Employee Recognition – Key to Improving Performance and Morale

Strategy Plan One

August 14, 2012

Employee Recognition and Feedback

Gathering feedback from staff and customers is essential to moving forward with your continuous improvement processes.  It is always best to seek internal and external objective input into your business operations.  However, in certain business environments, management and employees may not necessarily be connected, leading to a lack of feedback and recognition.

Here, in this infographic from Rypple, statistics and impacts of management-employee communications highlight:

  • 65% feel they don’t receive enough feedback in the workplace 
  • 34% of managers want to engage staff and provide more feedback
  • The larger the company and the higher the status of the executive, the feedback gap widens
  •  Veteran managers want to provide more input to staff

Key messages on feedback and recognition:

  • Feedback and recognition improves morale, less costly mechanisms to achieve performance improvements
  • Employees are more engaged in operations, the business and objectives when recognized by management for their efforts

employee recognition and feedback

Source: Rypple

It is clear that there is a correlation between constructive management feedback and employee job satisfaction, performance and morale.  It’s in your best interest to ensure you implement strong feedback mechanisms and employee-management performance appraisals to help build capacities in your organization.

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Business Tips – Maximize Performance and Business Development Results

Strategy Plan One

August 1, 2012

business tips Business Tips for the Entrepreneur

As you are midstream through harsh economic times, take the time to reflect on your current business operations.  Think about the small things that could be tweaked that can have the maximum positive impact on your business.  Here are some helpful business tips to maximum the output in your organization and in your business development.

Business Tips – Maximize the Use of Your Time

Time is definitely considered an asset when you are a busy, mult-taking entrepreneur.  Delegate operational tasks to staff and area specialists as much as you possible can.  Free up your time for business management functions, business development, planning and implementation.  Institute shorter, more concise meetings and communications as much needed time savers for all.  Cut the slack time and concentrate efforts in a condensed shorter period.  Incorporate that into individual and team goals.

Establish Priorities

Clutter can occur in many ways from physical bunched up clutter to the mental clutter of massive workloads of relevant and non-relevant tasks.  Take the time to sort this out.  Getting organized on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis should be a standard part of your business and of the action plans across all employees.  Encourage organizing and priority setting as part of the valued added side of your corporate culture.

Business Tips – Create a Constructive Environment

Feedback is necessary on all aspects of your business.  Ensure that you develop a culture of encouraging and valuing input from all levels in the organization.  Constructiveness is essential … when everyone puts on their constructive gear and behavior, everyone is “building” towards a common goal.  Feedback can be critical nature, but as team members put on the constructive hats, criticism turns to positive alternative idea and solution generation.  Problems and issues are better solved when the collective can feed into the solution.

business tips - social Be Social

This business tip is not necessarily focused on spending massive amounts of time on social media.  Being social in business means networking, partnering, collaboration, team work.   Every business, every entrepreneur venture is vastly stronger when you and your team get out there and communicate and network with everyone.  Not all deals, partnerships and customers will automatically fall into your lap … you need to get aggressive and make the moves to communicate and network with others.  Remember that social media is only one form of communication and engagement with other businesses and customers.   Communications, marketing and business development occur in many ways outside of normal office functions and social media.

Business Tips – Be Helpful

As a leader, entrepreneur and community member be helpful to all and it will eventually return to you in spades.  Being a business leader is not a one-way street…. you need to not only receive but to give.  Your valued staff give their efforts and their time to helping you achieve your success.  You need to help your staff become successful through employee development, encouragement, recognition and in your acceptance of their needs professionally and in their personal lives.

When developing products and services for customers, remember this two-way street.  It’s not about just gaining revenue from clients.  You should be developing your business around how your products and services can first help the intended market, and meeting the needs of the consumer.   Revenue then potentially follows after successfully meeting the needs of the customer.

Plan well for maximum benefits and results!

Relevant personal and business development blogs and articles

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Efficiency – Working More with Less in Current Business Environments

Strategy Plan One

July 24, 2012

Efficiency to Survive in the Current Economic Environment

Tough economic times require tough business decisions.  In cases of self-employment, when times are difficult, the onus rests on the business owner to implement contingencies.  When reductions occur in smaller businesses, everyone, including the owner, get busier.  In extreme cases to survive, businesses may reduce operations down to the owner handling all tasks, from management to operations to administration… just to survive.

In order to find efficient methods in operations, businesses insert in tech tools.  However, being connected by mobile devices adds a new dynamic to vacationing business owners, as it has now become part of the norm on vacation.  Business owners are glancing at their emails while sitting on a beach, partaking in a tourism outing, or trying to spend leisure time with family.

In this infographic from Manta, some key trends are emerging in small business and mobile device use, from an external Manta Wellness survey that was conducted in June 2012.

  • 58% of business owners say they are working more than the previous year
  • 70% of those surveyed do not plan to hire any additional staff this summer
  • 71% of business owners express working and responding to emails while on vacation
  • 60% of entrepreneurs state they enjoy vacations more due to their mobile devices (huh?)
  • 68% of respondents say they use mobile devices while using their computers
  • 54% state that they use mobile devices at work to check email (business or personal) and,
  • 24% of business owners use their mobile devices every day


efficiency - working more with less

Source: Manta

Business issues – A few points were clear from this survey:

  • Businesses are still facing challenges in this economy – Ensure you plan well in advance.  Business planning should be conducted frequently to help in mitigating around the surprises this economic environment may bring.
  • Business are making adjustments and finding efficiencies – develop operational and human resource plans focused on finding effective, efficient methods with reduced labor and resources.
  • Work-life balance issues at the business owner level doesn’t appear well – we all know these are tough economic times, but strong work-life balance at all levels will keep employers and employees happy and healthy.  Ensure work-life balance exists for healthy minds, bodies and relationships.
  • Effective tools are needed to handle complex volumes of work – Ensure you invest in capabilities to make work easily for you as the business owner and employees.  If mobile devices work well in operations, make it readily available to staff.  Devices like these could be the productivity improvement to handle more work more efficiently.

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High Performance – Star Qualities to Get You Noticed

Strategy Plan One

July 18, 2012

high performanceHigh Performance

Whether you are an employee in the private or public sector, or into self-employment, you need to set yourself apart from the pack.  To make a significant impact on your organization or industry, there are things you can do to achieve high performance.  Possessing and demonstrating qualities will ensure you stand out from the competition, internally and externally.




For the most part, personalities get noticed, but other characteristics and qualities gained through experience can make you shine through.  Your qualities can assist in your performance, but can also rub off also in the higher performance of employees, teams and business itself around you.

High Performance Qualities and Tips

Here are some qualities and tips to performing at a high level and getting noticed:

  • Demonstrate excellence in everything you do, strive for excellence and encourage all to achieve excellence
  • Set aggressive, achievable goals and demonstrate dedication by hitting them
  • Seek and implement continuous improvements for yourself, for your team, for your business
  • Be genuine, truthful, honest, respectful and fair; uphold strong values and ethics and treat others as you would want to be treated
  • Create an open and transparent environment around you; staff, stakeholders and customers will want to go to as you have gained levels of trust
  • Keep emotions in check
  • Be consistent in your responses, decisions, and in your daily work
  • Be an example of collaboration, partnership building, encouraging team effort
  • Rely on other’s expertise; be noticed for calling upon others for their value-added advice, opinions and recommendations
  • Value everyone’s input and feedback
  • Lead by example
  • Be energetic, enthusiastic, creative and innovative
  • Be loyal to colleagues, staff, customers
  • Hit and make the deadlines, be on time

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Business Issues Faced in the Summer Months

Strategy Plan One

June 20, 2012 

business issues Business Issues 

As summer months on now upon us, it is important as leaders to plan in advance for the differing business dynamic summer months bring.  Your business needs to be prepared in order to meet customer needs, continue business as usual and continue to grow.  Whether it’s staffing levels, supplier issues, demand issues or opportunities, it is best to plan contingencies around the challenges you may face in the summer.




The three key business issues faced in the summer discussed here include:

  • Staffing and human resources issues
  • Supply and demand issues
  • Business development and opportunities

Staffing Levels

Of course the summer season is notorious for the majority of staff wanting a bit of a break during the summer months.  Some of it is centered on family concerns with children off school, while others find it advantageous to take off the months during the best weather and tourism offerings.  Certain human resource strategies can alleviate these pressures.

Ensure you have policies and procedures in place for staffing when there are leaves from work.  The policies will differ and be stronger if you are in a business of essential services, like medical practices.  For the most part, policies and procedures can be flexible and fair to all staff to ensure everyone has the ability to take much needed breaks.  Policies and procedures will provide standardization to the organizations and will bring clarity to staff when all are seeking leaves.

To alleviate pressures of staffing levels, you as a leader can plan to fill the gaps in the summer in creative ways.  Students are always looking for work in the summer and would be an appropriate human resource pool to pull from.  Contracting out is another option if you need professional services to carry on complicated, complex projects in your business.  Offering opportunities to staff for assignments or acting positions may fill the void temporarily and would go a long way to building up capacity in your organization.  Lastly, encouraging and implementing work-life balance with flexible scheduling in the business may give the flexibility across all employees to manage the staffing levels.

Supply and Demand Challenges

Depending on what business you are in, summer months can bring a higher demand on some products or services, and likewise, supplies can fluctuate during this period.  Supply and demand issues should be adequately identified in you business plan.

A simple example of supply and demand is the local ice suppliers as ice demand would be in high demand by all sectors in the summer.  On the services front, certain services would be in high demand and potentially hard to obtain such as HVAC specialists around cooling system maintenance, or in the case of trying to acquire service from pool maintenance companies.  Building contractors and the construction industry are in higher demand during the summer months.  These businesses face the same human resource issues during the summer months to complicate their own operational demand issues.

If you are business that relies on specific supplies and through your research you know supplies fluctuate during the summer period, ensure you have planned out your contingencies to keep the supply level consistent.  This may require you to secure commitments from a number of suppliers in the chain.   You may also develop RFP processes in advance to ensure you have suitable suppliers ready to go.

If you are in a business where the demand for your products or services increases in the summer, once again your business planning process should identify your operational plan to cope and accommodate increased operational demand.  Through a pattern of previous annual experiences, you may plan to ramp up staffing to accommodate increased service demand.  In terms of a supplier type business, retail or food services, you may increase inventory levels in advance of the summer months to ensure you can entertain increased commerce levels.  This piece should be carefully researched, analyzed and planned well within your business planning process.  Over estimates can be costly, but so can missed business and revenue with not being prepared and having to hang the dreaded “out of stock” sign.

business issues - partnershipBusiness Development and Opportunities

Summer months can be challenging to try and grow your business.  As your business has challenges regarding staffing levels and the need for everyone to take time off, so do your partners, investors and other entrepreneurs that could help you in business development and partnership building.

Although people can be away for periods during the summer months, most know that entrepreneurs stay connected, no matter where they go or what they are doing.  In the interests of their own business goals and growth, entrepreneurs and business leaders are highly motivated and dedicated to their own businesses.  It may be easy to connect with those partners and synergistic businesses out there during the summer months for further business development.

In the case where you or other business leaders cannot be connected during the summer months, it is appropriate as a good leader to delegate tasks to those who do remain in the office.  Delegating to staff members and encouraging responsibility, accountability and decision-making are ways to build excellent capacity building in your organization and build business at the same time.

Know well in advance of what challenges summer may bring your business.  Through adequate planning and establishing your plan of contingencies, your business will be ready to more than satisfy the markets, and your business will be well positioned to grow.

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Communication Strategies, Policies and Processes to Control Messages

Strategy Plan One

May 25, 2012 

communication strategiesCommunication Strategies

Businesses come across difficult scenarios which require careful external and internal communications.  Depending on the severity of the situation, communication strategies, plans, policies and procedures need to be developed for staff and leaders to respond appropriately.

Communication Strategies Plan

Like business and marketing planning, you need to develop a communications plan.  Ensure you have a communication strategies plan which may include:

  • Communication policies
  • Education and development opportunities in communications
  • Process for gathering information from area experts
  • Procedures for approved external communication lines
  • Designation of approved spokespersons within your organization
  • Development of action plans following communications

Communication Policies

Communication policies in your organization will set the rules and help staff get organized around communications needed internally and externally.  These guidelines and rules will illustrate how staff should discuss issues and who can handle communications in the organization.  It will help organize staff in the event that a serious situation arises that requires carefully controlled communications.

If your organization is large enough, your may have policy specialists who may undertake a formal policy development process.  Drafting clear and concise policies will assist in establishing solid guidance and help with a thorough understanding of company policies.

communication strategiesEducation and Learning Opportunities in Communications

It would be advantageous for you as the leader in your organization or your designated communications lead to hold sessions for your staff.  Staff need to be aware of the policies and procedures around communications to ensure situations are handled appropriately.  Learning sessions will keep everyone informed on the proper protocol for communications and staff will be well informed on the “what ifs” that pop up from time to time.

Internal capacity building should include opportunities for staff to build skills in communications, whether those skills are centered on oral or written communications.  Building individual capacities will build organizational capacities – worthy investments.

Gathering Information for your Communication Strategies

As a leader, you should have procedures to delegate some of the responsibility around information gathering to area leads, area experts.  As an executive you may not be the professional at all operational levels… that’s why you hire area experts to inform your decisions.  Have a procedure for circulation of communications to area experts to fill in the appropriate level of detail.  Following through the track of approvers, you and your communication specialists will craft the communications for the audience.

Approved Communication Lines

As part of the policies and procedures, you communications person along with management will approve of the appropriate communication lines that either a spokesperson or communications lead will use.

Approved Spokesperson

Appropriate communications is an art and a professional career.  The organization should have procedures around who in the organization should be talking to the public, external parties or the press.  A dedicated, trained spokesperson would be approved by the organization and would know the appropriate tactics to use to adequately handle the situation with press, ensuring the organization does not get into hot water.  They would be able to temper the press or stakeholders appropriately, taking an inflamed scenario and turning it into a positive one.

Action Plan

Internally your team should be developing an action plan following the release of information.  Depending on what type of message it is and how severe, you can gear up your team to be pro-active.  This preparedness will lessen the blow externally or internally.


An organization has been rumored to lay off several hundred people at one location which would have severe economic impacts for a small town.  This information may have been stretched and fabricated.  The press has been notified and is looking interview the company for more information for their news story.  This could gain the wrong attention for the national corporation and could have a wide-reaching negative impact for the public company.

Communication unit and all management would develop a communications plan around this scenario and ensure that approved communications lines have the corrected information in it.  The organization would then move forward with having the approved communication person who has been trained to handle external pressures, be interviewed by the press and provide the correct information about correct job training programs in place, with no negative employment effects.

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Business News – 5 News Sites to Keep You Informed

Strategy Plan One

May 21, 2012 

Business News

Looking for great daily business news clips and resources?  Many business news sites exist on the Internet that it is sometime confusing where to turn for latest business news updates.  Here is a solid list of 5 business news websites (in no particular order) and their features you can zone in on for the latest business news.

business newsReuters Business News

Daily news is posted on Reuters, one of the world leaders in information for business and professionals.

Entrepreneurs and business owners may find it valuable to focus on the specific business, tech and money pages.  Articles highlighting entrepreneurs and business opportunities in growing industries fill the pages in the small business section.  “Management Tip of the Day” gives you some applicable management insights through inserts from Harvard Business Review.  For investors, the current stock ticker runs across the top of the page.  Social Media follow, like, post and RSS buttons are readily available.

business newsCNN Money

CNN Money, backed by the CNN Network, provides you with relevant pages and current topics on:

Along with top stories, pages are dedicated to the “Buzz” around companies and the markets, and clips on Fortune 500 companies.  The tech page is chalked full of articles and blogs, with much focus these days on social media companies like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and zoning in on the mammoth tech companies like Apple, Google and Yahoo.

Contributors on CNN Money write on relevant leadership topics, with focused articles on the leaders of top Fortune 500 companies, and some of the newer entrepreneurs making a splash.  Staying connected is easy, with buttons on the home page, right side at the bottom.

business newsForbes Business News

Forbes‘ simple business site format gives you easy access to 7 main topics at the top of the main page.  Of possible interest to entrepreneurs includes the business, investing, tech, entrepreneurs, business opinion, and leadership pages.  On the entertainment side, Forbes is widely known for their plentiful offering of lists.

Forbes’ staff and contributors compose topics on financing, management and micro-business.   Small business profiles and interviews are provided on the right hand side of pages in their video viewer.  Recently, Forbes posted brilliant topics and information for entrepreneurs on a special Small Business Toolkit page.

business newsCNBC

According to the CNBC website, CNBC is the recognized world leader in business news, providing real-time financial market coverage and business information to more than 340 million homes worldwide, including more than 95 million households in the United States and Canada.

The real-time stock ticker on the left side of the home page and symbol look-up at the top are of great benefits to the investors who view their pages seeking updates.  As a global TV force, CNBC offers plentiful videos on business, economic, and technology topics.  There is a page dedicated to small business videos alone.

business newsBloomberg Business News

Between the tandem Bloomberg and Bloomberg Businessweek sites, current topics on business, technology, small biz, and investing are covered well.

In value-added coverage, Businessweek also provides information and topics on business schools, providing information on grad school programs, institute rankings, and financial aid.


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