Sharing tips and tricks for you to reach your peak-performance...

Vital Questions You Need to Ask When Receiving Feedback

Feedback is important to the growth of your organization. It’s the catalyst that opens doors for improvement regardless of the position of the person being evaluated. Feedback paves the way for breakthroughs that otherwise would not happen without it. How do you go about your performance evaluation? Are you getting specific feedback, enough to bring about concrete changes in your organization? Let’s look at the vital questions you need to ask within your team to ensure healthy and effective feedback conversations! Ask Start Questions You need to ask your team what you need to start doing in relation to what they’re currently doing. For example, “Can you start investing in our current IT infrastructure so we can develop better automated options for our customer service?” It’s not enough that they tell you what you need to do, they should be able to specify how that action will benefit or help them in their current job. Feedback is designed to help and build up your people, so make sure you don’t miss out on that! Ask Stop Questions Sometimes you’re doing pretty much all the right things and there’s no need to do more. But there are things that you ought to stop doing. For example, “Can you stop asking for monthly reports so I can focus more on the current project you’ve given me?” Maybe at this particular season when you’re about to launch a product it would be better to skip on the monthly and maybe settle for a quarterly report. Stop questions will help you know the current struggle of your team members because these are the things that stress... read more

How to Keep Your Team Focused

With so many distractions today, staying focused has become a great challenge for all of us. A typical business owner would have a week full of meetings while an employee would have a week full of deadlines and repetitive tasks. In between all of these are distractions like change in schedule, new mini projects, social media and email notifications, and more. You may have experienced setting targets or objectives that have fallen on deaf ears where the outcome was different from what you expected. Somewhere along the way, your team got lost on how to do what. Here are some ways you can keep your team focused: Be specific with the “what.” You need to be crystal clear about what you want your team to achieve. Is it increase in sales? Then how much increase are we talking about? Is it improved customer service? Then in what area specifically? Is it increase in brand awareness? Then which marketing channel are we going to leverage? Your team should be able to visualize what your goal is so they can grasp it fully. The clearer the target is, the more likely they’ll hit it! Be thorough with the “how.” Now that you’ve laid down your objectives, you need to guide your team on how to get there. The steps should also be specific. For example, if we’re talking about a 10% increase in sales, tell your team to focus on customers who have previously bought from you and entice them to come back. You can even be more specific by telling them that you wouldn’t focus on getting new customers right now but... read more

Three Steps to Building Your Dream Team

Every business owner needs a pool of people he can rely on. This core group is composed of your most talented and trusted employees. But you can’t build your dream team overnight. You need to carefully assess them and evaluate their performance. Let me share with you three simple yet powerful steps on how to put the best pieces of your team together. Make sure that your company is a superstar magnet. When professionals think about your brand, what is the first impression you give them? Better yet, if your current employees will talk about your company will they be able to entice other high-caliber talent to join them? Look in the mirror first and see what makes your brand stand out from the competition. Then leverage that and make sure that everyone in the industry knows you for that. It’s more than just the salary, it’s about your vision, core values, positioning, and strengths—all lived out and recognized even by a common observer! Choose people that impress you. By impress, I mean like WOW you and leave an unforgettable mark on your mind. Looking at a CV is different from actually talking to the person and seeing how those accomplishments translate into one’s behavior. These people are talented without being overbearing. They can thrive in different work environments yet still be assertive leaders. These people may not necessarily have the degree required but they have the experience, expertise, and right attitude needed to get there. More often than not, some of them are found in-house! Drop people that impair you. There are extremely talented professionals that are toxic.... read more

How to Identify Time Stealers

Time is a non-tangible asset that is often undervalued. The time you waste on things that don’t matter has a ripple effect on the things that do matter. As a business owner, you need to identify the tasks that steal your time. Not knowing what these things are will be costly to you and your business. The best way to determine these time stealers is by asking specific questions in relation to your daily work activities. Let’s look at some of them. What are the things you consider to be menial tasks? Among all the things you do daily, which ones seem menial to you? By this I mean tasks that are necessary but not entirely productive. It looks indispensable but the truth is you can get away with just spending a few minutes on it or not doing it for an entire day! In fact, it won’t even make a difference if you allot less time on these tasks. How much of your time gets hijacked by menial tasks? Let’s look at this in terms of percentage. For example, you spend 30% of your day checking emails. That’s a pretty huge chunk of your time. Or if you spend 30% of your day approving documents that can be done by your managers, you’re devoting too much time on things that can be delegated or done more efficiently. What gets sacrificed because of those menial tasks? Do you have a pending list of things to do that never gets ticked off for the longest time? Maybe it’s a new product or service that you’ve been meaning to launch but you... read more

Need a Vacation? How to Make Your Company Run Without You

(Repost from Entrepreneur) The summer is halfway over. Have you taken a vacation? For most entrepreneurs, the answer is usually, “No.” There’s too much worry that when the cat is away, the mice will play. Most small business owners I’ve met firmly believe that their business would not even exist if they were away and out of contact for six months. But for many, even taking a break for a few days can seem scary. Business owners often feel too necessary. They fail to empower or motivate their employees in order to keep the game going while they are gone. So before you give up on seeing your favorite beach or lake cabin this summer, here are four strategies to motivate your workers and make yourself less necessary: Focus on the next action. People all too often procrastinate because they’re suffering paralysis by analysis. Instead, they should simply ask, “What’s the next action?” David Allen of the book Getting Things Done (Penguine Books, 2002) popularized this idea. Instead using up time gaming out an entire assignment, an employee should learn to focus on the immediate task at hand, and then figure out the next step later. Create a culture that embraces failure. If you generally want your people to take action, to step in there and make something happen, then you have to be okay with the fact that they will fail. If you create a culture that celebrates “smart failures,” than you can eliminate the stigma of failing and thereby inspire more action. Why not create an open blunder log for your business? Each entry should list the employee’s... read more

How to Attract Top Candidates Without Posting to Job Boards

(Repost from Entrepreneur) In his book The Roadmap to Freedom, peak performance expert Chris McIntyre describes how to build a core team of superstars that will help you lead your company to the next level. In this edited excerpt, the author details the five ways you can uncover superstar candidates offline. Yes, social media can connect you with potential superstars. But don’t forget about the face-to-face approach either. Here are a few ways you can find superstar talent offline. 1. Make Superstars Look for You Getting noticed by the best happens more when you’re the best. Imagine what life would be like if superstar employees were begging to work for you. If they’re not, I challenge you to figure out why. Here are some questions that might help: Do superstars seek us out? Why? Why not? What is it about working here that differentiates us from our competition? What indicators do we consistently reference to keep tabs on our reputation? How might those indicators be changing (i.e., social media)? What are a couple of reasons a superstar would not choose us other than salary? What can we do about it? Being the best means you’re less likely to have to battle with the mass of mediocre competitors out there. The value of clarifying why you’re not currently the best in the minds of superstars could highlight a competitive advantage your competition currently has on you. You may want to plug that hole. 2. Two Degrees of Separation In 1929, the Hungarian poet Frigyes Karinthy suggested you could access anyone on the planet through leveraging no more than six different people;... read more

How to Hire Superstar Employees

(Repost from Entrepreneur) In his book The Roadmap to Freedom, peak performance expert Chris McIntyre describes how to build a core team of superstars that will help you lead your company to the next level. In this edited excerpt, the author describes his six-step process for finding, hiring and keeping superstar employees. How solid is your current hiring process? One of the best ways to get the right talent on board is to have a trusted hiring process in place. Here’s a six-step process you can adopt as is or tailor to meet your needs. Step 1: Define the Knowledge, Skills, and PEAs (People Skills, Work Ethics, and Attitudes) You probably have a good sense of the hard objectives you expect your applicants to achieve, such as a certain percent increase in sales, a certain number of products produced per month, or manage x number of people in accomplishing y tasks. Every successful small business should have its basic business metrics and key measures. You’ll also need to have a strong sense of the critical soft skills you expect from employees. Getting the best out of your superstars means expecting and measuring all critical success factors. By knowing all thenecessary elements for success in a particular position, you can draft the position description. Step 2: Require a Strategic Cover Letter When you publicize your description of the position, request a cover letter that requires candidates to research your company. Ask two or three open-ended questions that would require candidates to dig into your website or otherwise research your organization. Here are a few examples of good, strategic cover letter questions:... read more

How to Start Off New Employees on the Right Foot

(Repost from Entrepreneur) In his book The Roadmap to Freedom, peak performance expert Chris McIntyre describes how to build a core team of superstars that will help you lead your company to the next level. In this edited excerpt, the author explains what kind of feedback you need from your employees after 30 days to help them succeed. Performance management conversations often get hurt by lack of focus. How can you ensure your 30-day check-ins are optimally focused? There are three statements your superstar can make to guarantee you hit the feedback bull’s-eye. Check-In Statement 1: Here’s What’s Not Green and Why  One of my favorite approaches for receiving status updates is the simple stoplight approach: Red = Stop: On hold, not currently moving forward Yellow = Caution: There could be an issue here Green = Go: Everything is fine and on track The stoplight approach is useful for keeping your 30-day check-ins highly focused. When it comes to obstacles, you must first expect your team to identify them by clarifying what’s not moving forward appropriately — and why. The why part of this question is pretty straightforward, but let’s touch on the principle behind it. You probably hate to hear “I don’t know why it’s broke, boss” from someone who’s clearly trying to duck ownership of an issue. Now, if the answer was “I don’t know why yet, but I’m trying to figure it out,” that’s a different story. The principle is that your superstars should never feel comfortable bringing you a problem without also bringing you a reason why the problem is occurring. Check-In Statement 2: Here’s... read more

Time Starved? How to Keep Meetings Short

(Repost from Entrepreneur) Time is often the enemy of entrepreneurs. Countless lengthy troubleshooting meetings take away from the strategic planning needed to stay on the right track. It doesn’t have to be this way. Over the years, I’ve developed a method to keep status-update meetings as short as five minutes. I call it the “five-minute stand-up,” and it’s about the questions that I expect an employee to have answers to if he or she stops me between meetings to give me an update. The five-minute stand-up is all about creating a culture of accountability around your business that empowers your people to handle issues on their own without pushing decision making up the chain, because time is money. An employee who doesn’t get this might say, for example, “We lost last year’s training receipts during our office move. What should we do about it?” Instead, they should say, “We’re on hold when it comes to determining return on investment for last year’s training. That’s because we lost last year’s training receipts during our recent office move. I’ll contact the training firms we used to get duplicate receipts, get us moving forward again on this by the end of the week.” The first statement would start a lengthy discussion. The second statement I can sign off on within five minutes, and off the employee goes. So time-starved entrepreneurs, here is what you need to do to get your own troubleshooting meetings below five minutes: Create a stoplight. Decide on a few code words that can serve as shortcuts for status reports. The stoplight is a great approach. Red equals: “On hold,... read more

Nightmare on Main Street: Workers That Can Sap Your Soul

(Repost from Entrepreneur) Horror movies no longer scare you? Do you wake up in middle of the night in cold sweats — terrified by your own Krueger on the payroll? He or she could eventually slash your business to death. It always amazes me how small-business owners can be held captive by nightmare employees. I recall a particular consulting firm where the head salesperson was “the man,” bringing in twice as much business as anyone else on the sales staff. But he did it by playing mind games — misleadingly claiming to prospective clients that the consultants he was promising were better than the rest inside the company. In the process, he created a toxic, us-versus-them climate in the office that probably cost the company more than any extra business he generated. Why don’t business owners fire people like this? One answer is because they rationalize. They say, “She’s the only person who can do that database that way.” They say, “He’s the lead sales guy.” Superstar employees leave because the nightmare is sticking around. Ironically, as your nightmares chase out more people, you’re forced to rely on your nightmares more. Such an employee can meanwhile prevent you from engaging elsewhere. All of a sudden, your business isn’t as profitable and isn’t playing the role it should in the community. Here are some warning signs that an employee has become a nightmare and may need to be set free to haunt another company. 1.There’s always a problem with them: It could be something different each time, but you are revisiting their issues more than others. You are consistently going to them about... read more

Why Chris?

Chris McIntyre is a peak performance expert, specializing in creating systems that increase productivity and inspire team accountability. Chris has helped some of the best leaders on the planet from Fortune 100 executives to leading small businesses and non-profits, allowing them to reach new levels of productivity and overall accountability.

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