business tactics. The very fact that we are different from our competitors is a huge advantage to us as individuals and to the people who choose to work with us.
♦ If we don’t get the curve quite right and the domino string stops falling, we remedy the situation by resetting the dominoes so they continue to move in the direction we want the string to flow. How do we flow this concept to our business? Metrics. Measurements. Analysis. And ultimately adjustments to our business tactics so business growth occurs.

This is true: Your dominoes are falling in the exact direction you’ve set them up to fall. If you’ve hit a point where the dominoes stop falling or you don’t like the direction your dominoes are heading, make the adjustments you need to get the dominoes headed in the right direction.

How can you change the direction your dominoes are falling? Change your beliefs. One of my clients told me that she suddenly realized all the opportunities surrounding her when she started working with me. Her business is now stronger and better positioned to grow because she is seeing and taking advantage of those opportunities that were standing in front of her all the time. In effect, her dominoes had stopped falling and she reset and restarted them in the direction she wants them to go. Her business tactics support the flow of her dominoes.

Your business tactics likewise direct the flow of your string of dominoes. If your domino effect is not headed where you want it to go, the reason is your beliefs. Do an inventory of your beliefs and admit which ones are stopping the flow of your dominoes. Then change those that are stopping you and adopt new ones in order to make the domino effect work for you.

 

Business Growth: Ready or not, here comes 2013

I don’t know where November went, or October or September or the rest of 2012 for that matter, but 2012 is close to being in the history books.

We’ve seen upheaval, tumult and turmoil on a local, national, and global level. While we might think there’s more happening now than ever, that may not be accurate. We now find ourselves inundated with what is referred to as “news” 24/7/365 whether we want it or not. The words chosen by the reporters and their editors may have more to do with building viewer numbers or selling newspapers with success measured by shares and retweets rather than with the truth or the accuracy of the reporting. Chances are a lot of what’s being reported will not help you grow your business nor will it harm your business. It will just distract you.

So what can we do to manage all the noise and take control of our situation? At the core of everything we do every day, our attitude has the most to do with how we view our success. If you’re tired of the status quo, start with these steps today.

First, figure out what really affects or impacts you and your business. There’s a lot of junk being reported. Does it really mean anything to you? Probably not. And if not, why should you pay any attention to it?

Second, what do you need to know at this point in order to make 2013 turn out the way you want it to? I’m talking about business intelligence or data or education or whatever it is that you need to know. Where can you get this? When will you begin?

Third, what do your customers need that you can provide in 2013? If you don’t know, why don’t you ask them? Things wear out. Situations change. Your customers have friends and relatives who need your product or service.

Once you figure out your responses to these questions, then you can begin to move forward and grow your business towards a profitable 2013. You will probably find that these are not the only questions that will be important to you. What I’m suggesting is that you plant your feet firmly on the ground, take a look around you at what people need and you can provide, and then you get busy working with direction and purpose so that a year from now in December 2013, you can look back and truthfully say out loud that you’ve had a darn good year.

Growth in Business Starts with You

  • Begin with the outcome in mind. Where do you want to be? What does that look like? If you want more money, how much more? If you want more customers, how many more – and in what target markets? If you know you need to change employers, what kind of a position is an ideal fit for you?
  • Make this outcome relevant to you. You need to understand how your efforts to make and sustain a change will pay off. What’s in it for you? For example, if you invest in professional development or business coaching to get the support you need, your investment is worth it because it will increase your business or your income or your free time or make your work easier. Bring it right down to the present and how it will help you today. Most important, assign some numbers to this to make it worth your time and effort.
  • Stay the course and keep your eye on your outcome. Your personal accountability in the outcome you’ve identified is significant to you – and to those who depend on you. You cannot afford to allow yourself to slack off, rationalizing any roadblocks that present themselves as reasons to stop or delay.  This is another area where a business coach can support you and keep you focused on your outcome.
  • Invest in learning to move forward. Your willingness to learn will help you maximize your results as you move toward the outcome you are working towards. Often suggested is to learn about someone who has already achieved what you want and model the steps they followed to get to their success. Investing in professional development will give you the foundation for bringing your thought process from a good idea (maybe) to the activation of your steps to make the change and realize the outcome you desire.

No matter what your role is, you need manageable steps through your process of self-discovery to realize your desired outcome. If you find yourself putting off the growth in business you are striving to achieve, start with a conversation with a trusted adviser or a business coach to get the change you are planning to make broken down into manageable pieces.  Once you do this, you can design a series of steps you will follow and your chances for success are much greater.

One closing thought. You can’t do this on your own. You need support in order to make the business growth happen. The longer you do not accept your need for support, the longer it will take you to achieve the outcome you want. Make the call today to a business coach to get started.