Writen by Marcia Zidle

You can possibly teach a turkey to climb a tree – but it is a lot easier to hire a squirrel. Quality staffing means selecting the right people with the right skills for the right jobs and at the right time. A good hire can take the weight of the world off your shoulders. A poor one can eat up your time and energy and weaken an entire team. So, why do so many leaders place so many people in so many wrong places? Here are five key reasons.

Failure to prepare.
When leaders are so busy dealing with multiple issues everyday, they may not have the time to do the front-end homework that is required. Find the time because bad staffing decisions can be costly in terms of your time and your money.

Failure to identify success factors.
You must go beyond the job description. Make a list of the qualities to be successful in the job. It could be two or three or it could be 10. Then go out and find people who have a giftedness to match those qualities.

Failure to evaluate correctly the person's skills.
If the position requires someone who is detail-oriented, then determine if the candidate has this competency either through behavioral interviewing or through some form of assessment.

Failure to do deal with a poor fit.
Something changed. Maybe the job, the organization, or the person changed. Maybe everything changed. Many people end up in the wrong place because they stayed in the right place too long. So the right place can become the wrong place over a matter of time.

Failure to be patient.
Sometimes the person is in the right place, but they have to grow into it - they have to be trained and developed. You know they have the giftedness, they have the ability, they have the passion; but they need time and someone to help them.

Marcia Zidle, the 'people smarts' coach, works with business leaders to quickly solve their people management headaches so they can concentrate on their #1 job – to grow and increase profits. She offers free help through Leadership Briefing, a weekly e-newsletter with practical tips on leadership style, employee motivation, recruitment and retention and relationship management.

Subscribe by going to http://leadershiphooks.com and get the bonus report "61 Leadership Time Savers and Life Savers". Marcia is the author of the What Really Works Handbooks – resources for managers on the front line and the Power-by-the-Hour programs – fast, convenient, real life, affordable courses for leadership and staff development. She is available for media interviews, conference presentations and panel discussions on the hottest issues affecting the workplace today. Contact Marcia at 800-971-7619.

Writen by Alan Fairweather

I believe the media and our culture sends the wrong messages about how to manage people and this makes it difficult for Business Owners and Managers.

We've all heard the old cliché "nice guys don't finish first" and that has a huge impact on how managers deal with their people. We're led to believe that successful managers are tough, courageous "no nonsense" type of people. And if you're weak or soft with your people, then you'll get walked on and taken advantage of.

A manager will often look at "successful" managers in business or sport to try and understand what makes them successful. The media often portrays these people as tough guys who drive their people by the force of their personality, shouts and threats - no wimps allowed.

Jack Welch the ex CEO of General Electric writes in his book "jack" - "Strong managers who make tough decisions to cut jobs provide the only true job security in today's world. Weak managers are the problem. Weak managers destroy jobs".

Now that statement may be true however it leads managers to believe that they most certainly have to be strong. There's no way that a manager wants to be perceived as weak. However, it's how you define tough and strong that decides how successful a manager you'll be.

We're all aware of the big tough sports coaches who run successful teams. In the United States the legendary Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman, often billed as the greatest coach in hockey, was well known as a relentless, heartless and humourless task master.

Another legend, football coach, Vince Lombardi, was known to work his teams hard. He pushed his players and made them repeat plays over and over till they got it right. He yelled at his teams for any mistakes, even after games they had won. One of his famous lines is - "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing." He had rigid rules, imposed discipline and had no tolerance for mistakes.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Europe's most successful soccer coach was once in the news due to a dressing room incident at Manchester United. The team had just lost a game that he felt they shouldn't have lost and he was letting the players know how he felt about that. Apparently, in his temper, he kicked a football boot across the dressing room and hit one of his star players, David Beckham, just above the eye.

Unfortunately the media presents these situations and character traits as what makes a successful manager. Managers and particularly those new to a leadership role, try to model themselves on those that they read about and see on TV.

In a recent seminar I asked a young manager why she thought Roy Keane played so well under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United - "It's because Alex regularly kicks his ass" was her reply. Now Roy Keane is a real tough guy player known for his hard and uncompromising style on the soccer field. I asked this young manager how she thought Roy would respond to having his ass kicked regularly. She didn't seem to have an answer to that.

Here are some other comments I've read about successful sports coaches and managers -

John Wooden -
"One of the true gentlemen in sports or any other walk of life" "He taught them to be good people, good sports and still be competitive"

Scotty Bowman -
"A great sense of humour that people never see" "Deep down, a caring man"

Mike Krzyzewski -
"You cannot mistake the fact that he loves his players. He cares about their schooling and them being model citizens" "Coach K still puts up the wins proving once and for all nice guys can finish first"

Wayne Graham, baseball coach, Rice University:
"A demanding coach is redundant. If they are going to be happy with you and produce, they have to know you care"

Managers are misreading the signs sent by the media and our culture and it's creating difficulty for them. Some managers can adopt the tough guy approach very easily but most feel uneasy with it. The ones, who're uneasy, in an attempt not to be seen as weak, then manage their people in a way that makes them as a manager feel uncomfortable. This ultimately causes problems with their teams. I think we should look at what really makes a successful manager and it certainly isn't just about being a "tough guy."

Discover how you can generate more business by motivating your team! Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Sales by Motivating Your Team" This book is packed with practical things you can do to get the best out of your people. Visit http://www.howtogetmoresales.com

Writen by E.R. Rigsbee

In a perfect world, employees would take responsibility as if they were an owner or at the least, had a vested interest in the success of the company for which they worked. But it's not a perfect world, is it? It is possible though, to create an employment environment where employees will take on responsibility. This is the activity all successful employers desire of their staff.

Motivating your employees to become proactive rather than reactive is what you want, isn't it? Getting them to do more than react like a snail on Valium when things need to get done, or offer creative new solutions are necessary elements for business survival.

Past Labor Secretary Robert Reich commented on findings from a report the Labor Department commissioned which was conducted by researchers at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and Ernst & Young. The study cited companies like Motorola, which estimates that it earns $30 for every $1 invested in employee training. And Edy's Grand Ice Cream, which credits its employee management system with reducing inventories 66%, improving productivity 57%, and lifting unit sales volume 830%.

If you are willing to begin your journey (never a destination) to Partner to Empower, the above becomes possible. Let's spell out the word PARTNER to discover the necessary partnering elements for you to achieve success:


Participation and involvement is the first of the Partner to Empower elements. Like the muscles in our bodies, employees must exercise their abilities regularly to keep atrophy from setting in. The employee activities you must reward are risk taking, cooperation, mentoring, innovation, value-adding, and challenging.


Acceptance of your employees as fully functioning, rather than apprentice human beings is the second partnering element necessary to Partner to Empower. This was brought to the attention of American management in the late 1920s and early 1930s by Harvard's study of Western Electric's Hawthorne Works, unfortunately though, few listened.


Recognition is the third element for your Partner to Empower model. It's crucial that you embody that which you choose to praise and reward. The activities that you recognize, reward, and praise are the activities that will most likely be repeated.

During the first six months of 1995, as I traveled the country giving seminars, I asked all the attendees (entry level to executive) to write on an index card the one most important thing that their company or boss could do to improve their loyalty to their company. You might be amazed to know that praise and recognition was offered more than any other answer--much more than money.

Tell the Truth

Tell the Truth about what's really going on in your company is the fourth key aspect for your Partner to Empower endeavor. In my survey on employee loyalty, this subject was a frequent contender for top honors. Employees want to know which way the wind is blowing at their company. If you hold back information, they will simply "fill in the blanks" and usually what they fill in is far from accurate. Withholding knowledge generally will only serve the one who withholds in retaining power. Power is limitless, unfortunately many think that their power comes from their position. To the contrary, it comes from within--this is true leadership.


Net-of-Safety is the fifth element in your conversion to Partner to Empower. If you truly want your employees to actively embrace the activities in the participation section, you must create a climate of safety; nobody desires to get shot down for sticking their neck out in an effort to improve the workings of their organization.

When Tony Ciabattoni owned Pacific Business Interiors in Los Angeles, he had PERMISSION cards on his desk for employees to utilize when he was away from the office. If a decision needed to be made in his absence, the permission card was to wart off the possibility of a bottleneck situation slowing company progress. He acknowledged his staff for taking a risk and fully backs their decisions while still retaining the right to suggest that they make a different decision in the future. My alter call to you is this: Will you have permission cards on your desk within the next 30 days? Show your staff that you walk your talk and get the cards today!


Enthusiasm toward your employees, their growth, and their risk taking is the sixth necessary element to Partner to Empower. Be excited about the growth of your team, be excited when your people take a risk (regardless of the success). Find that wonder of the world you had as a kid and hold on to it for dear life. If you do, your staff will be infected with your thrill of business and desire to serve customers in a way that will lead to absolute customer satisfaction.


Renewal of your commitment to excellence. This reawakening, last in spelling out P A R T N E R but surely not least, is crucial. Your employees are watching your actions much more than they are listening to what you have to say. Have a commitment resurrection; your commitment to your employees and your customers. Even if you've been a jerk to your staff in the past, today is the eve of a new era for your business. Show the world you've experienced a renaissance by your positive actions in spelling out P A R T N E R!


Partner to Empower, it's a choice, it's a journey, and it's what will assist you and your employees in building a successful and synergetic relationship. One that will take all involved to greater levels of success--the choice is yours.

To access helpful additional information from Ed Rigsbee at no charge, please visit www.rigsbee.com/downloadaccess.htm.

Adapted from PartnerShift-How to Profit from the Partnering Trend by Ed Rigsbee, CSP, published by John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Ed Rigsbee, CSP is the author of PartnerShift, Developing Strategic Alliances and The Art of Partnering. Rigsbee has over 1,000 published articles to his credit and is a regular keynote presenter at corporate and trade association conferences across North America. For a treasure trove of additional information and ideas, visit his Partnering University Web Site at http://www.rigsbee.com.

Writen by Lee Hopkins

You probably know this already, but there are generally held to be four main personality types, which I call: Extrovert, Amiable, Analytical and Pragmatic .

Let's take a moment to consider each of them in the workplace.

Extrovert: someone who probably has a messy desk; who leaves projects 75% completed then gets distracted by new, 'more exciting' projects; someone who communicates their ideas with enthusiasm and charm; makes instant decisions; hates 'paperwork' and the 'dull routines' of life, such as filling in order forms, checking bank statements, etc.; is usually 'fashionably late' to meetings, events and parties (and they love entertaining clients!); always has interesting screen savers.

Amiable: someone who is the 'peacemaker' in the office; is always striving for a 'win-win' in everything in life; someone who probably isn't terribly ambitious and striving, but is very happy to support and encourage others who are; someone who cannot say "No" very easily and so are probably on every committee going (whether they actually want to be or not); is more likely to make a decision on the spot if only to stop you 'hassling' them, otherwise will take weeks to make a decision (if at all, as they prefer others to make the decision for them); like to know what others are doing (in case they themselves are doing something inappropriate or foolish).

Analytical: 'GadgetMan' - has multiple PDAs in case one fails; has several computers for the same reason; adores punctuality; when they tell you they recently bought something they won't round the number up but will tell you to the exact dollar and cent how much they paid; loves playing with spreadsheets, charts and projections; will never make a decision on the spot; will buy a car based on fuel economy, servicing costs, resell value, depreciation and other factors, never 'because it's a lovely shade of blue'.

Pragmatic: a 'take charge' person; their view is the way things will probably get done; they listen to others' points of view out of courtesy or intellectual curiousity, but will still do things 'my way' ; doesn't take business rejection personally; not interested in how 'exciting' a project might be, only interested in how much money it will cost/make and how soon it can be implemented/built; very often the Pragmatic likes the colour ' Red '; doesn't have any photos of family or friends on their desk (too unprofessional); has a neat, organised desk.

Now, sales trainers have for years been pushing the line that we 'buy with emotion, and justify that purchase with logic'. But having seen a few Analyticals in my years I don't actually believe that to be the case. An accountant friend of mine in England never purchased anything because of emotion - he always poured over spec sheets from various manufacturers, weighed up the costs involved, considered his options. And because he was also part-Amiable he then let his wife make the final decision, based on his input.

Which raises an important point. No one is ever a 'pure' type. We are all a mix of the four personality types to some degree or other. Yet we also have a strong preference for one particular type.

I'm an Extrovert with a leaning towards the Analytical. I couldn't begin to count the number of my own marketing projects that I have half-completed here in my office; each one almost ready to roll but just in line behind the latest 'more exciting' idea I've just had. Yet I also love getting deep into Dreamweaver and working out how to tweak my website pages for greater speed, better search engine optimisation, tidy up loose bits of code, and so on.

But that's beside the point...

The real purpose of this page is to let you know that your business communications - whether they are email, web page, pdf brochure or even initial word of mouth introduction - need to appeals to the different needs of the four personality types.

How do you do that?

By making sure that your communication has a reasonably equal amount of the following:

* Facts and figures to appeal to the Analytical and Pragmatic

* Enthusiasm and excitement to appeal to the Extrovert

* Testimonials to appeal to the Amiable

Get that right and you have a greater chance of getting your message across.

When you match consumer psychology with effective communication styles you get a powerful combination. Lee Hopkins can show you how to communicate better for better business results. At Hopkins-Business-Communication-Training.com you can find the secrets to communication success.

Writen by Steve Hill

Are you getting the respect you deserve from your current boss? Are you unhappy with the way your team leader is treating you? Do you feel unsatisfied with the way your manager talks to you in a business environment? In this article I am going to write about examples of how certain companies mistreat the lower levels of their staff in what basically are their power trips.

I have a strong belief in the idea that everyone in the workplace such as an office environment should be treated as equals. Whether you are the chairman or a sixteen year old office junior should not make the slightest bit of difference, but I have seen and have been disgusted by the way some members of senior management treat the people that they see as beneath them in the workplace.

The first example that I am going to write about is from when I worked at a famous insurance company when I was just seventeen. On my first day at work I have to admit thet I was extremely nervous but was soon made to feel very welcome by the people who I was going to spend the next few months working with. At lunch time these people showed me where the canteen was and we started to line up to wait for our turn to get served. I noticed that the canteen was basically split into two halves. I enquired as to why this was. The answer was my first experience of the, them and us scenario. The first half was for members of the board, team leaders and other senior management, while the second half was for the ordinary workers! These members of management must have felt quite smug watching all of us lesser mortals eating our food, thinking how great it was that they had made it to the successful side of the canteen, how pathetic!

Now I am sure that most people will admit that from to time that they make a few mistakes, this of course is human nature. I will never forget the way my first boss used to speak to me when hearing about one of my errors. I would be asked to go and see him in his office which was basically a very posh and plush room which he had all to himself. His fifty staff meanwhile were crammed into a rather small area outside of this office. The furniture in his office was probably worth more than the whole of the furniture from the office outside which reminded me of a country like Pakistan where the leaders sit in their gold thrones begging for help from around the world after yet another earthquake.

I would of course go and see him to explain why I had made this error. The way he spoke to me was disgusting and was his way of attempting to strike fear into me. This plan did not work however and I just felt sorry for him, strangely enough. Many a time did I want to enquire as to whether he had ever made a mistake in his life but decided to play ball and keep quiet.

If people want the best out of their employees they need to treat them with respect and as equals because that is what they are!

Stephen Hill helps to promote a number of websites including:

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Writen by Jason Katzenback

These factors where determined by interviews with and books from very successful people. Fac­tors which eminently successful people con­sidered essential were collected and classified. They were gathered from talks with big men, from personal letters, from printed interviews, and from books… the end result being ideas of thirty-one of the most successful people of our country.

Although their ideas differ, yet certain factors are listed by each of these men; and seventeen qualities are mentioned more than twenty times. They are: health, good ap­pearance, hard work, enthusiasm, industry, persistence, sincerity, earnestness, self-confidence, concentration, determination, honesty, good memory, self-control, tact, patience, and imagination.

These qualities are not determinants of success. They do not guarantee success. Of course, they are important. They are valuable assets, but not determining factors. For instance, a man must "work hard" to succeed, but "hard work" does not always bring success.

1. Health: I know a man in perfect physi­cal health; he has strong muscles and the strength of two ordinary men; his complex­ion is clean; his skin is ruddy; his eyes are clear. Yet, he is a failure-his wife sup­ports him. I know another man, who has been in poor health for twenty years. He is an eminently successful man. Health is a valuable asset, but it is not a determining factor of success.

2. Good Appearance: I know a man with the bearing of a Royal Prince-splendid shoulders, pleasing manners, and attractive smile. He looks you directly in the eye. He resides at Sing Sing.

3. Enthusiasm, Industry, Persistence, Sin­cerity, and Self-Confidence: I know a man who spent a year trying to collect money to pub­lish certain literature to be distributed among the boys in the trenches. He wished to convince the soldiers that they should worship the Lord on Saturday instead of Sunday. He was enthusiastic, persistent, sincere, earnest, and self-confident. He was not a success.

4. Concentration, Determination, Honesty: There is a certain man who concentrates so intently on his work that he often forgets to eat and sleep; he's determined to win, and he is absolutely honest. He has been working seven years to invent a shirt which will not wear out, and which need not be washed. His honesty, concentration, and determination have not made him success­ful. He is in an asylum in Pennsylvania.

5. Memory, Self-Control, Tact, and Patience: I know a man who remembers the names of hundreds of people; he never confuses one with another. He has self-control, tact, and infinite patience. He has not succeeded greatly. He is the footman who opens the doors of the limousines of the women who shop at a certain department store.

6. Imagination: I know of a girl, who for ten years ran a machine in a shoe factory. When I once questioned her of what she thought each day during her work, she re­plied, " Oh, I just start the machine a-goin' and then I imagine I'm one of them duch­esses I read about in the novels.'' Since many character factors are helpful assets, but not the determining factors, what are the personal factors which make success certain?

Find the rest of the story at http://TheExecutiveTrainer.com

At Last! You Can Discover Real World Step-by-Step 'Secrets' That Will Get You Noticed and Show You How To Succeed Perfectly…Without Having To Brown Nose or Suck Up to Anyone! http://www.TheExecutiveTrainer.com

Writen by Lydia Quinn

Unfortunately there are no magic formulas for restaurants on how to increase sales and guest satisfaction. Luckily, there are a great many tips you can use to build your own magic formula.

The first tip is to Be Consistent in everything you do. If you are able to provide the same experience to a guest each time they dine with you, they will almost always think about you first. This is very powerful as your customers are never playing 'Restaurant Roulette'. Sometimes the restaurant is good and sometimes it's bad.

Number two is Always Have Fun. If you have a fun, guest-focused restaurant you will be beating the employees and guests away with a stick. Create imaginative incentive programs for your team. Pair up the kitchen and the waiters in teams and give out prizes.

The third tip is an easy one. Use Your Corporate Representatives, that's what job is. Have wine seminars provided by the winery. Have a food representative take the team to a processing plant or farm. Get tickets and prizes or anything you think your team members would like. You buy products from specific companies and most of them want to support you in selling more of their product.

The last tip is quite possibly the most important. Be a leader by first being a servant. Help your team out. Serve and clear tables, wash dishes, cook food or anything else that needs to be done to ensure a successful shift. There will come a day when you don't need to do these things, but every time you do your team members will appreciate and respect you more because you respect and appreciate them enough to be able to help them succeed.

Most of these 'tips' are actually common-sense and can be implemented quickly and easily. Try one tip on one day and another tip the next day. Some tips may work and some may not. Each restaurant is its own unique entity and will need to try different things, but if you keep trying to improve your business, you will.

Lydia Quinn writes for R&I Solutions, developer of Cost Genie, a leading restaurant costing software package. Visit CostGenie.com for a free demo. http://www.costgenie.com

Writen by Ali Kidd

Planning a team building day of fun is a great way to revitalize your group's energy and enthusiasm, as well as improve communication and problem solving skills. There are many ideas for fun ways to increase your team's cohesiveness and establish better working relationships.

Team building activities span the breadth of the imagination, from cooking to sports, wilderness survival type adventures, music and dance, and a wide variety of other games and group exercises. For the best results, try to choose something in a subject area that is likely to be enjoyed by everyone in your group. However, if picking a common interest is too much of a challenge, most team building activities can be adapted to suit your needs, and are designed to provide lighthearted entertainment, rather than overly daunting challenges.

Find an activity that will require everyone's participation and interaction, but without putting too much pressure on individual performance. The idea is to foster cooperative teamwork, not competition, and each person's contribution needs to be recognized as a valuable part of the combined effort.

There are a number of reasons to consider bringing in an expert from outside your organization to lead these team building activities. It will put everyone on equal ground, and the consultant you choose should be experienced at putting people at ease, a necessity if the day is to be a success. They should also be able to help maintain a focus on the ultimate objective of the day, which is to both have fun and improve your ability to function as a team.

A fun day of team building can serve many purposes, including:
- an icebreaker for a new team, to quickly establish comfortable and effective work relationships
- a break from boredom and routine for a group that could use some new energy
- a non-threatening way to address interpersonal conflicts or other barriers to productivity
- a treat for a job well done
- a way to facilitate a smooth transition during a time of restructuring
- preparation for a big project that will require enhanced teamwork
- creating a more cohesive team out of talented people who just are not functioning effectively as a group

If any of the above applies to your team, don't hesitate to investigate your options to kick start productivity and renew enthusiasm in your workplace. Team building is a worthy investment in your organization's present and future, and can help overcome difficulties of the past. Many great services and products are available to help you and your group get back on track and has fun at the same time. Take the initiative to improve workplace morale and productivity, the results will speak for themselves.

Chillisauce specialise in unique team building events in the UK and Europe for the ultimate corporate event experience. For a more information and ideas on corporate event activities, please visit http://www.chillisauce.co.uk/corporate-events.

The Paradox Of Job Enrichment

Writen by Azriel Winnett

Ellen was a clerk working for a large insurance company. One day, she spotted a glaring discrepancy in a form she was typing.

Through a simple error, two figures had been transposed in a store owner's policy. In consequence, his store was insured for $165,000 against vandalism but only for $5 000 against fire.

Her first instinct was to reach for the phone to inform her supervisor of the error, for the sake of the unfortunate store owner.

"But wait a minute," she then thought to herself. "I'm not supposed to read these forms. I'm just supposed to check one column against another...If they're gonna give me a robot's job to do, I'm gonna do it like a robot."

Author Barbara Garson describes this incident in a book called All the Livelong Day: The Meaning and Demeaning of Routine Work. The kind of phenomenon illustrated by this story is also vividly depicted by Chicago folklorist Studs Terkel in his book about work life in contemporary America Working. After interviewing 133 people about their jobs and their feelings about work, Terkel reported:

"The blue-collar blues is no more bitterly sung than the white-collar moan. 'I'm a machine,' says the spot-welder. 'I'm caged,' says the bank teller, and echoes the hotel clerk. 'I'm a mule, says the steelworker. 'A monkey can do what I do,' says the receptionist. 'I'm less than a farm implement,' says the migrant worker. "I'm an object,' says the high-fashion model. Blue-collar and white call upon the identical phrase: 'I'm a robot.' "

Labor reporter Robert Levering cites these two authors in his A Great Place To Work.

Brains left at the factory door

The president of a large industrial corporation summed up the problem well when he confessed in a radio interview: "Most companies assume you should check your brains every morning at the factory door."

Incidentally, when people feel stifled by this "robot" syndrome, their health often suffers.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in the US has cited lack of control over one's work as a major factor in work-related stress, which contributes to hypertension, heart disease and ulcers. And one researcher has put a price tag to American industry of $150 billion in annual losses because of stress-related absenteeism, reduced productivity, and medical fees.

But we have not finished Ellen's story.

When author Garson checked later with Ellen, she discovered that the young clerk had told her supervisor about the error after all. This highlights one undeniable fact, says the author. "For most people, it is hard and uncomfortable to do a bad job. "

For Garson, work itself is a human need, "following right after the need for food and the need for love." Similarly,Henri de Man, who interviewed countless industrial workers in pre-Nazi Germany, concluded that despite the monotony of their working lives,"every worker aims at joy in work, just as every human being aims at happiness."

Whether all this is true or not, people have a sense of dignity that often refuses to let them play the roles they are given.

Leaving brains at the factory door is hardly a physically feasible operation in any case. Since a worker has to bring them inside anyhow, he'll put them to use in one way or another. De Man cites a woman who wrapped an average of thirteen thousand filament lamps in paper every day. Yet even she could find meaning in her work by frequently changing the way in which she wrapped them.

Other workers are not so fortunate. Try as they may, they just cannot find constructive outlets for their creative and intellectual energies. They may feel compelled to channel their talents along destructive paths.

At worst, they are perpetually on the lookout for "creative" ways to cheat the boss - or the system. At best, they daydream on the job or indulge in all sorts of pastimes to take their minds off their frustration. They'll do anything to maintain some semblance of self-worth.

But if you are an employer of labor, what do you do to give such workers the self-respect and job satisfaction they need so badly?

Let's say you are an entrepreneur, or a manager, with hundreds of factory workers or office clerks under your control. You would like to think of yourself as a benevolent boss. What can you do to make your employees' association with you a happier experience, to ensure that their days will be more fulfilling?

The truth is this is an area dotted with more minefields than you would ever imagine.

In his book, Robert Levering talks about a Chicago-based insurance company, considered an enlightened employer, which in the 1970s embarked upon what was called in those days a "job-enrichment program."

This technique was popularized by Frederick Herzberg, a management consultant who believed that things that make a job satisfying are the biggest "motivators". Herzberg urged managers to concentrate on "enriching" workers' jobs, rather than on factors - like pay and working conditions - that don't have much impact on motivating people.

The insurance company's job-enrichment program was aimed at making people's jobs more "interesting and challenging". It was based on three principles: that workers "want to do a complete job and not an isolated task," that they need "regular feedback on their performance," and that "they want more control over their work..instead of simply being ordered from above."

A key objective of the enrichment program was "to increase worker happiness." But one wonders whether the company confided in its workers that the project had three other goals as well: to "reduce absenteeism, decrease turnover, and increase productivity."

At any rate, the personnel officer in charge of the project later conceded that it had not succeeded in any of these four areas. The question is: why ?

Neither naive nor fools

Levering compares the Chicago company's experiment with another reorganization of human resources that took place about the same time - in the corridors of another midwestern insurance company.

In 1979, company executives at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company noticed an increase in complaints from both agents and policy owners about the quality of service rendered by the Milwaukee head office. A consulting firm called in to study the problem recommended that the work flow should be reorganized, rather than more staff added, as had been done in the past.

Northwestern management then made a crucial decision - to include the workers in all the decisions about reorganization.

Executives set about convening meetings with all the clerical workers. They discussed the consultant's findings and outlined a mechanism for change. A number of task forces - which included members from upper management, middle management and the clerical workers - were set up to look at every aspect of the work flow.

From the outset, company officials emphasized that the goals of the reorganization were to improve service and increase productivity. But they explicitly assured everyone that productivity improvements would not result in anyone's being laid off or fired. The management took pains to show how they valued the input of each and very employee.

The result of the exercise? Complaints were sharply reduced while productivity improved dramatically. The value of Northwestern's insurance policies shot up, while it only had to increase its staff minimally.

But the process also had an intersting spinoff: a happier band of workers, who generally felt much better about their jobs.

The irony is that Northwestern Mutual was more successful at achieving worker happiness than was the Chicago insurance company, whose specific aim was to make the workers happy. At Northwestern, worker happiness was not even on the agenda. How do we explain this paradox?

Workers at the Chicago company were neither naive nor fools. Would a big company spend thousands of dollars to help workers feel better about their jobs? Well...they might - if they believed that self-actualized workers would be more highly motivated and would work harder.

The Chicago people did not take long to see through the rhetoric and understand the real goals of job enrichment. A company that uses subterfuge to get people to work harder won't retain its credibility for long.

Northwestern Mutual, on the other hand, told people honestly from the outset what it intended to do - and why. It wanted people to work smarter, if not harder. It wanted them to share their knowledge and experience to help improve service. As part of the process, employees could help to redesign their jobs to make optimum uses of their talents and their interests.

This straightforward approach enabled employees to concentrate on their jobs without having to worry about the machinations of the company's top brass. Honesty and trust, it seems, go a long way.

Obviously, trust is not a cure-all for every organizational ill. Even a well-coordinated company couldn't survive selling obsolete or inferior products.

But as one top executive has said, "trust is the real grease that makes an organization run."

Azriel Winnett is creator of Hodu.com - Your Communication Skills Portal. This popular free website helps you improve your communication and relationship skills in your business or professional life, in the family unit and on the social scene. New articles added almost daily.

Writen by Susan Friedmann

Whoever said that being a meeting planner was easy, lied! Rather, it should be classified under the tough and demanding job category. But, along with being tough, it's also fun, exciting, exhilarating, stimulating, and never, never boring. You have the opportunity to go to exotic places, stay in luxurious hotels, and experience life from a totally different angle. Who could ask for anything more? For those of you ready to shoot me at this point, know that I fully understand your pain!

The purpose of this article is to look at ten skills that help make a super successful meeting planner, and how you can take this expertise and use it to enhance the great job you're already doing.

1. Planning and organizing

The most common reason shows go wrong lies in the simple fact that not enough time is devoted to adequate planning and preparation. And, many of those shows that are believed to have been successful, are often more by chance than through actual organization. Super successful meeting planners have both a strategic and tactical plan of action. They then use the following five basic questions as their foundation before making any arrangements:

  • Where does this meeting fit into our corporate marketing strategy?

  • Why are we meeting?

  • What is the purpose of the meeting?

  • Who should attend the meeting?

  • What is our budget?

2. Taking care of details

So much of putting a meeting together means taking care of the details, and there are usually more of these than you care to think about. Being detail-oriented is a definite plus. The key to so much of a meeting planner's success is having a system that works. Creating checklists is one of the best I know. With the hundreds of pieces that make up the meeting puzzle, the only way to put them together and keep tabs on all the details, is with a checklist. Become a checklist fanatic and consider having a checklist for each checklist. I'm getting dizzy just thinking about it.

3. Practicing savvy marketing

A significant part of a successful meeting planner's role involves developing a pre-, at- and post-event plan. Most meeting planners fail to have a plan that encompasses all three areas. Budget is naturally going to play a major role in deciding what and how much promotional activity is possible. Super successful meeting planners know the importance of developing a meaningful theme or message that ties into their strategic marketing plan, and that will guide their promotional decisions. They know and understand their target audience and plan different promotional programs aimed at the different groups they are interested in attracting.

4. Being a team player

Super successful meeting planners know exactly how to work together as a team, helping each other out whenever and wherever necessary. They help everyone get acquainted, develop a level of trust, and familiarize and understand each other's strengths. They know what it takes to create an environment of camaraderie where the staff, as a whole pulls out all the stops to succeed and set themselves apart from the competition.

5. Knowing how to manage time

Super successful meeting planners have mastered the art of managing their time. They are well organized and have essential information at their fingertips, which means that their work environment is orderly and efficient. They know their priorities, don't over commit themselves, and can differentiate between important and urgent tasks. They are superb delegators and are not afraid to ask for help whenever they need it. And, finally, they don't procrastinate; on the contrary, they practice the "do it now" habit.

6. Negotiating skillfully

Skillful and savvy negotiators know exactly what they want. They spend time doing their research so that they know as much as possible about their opponent. They are prepared with strategies and tactics, questions and possible concessions. They are masters at finding alternative ways of talking about, reacting to and solving problems. They use their talents of intuition, flexibility and concern for others to reach an agreement where both sides win. They look to create a feeling of cooperation to build a mutually beneficial working environment.

7. Applying a positive attitude

Research successful people and you'll find that having a positive, "can do" attitude ranks high on their list of characteristics. Not only are they positive and upbeat, they surround themselves with naturally positive and successful people. Give it a try and see it their attitude rubs off on you. When you focus on what you can do versus what you can't do, expect to find solutions to your various challenges. Try changing your vocabulary to reflect your optimistic thoughts and feelings, and see what happens. People find you more attractive and want to be around you, especially when you focus and direct your conversation onto the outcomes they want.

8. Evaluating results

Any master continuously looks to improve on their performance, and a super successful meeting planner is no different. Create a system to evaluate your results. Ask your participants for their feedback. Find out what they liked about your event, and what they would like to see improved in the future. In addition, ask yourself what you thought went well and what you would do differently if you had to organize this event again. Chronicle all your data and keep accurate records so that you can refer to them the next time around.

9. Being a perpetual learner

We live in an information age and are surrounded by more stuff than we can possibly cope with. However, successful people love it, as they are perpetual learners. They know the pitfalls of relying on what worked in the past as a guide to what will work in the future. That's why they constantly look for new and improved ways of doing things, learning from the masters and staying open and willing to try different approaches.

10. Keeping a sense of humor

If you don't laugh you cry and in the meeting industry there's no lack of situations where it's easy to shed a tear. Keeping a sense of humor will definitely help prevent you getting mad, angry and frustrated with those incompetent and disorganized suppliers. Learn to laugh at their mistakes as well as your own to keep a saner perspective on life. If nothing else, remember that laughing is good for your health and will help reduce your stress and blood pressure levels.

About The Author

Written by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, author: "Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies," working with companies to improve their meeting and event success through coaching, consulting and training. Go to http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com to sign up for a free copy of ExhibitSmart Tips of the Week.

Leader Or Manager

Writen by Peter Fisher

If it is your aim to move from simply being a manager to being a true leader, you will find out here how to go about it.

When you become a 'Leader' your word is your bond - you must know that when you speak, you will fulfill your promise to others and others will know they can depend on you. Think before you speak. Make a habit of under-promising and overdelivering. Always keep your promises. Think about the kind of person you would want to deal with and be that person yourself.

Leadership -v- Power

Don't make the mistake of associating supervisory positions, or seats of power, with leadership. This presumes that these two things are synonymous and while this can be the case, leadership and power are wholly separate issues. In reality, even if you are the boss, you may not have all of the power, or be capable of handling it, even if you did possess all of it.

For a while, we were told leadership was all about setting clear objectives and holding people accountable. Then the pendulum swung away to focus on "soft" leadership skills, such as empowerment, coaching and mentoring.

Of course, the reality is both are necessary. But that's usually too subtle a message for consulting firms. You won't catch them recommending free common sense as a solution, when they can offer you expensive and frequently more simplistic techniques. Consider this thought: mangers tend to push, while leaders tend to pull.

Ask for help.

If like many of us, you find asking for help difficult, allow yourself to reveal a certain amount of vulnerability. You may feel as if you are admitting a weakness that the world would not have known about, but asking for help shows you to be big enough to acknowledge that others hold information you value. And that can be quite motivating for the information-holder.

Thus you will discover that people who are able to deliver well-positioned requests for help are seen as very strong individuals. When you demonstrate the humility to ask for help, you earn the respect of others. Recipients of a heartfelt request for help are usually honoured by the request. In turn, we are strengthened by the very help that is provided. To make a habit of asking for help is to strengthen your leadership.

To be a Leader is not to be self-centred. You care about the interest of others. You will usually be a 'great servant' in the sense of providing a service of leadership. Even though in a high position, the leader doesn't mind serving other people.

You should write down your goals so you know where to reach them. You can not reach a goal that doesn't exist. When you see your goal written down, you will be able to see it and to reach for it. Can you imagine a game of snooker without the pockets to aim the ball? People know that they are great players because they know how to hit the target accurately. Without a target, how can anyone tell whether you have hit your target accurately? You must have clear, definite, written-down goals of your life if you want to become a great leader!

I believe with all my heart that you can be a real leader. Nobody is born a leader, but a great leader can be made! Apply these principals in your life and you will see a big difference and change in your life. Take steps each and every that will take you where you want to go, it's better than standing still and doing nothing.

Peter Fisher is an expert Author and Publisher. He coaches and writes for people undergoing career change. Everything from deciding what you want to do and how to do it, by way of personal presentation to interview questions and answers are covered on the main website at http://www.your-career-change.com For leadership resources visit his consulting site at http://www.definition-of-leadership.com

Writen by Sheryl Strasser

Reward your Employees with Travel Incentives

Motivating employees, especially highly competitive employees like inside and outside salespersons and telemarketers, can be a challenge. Sure, everyone likes cash, but what if you could offer a incentive that was worth more than cash? That's what travel incentives are all about.

What do you think would generate more excitement among your employees; offering $50 to the person who sets the most appointments in one day, or offering a 3 day and 2 nights hotel stay in Hawaii including airfare? I'll bet that you didn't have to think about that for too long. The Hawaii trip wins hands down.

I'll also bet that you're thinking "sure, I would love to give away a travel incentive deal like that, but how can I afford it?" Prepare to be shocked. You see, travel incentive coupons sell for pennies on the dollar. The key to success in offering travel incentives is their perceived value, not their actual cost to you. The truth is, most travel incentive coupons cost under $10 each. That means that instead of giving away $50 in real money, you're spending less than $10 and giving away something that's worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars!

Travel incentives are coupons good for real travel to desirable destinations. There are no gimmicks. The travel industry authorizes distribution of these coupons through approved brokers. Depending upon the offer, these certificates can be redeemed for air travel, cruises, hotel stays, and lots of other travel opportunities.

Hotel and airline operators know that they will rarely be booked to 100% of their capacity. Rather than have empty seats or rooms, they offer free travel deals. They know that the vacationer is going to spend more money on food, sightseeing, and other products and services during their stay, so the free travel offer isn't a dead loss. In addition, airline and hotel management is counting on the fact that the guest will have such a good time that they will come back some other time and pay full fare.

This means that travel incentives are a triple win. The airlines win, the hotels win, and you win by offering a productivity incentive with a perceived value many times greater than the actual cost. You'll be a hero with your employees and productivity will soar.

Where to buy travel incentives

You should only buy your travel incentives from an authorized travel incentives broker. That way you are assured of receiving genuine certificates that are good on major airlines and at quality hotels. There are a lot of inferior travel offers out there, and you don't want to disappoint your employee by sending them to a second-rate hotel on an unknown airline.

One of the other advantages of dealing with authorized brokers is that they are able to offer you the ability to combine different travel incentive coupons to create even better packages. For example, you can combine a 3 day, 2 night, 3-star hotel package with a $500 spending certificate in some cities.

Another popular combination is to create a getaway package that includes dream vacations like a 4 or 5-star hotel package that's combined with a free round-trip airfare travel coupon. It doesn't get any better than that!

Stop offering boring bonuses and give your best performing employees the travel vacation of their dreams. Ordering travel incentive coupons is easy, inexpensive, and can be done 100% on-line.

Sheryl Strasser makes it easy to learn how to motivate employees. Learn the top 10 essential ways to motivate employees. To receive your free report visit Travel Incentives

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Writen by Kal Bishop

What behaviour maximises the chances of thinking of great ideas? What behaviour maximises the ability to nurture ideas until they begin to reveal their potential?

To begin answering the above questions we will briefly explore five areas:

a) Creativity versus innovation. It is correct that the above questions are separated, as they refer to two distinct disciplines – defining problems and generating ideas (creativity) and selecting those ideas, developing and then commercialising them (innovation). It can be seen that the two disciplines require different competencies and that those competencies do not necessarily need to be contained in the one individual. In fact it is unusual that all competencies are contained in the one individual – often people who generate good ideas require the competencies of many other people to successfully bring that product to market. For example, screenwriters begin to lose control at the point that their agent receives and accepts their final draft.

b) Creativity can also be defined as generating a quantity of ideas and a quantity of novel and diverse ideas. It follows then that this is more probable if the individual is used to engaging in a quantity of divergent and novel behaviours. Those individuals with a life long interest and curiosity in many subjects tend to produce the greatest number of ideas and the greatest number of novel and diverse ideas.

c) A tendency to build networks and a propensity for collaboration also increases the probability of generating good ideas. These allow the intellectual cross-pollination that overcomes parochialism and path dependency, allowing frame breaking.

d) Conscious idea generation increases the quantity of good ideas and therefore the probability of good quality ideas. Individuals that set out to consciously produce 5 ideas every half an hour produce 80 at the end of an average day – a quantity that would not normally be produced.

e) Focused creativity increases the chances of good ideas that have commercial possibilities. Franklin (2003) writes that the most successful ideas are the result of conscious solution finding. If you are stuck for a good product, go out and find a problem and search out a solution.

This topic is covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com

Kal Bishop, MBA


You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained.

Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com.

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Incentive Programs

Writen by Ken Marlborough

According to Dale Yoder, incentive wages relate earnings to productivity and may use premiums, bonuses or a variety of rates to reward for superior performance. The incentive programs involve an attraction of extra payment for efficiency. An efficient program must provide for minimum guaranteed wage based on hourly rate and extra remuneration for increased output. In other words, an incentive program contains the characteristics of time based and output based systems of wage payment.

Sound incentive program must be easily understood. It should be acceptable to the employees. It must benefit employees as well as employer. It should not be costly to operate. It should stimulate the interest among the workers. It should assist in supervision.

There are two types of incentive programs: Halsey premium bonus plan and Bedeaux point premium plan. In Halsey premium bonus plan, a minimum time wage is guaranteed. The time allowed for completing the job is set from the records of previous performance rather than by time and motion studies. The amount of time saved multiplied by the hourly rate forms the sum that is shared between the worker and the owners according to the ratio agreed upon equally. Because of this fixed proportion of sharing bonus, Hasley's plan can be called a constant bonus-sharing plan. The standard length of time for doing a job, not being derived through the use of time and motion study is usually greater than would be the case under more scientifically measured procedure.

Under Bedeaux's point premium plan, the standard time for each job is fixed after undertaking time and motion study. The workers who are not able to or just able to complete the program within standard time are paid at the normal time rate. Those who are able to complete their work earlier are paid bonus equal to the wages for time saved. Generally, the bonus paid to the worker is 75 per cent of the wages for time saved. The remaining 25 per cent goes to the foreman.

Incentive Programs provides detailed information on Incentive Programs, Employee Incentive Programs, Corporate Incentive Programs, Safety Incentive Programs and more. Incentive Programs is affiliated with Pay Per Click Affiliate Programs.

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The Value Of Process

Writen by Mike Myatt

Process…even the word itself has come to hold a negative connotation for many. With the plethora of conflicting information that has been written about process management combined with the nightmares we have all experienced as a result of bad process, many executives fear the pain associated with flawed process more than they value the benefits created by good process.

Understanding what constitutes bad process is the first step in recognizing how to avoid business process pitfalls that plague many companies. Let's start by examining the three main misconceptions related to process:

1. Process is not a new software program or application. While toolsets are obvious byproducts of good process they do not in and of themselves constitute process. Don't get caught in the trap of perpetual spending or development as a solution, but recognize that if you're caught in this trap that it is a symptom of bad process not a reflection of good process.

2. Process is not a "Band-Aid" fix. Good process is not reactionary. A series of "bubble gum and bailing wire" solutions put in place in haste as a knee-jerk reaction to the latest problem is not good process design. Process by default will never provide the benefits of good process engineering by design.

3. Process is not a panacea. While good process will help optimize any business it will not make up for shortcomings in other disciplines or functional areas. Process is not the main driver in business but a critical support system built for enablement, delivery, accountability and measurement.

Good process comes as an outcome of top down management. It is the natural extension of vision, mission, strategy and tactics. It is in fact working down through the aforementioned hierarchy that allows process to be engineered by design to support mission critical initiatives. Recognition of the fact that you don't start with process design, but rather you finish with process design is critical to the development of good process. Process is the part of the value chain that holds everything together and brings and ordered, programmatic discipline to your business.

Good process results in a highly usable infrastructure being adopted across the enterprise because it efficient for staff and provides visibility and accountably for management all of which increases the certainty of execution. Good process across all areas of the enterprise will result in elimination of redundancy and inefficiency, shortening of cycle times, better knowledge management and business intelligence, increased customer satisfaction, and increased margins.

I encourage you to not let apathy, negative experience based upon results of bad process or flawed implementations, or the fear of complexity keep you from benefiting form the numerous advantages created by good process engineering.

Mike Myatt is the Chief Strategy Officer at N2growth. N2growth is a leading venture growth consultancy providing a unique array of professional services to high growth companies on a venture based business model. The rare combination of branding and corporate identity services, capital formation assistance, market research and business intelligence, sales and product engineering, leadership development and talent management, as well as marketing, advertising and public relations services make N2growth the industry leader in strategic growth consulting. More information about the company can be found at http://www.N2growth.com

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