Monthly Archives: August 2007

Empowering Your Team

We have all heard, many times, how important it is to have an empowered team. I believe having empowered people is absolutely crucial to the success of any business.

So how do you achieve it, how do you get an empowered team? First you have to recruit motivated people. I once heard Genn Sather being interviewed and he was asked how he was able to consistently motivate all the young players the Edmonton Oilers had during their dynasty to achieve such great things. His response changed my outlook on recruiting. He said “I can’t motivate anyone. I seek out motivated players and then give them the tools to allow them to excel at their job.” So the first component of having an empowered team is to have people who are motivated to succeed. The second step is incredibly simple but takes tremendous discipline to execute. You must push decision making down as close to the front lines as possible. Team members interacting with customers must know they have the ability and responsibility to make decisions. To achieve this they must know the criteria for making these decisions. I have used the following simple formula with tremendous success in many businesses. Every decision must be measured with three simple criteria: Is it in the customer’s best interest, is it in the team member’s best interest and is it in the company’s best interest? If the answer to all three is yes then do it. If the answer to any one of the three is no, then you don’t have the right answer yet and if you are not sure then go to another level of management to get help. Knowing they have the power and responsibility to make decisions with these three criteria is the basis for having an empowered team.

The other critical component to empowerment is that your team members must have the three necessary components to make any employee happy, and secure. I will discuss those on Monday.

Leaders vs. Bosses

There are two distinct management styles; leaders and bosses. One of these styles is not necessarily better or more productive than the other, they are just different. Although I do have a personal bias, which I am sure you can guess, I will explain the differences as objectively as I can.

Leaders tend to get things done with other people while bosses get things done by other people. Leaders use empowerment while bosses use power over.

Of course no effective manager is a polar extreme in either of these styles. The ideal is to have a healthy mix and to know what will be most effective in each situation. I believe about an 80/20 blend of leader/boss is the most effective.

I stated above that leaders employ empowerment to achieve results through others. Tomorrow I will outline the basics of my simple methodology for empowering your team.

I think today’s topic could be the basis for some very interesting discussion so I would invite all of you to post your thoughts on the leader/boss subject and let’s see what kind of dialogue we can generate.

How Are You Doing With The Challenge

Well, it’s been a week, how are you doing with my challenge? Have you accepted the responsibility of being able to choose your own attitude? Have you gone through this week choosing to be positive and evidencing that choice by giving a positive greeting to everyone you meet? If you have, congratulations and hopefully you have recognized enough of a positive difference in your life, that you will now choose to carry on with this behavior for your own reasons. If you haven’t been able to maintain this positive behavior for even a week, you really need to ask yourself why not.

I can tell you maintaining a positive outlook has been particularly challenging for me ever since I wrote on this topic last week. The world has an amazing way of reminding us of our beliefs sometimes.

I would be pleased to assist anyone who is working on developing a positive attitude in their lives and find they need some help. Just email or call me through my web site.

I know this has been a rather short message but I will sign off with: Charge out there and have a great day!

Time Is Precious. Spend It Wisely.

My wife, Gerri, and I were out riding our motorcycles Friday morning when I witnessed her crashing into a curb and ejecting from her bike at approximately 90 km./hr. Miraculously the only damage Gerri sustained, other than some significant bruising was a severely broken ankle. The past three days were spent in the hospital. Gerri had surgery Sunday and they put five pins and a plate in her ankle. I brought her home yesterday afternoon.

Although this will be of great interest to my many friends who are regular readers of this blog, some of you will be saying: “But this is a business blog. Although that is note worthy, what does it have to do with business?” I believe we are one person and can never achieve success if we don’t acknowledge this and seek success in all aspects of our life. To be truly successful, our lives must be in balance. However that is not the reason I chose to include the discussion of the incident in my blog. The real reason is where my thoughts were lead during the hours spent sitting in the hospital.

I was reminded how precious time is. Life is an incredibly fragile thing and we have a responsibility to live it to the fullest. We all know far too many people who just exist. They are going through the motions of life day by day and just “putting in time”. One of my core beliefs is that we have to be passionate about what we do. Well this is true in all aspects of our lives. We must live life with passion. If you don’t love the business you are in, the family situations you are in and all other aspects of your life, then change them. Life is way too precious to be spent in unhappy situations.

During my presentation on Passion I am often asked how you inject passion into a job. You can’t! Passion can’t be injected it must be discovered. So, find the things you are passionate about and fill your life with them. You will never get the chance to live this day again so make it a great one. Regardless of the situations that exist in your life today, you will have choices that can make it better so make those positive choices.

We all slip from time to time and need a little wake up call. So I am lending all of you the wake up call I had this weekend. Wake up! Charge out there and live life!

Be Involved In Your Industry Associations

Just about every industry has both a regional and a national or even international association dedicated to the development and improvement of that industry. I believe it is necessary that we are all involved in our industry associations.

One of the best friends I have ever had, Mark Stuenkel, was recently passed the gavel and accepted the office of president of the international door association. In his inaugural president’s message in the association’s magazine, International Door & Operator, Mark talked about the friends he has made while serving on the board of directors of the association. I had the honor of serving on the International Door Association board with Mark for five years and I know how true Mark’s comments are. I have some life-long friendships that would not exist if I hadn’t volunteered my time on that board. But friendships are not the only benefit of association involvement. You get to give something back to the industry that is providing you with all the gifts you have in your life. You get to be part of the development and improvement of your industry. There is an amazing sense of satisfaction in watching your entire industry evolve and develop for the benefit of everyone involved in the industry today and in the future.

There is definitely a cost to your company of association involvement and the corresponding benefits don’t necessarily show up in a calculation of this year’s EBITA. Being involved takes time and sometimes travel that takes you away from your business. However I can assure you that the experience gained and the industry relationships formed while serving your industry will pay dividends for years.

Being involved doesn’t just mean being a member. Get involved on the board of directors or on one of the many committees necessary to make any association function. Search out one of the areas of the association that holds a personal interest for you and get involved.

One final note for this week. How are all my regular readers doing with the challenge I issued earlier in the week. I know many of you I have met in my travels this week have been watching me with a particular curiosity when they have asked how I am doing.

Have a great week end.

The Best Sales Tools Are Knowledge And Experise

Twice in the past day I have had the opportunity to observe people using thorough knowledge of their business as a successful sales tool.

Last night I attended an installation training workshop for a local company called Polycore. Polycore is a manufacturer of construction materials. The workshop was presented by the company Vice President, Mark Cunningham and was attended by professional home builders, do it yourself builders as well as some individual members of the construction trades. Mark’s presentation was anything but a sales presentation. It was pure technical and installation information. However the result of the presentation was room full of people who were sold on the product and the company. This was achieved purely by Mark demonstrating his in depth knowledge of the subjects being presented and thereby making everyone extremely comfortable.

Sometimes we forget that it is not sales campaigns, slogans or complex marketing initiatives that make companies successful. Sure these things are all important and need to be employed however the core of any good company’s success is the knowledge and expertise they have of their product or service.

The Law Of Attraction

The law of attraction is as real and inescapable as the law of gravity. You really do get what you expect. If you expect good and positive things in your life then you will have a good and positive life. Conversely, negative expectations are manifested in negative results.

To a great extent this is why the “I am great” response I discussed yesterday works. When you put this positive thought into your sub-conscious mind you are also projecting it out into the universe and if great is what you expect, great is what you will get. Understanding this law is incredibly empowering. Once you completely understand and accept this truth, you realize you have complete domain over your life. You can actually decide your own fate.

The law of attraction is a very simple concept however applying it in our lives requires practice and discipline. As is stated in “the Secret” by Rhonda Byrne the universe is not interested in what we want; it is interested in what we expect. Therefore it is our predominant thoughts that determine our realities. The trick then is to consciously determine what we think about. The acceptance of this carries with it the greatest responsibility we can ever have. We have to accept that we are responsible for everything we receive in this life, the good as well as the bad. Once we internalize this knowledge, there is no escaping it. We can choose to forfeit the right to determine our predominant thoughts but that is still a choice.

The law of attraction is working in my life and it is working in yours. That is the law! So if you get to choose what the effects of this law will be in your life, choose to have them be positive. There are other tools that can be employed in applying the law of attraction and like everything else in life, the more you practice the better you get.

Now go have a great day!!