Archive for August, 2010

Engaging for the future?

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

As a business owner or business leader, wouldn’t your life be easier – and your company more successful – if your staff were as motivated as you, performing to the highest level, always prepared to go the extra mile and committed to your organisation?

If this describes your work force, then you already have good employee engagement, and yet a recent report  commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, found that only a third of UK employees are actively engaged in their jobs.

The MacLeod Report, published in July 2009, sent a clear message to the UK plc last summer, that good employee engagement is vital for organisational success and is even more crucial in the current economic climate.

But does Employee Engagement really matter? Research indicates that the benefits of increased employee engagement include better financial performance, increased innovation, more employees advocating their organisation, reduced absenteeism/turnover and higher employee well-being. Financially it makes a lot of sense.

We can see that it is important for success, but just how do you engage your employees? The report found that some key drivers for engagement are personal values matching organisational values, meaningful work, a sense of community, valued performance and individual opinions listened to and valued.

At a one day conference, ‘Engaging for the Future’, the authors of the MacLeod report, David MacLeod and Nita Clarke shared their ideas and facilitated group discussions to explore the behavioural challenges associated with employee engagement. Many business owners and leaders are aware of the need for employee engagement, and yet there appear to be barriers stopping them from getting the employee commitment they need for success.

Through group discussion at the conference, we found that the key obstacles were lack of communication (across the organisation), leadership skills, employee/line manager ownership and the current climate.

Many leaders fail to engage their staff when their natural style is systematic and delivery focused. Leaders generally like to take charge, get results; they are practical, rational and efficient. This style of leadership may get the results but this could be at the expense of the individual if people’s feelings are neglected, if employees don’t feel valued or empowered. There is a well known saying that ‘employees join an organisation, but they leave their bosses.’

As an experienced Executive Coach, it is obvious to me that the success of a business lies within the people, and if you look after your leadership team, develop and hone their leadership and people skills, they will be better equipped to motivate and engage your employees, contributing to a more successful organisation.


Email Management

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Do you get frustrated when people don't respond to your emails? How does it make you feel? Neglected? Irritated? Not important?

We can make allowances for prospects, clients and friends who have other priorities, but what about emails you've sent to a supplier?

When a supplier doesn't respond to my email request, it makes me wonder,

a) How important is my business to them?
b) If they can't organise and manage their inbox, what quality of work should I expect from them?

Are you guilty of owning an unorganised and overflowing inbox? An inbox with client emails awaiting your attention?

Then it's possible you have unhappy clients who feel frustrated and neglected. And it will be expensive to replace them when they leave you for someone who pays them more attention.

Some basic time management techniques can help you resolve the inbox issue, and keep your clients happy. Emails have replaced a large percentage of the postman's delivery, therefore it's time to treat your inbox as you used to treat your stack of post.
Start getting into the habit of dealing with your emails as though they are a task to be dealt with. Effectively managing your inbox is simply a matter of applying some techniques used to deal with interruptions, procrastination and prioritising.

By following a few simple rules, you will be amazed at how much more you can achieve, you will be more focused, more motivated and much more productive.

Oh, and your clients and prospects will feel more valued too..

Tips to put you back in control…

1. Unsubscribe from unnecessary mailing lists.
2. If you get jokes/chain letters, ask friends to remove you from their lists.
3. Set up Outlook to organise incoming mail, i.e. newsletters that you do want to read can go straight into your ‘Newsletter’ folder.
4. Set a regular time to check incoming e-mail & when to respond to mail, and then close your inbox!
5. If you can’t bear to close it, turn off the automatic alert so that you are not distracted.
6. Set up Outlook folders and allocate to the following:
          a) Deal with today – set a time to deal with them
          b) Deal with this week
          c) Deal with this month

And remember to allocate time in your diary to action/read the contents.


Building Rapport

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Have you noticed that there are some people who you just 'click' with, and then there are some who you don't? It will generally depend on whether you are in 'rapport' with them or not.

We often build rapport unconsciously, yet if you notice there isn't a connection between you and the other person, and would like there to be one, then you can make a conscious effort to build rapport.

In the dictionary, 'rapport' is defined as 'communication, relationships, connections', therefore building rapport is about finding connections, communicating and building relationships.

Whether you run your own business, a home or work with a team, you will find it useful to know how to build rapport.
Rapport is the basis for communicating effectively and in particular can help you to:

  • Make the other person feel understood
  • Put others at ease
  • Show respect
  • Get on their level
  • Talk their 'language'
  • Build trust

In the business world, people are not just buying your product or service, they are buying YOU, and if you're looking to grow your business by attracting new clients, then building and developing rapport is essential.

When you actively build rapport, you're sending out a message to your potential client to say that you're similar to them, and we like people who are like us.

If you're not connecting with another person, it's usually because there is some kind of flaw in your communication – either how you are projecting yourself, or how you are perceiving the other person.

Research tells us that in face to face communication, your message is communicated in the following proportions:

  • 55% physiology (your posture and how you feel)
  • 38% tone of voice
  • 7% the words you use

To create rapport and demonstrate that we understand and respect the other person's model of the world, and to be like that person, we need to subtly match and mirror that person. You can match their physiology, their tone and words.