Tag: George Obst

7 Keys to Employee Commitment

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor
7 Keys to Employee CommitmentWhy do some employees do what is expected and others don’t see what has to be done? Why do some employees accept responsibility for their mistakes and others blame others? Why do some employees appreciate the job opportunity and others feel entitled? Why do some employees work to improve things and others accept the status quo?

The answer is that really good employees, have ideas, do more than their “job” requires, take responsibility for what goes right and what goes wrong, and are motivated to do their best. These committed employees  respond positively to the following 7 keys to employee commitment:

  1. A clear vision on where the company is heading. They need to buy into the vision that is clearly and often discussed by owners and managers.
  2. Well defined values that communicate what the company stands for and that the company “lives” by these values.
  3. Positions, no matter at what level, in which the employees know that they make a difference. They need to know that their actions impact the success of the enterprise because they have “ownership” of their jobs. They need to know the importance of their jobs to the success of the business.
  4. Positions that are clearly defined in which specific goals are spelled out. Equally important is that everyone will know when the goals are achieved because they are measurable, and not simply “pie in the sky”. The most committed employees have a major hand in setting these goals and measurements of success.
  5. Supervisors and managers who receive appropriate training in management and people skills. Most employees who leave a company due so because of a poor relationship with their boss, not because of the company. The bosses who are promoted to management because of their technical skill sets, need to develop management skill sets in order to be effective leaders of employees.
  6. An environment that creates learning opportunities. Employees want to create more value by growing in their jobs. They need to have personal development goals, along with the well – defined goals for their position.
  7. Supervisors and managers who are serious about “listening” to their employees. There is a real hunger for employees to be listened to and this very activity will result in much more committed employees. The sad thing is that bosses are much more busy giving orders and direction and spend too little time seeking and listening to employee thoughts and ideas.

The bottom line is that if bosses implement effectively, the seven keys stated here, they will have employees who have more pride, confidence, and the ability to make a difference.  They will have truly committed employees.

Greater Phoenix SCORE, through their certified mentors can provide your business with the tools necessary to gain committed employees. Call 602 745- 7250, or click here to make your appointment with a SCORE mentor today. There is no cost, except your time commitment to work on your “improvement program”.

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

 

 

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No Pain No Gain!

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

No Pain, No Gain - in Business, too!No matter what our age and experience, no matter whether we are in business for ourselves, or working for someone else, our pattern of beliefs and behaviors are echoed every day and every week. Call it our routine, our repetitive behaviors are the backbone of our actions. We hope these behaviors give us the results we are seeking, and help us achieve our dreams and goals. However, all too often, we don’t examine these behaviors in the cold light of day, and determine the effectiveness of our behavioral patterns. Usually, these very repetitive patterns of behavior are roadblocks to constructive change. We get “stuck” in our old familiar ways, and over time, we diminish both our effectiveness in our personal relationships and business dealings. Gradually, and over time, we fall into what I call developmental retardation.

What are our roadblocks to change? I can think of three:

  • We don’t have time. We are so busy in our business and personal lives that we don’t take the time to think about how we could do things better.
  • We are so comfortable with our patterns of behavior and communication that we just don’t want to change – i.e. we are in a rut.
  • “Thinking” is hard work. It’s just plain easier to rationalize why changes won’t work, rather than thinking about how changes might improve results.

Successful entrepreneurs travel on a road of continuous improvement, recognizing that as the world changes, they too must change. They examine the activities and results achieved, and accept the premise that personal growth is the key to successful businesses and people relationships. Past successes do not ensure tomorrow’s success.

Successful entrepreneurs are in a continuous state of examining their actions and learning new skill sets to enhance their performance. They know they will not be “comfortable” with new behaviors, but are confident that this road of continuous improvement is essential to “living the dream” and optimizing results. They live by the adage,

 “NO PAIN NO GAIN”

Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with folks who are honest in their communications, not sugar coating their comments because they think that’s what the boss wants to hear. They create a climate that encourages constructive dialogue including ideas that are different from the boss.

SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, has certified mentors who will not sugar coat their comments, and will provide guidance to entrepreneurs starting businesses or to existing businesses who want to be on a road of continuous improvement.  Call 602 745- 7250,  or click here to make your appointment with a SCORE mentor todayThere is no cost, except your time commitment to work on your “improvement program”.

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

 

 

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Who’s the Boss?

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

Who’s the boss? Your true boss is your customer.

English: A business ideally is continually see...
A business ideally is continually seeking feedback from customers: are the products helpful? Are their needs being met? Constructive criticism helps marketers adjust offerings to meet customer needs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A customer-driven organization is constantly improving because the ownership and management is trained to hear the customer’s voice. The two questions consistently asked of customers are; “how are we doing, and how can we do better.”

This spirit of continuous listening to customers occurs with all managers and employees who have customer contact. Each person is trained to listen and hear the voice of the customer.
We may think we hear the customers through their verbalization of complaints. But the fact is most customers just don’t complain when they have an issue. The reasons are simple:

  1. Customers think complaining won’t do any good.
  2. Complaining is difficult. It takes time and has to be done with planning and thought.
  3. Customers feel awkward or pushy. Many customers are introverted and are not comfortable complaining.
  4. It’s just easier for some customers to switch their purchasing to a different supplier rather than to complain.

Recognizing that customers may not complain and just go away should lead the organization to implement a formal and informal customer communications and listening program.

In an existing company, transition to a customer driven organization is a process by which people unplug from the old ways of doing things and plug into a new world of customer communications and listening skills.

If an entrepreneur is starting a business, it means setting up both formal and informal customer communications and listening programs from the outset of the enterprise.

In either case the organization needs to “walk in the customers’ shoes”.

The many ways to romance the customer include:

  1. Create customer focus groups who are interviewed about your services and the competitors.
  2. Physically making periodic visits to new and old customers where possible, or at the very least visit customers through e mail communications.
  3. Mean what you say to customers. Don’t mislead customers by promising more than you can deliver.
  4. Teach every employee to visualize the customers’ experiences so that they see your products and services through the eyes of your customers.

Owners and leaders who spend quality time creating this customer environment will lose fewer customers and do more business with existing customers. The result will be greater sales and profit growth.

SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, can help you develop a customer driven organization. SCORE has more than 70 certified mentors skilled in most business applications, who will meet with you, at no cost, as often as you feel it is beneficial. Call 602 745-7250 or click here to make your appointment with a SCORE mentor today.

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

 

 

 

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Turning Conflict into Agreement

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

Turning Conflict into AgreementIn any organization that has two or more individuals there is likely to be conflict from time to time.  In any successful environment there is bound to be conflict, disagreement, and promotion of disparate ideas.  Where there is creativity, there exists the chance of conflict.

There are some guiding principles that, if applied effectively will result in positive outcomes.

  1. Conflict should be resolved through openness. Conflict is natural and should not be suppressed.  If allowed to fester, it surfaces in unproductive ways and can negatively impact relationships.  Conflicts should be discussed and used to sharpen the differences between issues. Through discussion, the best options will become visible.
  2. Issues should be the source of the conflict, not personalities. Although individuals may be parties to conflict, they should not be the issue. Another individual should not be the target of innuendo, put-downs, or embarrassment.  What counts are the issues and the perceptions of those issues, and not the personalities involved.
  3. Conflict should involve a search for alternatives. Don’t play the “blame game” and pin the blame on someone for a problem.  The driving motivation should be to solve the problem.  Look for alternative actions, that, if executed well, will resolve the problem and eliminate the conflict.
  4. Conflict resolution should focus on the here and now, not on prior disagreements or previous behaviors. Working through a situation should be in a present-oriented setting.  Focusing on history and prior disagreements, in general, won’t be productive in resolving today’s conflict.  The present and the future is often a more constructive base for discussion than the past.  Rather than dwell on what or who caused the conflict, emphasize what actions can be done now to provide a solution to the issue.

One of the common impediments to communicating freely is the defensiveness of people whose ideas and suggestions are being evaluated and perhaps disagreed with, in whole, or in part.  You’ve probably experienced it in yourself on occasion.  The pulse quickens, heat and color flood the face, palms sweat, the voice rises in pitch and perhaps in volume.  These are natural reactions when one feels attacked or discounted in any way.  To minimize these potential negative consequences, keep the following in mind:

  1. The person on the other side of the conflict has a point of view that is just as legitimate and reasonable to him/her as yours is to you.
  2. The other person may be uncomfortable about the conflict or disagreement, just as you may feel discomfort.
  3. It is safer and wiser to keep to the issues, and to avoid arguments, for the sake of arguing.
  4. Keep in mind that most people are reasonable, and when presented with attractive alternatives, will work toward a resolution of the conflict.

SCORE can help you develop the best solutions to your business conflicts and issues.  SCORE has more than 70 certified mentors skilled in most business applications, who will meet with you, at no cost, as often as you feel necessary.  SCORE is a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration and provides mentoring services at no cost to you.  Call 602 745-7250 or click here to make your appointment with a SCORE mentor today.

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

 

 

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Entrepreneurs, Which Hat Do You Wear?

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

Entrepreneurs need to have both leadership and management skill sets.

Leadership vs ManagementEach skill contributes in unique and different ways to the success of the organization.  Although there is some overlap between the two, the important thing is to understand the difference and the need for both.

In your leadership role you cast the vision for the organization. You are the key to defining  the mission  and the organization’s values. The leader brings the vision to reality.

In your management role, you organize the work and measure the results. You set specific goals and gauge effectiveness in achieving the goals.
Both the leadership and management combination are essential to the success of the organization.

Below are a few of ways of looking at the different roles of the leader and manager, depending on which hat the entrepreneur wears:

  1. Leaders focus on the future – managers focus on systems and procedures.
  2. Leaders originate – managers initiate.
  3. Leaders challenge the status quo – managers accept the status quo.
  4. Leaders view the horizon – managers watch the financial statements.
  5. Leaders ask, “what and why?” – managers ask “how and when?”.

This boils down to leaders innovating and managers administering.

Leadership vs ManagementTo achieve success in either a start-up enterprise or an existing organization, both effective leadership and management skills are essential.  The question is, ”can you accomplish both roles?”

Every entrepreneur should assess their strengths and development needs, as well as their likes and dislikes in applying both leadership and management skills. The success of the organization is determined by the effective implementation of both sets of skills. Keep in mind an entrepreneur should hire staff, if necessary to ensure quality leadership and management. The other alternative is for the entrepreneur to learn the necessary skills needed to optimize organization results.

SCORE can help you identify your personal development needs to improve results for your business ideas and/or organization. SCORE has more than 70 certified mentors, skilled in most business applications, who will meet with you, at no cost, as often as you feel necessary. Call 603 745-7250 or click here to make your appointment with a SCORE mentor today.

About the Author:

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

 

 

 

 

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Barriers to Peak Performance

By George Obst, Certified SCORE Mentor

It is not easy to take a good objective look at ourselves and modify our behavior based on the results. However,

the most successful people, whether they own a business or work for someone else,  are always self-critical and use self-analysis and behavior modification to improve their personal performance.

English: The Fall of Icarus, 17th century, Mus...
The Fall of Icarus, 17th century, Musée Antoine Vivenel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Icarus was the figure in Greek mythology who attempted to fly to the sun with wings of feathers and wax. But as he approached the sun, the heat melted the wax and he crashed back to earth. This is what happens to many entrepreneurs who take a chance to achieve their goals. They may set their sights too high, become unrealistic in their plans, and, like Icarus, they get burned. Some people will try again, without learning from their previous mistakes, and they get burned again and again. They begin to think, “I try and try, but it never seems to work out for me.”

High potential achievers may have characteristics of the Icarus complex if they:

  1. Fantasize about new ways to make a million dollars but never follow through.
  2. Never seem to learn from their mistakes.
  3. Make snap decisions without first investigating and gathering as much information as possible.
  4. Have a lot of projects cooking, but rarely manage to bring any of them to a boil.

The Icarus complex explains why so many people have “permanent potential”. They almost succeed over and over, having temporary, fleeting gains, then come crashing down to earth.

Achieving success as an entrepreneur requires both working hard and working smart. Sounds simple enough, but it requires introspection and the ability to change patterns of behavior based upon an objective evaluation of effective vs ineffective actions. Many successful entrepreneurs have had a number of failures (learning opportunities) before achieving success. Successful entrepreneurs are both introspective and adaptable, and change their behavior and actions as necessary. They develop excellent listening and communication skills, and avoid defensive and self- protective behavior that usually hampers one’s ability to listen and to think through what others are saying.

SCORE, with over 70 certified mentors, helps entrepreneurs succeed who are either starting a business or leading a small business. SCORE mentors listen intently, and then, at no cost to the client, bring objective plan development and problem solving in constructive and productive one on one sessions. This may take just one meeting or as many meetings as the entrepreneur feels are helpful and necessary. And remember, as a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, there is never a fee to the client. If business financing is needed, SCORE mentors will advise on the necessary steps that will increase the client’s chances of securing outside financing.
Call today, 602 745-7250 or click here to arrange for a confidential appointment with a SCORE mentor.

George Obst, Certified SCORE MentorGeorge Obst is a Certified SCORE mentor with more than 30 years experience profitably managing and growing businesses, including start-ups, purchasing, financing and selling businesses.

 

 

 

 

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