Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

The Productivity Fix

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

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In my new keynote, I share the not-so-secret information that sometimes slows our productivity and offer up powerful solutions that are quite effective in increasing it.

It’s feels like the more effort we put in place to increase our productivity, the more hurdles pop up in an attempt to slow our progress.

Leadership, open communications and the ability to be resourceful are essential.

The problem is that constraints get in our way and limited resources only add to a decline in productivity. And, we’re often scrambling to keep our workload from getting the best of us.

There’s little doubt the each of us wants higher productivity, not less, when faced with these constraints.

It can affect any and all departments and all positions in the company as well. From leaders and management to first year employees.

Sometimes, we’re aware of the barriers and other times not so much. But, it’s this desire to remove them that is essential to growing productivity, retaining employees and growing workplace satisfaction.

Think about what’s at stake

Sales, marketing, production, admin, HR, IT, company initiatives and more have the opportunity to receive and deliver more information if they can identify the staff that could benefit from it.

Our customers benefits too, because the sharing of information that is not secret or proprietary can increase sales, inventory and margins.

Resourcefulness is essential in increasing productivity as history shows us repeatedly.

Too often, we recognize and even complain about the resources we don’t have. We’re quick to point out what’s not working or why we cannot produce like we used to produce.

The answer is based on studies for my new book, 28 years in corporate America and workplace observations, both inside and on the streets, where deals are made and lost.

Think about Gates and Allen. They began with Traf-O-Data. It read and processed traffic tapes but was too expensive for municipalities. They failed.

But Paul Allen and Bill Gates of Microsoft fame took inventory of the resources they had, looked at multiple perspectives of these resources and focused on microprocessors.

These efforts would eventually lead them to an inexpensive desktop computer that ran on microprocessors for much less then what was available.

Today Bill Gates is worth $70 billion and Paul Allen $20 billion. That’s leadership and productivity!

To increase our workplace productivity we must consider multiple perspectives of the same resource.

Doing this while sharing information with coworkers and different departments at work will:

1-Give you an advantage over your competition

2- Increase productivity

3- Grow employee retention

What are you going to do to assist your teams to increase their productivity?

 

Scott Lesnick is an international speaker and author. Learn more at www.scottlesnick.com

Mirroring Margaret’s Management Mojo and Leadership

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

It’s safe to say that Margaret is one of the finest managers I’ve ever met. She’s a rare combination of great insight, intelligence, forward thought, deep caring, tremendous leadership, problem solving skills extraordinaire and so much more.

So, you may ask, why aren’t more leaders like Margaret? I wondered too, so I asked her to explain her management philosophy.

Me– It apparent to me and those you work with that you’re a cut above other managers at your company. Why is that?

Margaret– I’m not comfortable comparing myself to other managers. Earlier in my career, I worked on defining my role, what I should be working on, what to delegate and how to “manage up” i.e. my manager.

This thoughtful approach has allowed me to become a better manager. And, others see this approach and are drawn to it. I try to be fair. It’s important.

Me– Aren’t you afraid of getting to close to those you manage i.e. everyone wants to be your friend which could lessen your effectiveness?

Margaret- Everyone doesn’t want to be my friend. While I genuinely care about the people I manage, there is still a difference between personal and professional friendships.

Me- You seem to care a lot, assist others and even have employees from other department coming to you for advice. Why is that?

Margaret- Perhaps all managers are not equal. I guess I have thoughts, ideas and ways to improve their job that they want to bounce off of me. As I said before, I’m a good listener. I cross departments often, I reach out a lot and folks know me. That makes it easier for us to

Me- Sweet! Do you have a management philosophy?

Margaret- Not really, no. I prefer to manage people the way that I would want to be managed. My role is to listen carefully, help others grow, point out ideas that staff may not of seen, reduce barriers, provide other perspectives and help make individuals more productive aka the best they can be.

Me- Okay, so managers are liked, loved despised and tolerated. You are liked and loved. That’s impressive. What’s your advice to other managers?

Margaret- Spend time with the people you supervise. It can be tempting to cancel meetings with your staff, because you have a lot of other things to do. My advice is to always make that meeting happen even if it needs to be postponed. And, some need a personal touch, others with task. If you spend time with them you’ll know!

What is you managing style?

How close to Margaret’s style of managing is your manager’s?

Learn more at www.scottlesnick.com

Com-mu-ni-ca-tion: The KEY to Productivity, Job Satisfaction and Retention

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Com-mu-ni-ca-tion:

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Com-mu-ni-ca-tion: The KEY to Productivity, Satisfaction and Retention

Why is this not task completed?

How come you aren’t you getting MORE done?

Why am I a crappy manager? Oops, scratch that one!

The many benefits of my decades in corporate America and now as a professional speaker are the lessons I learn from leaders. This includes what TO do and what NOT to do with regards to great communications with your staff.

Surprisingly and appreciated by yours truly were men and women at several recent conferences I presented at who had admitted to me that they strive to communicate better but either don’t know how or don’t have the time.

Here are Scott’s 7 tips to better communications with everyone. Please remember that when used properly, great stuff happens. The stuff I’m referring to includes, but is not limited to the title above.

  • Listen- Your staff has things to share. Things you need to know. But if you’re TOO busy then…
  • Access- What do they need, how can you assist? What else can I do to move them forward?
  • Open that door- I am honored that folks share so many professional and personal stories with me because I learn and grow. I have learned that some staff/employees feel that you’re difficult to approach or that you will yell at them. So, they don’t bother and productivity suffers.
  • Two Minute Drill- Listen and help your staff understand how and why what they’re doing matters, who it affects and the outcomes it will produce. Or, as one C-level put it-“I need to shut the hell up and let them talk. Then, my words are more helpful; I can assist in some way and reassure them that they are heading in the right direction.”
  • Big Pic- Employees (especially Millennials) want to understand the big picture, how they are involved and what the desired outcomes are. The days of holding back information have passed. It’s sharing time!
  • Dampening ones enthusiasm- Or DOE lowers productivity, lowers retention and more. Today’s workplace currency is great communications! Spread it and watch the positive growth in your department, your workplace and your world.
  • Want to make a bet? If you think the six tips above are lame, don’t work or are “above” you, then please ask yourself this one question.

How do I want those in my professional and personal life to communicate with me?

 

Yeah, I thought so. You get it!

 

Scott Lesnick is a Professional speaker and author

Learn more at www.scott lesnick.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Saying Yes All the Time. Workplace Strife!

Monday, November 14th, 2016

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Thank so much for asking me to do more at work. I appreciate you’re trust in me, but my plate is 12” in diameter and you’re giving me three plates filled with crap!”

 

Okay, last week’s conference keynote ended with applause, mostly smiles and brisk book sales. It’s an honor to get paid to speak, but the real honor for me is the people I get to connect with. The workplace staff who do the heavy lifting.

They share some pretty deep things with me in confidence which we speakers are used to. We share on stage and some feel compelled to share with use in the back of the ballroom, hallway or in this case on my way to the restroom.

My bladder was full of water and I was ready let nature take its course.

Not so fast!

Rounding the corner I spotted the “Men” sign and quietly smiled as relief was literally in sight.

But, between me and the sign was the women’s bathroom. Out came three attendees who quickly stopped me, formed a half circle and began to tell me how much they enjoyed my presentation and actionable takeaways.

I was once again honored. And, I continued to give proper eye contact to each as my bladder reached Defcon 3!

Kasha was the ‘leader’ of this passionate threesome.

Them- Why doesn’t management understand how busy we are? Why do they continue to shove more work in our face as if we are multiple people?

Me- Well…

Them- And, How in the world are we suppose to say NO! It’s not permitted. It’s a sign of laziness.

Me- I see… (trying to respond and bursting from within)

Them- We love our jobs, but our managers are all over us all the time and we’ve about had it!

Me- Wow! I can see that you’re upset and I have a couple of thoughts. May I share them with you?

Them- Share away-‘cause we need to say NO sometimes and are frightened of losing our jobs. We can’t afford that, Scott!

Me (smiling and reaching Defcon 4!) Managers often don’t realize how busy you are. They shove more work your way and have a few plates of their own they are sifting through.

Have you tried sitting down in your 1-1 meeting and showing-not telling them what you’re up against? This can work really well!

Them- Yeah, they will tell us that everyone is busy and we all have to “pitch in.”

How much “pitching in can we do before we crack or look for another job? ( All three nodding in unison.)

Me- My guess is not much longer. So, how about trying this once.

Ask your manager for 20 minutes. You’ll only need 10. SHOW them what you have going on for the next 30-60 days and the amount of hours it will take per week to complete. If it’s too much they’ll know right away.

You’re not saying no, you’re saying I need your help. I need your guidance and support. My experience is that they will assist in prioritizing, give you breathing room and even take away some less important projects.

Them- Hmm. Never tried that approach. That could work. Seems possible.

Me- Let’s chat about this some more. I just have to run to the men’s room and I meet you at the reception to continue our conversation.

Disaster averted by 1 Defcon!

The cocktail reception was great and our conversations turned to family, vacations and food!

The workplace is like many other places. It is delicate, filled with talent and emotion and in need of constant communication to grow knowledge, empower employees and increase retention.

 

To learn more visit- www.scottlesnick.com

 

Politics, Religion and Pizza

Monday, August 15th, 2016

 

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Today’s insight focuses on an important part of our fabric It’s calling again and again and will we’re able to ignore it for a while; its power can overtake us in a moment of weakness.

Sure, I’m talking pizza-hot or cold! But what’s my pizza got to do with this political and religious stuff you lead with, Scott?

Well, the stuff that fills a person’s soul on the first two issues used to be something we mostly kept to ourselves. Many still do, but there has been an increasing attempt from many in the last, say, 15 years to tell you how to think and what to believe.

Before this, we had little care of our family and friends’ political views. We just wanted to get along. Religion and politics was discussed and mostly forgotten during holiday meals.

Not so in 2016.

Today, folks want to tell you who to vote for, which religion, if any is the best and won’t like you as much if you disagree.

I mean would you ever tell someone which ingredients to put on their pizza? I mean, would you! Hell no, that’s against the laws of…..um….PIZZA!

Today’s workplace is filled with passion, purpose and people with opinions. Important, yes but we tend to push the line of personal beliefs and choice more than ever.

So here are 5 ways to stay friends, grow relationships and not get punched!

  • Hey, your political opinion is you own. Please keep it to yourself unless asked. We have our own thought process and are able to navigate things just fine. We got to work today all by ourselves didn’t we?
  • Religion is all over the place. More than politics. So, SHHHHHHHH. People don’t really care where you are on this topic. If they do ask, than it’s open season to chat.
  • Remember 1 & 2 because it can save you a relationship or 3!
  • Listen, respect and acknowledge statements even if they are different than yours. You want the same, right? Ha, trick question – I knew you did!
  • Lastly, pizza. You like anchovies and barbecue sauce. I don’t. It’s okay because I ain’t even going to try and convince you to try my delicious black olive and onion ZA. Why would I?

Yet, we sometimes think that we can sway political and religious opinions over a cup of coffee or adult beverage.

Work and life are fun, challenging and full of twist and turns. And speaking of turns, I know this great pizza joint that make thin crispy crust with great sauce too.

Care to join me? We can discuss….sports?

 

Scott Lesnick is a high content speaker and author. Learn more at www.scottlesnick.com

My Club Rocks and You’re Invited!

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

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Ha- I’m kidding, you’re already a member.

Our club includes high achievers, doers, chill individuals, folks with plenty of confidence, those continuing to grow their confidence, mentors, mentees, clowns, smarties and fun seekers.

We’re not your normal folks. We look at things from many perspectives, often amuse ourselves and hate mean people. That’s right, we hate them because besides sucking, they hurt others and we remember that feeling.

Let’s focus on the workplace.

Almost every time I present at a conference or company brave women and men share with me some of the challenges, triumphs and nightmares the face.

Usually, their stories share common threads with others I’ve heard. However, as I writer, I also take notes both to improve my content, learn and share with you!

In 2015-16 a theme has begun to fester in the minds and hearts of many.

It’s crappy management, bosses, bossholes, so-called leaders.

Just as fast as you can say “really”, a conversation with individuals or groups will turn to poor management. And yes, compliments are offered too if earned. Yes, earned!

Our club has experience. We’ve worked for 5+ years. Some as much as 40 + years. We’re good and we know it ‘cause we’ve worked our butts off to get better. So, why do some leaders fall short on…um, LEADING?

Complex as it may seem, the best answer I learned over the years is communication. That’s right; talking, sharing of information and listening.

Hey, I see you shaking your head up and down, I know you understand.

When the sh*T hits the fan.

We understand that many who leave their job are really leaving their boss, not the company.

We understand that many of the words I used to begin my gentle rant are foreign to management who only focus on numbers, quotas and/or investors.

Millennials are now the largest workforce in the country. Add their number of 83 million plus with those of Gen Xers and you have a massive talent pool of women and men.

The leaders who strive to understand and communicate well these folks will be successful and blow away their competition because their club demands different treatment.

They look at interaction as an equal playing field, especially Millennials! The big picture, appreciation, feeling valued, open and honest feedback and communication are demanded.

The leaders who get this statistically have happier, more productive employees while also increasing retention.

Those who don’t get it continue to complain about staff, generations, and cultures when they’re the ones failing to realized that great communication creates great workplace cultures.

I’m honored to be part of the cool club. I like looking outside the box, asking lots of questions and facing fear with persistence, guts and excitement.

Yes, our glorious club includes high achievers, doers, chill individuals, folks with plenty of confidence, those continuing to grow their confidence, mentors, mentees, clowns, smarties and fun seekers and more.

It also includes millions and millions of talented folks. Treated well and with open communication, we’ll make ya proud. Treat us like crap, like old school my way or the highway and you’ll be asking yourself time and time again- “I wonder why they left? I wish they would have mentioned something.”

Ya, we did. You weren’t listening. Adios!

Stop Wasting Talent-Part-2

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Alright, we left off on a good note. I asked:

Your job is rewarding and challenging. This applies to you to. Are you happy? Are you looking? Are you doing a little extra to make sure you don’t lose valuable employees? Okay then, work it!

Several kind readers have shared privately the challenges they face with public vs. private sector staff. The public sector has less money to keep its talent and the private sector is also stretched thin as money to retain good employees is often not a high priority.

So, what are some of the top ways of keeping YOU happy? How do we make sure You stay put? Besides money, what can we offer YOU that help bring real value in your professional and personal life?

With my teams I made a point of doing some of the following.  I wish I knew about all of these.

Armed with this knowledge you’ll have a stronger chance of utilizing, cultivating and keeping talent. Not in order of most important to least because each of us is unique!

  • Train Us– Right below money rest two very important wants. Employees understand that training makes them better, grows knowledge and understanding and increase opportunities for advancement.
  • I Belong!-Feeling like you contribute, matter and make a difference is huge. Being recognized in the hallway matters too. Don’t pass up a chance to chat with your staff. If YOU don’t feel this are you going to consider looking for another position?
  • Information Share– Let your employees in on what’s going on. Let them feel part of the process. Also, allow them easy access to top management so that they can present Thoughts, ideas and even concerns.
  • Recognize a Job Well Done-From first year to seasoned veteran we desire praise and often pick up our game after receiving it. And, giving/receiving praise has a positive chemical reaction in the brain and body! Appreciation is VERY important!
  • Job security- Employees from 21-88 need to know/feel that their job is waiting for them when they arrive every morning. Just a hint that it doesn’t will have them looking from work elsewhere. And in a strong job market the opportunities rest firmly in their court.
  • Kind, tactful and helpful guidance and criticism- The emotional well-being of employee’s matters and it should matter to all managers. As adults, we want to be treated with respect regardless of title and position. Kindness, humor and constructive guidance are far more effective than brute force and a crappy attitude.

 

  • Open the door-let ‘em in- Sir Paul McCartney had it right. Being included and feeing part of what is making the company tick matters to many employees. And, they often bring valuable insight that can be the catalyst to further grow and prosperity for individuals and the company.

 

Working is an honor, privilege and a necessity. 28 years at a Berkshire Hathaway Fortune 500 company and speaking from coast to coast have taught me the value of each of us. Collectively, we have a greater chance of meeting goals, exceeding expectations and having some fun in the process. THIS is what successful companies and great managers strive for. Are you part of this awesome team or do you need to make some changes?

 

Scott Lesnick is a keynote speaker, consultant and author of Kidjacked-A Father’s Story.

Check him out at www.scottlesnick.com

Stop Wasting Talent-Part 1

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

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Fact:  It takes time, effort and money to hire a new employee.

Fact: It takes time, effort and money to train that new hire.

Fact: Your new employee will decide within 30 days of being hired if they’re staying or looking for another job!

Your job is to make them wanna stay. They need to be convinced that they made the correct choice. Yes, I said it is your job and here’s why…

The unemployment rate which has been around 5.4% is now at 5%! To put it in other terms- if you want a job you’ll get hired! The pendulum has swung again and employees hold the power. That’s leadership!

How to keep folks from moving on is tricky, but there are some steps you can take to assure that you’re giving them reason to stay put. Who is doing this to retain folks? A lot of companies are and so should you. And, this includes employee that have been with you for awhile!

Offer small perks- Have a car service pick up cars for oil change and car wash. Friday dry cleaning work pick up. Give staff their birthday off.

Competitive compensation and benefits- Health and life insurance plus a retirement plan are essential.

Flextime- Show some love here and you’ll keep your staff longer. Work from home (1-2 days a week), no vacation days needed to take your child or parent to the doctor. Half day Fridays during the summer. (may need to rotate people i.e. they get 2-3 Fridays a month.)

Keep those doors open- If you’re a fan of statistics you’ll appreciate this one. Leaders who communicate well with their staff have a better chance of keeping them. People desire a manager who they can chat with about work issues. Pretty simple, right?

Then why are so many managers sucky at communications? I don’t place all of the blame on them. As a company we must make sure that our managers are comfortable listening and communicating to different generations and cultures. Training may be the answer here and it’s money well spent. If you force feed employees crap and don’t communicate well with them they may regurgitate the same or leave.

Your job is rewarding and challenging. This applies to you to. Are you happy? Are you looking? Are you doing a little extra to make sure you don’t lose valuable employees? Okay then, work it!

Scott Lesnick is a highly requested professional speaker, trainer and author. Visit him at www.scottlesnick.com

 

Leaders, Staff and Excellence

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

The pendulum has swung back in favor of workers. Businesses are hiring, unemployment is hovering around 5.5% and workers understand that there are many more work options available. Retention is always an issue and now you have to fight hard to keep your best from jumping ship – a right they have and will exercise when appropriate.

Our competition is stronger than ever. Our business goals increase yearly but the leaders with unhappy staff will lose them in the blink of an eye.

New hires understand that the options are out there and will make up their mind within 30 days of starting a job how long they plan on staying.

You ain’t got much time to make them satisfied, comfortable and committed.

Excellence comes from more employee training, a watchful eye on their wants, needs and desires and an overall feeling that they matter and that you care.

When I conduct breakout sessions, I often include an activity that allows us to “deep dive” into issue. Sure I can present but a room full of talent can always come up with more ideas, thoughts and recommendations than one person can offer.

Here is what I learned at three different conferences I presented at this summer about what employees want. I’ve shortened the list down to seven. They are:

  • Training, training and more training. The reason- more knowledge, better opportunity for advancement & improved skills.
  • Cross Training– They want to better understand what others at the same company do and how it affects their role. Plus, they may find an area of the company that they are better suited for.
  • Employee recognition- Sure, you remember when we did more of that! Well, they want it to come back. Gas cards, bonus, lunch. Employees need to hear that they matter, make a difference and are an integral part of your team.
  • Ask them. Asking for feedback and input grows trust and builds relationships. Plus, great ideas can come from anyone at work but you have to ask.
  • Cross mentoring. Attendees have convinced me that mentoring not only works, it moves projects and employees along faster. Because we are now seeing Boomers & Xers specifically working with Millennials and the results are mostly very positive. Millennials can offer fresh perspectives, are a whiz with technology and are fast learners. Older generations have plenty of experience and are often in a higher profile position. Legacies are left by those in their forties and up, mentees advance faster than those who are not mentored and succession planning is stronger as a result.
  • Humor me. Lighten up, lose the “boss” attitude and come down to our level. Today’s best leaders understand that relationships increase productivity, grow business and make for a ‘lower stress’ work environment. No laughter, no fun, no appreciation. Where would you rather work?
  • Social gatherings. We understand that outside of work people let their hair down and tend to relax. Some more than others! New bonds are formed, relationships grow and leaders show their ‘off site’ personality. When offered and organized, the results can be tremendous and the cost to benefit ratio low!

Excellence in anything requires dedication, assistance and time. Today’s leaders lead from the sideline, in the trenches and wherever they can to be effective.

How do you lead?download (1)

Roses Are Blue

Monday, August 10th, 2015

 

 

 

 

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As Leaders, we all know the importance of compromise in our professional and personal lives.

Without it, things fall apart quickly. With it, opportunity improves and progress is made albeit sometimes slowly with challenges along the way.

However, your ego can get in the way along with personal feelings. Susan knows this first hand.

As a C-level executive, she has seen a lot and been through even more. At a recent conference she shared with me one of the reasons she beat the odds and rose to the top – not only as a woman but as a mother, wife and dedicated employee.

“Many managers around me were working towards the same goals as I was; climbing the corporate ladder. Leadership was in our blood. Most of them didn’t succeed. Time after time I would sit and watch as good people around me self-destructed, gave up or moved on. It wasn’t confidence or lack of ability that slowed them down or ended their careers; it was their desire to compromise.”

She explained, “People respect compromise Scott. They also appreciate it especially if you’re on different sides of an issue. They hate and I mean HATE those who are inflexible. Communication is so very important.”

“This is nothing new,” I replied. “Compromise has lead to many great accomplishments for thousands of years. What’s the key to reaching compromise and avoiding an impasse?”

“Well, it begins with repeating the other person(s) goals, demands, and desires back to them in a succinct manner,” Susan continued. “The key is making sure that each side understands what is at stake as well as the position of the each party involved. People who are not flexible lose in the long run. Those who can grit it out with less emotion and more productive dialogue win!”

“What does it matter the color of a rose? Red, yellow, pink. We can dye them to fit any occasion-even blue. Compromise allows conversations to move forward. Solutions are often reached and both sides can feel a sense of victory. Without this, you end up at an impasse,” she explained.

“That can cause ill will, lack of progress and a decrease in overall productivity and efficiency. No one needs that!” she concluded.

What are your challenges at work? Do you look for compromise and lead well or do you say it’s my way or the highway?