Cutting Back for Business Growth

We know that in all of our endeavors, we are at the center of all relationships. Regardless of how we interact with the world – as an entrepreneur, parent, or corporate executive, we have the personal power to influence our outcomes. If we want more out of business, we need to get focused on becoming more.

For me, creating something new is healthy. Sometimes, in order to create something new we have to eliminate dying or undesirable attributes.

We are either in a state of decay or growth.

If we are not growing, we are dying. This creation process is challenging as our tired and exhausted approaches have become routine. We begin to picture the non-performing situations of the past and adjust our actions with fear of the future. This subconscious process of our brain limits our potential, thus keeping us right where we are. Looking outside ourselves, we can see others limit their potential in obvious ways while we stay stuck in this continuum of un-producing pain.

Pruning is essential for successful gardening. We identify the undesirable parts of the plant and remove the branches and roots. The idea of pruning is necessary for growth. Removing dead or diseased parts allows for the plant to receive the proper flowering and fruiting. In horticulture or plant terms, the injury of pruning causes growth to occur in the branches, flowers, and fruits.

Naturally, external conditions will prune for us if we don’t prune ourselves. The trouble is, sometimes there is collateral damage to other people, buildings, sidewalks, or structures. How many times have you seen high winds take down dead wood branches and fall onto cars or sidewalks?

Without taking care of the pruning process, a tree can injure people in the process. Older, dead, wood branches will not stand the test of high winds and neither will we when life comes at us full-force.

We need to understand our environment and adapt and change with the abandonment of certain habits and routines. And in some cases, people.

We need to be confident making personnel changes that allow the company to flourish and grow. As the advancement of the engaged employee continues to take shape, we can learn from some of the best teams in sports for creating a competitive culture, a culture of performance.

As with any successful company, healthy competition and the absence of complacency drives personal performance. After all, if we want our companies to perform at the highest level, we must first get our people to perform at their best. One thing about professional sports is the focus on the internal employee achieving their personal best. It’s a competitive environment and sports teams are not afraid to make tough decisions with personnel. And because of this, players are engaged and willing to spend hours upon hours making themselves better for the good of the team.

Now think about a team celebrating a season in the final championship game. This picture in your mind is how they are motivated and rewarded, It’s not the money, it’s the smell of the grass at the bottom of a dog pile in a World Series win after a long year of hard work and dedication.

With the disruption of technology in our workplace and personal lives, we need to eliminate the old ways, ideas and concepts about what it means to be successful. As we grow in creativity, we can take risks with new technologies and interact with people and customers in new ways.

It’s challenging to unplug from our addiction to the old ways that provide safety and comfort for our business. We need to get back to our roots and believe in ourselves, in the creation of our own freedom and performance.

With alignment of teams, we can contribute more for the business in uninhibited ways. With the understanding and knowledge that we are creating value through our own creativity, we will then have the courage and confidence to innovate and be the best we can be at work and within our personal network.

It all starts with our growth. If we are growing and strong, we will feel less pressured to succumb to the demands and needs of the dependent world.

Pruning by definition can help increase the yield in flowers and plants. If you or your company is the flower, think about what pruning is necessary for you or your company’s increase in growth.

I will leave you with this question, what pruning will you do today for your growth? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.


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Tell Your Employees They Suck

Improving Employee Performance Through Feedback

My mother used to say, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  

She was talking about being a polite person in society. She was not talking about being a manager whose company depended on her to manage employees for the success of their business.

A manager needs to give their employees feedback. It’s the only way they’re going to improve. You can give them a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down but ultimately you have to tell it to them straight: This is what’s wrong with your performance.

Okay, I’m being a bit facetious when I say tell them “This is what’s wrong with your performance,” you can say it nicer than that, the point is to not beat around the bush when an employee isn’t performing to your expectations.

2 Principle Components For Giving Employee Feedback

  1. Employee feedback should be constructive—meaning you should explain to them what they need to do to improve and why. If you don’t tell your employee what they aren’t doing right, how can you expect them to be the employee you want them to be? Unless they’re telepathic, (which would be so cool), they won’t know what they’re doing wrong until you tell them. And you need to tell them how they can do it better.
  2. Feedback should be done frequently. DO NOT wait until your company mandates it’s time for an annual performance review to tell your employee where they need improvement. Tell them immediately, or as soon as possible, when you notice issues with their work.

How To Give Employee Feedback

  1. Be Prepared

When I say be prepared, I mean prepare the conversation you’re going to have with your employee.

  • Write out the points you want to discuss.
  • Include notes with specific examples of the problem behaviors.
  • Order your points so that the most important points go first. This will help ensure that they’re paying attention.
  • Mix in some positive feedback, (what they’ve done well), so they don’t feel like complete failures.

You also need to prepare a date and time as well as a place to have the conversation. Pick a date and time where you won’t be taking the employee away from an urgent task. Choose a time of day when the employee is likely to have less occupying their mind. For instance, don’t have the meeting too close to the end of the day because their mind will be on going home.

  1. Schedule yourself enough time

Make sure to make space in your daily agenda for the meeting that allows you enough time to get through your points and gives the employee time to respond, ask questions and discuss your points.

  1. Be Human

Look at the situation from the employee’s point of view. Nobody likes to hear that they suck, (even if you don’t say those words exactly).

Imagine that you’re them: Can you feel your cheeks become flush as you fight back tears? Is your heart sinking? Do you feel terrible about yourself?

These are some, if not all, of the feelings your employee will experience when you give them feedback. Keep these in mind and have some compassion. Reassurances that you still value them and that they’re not in trouble may seem a bit like empty platitudes, (unless it’s true, in which case tell them A LOT), but it’s the spoonful of sugar we were talking about.

Most of all, try to remember that you want them to improve. Hiring is a lot of work, it’s a lot better to work on improving your current employee’s behavior than to go shopping for their replacement.


**Parts of this post first appeared on Herd**


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Start Your Retention Strategy On Day One

The first day at a new job is stressful. The pressure to start off on the right foot and make a great first impression can be intense. Right or wrong, on the first day it can feel like there’s a lot on the line, and on top of it all, it is all packed into a busy first-day schedule.

While new employees realize the importance of having a great first day, many companies miss the opportunity to make a great first impression of their own. This isn’t to suggest that effective onboarding ends on the first day. On the contrary, onboarding exercises should continue throughout the first year, and then transition into your long-term employee growth, productivity and retention strategy.

That said, the time from an accepted offer through to the end of a new hire’s first week often misses a valuable element: listening to the new hire. The time is often filled with so much talking at the new employee intsead. Now that you’re outside of the pressures of the hiring process, these first few weeks are a key moment to listen and learn more about the person that is joining your team.

Aside from just being common courtesy, listening to your employees has good business value, too. For example, according to a recent LinkedIn study, some of the most popular reasons employees look for jobs are a desire for greater opportunities for advancement, more challenging work and more learning opportunities. By starting this conversation as early as possible and gaining a deep understanding about the opportunities that are valued by your new hires, you can help protect yourself with a strong retention strategy.

Here’s what else you can gain from your initial onboarding conversations:

Open, Honest Performance Conversations: For many reasons, some of the most awkward conversations in the workplace are during performance reviews. A great way to counter this is by having performance conversations early and often. When an employee sees the value in sharing honestly, these performance conversations will have much greater value. A conversation about performance expectations for the first weeks and months is often a good start.

Visualize Long-Term Plans: Part of a successful long-term employer-employee relationship is putting an employee in a situation that runs parallel to his or her ideal career plan. By knowing where your employees want to go, you can better ensure that their work on your team keeps them on that chosen path.

Identify Employee Motivations: Part of building a high-performance culture is identifying the best ways to reward and acknowledge your talented employees. Discovering what your new hires value and what pushes them early will help you make your rewards more meaningful, and will save you from inefficient trial and error.

Show You Care: One of the leading causes of underperformance and burnout is personal problems. From the first day, you can work to build trust with a new employee that would make them feel comfortable discussing issues ourside of the office that might disrupt their work. Just asking simple questions about an employee’s weekend, summer plans or interests in general – and sharing in turn – can help create this environment, and may also foster loyalty.

Admittedly, these are behaviors that work well beyond day one with a new hire, but the sooner you can get started, the better off you will be.

How do you connect with your new hires after the hiring process is over?

photo credit: Phil Roeder via photopin cc