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Key Leadership Qualities

By Blogpost, challenges, Entrepreneurship, excellence, Goals, inspirations, Leadership, management, mindset, Success

A leader’s job is mostly about managing people, and a good business owner should also be a good leader. He or she should be able to effectively connect with his or her employees and be able to lead them down the correct path to achieve the company’s goals. The business owner might have great ideas and the passion to succeed but if the team or the staff are not willing to follow then the business won’t go far. As mentioned in my previous article, your top sales guy might not be a good leader. This also applies to business owners.

Running a company does not only mean implementing brilliant ideas and having the passion to run it. Managing people is also an integral part in running a company. Your staff is what keeps your business running on a daily basis. As the business owner, your staff looks up to you for guidance. Weak leadership can lead a company to ruin while a strong one leads to success. Just like implementing a leadership development plan for an employee, as a leader yourself, you can look to working on your own leadership skills to be able to properly connect with your team and efficiently run your business.

Communication

A leader should foster open communication with the team. Your staff or employees are the front liners of your business and they see things that are not seen by the upper management. You need that valuable information to be able to properly plan things out for your business. Allow your staff to speak out to gain insight at the base level. When communicating with the team, be as honest and clear as possible. This will help you gain their trust and confidence which in turn would also encourage them to be just as honest and clear with you. The key here is that excellent communication allows you to gain valuable information from the front line.

Live What You Preach

One great way of connecting with your team is to have strong ethics and living by them. This is all about earning your team’s respect. You can talk all day about doing the right things – but you need to walk the talk, and your subordinates will follow your example. Once you have their respect, they will stand by your every business decision. The less second guessing on every decision, the better chances of positive results.

Ask For Advice

It does not matter how well you know the industry, change is constant in business. Set your ego aside. You do not know everything. Ask for advice if you are not sure of something. Great leaders are always willing to learn new things and the easiest way to learn is to learn to ask questions.

Common Mistakes with KPIs

By Blogpost, challenges, Goals, Leadership, management, opportunities, purpose, Success

One common problem that business owners encounter is determining if their company’s current performance is on track with their long term business goals. They need to have some sort of data to show them if they are on the right track. This is where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) become essential when running a business. This data will give you an idea how your company is doing in the areas that matter and if it is line with your future plans and goals for the business. Think of it as a measuring and planning tool for your business.

Just like everything in business, there are challenges and this includes setting up your business’ KPI. The challenge is finding right and meaningful measures. Without a well thought out KPI, it can become vague and useless – wasting time, effort and resources.

Generic KPIs

You might be tempted to use KPIs that are used by other companies with the idea that if it worked for them then it should work for you. This type of thinking is okay if it involves best business practices or brilliant business ideas but not with KPIs. Even if two companies are engaged in the same line of business, they are still different in some way. You might also adopt “off the shelf” KPIs that other companies use that worked for them. You are basically measuring something that may not have an impact in your own business. The problem with this is that they are generic and may not be a good fit for your strategy and goals. Come up with your own KPI that is in line with your current plans and you will see better results.

Linking KPIs to Incentives

Linking KPIs to bonuses or incentives has its advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, it does make your employees work harder to achieve their targets and receive that sweet bonus. On the down side, it prevents the true purpose of the KPI. That is to let the team members know where they are in the company in relation to their goals. It stops being a compass and can be manipulated for personal monetary gains. Be careful when linking these two. Provide a good enough incentive but not too much that will encourage manipulation. Striking a good balance is the key.

Not Using Your KPIs

KPIs are valuable as they can provide facts that you can use when making business decisions. The biggest mistake that you can do with KPIs is not using them. You might have come up with the best designed KPI that fits in perfectly with your company’s plans and goals but if you are not acting based on the actual data then you just wasted a lot of time and effort. If you have the information, use them to your advantage.

Challenges to New Team Members

By Attitude, Blogpost, challenges, Entrepreneurship, excellence, Food for thought, Goals, Human resources, Leadership, management, stress, Success

You have now successfully hired new team members to your organisation. The team is ready to take the journey with you to achieve your business goals. Everyone is onboard and have a clear understanding of your company’s mission and vision. Morale is high and everyone is pumped up. Everything looks perfect and good to go.

But is it really? Even with a tried and tested onboarding process, new staff members can experience problems in the first few weeks of working in your company. As time goes on, it is very unlikely that they will speak up about the challenges and issues that they are facing. This can lead to further problems that might affect their productivity and the business as a whole. As a leader and business owner, you can watch out of for these things and hopefully resolve them as soon as possible.

Adjustment to Relocation

Some of your new hires might have relocated from another city or even from another country to work for your company. They might have brought their families with them. This can cause issues especially if they are unfamiliar with the new location. Despite this being a personal issue, it might negatively affect their work. They might even start to rethink if they made the right decision.

One way of handling this is simply through communication. Your HR can schedule a meeting with the employee and come up with suggestions to resolve the issue or at least lessen the burden of the problem. They can also have them talk to another employee who had gone through the same issue so they can get advice and share their experiences.

Managerial Issues

It can be common for new employees to not be able to form a good relationship with their managers. This can be due to conflicting ideas, or the managerial style not fitting the employee’s style.

Once signs of this problem come up, it is best to have your HR or your onboarding department to get in touch with the employee. It’s important to get to the root of the problem and smooth things out. They could advise the employee and manager to stay in touch regularly so they can get a feel for each other’s way of doing things. It all comes down to understanding and working as a team.

Expectations and Results

Sometimes, new employees tend to take on too much too quickly. This is done to hopefully impress their supervisors or co-workers without knowing that this can lead to unnecessary overload and eventually burning out.

Regularly remind everyone in your organisation to take on reasonable expectations. Trying to achieve impossible expectations can be stressful and is counterproductive in the long run.

The Value of a Job Interview

By Blogpost, Entrepreneurship, Goals, Human resources, Leadership, management, opportunities, purpose, Success

Most of us would not accept a partnership proposal without at least meeting the business owner. The company may look good on paper but nothing beats an actual meeting to be able to get to know who we would be dealing with on a personal level. This is the same when conducting job interviews with potential new employees.

The job interview is one of the most subjective part of the hiring process and is also one of the most important. This is when we would be able to personally evaluate if the candidate is good fit for the company. This is also a good opportunity to decide if the candidate’s skills align with the company’s goals and needs. With that said, it is no wonder why big and small companies alike still value the job interview in their hiring process.

Confidence Level

Employees in your company may need to interact face to face with customers or may need to interact with your business partners. Confident employees will project an image of success within the organisation. This in turn will also give the image that your company is no stranger to success.

Interviewing a candidate would allow you to determine if that individual would be capable of confidently speaking up in front of many people.

Social Behaviour

As a business owner, you want your company’s day to day operations to run as smoothly as possible. You want your team members to work with each other as efficiently as possible. Basically, your team needs to be on the same page for you to be able to achieve your business goals. With that said, nothing can hinder a team’s progress like a team member causing unnecessary friction within the team. This can lead to wasted time and resources.

The benefit of conducting interviews is that you can analyze a candidate’s social behaviour. Does that individual have basic etiquette? Can they work well with others? Can they communicate their ideas properly in a team based environment? A well conducted interview can give you an idea about these things.

Intelligence

In order for an individual to be truly confident, he also needs to have the smarts to back it up. There is a difference between acting confident and being truly confident. Having the intelligence to back up the confidence can really go a long way when it comes quick decision making and taking responsibility at any given task.

Interviewing a candidate would allow you determine how smart a person is by how they present themselves and how quickly they can answer your questions.

Getting High Performers to Come to You

By Attitude, challenges, Entrepreneurship, excellence, Goals, Human resources, Leadership, management, opportunities, Success

The performance of your team members is one the pillars of a successful business. You may already have a huge market and a solid business plan in place to reach your business goals but without a good team behind you, the journey will be harder than it should be. Having a competitive team is essential if you want to stay ahead of the competition and create opportunities for further growth.

A high performing talent can have a positive impact and facilitate growth in your business, but we all know that getting those individuals to join your team is not an easy task. As a business owner, one thing that you can do is to make your company enticing to these high performers.

Team Leaders

Make it clear that you are looking for leaders. High performing individuals tend to be natural leaders and will see this as a challenge. They will assume that you are hiring them to facilitate growth and make positive changes in your company. Empowering them will allow these talents to shine and to step up to every challenge. This will foster an environment where leadership tasks are driven by the team members which can be an advantage when it comes to quick and efficient decision making.

Partnership

High performers know what their worth is. They know that whenever they are in business, positive things tend to happen. These individuals are not looking for the standard compensation packages like salaries, bonuses and benefits. They already know that they can get those at a competitive rate. As a business owner, offer up a financial partnership with them. Build a compensation plan that will show them that you want to share the value and wealth that they will create by being a part of your company. Being considered as a partner will encourage them to bring out their best, knowing it will also benefit them.

Confidence

High performers are always on the lookout for organisations that know how to succeed and is always expected to succeed. A culture of confidence within the company means that the company has seen multiple successes in their line of business.

Business awards, or recognition received by the company showing that it is a leader in the industry will make it more attractive to high performing employees. These companies are expected by the employees to succeed and grow because it has done so time and again. Company growth means that employees also have opportunities to grow and develop their career.

Interviewing Potential New Hires

By Attitude, Blogpost, challenges, Entrepreneurship, excellence, Goals, Human resources, Leadership, management, Success

Expanding your business means hiring new employees to fill up different job positions. You need professionals who are competent and have the drive to achieve your company’s goals. You, or your company’s human resource department may start posting online for available job positions.

Once you start receiving those job applications, you can start narrowing down the applicants based on their experience, qualifications and skills. How do you correctly select who shares your vision and passion? How do you know who has the talent to take your business to the next level? This is where the importance of interviewing applicants come into play.

Through a job interview you will be able to assess a candidate’s experience, skills and mindset on the job that he is applying for. This will allow you to know the potential employee on a personal basis. If that person does not work well with a team or has a questionable attitude, skills and experience mean nothing. Some companies are moving toward favoring test scores in the employee selection process. However, most still rely on the good, old-fashioned way. So how do you conduct a proper job interview?

Prepare a List

Whether you have an interview team or you are doing it solo, make sure to prepare a list of the skills, experience, qualities and knowledge that you are looking for in an employee. Using this list, come up with questions to be able to efficiently gather the necessary information on each applicant. If you have an interview team, make sure that they understand their role in the applicant assessment process.

Legal Job Interview Questions

In a job interview, not everything is up for discussion. Ask legal interview questions that will highlight their strengths and weaknesses pertaining to the job that they are applying for. Avoid illegal job interview questions that could make you a target for a lawsuit. Questions about their marital status or if they plan to have or already have children should be avoided.

Relaxed Atmosphere

A friendly handshake in an onsite interview or a friendly greeting in a phone interview can go a long way. Establish a connection with the applicant to make him or her comfortable during the interview. A relaxed applicant would be able to provide you with accurate information that you need during the selection process. This will allow you to gauge their personalities and attitudes and make a decision if they are a good fit for your team.

Creating an Employee Handbook

By management, challenges, Entrepreneurship, Goals, Human resources, Leadership, Success

In one of my previous articles, I talked about on how to onboard new hires to the team as smoothly as possible. One of the points I mentioned is having an employee handbook to set expectations and to provide a company overview to your new team members. This can also help them with their daily tasks and can increase their efficiency in the first few weeks on the job.

One of the challenges encountered when making an employee handbook is on how to make it interesting enough for your new hires, let alone existing employees, to read it. Let’s be honest, these handbooks aren’t exactly page-turners. If you are asked to describe an employee handbook, you may come up with words like “boring”, “bland” or “stiff”. Which should not be the case since an employee handbook is technically the first company document that new hires receive. Take that opportunity to grab their attentions and make them emotionally invested in your company or organization. Start nurturing those positive emotions by creating an employee handbook that you yourself would want to read. Remember, your employees are your greatest assets.

State Your Company Mission and Vision

The first thing that your employee handbook should show is your company’s mission and vision. This is the most important part since this is the part where you should be able to engage with your new hires’ at the emotional and intellectual level. Challenge their perception of your company or organisation. Lay it out for them so both of you would be on the same page. A company’s success depends on excellent teamwork. If you and your team members share the same mission and vision for the company then you are on your way to achieving your business goals.

Showcase Your Company Perks

Make the job more than just a paycheck. Almost all standard employee handbooks are filled with a list of expectations a company has of their employees. Make it more enticing and exciting to the one reading. Highlight the perks that you are offering. State what you are offering them and emphasize that you are investing in them. Showcasing the company perks is telling your employees that they are getting more than just a paycheck. Show them that you consider them valuable members of the team and worth keeping.

Do Not Call It an Employee Handbook

Remember the words that are usually associated with an employee handbook? Boring, bland and stiff? Well those same words will usually come up in your head if a handbook is just named “Employee Handbook” or “Staff Manual”. Come up with a name that piques their interest or reflects a company’s culture. Make them want to read the handbook just by the title. Be creative but be as clear as possible on what the handbook is. As simple as changing the title can make a huge difference.

3 Steps to Successfully Integrate New Team Members

By challenges, Entrepreneurship, Food for thought, Goals, Human resources, Leadership, management, Success

For the past few weeks, we have been talking about growing our business and how to efficiently do it. We have discussed looking into outsourcing as one of the ways to achieve our business goals as well as the pros and cons associated with outsourcing, as well as managing our teams and the different aspects of leadership. Leading and managing a team not only involves setting the path to your business goals, you also need to know how to integrate a new hire to your organization or company.

A new hire’s first few weeks are the most crucial. This is the time period where you are setting clear expectations and is the perfect opportunity to build their personal investment to your company or business. While it is tempting to skip the onboarding process, doing so might cause your new employee to leave, not have the right direction or mindset for the job. You need a solid plan to be able to easily integrate new hires to your organization.

Come Up with an Employee Handbook

Creating a simple employee handbook can be of great help to new hires as well as existing employees. When making an employee handbook, be as straight-forward as possible, use simple language and avoid legal jargon that might confuse your employees. You can start with a simple overview of the company and its policies. This will give your new team members a clear idea on the type of business you are running, how you want it to be run and the goals you want to achieve. It can also help them understand your company culture and make it easier for them to get along with the rest of the team.

Provide Feedback

Providing feedback to new hires can help them gauge their work and allow them to make the necessary adjustments to align with your company’s vision and goals. It is a good idea that for the first few weeks, to schedule a weekly one on one with your new hires. This will make them feel engaged and connected with the company. Taking the time to provide feedback can increase your new hires’ success and in turn they would be able to provide valuable contributions to your business’ growth.

Set Simple Goals

Set up a few simple goals in the first few weeks to help your new hires ease into their roles within the company. Make sure to point them to resources that they can use and to who in the team they can ask for assistance. Achieving simple goals in the first few weeks will give them that boost of confidence to encourage them to do even better in their jobs. It is a win/win situation for you and your new team members.

5 Ways on How to Effectively Manage Your Offshore Team

By Blogpost, challenges, Entrepreneurship, Human resources, Leadership, management, opportunities, outsourcing, Success

So you finally took the outsourcing path. You were able to identify which tasks took up most of your time, and which tasks need specific skill sets. You did your research and you were able to find a team of professionals ready to assist you in reaching your business goals. And finally, you have the time and freedom to work on things that matter most. But having an offshore team does not mean you can just leave them to their own devices. You are still the business owner and the team needs to know how you want to run your business and which way to take it. You still need to be able to effectively manage your offshore team.

Get To Know Your Team

A good leader must always value his company’s employees. They are after all, assets to the company. Find out a little bit of themselves personally, their hobbies, their interests. Make that connection. This will help you build a good relationship and build that trust between you and your team. Who knows, you might find someone with the potential to become a great asset to your business.

Get A Manager To Assist You

As you grow your business, you need someone who can assist you with the managerial duties. This manager can help in finding, training and developing your team. Basically, you need another set of eyes to oversee the business. As you grow, a manager is necessary so you do not get bogged down by all the details of running the business.

Have Regular Team Meetings

Good teamwork and communication are some of the keys to a successful business. Regularly schedule team meetings to get valuable input from your team. This is great for the communication flow and really outlines expectations.

Visit In Person

Make time to actually go over to where your team is. Spend some time there. Get to know them personally and their surroundings. Who knows, you might learn something new or come up with fresh ideas that you can apply to your business plans.

Have A People Plan In Place On Who You Need Down The Track

Having a people plan is essential if you want to grow. You need individuals who are ready to go if the need arises. This is really important when it comes to growth of your business. This will also be useful when further recruiting.

Those are just five (5) ways on how to effectively manage your offshore team. Keep in mind that every team, and every situation is unique, and you should be able to adjust your management style. No doubt you would be able to add more to the list as you continue your journey as an offshore employer.

Five Reasons Why Outsourcing Fails

By Blogpost, challenges, Entrepreneurship, Food for thought, Goals, Human resources, Leadership, management, outsourcing, stress, Success

Why Business Owners Fail When Outsourcing Tasks

Your goals are set. You are now ready to grow your business. You have decided to take the outsourcing path to help you reach your business goals. Once you have outsourced those specific tasks, it should be smooth sailing from there, right? But outsourcing is not a miracle solution. Some businesses still fail, despite outsourcing. Here are 5 common reasons why outsourcing fails.

Hi, I’m James Short. As you already know by now, I always encourage entrepreneurs to outsource if they want to have that edge over their competitors. But over the years, I found out that some businesses still do not experience significant growth even after outsourcing. What went wrong and what could have been done? With that said, I’m going to share with you five (5) reasons why business owners fail when it comes to outsourcing those tasks.

They Don’t Have a Clear and Effective Plan

Just like anything in business, we need to have a plan that outlines what your needs and requirements are. This is no different when it comes to outsourcing. Plan out which tasks need to be prioritized. Be specific and detailed in what exactly do you want to accomplish with the given task.

Choosing the Right Outsourcing Partner

Just like with any partnerships, we need to do the due diligence to ensure you’re partnering with the right type of outsourcing partner. Do your research before partnering up with an outsourcing firm or a freelancer. Ask other business owners for feedback on what their business relationship is like with the firm or individual. That way, you can get a good idea if the firm or individual is the right one for your plans and goals.

Too Much Too Soon

Giving your outsourcing team too much too soon and thinking that it’s just going to magically all get done. Outsourcing tasks is a learning process for both you and the outsourcing team. The team needs a bit of time to figure out the most efficient way to do their appointed tasks. Give them that time and you will reap the benefits.

Set and Forget

So many times, I hear business owners just set their outsourcing team on their way but without any follow-up and without any directions, no difference to a team onshore. You’ve got to manage them similarly. Set up regular meetings with the team to check up on progress as well as to get feedback.

Lack of Communication

This is where business owners fall down when it comes to outsourcing. Ensure that you are constantly in touch with your team. There is absolutely no reason not to do this since today’s communication is so much easier and accessible.

So those are the five (5) main reasons why outsourcing fails when it comes to those business owners wanting to outsource.

I’m James Short, looking forward to speaking to you soon.