Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Managing Turnover

March 14th 2013

turnover title example

The business world has a lot of factors in it that affect turnover with people switching jobs or career paths. It is something that will certainly be important to any manager who has to keep a team of people productive and effective. Depending on where your work sector is, this problem might be very common with higher yearly turnover numbers approaching or even exceeding 50% or you might be in a stable economy sector with low 10% turnover. Whatever your case, I think there are many ways to manage turnover and reduce the turnover factor in your business relative to your competition and/or the industry you are in. Lets explore some of those methods.

Finding and Using Individual Motivators

Turnover has two major factors, individual and team.  Lets talk individual factors first.  Each and every person is going to have their own set of motivations in their jobs and workplace and it is a manager’s role to find those out and manage that person based on their individual motivators.  You can’t motivate someone directly, but knowing their motivations, you can do a lot to direct work that is suitable, change your level of communication to suit their style, and you can absolutely use those motivating factors to influence their behavior to help them and your organization be successful, as you should as a manager.

Team Dynamics and Culture

Another big factor to turnover is the team, its dynamics and the culture that exists within the team and company as a whole.  People who work closely together need to be able to have a good working relationship, it does mean they need to be friends or really like each other, but they do need to have a few critical elements.  These are respect, trust and the right amount of fun or humor to keep the job interesting from a culture aspect.  If there is not enough respect between people or trust in what they say, the dynamics can ruin a person’s desire to stick around in that job.

The behaviors of a team can be managed to ensure there is no disrespectful comments, that people learn and know each other’s strength’s and that there is enough open communication and to bring forth some honest sharing and discussions.  These things help build goo dynamics and can drive your group to great results.  Read and review with a team Lencioni’s book called, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, to really tackle the dynamics and culture you build intentionally through interaction.

Provide Career Path Improvements

People want to see room to advance, improve their careers and ultimately move up and earn more money in any role.  These are more important for some than others, but there is certainly a large component of turnover that relates to how much of this exists for a team and if they have discussions, see progress and are given opportunities to learn new things and take on new responsibilities.  There isn’t always a role to move up to so this might seem impossible in that case, however, I assure you there are many other ways to look at career improvements that may not have a new role.  Any level of added responsibility can help with this a person’s motivations will again, dictate how you should explore this with each person.  Some people would like to gain more respect from others by become an expert in a certain area so they are relied on for those technical aspects.  Others might want to be recognized or better known in the organization, this could be through making something they start or they’re responsible for more visible to others in the company.  For some, promotion might be an option where they work to not move up within the group, but to move a higher level in another area of the company, still giving them a promotion and keeping them in the company, despite not having promotion options within a group.  All of these techniques are just examples of providing career path improvements and a great way for any manager to do something to reduce turnover.

Set a Goal to Minimize Turnover

This is straight forward, if you want to improve something (reduce turnover) measure your current rate and set a specific goal to reduce that in the next year.  Use these techniques and come up with more ways to discuss career development with your staff, find ways to motivate them and build your culture to be positive so you are able to not only keep the talent you have, but attract new talent.  Once you have a goal for this, as with any goal, schedule some time to work on it, put it on your calendar, meet with your team members to discuss it and ensure you are taking some of these steps to manage turnover in your area.

Posted by Mike King under Business | 1 Comment »

5 Factors to Making Memorable Presentations

March 12th 2013

public speaking - strong messagePresentations are an extremely important skill in business and any leadership position as it is a way to influence others and gain support/followers toward some action.  Even presentations that are intended as training or teaching styles, still require this influence to convince the audience to believe what you present and to gain support and knowledge for that topic.  This makes presentations an important skill to learn for your career and any leadership roles you face.  Instead of covering a huge list of small things, I want to focus presentations skills on learning the most important elements since the smaller things all fit within these big components.  If you take one thing away from this articles, please let it be that you need to make your presentations memorable.  That is not done only with a funny joke or embarrassing moment (although that might help), its done by honing your presentation skills and making it memorable.  Lets look at the factors that help you do that.

Minimize Powerpoint

Powerpoint is a great assist in presenting to show visuals, however it is almost always overused and unless the audience is already intimately interested in the content, it doesn’t do much to make the presentation memorable.  You want your audience to remember the main point (more on that later) of your presentation, to remember you and how it was presented, not just some heading, nice wording or piece of text on your powerpoint slides.  So, drop most of your slides and never use powerpoint to guide you as the presenter from content to content.  Don’t read your slides and starting using powerpoint to assist your presentation, instead of you assisting powerpoint slides.  You are the presenter, you need to capture the audience and therefore, powerpoint should be used to show evidence of your message, support what you are saying and summarize your content only.  Nothing more.

Story Telling

In order to capture an audience you need to be authentic and believable.  Do this by using stories and personalizing what you have to say.  Your audience may or may not already know you, either way its important for them to connect which what you have to say and this is made much easier through telling stories and anecdotes that relate your own personal experience into your main points and convincing message.  Sometimes a story might be to give an example, to help teach a lesson learned, to be convincing due to your own experience or just to add something humorous or memorable to capture the audience’s attention.  Stories let your audience relate to you and your experience, so the story must be relevant to what your presentation is about, else you take them away from the message you want to leave them with.  Use them to help paint a visual picture, show a related experience or to teach something about your subject, always find a way to connect your stories into your presentation so they don’t only remember the story, but also your presentation itself.  Again, story telling should be used to support your main presentation.

Be Enthusiastic

Enthusiasm means many things when it comes time to presenting and needs to be obvious.  The fact is, being enthusiastic gives you more credibility in what you have to say and it will capture the attention of more people in your audience, whether you like be enthusiastic or not.  Have some energy in what you present, show some passion, smile, move around and use natural body gestures.  You need to have much more than your voice if you want to be remembered and if anyone is going to truly believe in your message and main point.

Share ONE Message

Most people cover far too much in presentations and don’t make it clear what their main point or message ever is.  Covering more material is generally not a good idea and so work on being concise with fewer topics that all support one main message.  Setup all your other topics to be evidence that support the main message you introduce early in the presentation.  Refer the evidence and sub topics back to this main one to lock it in to people’s memories.   Build on each idea with related subjects or additional evidence that continue to support the one main message you want to leave your audience with.  If you started with it, you support it throughout your presentation you must also go back to finish on that main message.

A great way to do this is to start with your main message and tell the benefits that it brings to your audience.  These benefits all help convince your audience why your topic is important.  Then walk through your subtopics and make them all supporting your main message, perhaps by covering small components of it, or by linking back related topics.  Each of these subtopics should have evidence as well to make ti believable and valid content.  Then when completed, summarize your presentation in reverse, taking your back through each subtopic and the benefits of them, linking it all back to the main message you started with, so you end up where you started with, restating your main message and topic.  Ask the audience for questions and comments if you have the opportunity to do so at the end as well.

Make it Memorable

We’ve covered a few ways to make a presentation memorable already, where having one main message is the best method.  There are smaller actions and tools you can use within the presentation though that will extend this even further.

Frame your Subtopics

Framing a subtopic means you are creating a mental shift that your audience will need to think on to connect to your subtopic.  It might be a picture or visual, a story, a diagram or chart or a demonstration to capture attention and draw the audience back to your next sub topic, always relating or supporting your main message.

Use Analogies

Analogies help people relate to new content by connecting your new content to existing thoughts or knowledge.  It creates associations in the mind and greatly improves memory of the content, so very powerful in presentations.  Make sure they are professional, suitable to your audience and in obviously relating back to your sub topics.

Have great Visuals

Your visuals will trigger more in your audiences mind than your words.  So, this doesn’t only mean your slides but the visuals you present personally as well.  Your movement and gestures combined with your slides all count as visuals.  Combining visual learning with audible learning helps to make it memorable.

Make something Hands On

Have your audience participate with something hands on or interactive.  When you draw them in to something they can touch or feel connected to, you combine kinesthetic learning, audible and visual together, the best way to make things memorable.

 

Posted by Mike King under Business | 3 Comments »

Procrastination – Pitfalls of the Midnight Crunch

January 7th 2013

I’m happy to present a guest article today on the popular and troublesome topic of procrastination.  It’s a very important topic in the personal development space and one well deserving some attention, your feedback and any discussion.

Every college student has been there at one time or another. You know you have a big exam or paper coming due, but you put it off and put it off. Then, suddenly, the deadline is looming right in front of you and you’re up all night, working like a crazy person and downing coffee to get your studying or writing done. Even if you’ve had success with this kind of cramming in the past, many researchers believe that it can actually be detrimental to both your mental health and your academic performance in the long run. Debatewise lists some of the negative effects of cramming as:

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Addressing Procrastination

Believe it or not, you can make late-night cramming a thing of the past. It simply takes a little effort on your part. The first and most important thing is effective time management. If you’re struggling to find time to get everything done, it may be time to go through your schedule and see what activities you could cut back on. Maybe you could cut back on a few hours at work or perhaps even opt out of a few social events. If you’re really, seriously overwhelmed, dropping a class may even be necessary, though you should only do this when it will not affect your grade or look poorly on your transcript.  Making choices such as going to the library instead of the keg party isn’t always easy, but it’s what the smart student has to do. If you aren’t sure where your time is going, consider keeping a daily log of your activities; you might find that you’re wasting too much time on Facebook or watching television instead of studying, and cutting out these activities could give you a lot more time to get your work done.

It goes without saying, of course, that you should attend every single class unless you are too ill to do so or have a serious emergency come up. Don’t just go to class and play on your computer, however. No, it’s imperative that you actually pay attention and take careful notes in class. Always write down anything that the teacher puts on the board and listen to him or her for key and repeated points during the lecture and be sure to take note of those. Not only will this give you great notes to study by, but it can also help you to retain the information better and to actually have a real grasp of the material. It’s much easier to study things you know than it is to study information you’re really just absorbing for the first time.

Finally, find a study group or a study partner! This is a good way to compare notes and to make sure that everyone has all of the necessary information to do well on the test. Since different people find different things important, combining information is an excellent way to get everything that you need to succeed. Just make sure those study sessions don’t turn into gab-fests, or you could find yourself worse-off for your involvement.

Work Habits

As so many in the workforce are aware, this concern is hardly lost on those who hold full-time jobs: many people face this issue in their professional careers. From attorneys to business executives, freelance writers to musicians, professionals routinely run into problems because of poor work habits acquired at earlier stages of their lives. It is doubly imperative for professionals to develop strong work habits since their livelihood depends on their performance. Fortunately, many strategies which apply to the classroom apply equally well in the workplace – for instance, if you’re having difficulty managing deadlines on the job, reach out to coworkers who may be available to help. Though many workplaces have an undesirable ‘cutthroat’ culture of excessive competition, many workplaces encourage coworkers to assist each other in the process of becoming better professionals. Also, it’s very important that professionals take advantage of the wide array of technological devices which can potentially assist with time management. This is one area in which professionals may be better situated than students since students typically have less disposable income. There are many high quality cell phones and other gadgets which possess in-built time management features (such as daily reminders). Above all, understand that developing yourself in this area is like a marathon rather than a sprint, and thus takes perseverance and determination.

This article was composed by Ty Whitworth for the team at keiseruniversity.edu; for those interested in online learning be sure to view their Online Degree in Medical Assisting as well as other degrees.

Posted by Mike King under Business | 2 Comments »

Book Review: Managing Right, the First Time

December 28th 2012

A Field Guide For Doing It Well

Review Review Review Review Review

Author: David C. Baker

New managers are often in a position not because they are ready, training and experience for it, but because they were performing well in a technical role before that.  This often leads companies to promote such people to a manager role where it is simply assumed they will know how to manage well also.  This is simply untrue and often the reason why so many people think that management or managers specifically do not know what they are doing.  I think it is crucial that new positions such as management should be trained for and you should learn from experts BEFORE jumping in and doing everything by trial and error at other people’s expense.  Of course there is always room to learn by making mistakes and there will be no shortage of those in a new management position but all the help you can get is important for starting out right and learning to do things well from the beginning.

This book is an excellent practical guide to help a new manager do exactly that, start out well by avoiding many common and painful mistakes.  The book is well written, and incredibly practical, covering every subject with quick advice and goo recommendations based on the years of experience of the author, David Baker.  Baker makes things very real by his honest assessment of what is normal in management, comments about many of the organizational struggles and what challenges you will face as a new manager.  I can say I’ve experienced all of these as well and Baker gives quality advice to help avoid them, smooth such problems out fast and manage them well.  His direct style of writing makes everything very easy to understand, leaving no room for misinterpretation and he includes plenty of wit and comments about the often laughable situations that need to be managed, that without this guide book, would be much more difficult to handle the first time they are encountered.

The book is broken into well organized sections covering everything from how you landed a management position all the way to being a change agent as a manager in your company.  Everything is covered in reasonable sections that often happen chronologically, starting with how to start as a new manager or managing for the first time, through more complex aspects that definitely don’t occur the first few months managing, but perhaps even years later, still important for the manager role however.

Everything in this book is quite practical and Baker writes it in a easy to apply style that makes things reasonable and understandable.  It’s book I will recommend to any new supervisors and managers in my work areas and one I can recommend anyone with aspiring management skills or who needs it for their existing role.  It will help you, no matter what your experience level, however, most valuable to new managers.  Its a great practical guide and easy to use for whatever topic is thrown your way as a manager.  I have read a lot of books on this subject and this one seems to cover the most areas with the best practical ways to apply the skills that many authors cover more in theory, and not in practice.  I hope you enjoy it as I did and will make the most of it for your management position.

Posted by Mike King under Business | 3 Comments »

What it Takes to Have Top Managerial Skills

September 9th 2012

I have another great article today to add to the management / leadership topics covered recently.  This guest post from Sacha covers her personal discoveries on what it takes to have top managerial skills.

What distinguishes you as a great manager from the good ones is possession of a wide set of skills which range from communication and motivation to planning and delegation. Often times, the top management skills are so many, and some managers think they should concentrate on the management areas they understand most.  However, to be considered as having top management skills, I needed to analyze my expertise in all areas and then set out to improve on areas where I was most wanting. You will only be complete when you have the most diverse of skills, which sharpen your problem solving skills.

Base Skills

There are skills that a manager need have, and if I were to talk about all of them, then it would probably take weeks, if not months. One of the most important skills that a manager need have is the ability to understand the dynamics of the team and encourage good relationship between the team members. This simply means that you need to understand exactly how teams operate.  Normally, teams will follow a certain definitive pattern of development, and experts have listed them thus: forming, norming, storming and finally performing. When encouraging and supporting those under you, it is important to do it through this process, and this has the effect of helping your team become effective in the shortest possible time.

It is important that, as a manager, I must consider the aspect of balance when creating teams, so that I end up with a team comprising different sets of skills, people and perspectives. It is never easy to manage a group of people who seem to be able to get along, but teams that will be effective in the long run appreciate different points of view, and using their dissimilarities to be not only creative but also highly innovative. As a manager, you will be tasked to have skills needed to direct the said differences in a positive manner.  Thus you will need to introduce a team charter. Your knowledge of team conflict will be particularly important if your team is to be managed effectively.

As a team leader, my ability to choose and nurture the right people is not just necessary, it is mandatory. I always need to find the great team members, and have the skills needed for the success of the team developed. When recruiting new members, I usually focus on the various specific skills that I need for the success of my team, balance different personalities so that I have variety in my team.

You would be mistaken to think that just by having the right people with the right skills does the trick, but this is usually not the case. It is important that as a manager, you know just how to get a task completed effectively. Delegation is the catchphrase here. Some managers, having earned their promotion purely on the grounds of their technical superiority, try to accomplish most tasks all by themselves. They believe that, being the accountable officers, they ought to do the tasks by themselves to be sure that the task is successfully completed.

Motivation

For teams to accomplish a lot more, great managers will assign the task to the right people, and not necessarily the people with the most time. You will need to clearly outline what you expect to be achieved. However, it is not easy to trust other people to accomplish some tasks. But it still boils down to your team having not only the right people but also those with the right skills, who you can easily rely on to get the job done and dusted.

Motivating people under you is yet another great piece of skill that all managers ought to have. Motivating oneself is easier but motivating another person needs careful thought. People are motivated by totally different things, a factor that managers have to keep in mind. You will need to understand your team members at a personal level which helps you to motivate them better. You can stay informed about each of your team member’s information by providing regular feedback.

Handling Conflict

 Instilling a sense of discipline and dealing with conflict between your team members is something that contributes your management prowess. If, despite your efforts, there are still problems with your employee’s individual performances, you are required to deal with it promptly. Failing to discipline erring employees will impact negatively on the whole team and also on your customers, given that poor performance of employees will impact on customer service. Working alongside team members who regularly fail to meet expectations is very demotivating for other team members, and if tolerated, it leads to suffering of other team members.

You should not allow dissimilarities between individual team members to progress to conflict, as this would also influence negatively on performance. You as a team manager ought to facilitate a speedy resolution to the conflict, by being impartial and objective, so that members do not have the idea you are taking sides. You should also note that some conflicts are positive in that they can help unearth deep-seated underlying structural problems. Efficient conflict resolution means that you recognize conflict and stem it from the roots, rather than giving it a palliative approach where you try to suppress it or avoid it completely.

Communication

Effective communication is an important managerial skill, which you need to pay close attention to. Keeping your team informed on all that is going on, as well keeping them as informed as possible is something that you should endeavor to do always. Managers should specifically improve on their team briefing skills.

Decisions

Many managers are quite equipped with planning, decision-making and problem solving skills because they are skilled professionals whose promotions are based on knowledge and analytical efficacy. Therefore, most managers tend to focus too much on these skills, thereby failing to concentrate on their other skills, such as people and management skills. Being narrowly proficient on these skills alone cannot make you to be touted as having top management skills.

About Sacha

I have been a team player in many organizations and I understand the frustration people go through because of inadequate leadership skills. Some of the people claimed to possess reputable leadership skills are lacking them in zeal and I find it worth that they should undertake some leadership quality classes. As an owner and runner of pharmacytechnicianinfo.net, I always meet with so many people and effective use of my managerial skills brings many clients, students and customers my way.

 

Posted by Mike King under Business | 11 Comments »

An Online MBA Degree Isn’t for Everyone. Is it Right for You?

July 6th 2012

A recent book review of mine for the Personal MBA is one that is typical at creating some disagreement (which the author writes about as well) and whether you agree or not with gaining a personal MBA, other options are the classic school program and of course an online program.  This week I have a guest post considering some of the factors you should know about online degree programs and so I hope you find it useful and leave comments with your own thoughts, questions or opinions.

Following on the heels of this recent book review concerning concepts you’d learn in an MBA program, perhaps you’re considering actually enrolling in such a program. You’ve probably read dozens of articles stating that traditional MBA degrees aren’t for everyone. If this is true of a standard MBA, then it’s doubly true for online MBA degrees. If you’ve considered getting an MBA degree to strengthen your business acumen and broaden the reach of your professional network, then it’s worth considering if an online alternative may be a better choice. Here are a few things to consider:

1.      There’s still a stigma attached to online programs.

Completely notwithstanding the increasingly improving quality of online programs across different fields, many employers still don’t value online degrees, especially employers who work for long-established traditional companies. It’s really that simple. A quick glance through a Business Week forum, “Do Employers Value Online MBA Graduates?,” proves my point. Of course, not all employers see it that way, but before even considering pursuing an online business degree program or course, check with leaders of different companies you could envision yourself working for and ask. Do it now.

2.      Online MBAs are worth it if you choose the right program.

Now that you’ve gotten a feel for which employers would look favorably toward an online MBA degree, there’s a whole lot more research involved. To be quite honest, for-profit online MBA degrees, such as those offered by University of Phoenix and Kaplan, can be just as expensive as traditional degrees and offer half the brand recognition and support. The best option for those seeking an online MBA degree is looking at “brick-and-mortar” programs which offer online degrees in additional to the traditional MBA. Some examples of schools offering online programs like this include University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the University of Illinois’ Kelley School of Business.

3.     An online MBA degree is more favorable under very specific conditions.

If we could all afford the tuition and time off from work and family responsibilities, then I’d enjoin everyone in business to go out there, take a few years off, and get an MBA degree from the most competitive school that they can get into. But time and money are precious. For those of you whose time and money are indispensable—perhaps you have several kids or you can’t afford to be out of the job market for a couple of years—then an online MBA from a good, accredited school may be exactly what you need. After all, the greatest benefit of pursuing an online MBA versus a traditional MBA is that A), it’s often much cheaper, B) you can still work while pursuing the degree, and C) you don’t have to be in-residence the whole time, meaning you can still spend quality time with your family without having to relocate them elsewhere.

4.     Sometimes an MBA degree makes a difference in your job search. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Whatever you do, don’t be hypnotized by those who are trying to sell you an MBA, whether it’s an online degree, fake college diplomas or a traditional one. Those who do best in MBA programs are those who understand what an MBA can do for you, and, more importantly, what an MBA can’t do for you. For many positions, an employer values work experience over a degree. For other employers, sometimes having an MBA listed on your resume is what keeps you from being thrown in the “rejects” pile, as blogger DJ Drummond notes in his personal online MBA story.

Whatever you end up deciding, don’t make impulse decisions. Do the research. Ask employers what they’re looking for. Go over all decisions with family members and trusted friends. An online MBA degree may be the right thing for you, but you’ll have to put some time in first to find out. Good luck!

Lauren Bailey is a freelance blogger who loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. As an education writer, she works to provide helpful information on the best online colleges and courses and welcomes comments and questions via email at blauren 99 @gmail.com.

Posted by Mike King under Business | 5 Comments »

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