Practical Practice Management

Getting Others To Contribute

What inspires employees to think about what they can do to contribute to the overall success of the business?

Of course, there are probably many different answers, but I personally think one of the key elements for this to happen is to be led by someone who is doing their best at what they need to do and invites them to work side-by-side with them to reach the business goals and vision.

There are so many great leaders today, and in history from whom we can learn knowledge to improve our management and leadership skills.

Great leaders are those who have not only reached their goals and more, they move others forward further than they ever thought possible.  They understood that together we can accomplish more.

Great Leaders all possess the following four attributes:

1. They personally aspired to reach beyond what was thought possible.

2. They had a plan.

3. They inspired others to follow them. (This is key to others wanting to contribute their best)

4. They were able to execute what was necessary to achieve the goal and then more.

Business owners and managers are given the privilege to oversee the people they work with.  It is their responsibility to become a manager/leader that is capable of inspiring and motivating their co-workers to achieve great things.  To inspire them to ask, “How can I make the greatest contribution to what needs to be done?”

“Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs

Have a great Thursday!


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Thinking Positive to Find Solutions

Metaphysical theorists will tell you that whatever you focus on is the thing that expands. If we think about this and apply it to negative or difficult situations that come up at work, we then are expanding the negative.

If we choose to focus on what we do right and what great systems we have set up often this will help us to fix the current problems we are facing at work.

Negative breeds negative and in the workplace this creates toxic energy, which does no one any good and certainly does not help us to move forward with solving our problems or challenges.

If we take a few minutes to think about it, our minds are very powerful and we can make choices that will help us to become more positive even during these difficult times.

The trick is to remember to do them. These three actions below, as simple as they are, can be real game changers during tough times. How do I know? I practice them myself.

  1. Change your focus. When faced with troubling times, like sick children, financial issues, and personal life struggles people tend to keep their focus on their problems.  The more you focus on your problems the worse they tend to seem and it becomes overwhelming.  While at work look outward, think about what you do and how it affects those you work with.  Ask yourself “what can I do to make their day or their experience a better one?”  When you focus outward, it has a positive effect on you and you begin to lift yourself up from the issues that are weighing you down.
  2. Practice what psychologists call “reframing.”Are you an optimist or a pessimist?  When a situation does not go as you planned how do you react? For example, you were planning to take your children to the park to play, but it started to rain, do you get upset and say, “The rain has ruined our play day?”  Or you can look at the situation and say “How wonderful we have rain let’s see what fun we can have making a tent in the house, or baking cookies, etc.”  Reframe the negative by finding something positive to replace it. Training yourself to do this is a challenge, but you will be much happier once you begin to master it.
  3. Make a Happy Thought List. This is a list of things that make you happy.  Take the time to jot down big and little things that make you happy and bring a smile to your face.  Maybe it is watching your children play, or a favorite childhood memory.  I also like to have pictures of my family around me at work and at home that I can look at and warm my heart with.  Write your happy thoughts on an index card or several and one with you and set the others out around your house, car, and office.

Although these things do not change your situation, they will make your days easier to get through and will cause you and your team to be more positive in your thinking which can lead to positive outcomes and solutions.

Happy Thursday!


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5 Tips For Clearer Communication At Work

As a business owner or manager have you struggled when you need to ask questions to your staff about their work task progress because you do not want to cause an employee to be on the defense?

Or do you ever wonder if your staff understand the instructions that they are being given and possibly therefore things are not running smoothly?

Clear communication takes skill to accomplish, and it also takes time to develop good communication skills.

I remember few years ago I was talking with an office manager who said she was having problems with her staff members completing tasks she had assigned them.  She felt it really was not her staff’s fault as much as it was hers and how she gave instructions.

When it came to delegating to her staff members, she would become a little nervous thinking she might sound “bossy” so she gave instructions quick and vague.  She knew this was frustrating to her staff and wanted to know how she could improve in this area.

When asking staff members to complete assigned tasks the parameters should be clearly defined.  Whatever the job task is, a proper briefing is essential.  You cannot hold someone responsible for an assigned task when vague or undefined instructions are given.

  1. After assigning a task, ask for feedback with questions like, “Do you understand what I have asked of you, and can you explain what you need to do?” Also, “Do you have any questions about what I asked of you?”
  2. If they have any questions, they can be addressed right away before tackling the task.
  3. Always let your staff know that you are available to help, advise or support them during the process of completing the task.  This way they will come to you with any questions they may have.
  4. Have a check-in time with them regarding the tasks they are responsible for completing, just to see how things are going.  Let them know when you assign the task that you will be checking in, so they do not think you are questioning their ability to complete the task.
  5. Make sure that your staff members have the tools and any authority they may need in advance to complete the task assigned.

When the task is done make sure that you give a praise report on the completed project, letting the staff member know how much you appreciate the work and time they have invested.

As an employee, we all want to receive clear instructions so we can do a good job.  As a manager never be timid to give good, complete instructions and elicit feedback from your staff so they can do the best job possible.  They will appreciate your efforts and feel great about the job they completed.

Have a great Thursday,


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Disengaged Management

Often, when I have conversations with people I will ask about their employment and how they like their job.  I usually hear one of two things; “I love my job, or I hate my job.”  There are times when I might hear, “My job is okay, I am glad I have one, but it is just a job.”

In 2017 a Gallup poll showed that 70% of Americans were disengaged with their job.  So that is why you will probably find more people with negative responses about their employment than a positive, and things have not changed much for the positive regarding this, especially since so many people are unemployed during this time of the Pandemic.

This is really a terrible thing, as people need to work to support themselves and their families, yet if they have a job, they most likely hate going to work each day.  Frankly, I cannot imagine what this might be like, but I am sure there are some of you that do.

What is sad is many times the person who hates their job is the manager, or possibly the business owner.  How can you possibly expect employees to be happy, engaged and loving their job if the ones in charge do not?  It is impossible and will not happen.

Employees keep leaving, the workplace environment is miserable, who would want to work there?  I have known small business owners that love what they do and the people who work for them, but their management staff do not like what they do and are allowed to stay and create a poor work environment for everyone. They blame others for the problems that they are responsible for creating and employees either leave or lose their job because the manager is unhappy and disengaged.

What is sad is there is something that can be done to change a bad workplace to a great workplace.  Employers, managers, and employees would need to discuss honestly what it would take to make their workplace one that everyone enjoys coming to each day and then set up a plan to make it happen. This might take having those that truly do not like their job to leave or nothing will change.

I Googled the top five reasons people hate and love their job and listed them below.

Top Five Reasons People Hate Their Job:

  1. Bad boss or manager
  2. Dead end job, no room to move up and the employee becomes bored.
  3. The job is too demanding and interferes with the employee’s person life.  They are overworked and undervalued.
  4. Poor, stressful, and unhealthy work environment.
  5. Under paid.

Top Five Reasons People Love Their Job:

  1. Great boss, manager, or coworkers.  They are like-minded people and feel like family.
  2. They have autonomy and flexibility in their job, and they have responsibilities that matter to them.
  3. Great work culture/environment from the boss down.  The workplace is functional, fun, and fresh each day.
  4. There is variety in their job.  They get to learn new skills, become cross-trained and know they have more value to the company because of this.
  5. Their job is challenging, and it stretches their abilities in an exciting way.  They can give input and are listened to by upper management.

As you can see from the list of why people love their jobs, the reasons are very obtainable if the employer, manager, and employees worked on making the necessary changes to make it a better place for all.  And most of all they like their jobs and want to be there.

What is mind-boggling is that so many don’t and yet they stay. Like my Italian Grandfather use to say, “life is short.” This is true, so why stay in a job that truly makes you unhappy? Because when you do, you make others unhappy with their job that they like.

Keep moving forward,


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Looking To Get The Best From Your Employees?

If you are a business owner or manager and have people who work for you in your business you have probably asked yourself more than once, “How can I get the best out of my employees when they are at work?”  I hear this question often when working or speaking with business owners.

All business owners would love to have employees that are naturally self-motivated, enjoy coming to work, and want to do a fantastic job.  There is one thing business owners must remember and that is employees feel and see things a bit differently than the owner of the business.   Entrepreneurs are self-motivated by creating something from nothing, which is intrinsic motivation or internal motivation.

The employee, sees and feel things quite the opposite. They are usually motivated more by external stimuli or extrinsic motivation, such as a raise, job security, benefits, work relationship, trust, personal growth, and serving others.  The trick is to keep these things continually going so the employees become self-motivated and then begin to add to the effort in making the workplace a great place to be.

Multiple studies on employee engagement and motivation show that employees are motivated when they are recognized for doing a job well done and being told they are valued by the business owner. Now how hard can that be to do?

Business owners and managers should always be watching and listening to their employees so they can catch them doing good and praise them for it.  There is also something to be said about the bonus motivational boosters that can be used to inspire employees, like gift certificates, getting off an hour early, free lunch, or a staff outing.

One of the best employee motivators is having a great workplace environment to be in each day.  Others are being valued, the freedom to be creative within their work boundaries, and educational growth to better their position in the company. If you are unsure of what might motivate your employees, just ask them, I am sure they will have plenty of ideas to offer you.

Here are several things that help create an environment where people become self-motivated:

  • Give your employees a voice
  • Hear what your employee is saying
  • Empower, ask questions, and listen
  • Help employees reach goals (you must set them first)
  • Make work personal, give them credit and praise.
  • Let them try new ways to do things, if they don’t work, they learned good lessons
  • Invest in them.  What training is available for their growth
  • Lead by example

With motivated employees, your workplace will continue to re-ignite excitement and passion for what they do each day when they arrive at work.  Do they know how they serve others each day at work?

If you are doing the above you will receive an extra bonus from your employees and that is that they will want to come to work each day because they know they are valued and appreciated.

Keep moving forward,


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Do Your Employees Know The Businesses Vision?

A few years ago a colleague sent me a link to an article on the Forbes website called “Top Ten Reasons Why Large Companies Fail to Keep Their Best Talent.” I found this recently and read it again.

As I read through the 10 reasons, I clearly understood that the reasons they gave not only applied to large companies, but they equally applied to small businesses as well.  A few of the reasons caught my eye.

Doing the best to keep your staff happy and engaged with their career in a small company can be difficult, as many times there is no “moving up the corporate ladder” so it takes thought and creativity to make they want to stay.

It takes the effort to continually try to keep employees engaged and excited about what they are doing.

Searching for more efficient work processes and building a better business along with your team should always be in the forefront of your daily mission in the workplace.

One of the top 10 reasons for losing employees that really stood out to me, was that the business owners and their management staff do not keep the vision and mission of the business in front of everyone every day.

“The business is missing the vision.  Are you the employer missing it or are you failing to pass it on to your employees?”

Often, the business owner knows their vision and are working towards it daily, the problem is they fail to bring their staff along with them.  When collectively the entire staff knowing the vision and what their purpose plays in it will cause them to become more engaged with the business.

It is important that the business owner or management staff give up dates either weekly or monthly on goals and how everyone is doing in their part in bringing the vision to fruition.

“Without a vision the people will perish” King Solomon Proverbs 28:18

Do not let your staff perish, keep your business vision in front of everyone all the time, remind them what they are there for and how they are important to the business vision.

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Poor Management vs Poor Employee

If I asked 100 business owners and their managers what is one of the most difficult issues that they face in running a business I am pretty sure that 99.9% of them would say hiring good employees.

Have you ever thought that you had hired the right employee for the job only to find out as time went by this great employee turned out to be a bad one?  What happened?

Did you hire the wrong person for the job?  Did they pull the wool over your eyes to make you think that they were someone who they really weren’t?

At first, they did everything that you asked and trained them to do better than you had expected and now you cannot get them to do what is expected and when they do it is a half-done job.  So, what has happened?

Is it their fault or could it be that something has happened since they were hired?   Could it possibly be that you the employer or the manager have misrepresented yourselves and the job you hired them for?  Maybe the job was not exactly what you had promised?

Many times, a good employee turns bad over time due to the bad management of the company and disappointment that the job they were hired for was not what they had hoped it would be.  They would love to love their job, but it is not what they had hoped it would be.

We all know that this could go either way as there are prospective candidates out there when once hired will do great just to pass the probation period and gain the confidence of their employer and then begin to slack off thinking their job is secure.

Usually, if you have hired a bad seed, you will find this out quickly, like we did in our office.  We hired this nice young man for several reasons, he was well dressed, good communication skills, certified in the field we needed, and he had done his homework on the senior physician in our office and knew all about him, his accomplishments and really turned on the charm during the final interview.  Of course, the senior physician thought he was great.

But once he was hired, he was totally different than what he was like during the interview process.  He did not like doing certain duties that he was assigned, he lacked respect for the females in the office, one being the office manager and the other a physician and he was caught in several lies.

He continued to charm the senior physician (who was a male) thinking this was his ticket to ride.  He went from best to worse in the matter of a couple of weeks, the final straw was when he had applied for credit using our office as his personal address and we received his turn down letter, and then we received a traffic citation at the office showing that his registration showed the office as his address. This is the Reader’s Digest condensed version as the full story could fill a chapter in a book, and yes, he was fired within a couple of weeks.

But getting back to what I was saying, a truly bad employee will be evident quickly, but a good employee turned bad will take time, and more likely than not, it will be because of poor management on the company’s part.  Although, there are many other reasons as well, such as coworker difficulties, problems at home, etc.  Good management is the key to keeping employees happy and productive. If your employees are not happy and thriving, you may have developed some of these bad habits for turning good employees into bad ones.

If you want to improve overall management, culture, and employee engagement to improve relationships and employee satisfaction you will want to look at a new virtual program that will be starting soon called, “How to Manage and Lead with Grit and Grace”. (Link below)

If you have any questions, just email me [email protected]

Take care and Happy Thursday to you!


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Keeping Work Standards High

Are you having a bad day at work? We all have had them, and when we do, our performance is less than the standard. We know this and because we are ethical and hold high standards for ourselves, we make sure the next day we pick it up and get back on top of our game giving our best at work.

The question is what does a business owner or manager do when poor performance starts to become an employee’s regular performance? I am sure we have all worked in places where we have seen this happen and wonder why management allows it to continue.

It can be quite frustrating for co-workers to be working next to someone who is performing below the standard on a daily basis.  Many managers would rather choose to look the other way instead of dealing with an employee with poor performance as confrontation and rehabilitation, if possible, take time. It must be dealt with if you want to keep it from spreading to other employees.

Tackling the problem right away when poor performance is noticed is always best.  It can be as simple as asking the person if everything is okay because you noticed their performance has recently dropped.  This not only gives the person a chance to respond, but it lets them know that you are aware that they have slipped below the line, opening the door for further communication if it happens again.

If you wait too long to deal with the issue of poor performance you are opening yourself up to a lot of problems, not only with the employee whom you are dealing with, who questions if this was a problem why didn’t you say something before?

But with the other employees who begin to think it is okay for one employee to not work as hard as the rest, then why should they?

Speaking as a manager who has been on the side of waiting to see if things will turn around and they did not, it is much easier to address this type of issue immediately when it appears.  Even if the end result is letting the employee go, it sets a standard for the business as to what is tolerated and what is not when it comes to performance.

Keeping the workplace standards up above the line keeps everyone happy because they know what the expectations are and know that they apply to everyone.

Keep moving forward,


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Team Death, Dread and Doom

As a business owner or manager how aware are you of your team members workloads, possible dilemmas, or the stress that goes with them?  Many times, as managers or business owners we are so focused with our own workload that we fail to see when others need a helping hand.  Oftentimes your staff will not share with you that they are struggling and need some help as they feel that it may make them look bad.

It is very important that you cultivate a work environment where each person has the freedom to ask for help and there is a willing response from managers and their fellow team members. This not only keeps the workplace healthy it also gives each person a sense of comradeship.  I am reminded of that saying from the Three Musketeers “All for one and one for all.”

Workplaces that have this type of culture have employees that thrive and when employees thrive businesses do well.  I found this teamwork parable below that I want to share with you in hopes that you too will want to create a workplace environment where the entire team is willingly helping one another.  Read it, enjoy and learn, this is a good one to pass along.

Teamwork – A Parable

What’s a mouse got to do with teamwork? Here’s a very brief story about teamwork…

A little mouse living on a farm was looking through a crack in the wall one day and saw the farmer and his wife opening a package. The mouse was intrigued by what food the package may contain. He was aghast to discover that it was a mousetrap. The mouse ran to the farmyard warning everyone “there is a mouse trap in the house, there is a mouse trap in the house”.

The chicken raised his head and said “Mr. Mouse, I can tell you this trap is a grave concern to you, but it has no consequence to me, and I cannot be bothered with it.”

The mouse turned to the pig, “I am so very sorry Mr. Mouse, but the trap is no concern of mine either.”

The mouse then turned to the bull. “Sounds like you have a problem, Mr. Mouse,” the bull said, “but not one that concerns me.”

The mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected that no one would help him or was concerned about his dilemma. He knew he had to face that trap on his own.

That night the sound of a trap catching its prey was heard throughout the house. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness she could not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife.

The wife developed a bad fever, and the farmer knew the best way to treat a fever was with chicken soup. He took his hatchet to the farmyard to get the soup’s main ingredient.

The wife got sicker, and friends and neighbors came by to take turns sitting with her round the clock. The farmer knew he had to feed them, so he butchered the pig.

The farmer’s wife did not get better, however. In fact, she died. So many friends and family came to her funeral that the farmer had to slaughter the bull to feed them all.

So– the next time you hear that one of your team-mates is facing a problem and think it does not concern or affect you, remember that when anyone on your team is in trouble, we are all at risk!

Remember, “All for one and one for all” has a much better outcome every time.

Happy Thursday!


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Do Not Stop…Keep Moving Forward

We make decisions every day, from the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep.   Large or small, our decisions guide us throughout our life.

Many decisions can be very stressful, especially if they are life-changing, such as a job change or large financial purchase.  There are also difficult decisions we need to make about pursuing our dreams.  Knowing that we may not get a second chance at something can either push us to continue or stifle us to stop altogether.

When we are faced with these types of decisions many times we become paralyzed and stop. We do not move forward and in fact, we then move backward. Although it may be hard to move forward for fear of making a mistake, if we want to grow and live life to its fullest we must advance.

I once heard a speaker state that making a significant decision can be made easier, and you will feel good about whatever the outcome is if you follow these three steps:

  1. Think time:  You must allow yourself “think time.”  Think time is when you can lock yourself up away from others or take a long walk and do nothing but think about the decision you are facing.
  2. Write time:  You must sit down and write all of the pros and cons of the decision you are facing.  Write until you have nothing else left to write and then wait an hour or two, or a whole day if you can, and see if you have anything else to write.
  3. Weigh time:  Weigh the decision that you have determined to be best against your life plan, your values, and your peace of mind.

If the decision falls in line with these three things, you have your answer.  If it does not, go back to “think time” and start over.

“Greatness is always in the moment of the decision” ~ Jeff Olson

Happy Thursday!


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