Total Pageviews

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Confronting Employees Who Undermine the Team

The art of confronting an employee whose undermining the team is the subject of this week's Leader's Digest Mail Bag Q & A.

Dear Smart Development,

A couple of my employees tend to get all the other staff in an uproar. They constantly turn people against each other and pick on the new hires. How can I address my employees' tendency to "stir the pot" and help them recognize the harm they're doing to our work environment?

Mitigating Harm

Dear Mitigating,

Thanks for this interesting and important question. We're often asked how to give feedback to direct reports who act in ways that cause problems. Sometimes these challenging individuals are described as having "bad chemistry" with their coworkers. On other occasions, they're labeled "hard to work with," "troublesome," or even worse. In this case, the individuals in question cause uproars, turn people against each other, stir the pot, and pick on newbies.

As their supervisor, it's your job to do something about the bad behavior. But what?

At first glance, suggesting that the individuals in question cause an uproar or turn people against each other may sound like a description of what they do, when, in fact, these particular words describe the effect not the cause. They behave in some particular way to cause an uproar or turn people against each other, but it's impossible to decipher from these expressions alone which from millions of possible behaviors they enact.

If you expect the individuals in question to improve, they'll need to change their behaviors—swapping out the old and replacing them with new. As a leader, you'll need to adeptly describe, in detail, what they're currently doing to cause an uproar and the other effects you've described.

Describing behaviors requires an understanding of exactly what the offending parties do along with the ability to describe their behavior in a way that is crystal clear. You have to see what others actually do and then metaphorically hold up a mirror so they can see what they need to change.

This can get complicated. When you suggest that the problem employees "stir the pot," the metaphor masks the actual actions they take. If you tell them they "stir the pot," they might know what you're hinting at and change, but it seems unlikely. The same is true with expressions like "picking on newbies." You include a verb that hints of certain behaviors, but alas, also leaves a lot to the imagination.

When I talk with people facing similar challenges and ask them to provide the behaviors (causes) behind the effects or vague conclusion they describe to me, they often can't. Their conclusions are firm: "They constantly stir the pot." That part they feel strongly about, but when I probe for detail, they aren't able to describe the behaviors the other person enacts. They remember their emotional reaction far more clearly than the actions that took them there.

For instance, when trying to help a district sales manager with a salesperson who was "socially backward," I asked for a detailed description of what the salesperson did. The supervisor explained that he was "a nerd, a geek—you know, a dweeb." The supervisor knew what he had concluded about the fellow, and was able to come up with synonyms, but couldn't describe any actual behaviors.

So I asked him, "The last time he did something you thought was nerdy, what exactly did he do?"

"He looked like he had no confidence in what he was saying," the supervisor responded. (Also a vague conclusion.)

"And what made him appear unconfident to you?" I continued to probe.

"He stared at the floor. He started a sentence three different times. He spoke in a low voice. The minute the person disagreed, he backed off even though he was correct . . ." and so forth.

At last, behaviors the other person might be able to recognize and replace. This is what the salesperson needed to hear and correct.

Most of us use shorthand negative adjectives along with vague outcomes when talking with others because such simple expression often works for us. "Quit teasing your brother!" you bark to your son. He knows exactly what he's doing and what to do instead. He knows because you've told him before—focusing on his actual actions. "Yes, I know you said his new shirt was cool, but you said it in a sing-song tone and rolled your eyes—and that appeared insincere."

You've described several versions of "teasing" to your son, so now when he does it, you can address it in shorthand.

However, with direct reports, where we don't have a long history and the specialized code that comes with it, we need to carefully observe others in actions, take note of the actual behaviors that aren't working, share those in a direct and non-punitive way, check to see if they understood us, and then talk about replacement behaviors.

I'm assuming you've watched your direct reports in action and have a whole list of undesirable actions they take, so you're ready to hold a discussion in a way that will be helpful.

Start by holding separate conversations—one with each employee. Privacy is essential. Select no more than one or two of the areas you'd like to talk about. You don't want to overwhelm the other person. Start by describing the undesirable behavior and what you'd like to see instead. Share three or four example actions and take special care to focus on their behaviors, not your conclusions. Share actions you've personally observed—hopefully recently.

Open the conversation for questions. Ask the other person if he or she sees it differently, and jointly develop a plan of action.

Obviously, there's a lot that goes into such a feedback discussion. Today, I chose to focus on one element that can turn a painful and vague discussion into a helpful feedback session.

Focus on behaviors. Become skilled at both observing and describing them. Know the difference between a behavior and a result or conclusion. Help the other person see what he or she is doing, not merely what you think about him or her.

To your greater success,

Peter Mclees, MS LMFT

P. S. Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping restaurants, stores, branches, distrubution centers, food production facilities, and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ignite Employee and Customer Engagement with Positive Energy

“We are 100% energy. 
Make sure your energy is 100% golden!”

High school students learn in physics class or the football field that we are energy and when we interact with one another we transfer that energy. The question every leader and service professional needs to ask is, “What kind of energy am I transferring to others?” 

Store leaders and service professionals will be transferring positive energy, but of course positive energy isn’t the only kind of energy one can transfer.

Transfer the Right Energy 


Do you know supervisors or coworkers who display and spread negative energy? Such people say things like, “you can’t find good help these days.” They moan, my boss passed me over for a promotion. Our customers are so demanding.”


Draining, isn’t it? You want them to hand them your cell phone so you they can call a waaambulance. Do you hear a lot of energy-sucking statements? Are you the one transferring negative energy with put-downs, sarcastic remarks, half-hearted responses or complaints about how life and work sucks?

                                          Control Your Energy    


When we are interacting with employees or customers, we must give them the best energy we have. I don’t mean an over-the-top fake and manufactured energy. I mean the positive energy you feel and express when you see a friend, or joyfully hanging out with friends and family (The ones your actually like).

You cannot let a bad day or personal problems control your energy when interacting with employees and customers. What happens to professional athletes who allow a bad mood to fester during game time, who keep their scowl when they should have on their game face? They lose!

Moody leaders and service professionals don’t just fail to transfer positive energy to their employees and customers; they succeed in transferring negative energy  that kills engagement.

If you want to get over bad feelings or get rid of bad energy, start by giving some good energy. You will get that good energy back, and that returned energy will fire up your own.

Have you ever had a bad morning: you cut yourself shaving (the day of a major presentation), the computer freezes up, and spill coffee on your favorite shirt all within an hour of waking up? Then when you finally get in the car and head to the presentation, you see that you have a flat tire. You’re ready to give up on the day as surely as fickle Laker fans.

But then you see or talk to someone with amazing energy, and your bad morning takes a turn for the better. Your day brightens all because of some positive energy you received from a positive person.

Here’s a news flash for you: energy is controllable – it is all about your position and attitude toward circumstances and events. 

                                   Set the Thermostat


If you want your employees and customers to be engaged, YOU set the energy thermostat. Before walking into the store and conversing with employees or customers, set your energy thermostat to max!

In our homes, the thermostat determines the temperature in the room, and the thermostat has to balance between the variables of temperature outside and the desired temperature in room. 

Be Passionate 


If we interact with someone whose mood is poor, whose energy is low, then we may begin to feel the same way. The reverse is true as well. Show passion for what you do and who you serve and you transfer that energy and mood. 

People follow passionate leaders. They take to heart the words of passionate teachers. They cheer for passionate athletes. And they buy from passionate service providers.

    “Passion makes all things alive and significant.” --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lead and serve with passion!

Peter Mclees, MS LMFT

P.S.  Click  learn to get happy in 60 seconds or less


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Only 30 percent of U.S. employees are engaged, new Gallup survey finds

Gallup asked 150,000 employees whether they like their jobs. A good many actively hate them. Half just kind of tolerate the work day.

A common tactic people use to get their friends to stop complaining about work is to say that everybody hates their jobs.

The sentiment may be more than just a way to get people to shut up, though. According to a recent survey by Gallup, it's pretty close to true.

Of 150,000 full and part-time employees polled, only 30 percent said they're engaged in their work. Another 50 percent said they aren't engaged, while 20 percent said they're "actively disengaged," which means they outright hate their jobs.

Why does that matter? People who report being engaged in their work are more productive, less likely to leave, and even less likely to have accidents on the job. Disengaged employees are more likely to skip work, negatively influence co-workers and scare off customers.

Some things are less easy to fix, though. Service workers are the most disengaged of any type of employee. Their engagement has decreased while the engagement of employees in other sectors has gone up.

Learn proven tips for boosting the engagement of your people in our free ebook, Inspiring Employees to Give Their Best...Without Raising Their Pay. Learn simple yet powerful ways to engage employees and how honest leaders can undermine their influence. Gain vital lessons from John Wooden and Yoda (Yes, that awesome green guy). This guide will teach you what you need to know about motivating individuals and teams to excel by using "psychological paychecks."
Click here to receive your free ebook:
To your greater success!

Peter Mclees, MS LMFT

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Inspire Employees to Give their Best...Without Raising Their Pay

Complete the contact form to receive our free ebook

                Free ebook

Inspire Employees to Give their Best...
Without Raising Their Pay

Killer tips for boosting engagement, customer experience and sales

Table of Contents

Part 1:
Employee Engagement

·       Deepen Respect with These Five Behaviors
·       Three Ways Leaders Can Inspire an Engaged Workforce
·       An A-Z Guide to Employee Engagement
·       The 30-Second Rule of Engagement
·       Engaging Employees by Answering 5 Questions
·       9 Ways to Sink Employee Engagement

Part 2:
Leadership Essentials

·       Ten Surefire Ways to Excel as a Leader
·       Ten Common Leadership Mistakes
·       How Honest Leaders Undermine Their Influence
·       What employees say they DON'T want from their leaders
·       Take a Real World Approach to Successful Leadership

Part 3:
Leadership Advice from Famous People

·       Life and Leadership Secrets from Legendary Coach John Wooden
·       8 Leadership Insights from America’s Top Chefs
·       Leadership Lessons from Master Yoda
·       Leadership Teaching’s from the Movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Part 4:
Leading Effective Teams

·       An Interview with Coach K on Teamwork
·       9 Tips for Teambuilding
·       Success Factors for Self-Directed Teams
·       How to Reinvigorate and Rejuvenate a Troubled team
·       Handling Personality Clashes
·       Five Imperative to Offer Your Team Members

Part 5:
Becoming a Coach-Like Leader

·       The GROW Model: Coaching Others to Improve Performance
·       Coaching Mistakes: Avoid These Traps
·       Trim these Phrases from Your Vocabulary When Coaching
·       Go for the Gold When You Coach
·       Don’t Sabotage Coaching with Faulty Questions
·       Four Tips for More Effective Coaching

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Inspire your people to delight customers

To stay in business, you and your employees need to be focused first and foremost on the people who pay the bills: your customers.
Your company doesn’t exist to make cool products or win “Best Workplace” awards. To stay in business, you and your employees need to be focused first and foremost on the people who pay the bills: your customers.

Build a customer-centered culture with this advice:

Rewrite your mission statement. Your organization’s mission statement should emphasize the importance of serving customers, whether they’re internal or external. Post your mission statement prominently as a constant reminder of what employees should focus on.

Set the example. As a manager, you should lead the way by showing that you’re willing to put everything aside to help a customer. When you “don’t have time” to deal with a customer’s issue, you tell employees that customers are less important than other duties—and those employees will act accordingly.

Provide the resources. You can do all the cheerleading you want, but it won’t produce results unless you put your money where your rah-rahs are. Employees can’t effectively serve customer needs unless they’re provided with adequate resources—equipment, training, and time—to do the job.

Analyze your failures. No matter how committed you are to serving customers, you’ll fall short sometimes. Don’t brush aside your mistakes. Do a postmortem to determine where you went wrong and how you can do things better next time.

Recognize employees’ efforts. Put customer service at the forefront of your incentive programs. Give special recognition to those individuals who go above and beyond to keep customers happy. Nothing will sell your message more effectively than shining a spotlight on the behavior you hope to perpetuate.

To your greater success!

Peter Mclees, MS LMFT

P. S. Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping restaurants, stores, branches, distrubution centers, food production facilities, and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

7 Common Time Management Mistakes

You probably don’t want to admit it but you love distractions. In fact, just like monkeys, you get a shot of dopamine every time something pulls you in another direction. Why do you think you check your email or text messages so much?

Want to be more productive and get your focus back? Avoid the seven common time management mistakes outlined in this post.

So, how well do you manage your time? If you're like many people, your answer may not be completely positive!

Perhaps you feel overloaded, and you often have to work late to hit your deadlines. Or maybe your days seem to go from one crisis to another, and this is stressful and demoralizing.
Many of us know that we could be managing our time more effectively; but it can be difficult to identify the mistakes that we're making, and to know how we could improve.

When we do manage our time well, however, we're exceptionally productive at work, and our stress levels drop. We can devote time to the interesting, high-reward projects that can make a real difference to a career.

In short, we're happier!

These seven mistakes are:

Mistake #1. Failing to Manage Distractions

Do you know that some of us can lose as much as two hours a day to distractions? Think how much you could get done if you had that time back! Whether they come from emails, IM chats, colleagues in a crisis, or phone calls from clients, distractions prevent us from achieving flow, which is the satisfying and seemingly effortless work that we do when we're 100 percent engaged in a task.

If you want to gain control of your day and do your best work, it's vital to know how to minimize distractions and manage interruptions effectively. For instance, turn off your IM chat when you need to focus, and let people know if they're distracting you too often. You should also learn how to improve your concentration, even when you're faced with distractions.

Mistake #2. Failing to Keep a To-Do List

Do you ever have that nagging feeling that you've forgotten to do an important piece of work? If so, you probably don't use a To-Do List to keep on top of things. (Or, if you do, you might not be using it effectively!)

The trick with using To-Do Lists effectively lies in prioritizing the tasks on your list. Many people use an A - C coding system (A for high priority items, C for very low priorities). Alternatively, you can simplify this by using numbers.

Mistake #3. Not Setting Personal Goals

Do you know where you'd like to be in six months? What about this time next year, or even 10 years from now? If not, it's time to set some personal goals!  Personal goal setting is essential to managing your time well, because goals give you a destination and vision to work toward.

When you know where you want to go, you can manage your priorities, time, and resources to get there. Goals also help you decide what's worth spending your time on, and what's just a distraction.

Mistake #4. Not Prioritizing

Your direct report has just walked in with a crisis that she needs you to deal with right now, but you're in the middle of brainstorming ideas for a new client. You're sure that you've almost come up with a brilliant idea for their marketing campaign, but now you risk losing the thread of your thinking because of this "emergency."

Sometimes, it's hard to know how to prioritize, especially when you're facing a flood of seemingly-urgent tasks. However, it's essential to learn how to prioritize tasks effectively if you want to manage your time better. 

Mistake #5. Taking on too Much

Are you a person who has a hard time saying "no" to people? If so, you probably have far too many projects and commitments on your plate. This can lead to poor performance, stress, and low morale. Or, you might be a micromanager: someone who insists on controlling or doing all of the work themselves, because they can't trust anyone else to do it correctly. (This can be a problem for everyone - not just managers!)

Either way, taking on too much is a poor use of your time, and it can get you a reputation for producing rushed, sloppy work.
  To stop this, learn the subtle art of saying "yes" to the person, but "no" to the task. This skill helps you assert yourself, while still maintaining good feelings within the group. If the other person starts leaning on you to say "yes" to their request, learn how to think on your feet, and stay cool under pressure.

Mistake #6. Thriving on "Busy"

Some people get a rush from being busy. The narrowly-met deadlines, the endless emails, the piles of files needing attention on the desk, the frantic race to the meeting... What an adrenaline buzz!

The problem is that an "addiction to busyness" rarely means that you're effective, and it can lead to stress. Instead, try to slow down, and learn to manage your time better.

Mistake #7 Ineffectively Scheduling Tasks

Are you a morning person? Or do you find your energy picking up once the sun begins to set in the evening? All of us have different rhythms, that is, different times of day when we feel most productive and energetic.

You can make best use of your time by scheduling high-value work during your peak time, and low-energy work (like returning phone calls and checking email), during your low energy periods.

One of the most effective ways of improving your productivity is to recognize and rectify time management mistakes.

When you take the time to overcome these mistakes, it will make a huge difference in your productivity - and you'll also be happier, and experience less stress!

Carpe Diem!

Peter Mclees, MS LMFT


P. S. Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping restaurants, stores, branches, distrubution centers, food production facilities, and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Handling Tardy Employees

Dear Smart Development,

At our company, we expect our employees to be ready to work at the start of their shift. But I have several employees, who have been written up because they consistently arrive after the grace period. Of course, they would have been on time if it wasn't for the fact that "my mom didn't wake me up" (And the employee is 31 years old), or "my ride didn't pick me up," or "my alarm didn't go off, so I didn't get up," or for more legitimate reasons. These employees feel the policy is unfair and intolerant and they have the empathy of some of the employee who arrive on time.

Needing Discipline

Dear Needing,

First, let us congratulate you for confronting the problem early and consistently, so that the late arrivers are already on the progressive discipline track. Employee lateness for shifts, meetings, and other workplace events is frustrating and costly. Ideally, a simple, clear policy and a responsible workforce would remedy the situation. However, as you know, even if you have such a policy, many people simply resist complying with the clock. Enforce your lateness policies consistently. Unevenly applied tardiness policies (Watch out for any favoritism here) are one of the biggest causes of lateness. The most common mistake we make is to let these kinds of problems slide, and as a result, give our tacit permission for bad behavior.

Here are five tips for handling your late arrivers:

1. Make sure the rule is clear. If you inherited this problem and your predecessor gave his/her tacit permission to let people come in late, you will want to give "fair warning" before beginning to enforce the policy. You will want to talk to the team, and specifically to the late arrivers, to explain the policy and to let them know that you will be enforcing it.

2. Encourage peer pressure. While some employees resent late coworkers, many others will tolerate lateness and even cover for late employees. Channel that energy into responsibility. For example, hold a team huddle and discuss the importance of being on time. Ask for suggestions about what individuals can do to remind each other to arrive on time. A cooperative effort may accomplish what warnings can't.

3. Have the TLC (Tough Love Conversation). You usually don't notice the first time a Employee comes in late, you notice when it's become a pattern. The key is to have the conversation as soon as you realize someone is consistently coming in late. Describe the gap between what you expect and what you've observed, and probe for the cause of the problem. Problems are caused by motivation (the person doesn't share your priority) or ability (the person is unable or has difficulty complying) or a combination of both.

If your employees don’t share your priority for arriving on time (motivation), explain the natural consequences for his or her coworkers, customers and the company. If necessary, explain the imposed consequences involved in your company’s tardiness and attendance policy.

Identify conflicts. Some employees may be very busy with personal and family responsibilities at the times business events occur. For example, dropping off and picking up children ruins many folks’ schedules. Options: Can the Employee reschedule personal events? Or can you reschedule meeting times or flex the schedule?

If the person is having difficulty arriving on time (ability), ask for his or her ideas for making it happen. Encourage the employee to develop a plan that will work for him or her. But don't allow ability blocks to become excuses. The Employee needs a plan that results in on-time arrival.

Often, the person will end up with both short-term and long-term plans. The long-term plan might be to get his or her car repaired; the short-term plan might be to get a ride with his or her spouse. By the end of the TLC, the Employee should explicitly agree on who will do what by when. Take care that you don't transfer the burden to your back. People need to develop a viable solution that they buy into. And they need to understand that, if their solution doesn't work, consequences will be imposed.

4.Be sure to hold the right conversation. You talk to someone about being late for the second time. Then the third time. Your blood begins to boil. Then you bite your lip and give another gentle reminder (After all, this employee is a good worker or has a good attitude). Finally after your resentment builds up, you become angry. You make a sarcastic or cutting comment and then end up looking stupid because your reaction seems way out of line given the minor offense.

Once again, look for the patterns. Don't focus exclusively on a single event. Watch for behavior over time. Then talk about the pattern. For example, if a person is late to meetings or for their shift and agrees to do better, the next conversation should not be about tardiness. It should be about his or her failure to keep a commitment. This is a bigger issue. It’s now about integrity and trust.

5. Impose the consequences. It sounds as if you have arrived at this step. If you don't think you’ve had a full and frank discussion, then have it now. However, if you have already had a counseling conversation, the latecomers have already agreed on a plan, and they have failed to live up to their agreements, it's time to impose consequences.

Take care to involve the right people in your up chain—your Regional and HR—where appropriate. Try to avoid blindsiding anyone.

Before you meet with an employee, take some time to get your head and your heart right. Ask yourself what you really want—you want the person to be successful somewhere, but you can't continue the costs to your employee and business.

Then meet with the employee and explain the situation—you established a plan you both agreed to, and the employee has failed to live up to it—and the next step in the disciplinary process. Keep the conversation professional. Create as much respect as possible, but understand that the employee is likely to be hurt or angry.

6. Dealing with others. When an employee is terminated, it's normal for other employees to feel sympathy for that person. It's also normal for people to feel some fear about whether they will be next. You can't share personnel information or feed the rumor mill. Our guess is that, while many will have sympathy and empathy for the person, they will also feel relief that they won't have to carry that person's load any longer.

Best wishes on handling this tardiness issue. You should feel proud of yourself for stepping up to these tough conversations. Without your actions, problems like these would linger, festering in your team and undermining your ability to run your store efficiently.

Cure tardiness in six easy steps

1. Commit. Begin by making up your mind that you will be punctual from now on. You can't expect to overcome your lateness habit until you've made a firm mental commitment to do so.

2. Record. Since studies have shown that we're more likely to fulfill written goals, it's important that you record your commitment to be on time. Write "I will arrive on time" on several pieces of paper and post them in key places, such as your TV room wall, your bathroom mirror, and your car dashboard.

3. Calculate. Determine how early you need to leave your home in order to arrive at work on time—or better yet, to arrive a few minutes early. Allow extra time for traffic tie-ups. Record your proposed departure time in your day planner, on your schedule or just on a piece of paper.

4. Plan. Set yourself up for success by filling up your gas tank on the way home rather than on the way to work, laying out your clothes the night before, getting to bed early, and setting the alarm a few minutes ahead.

5. Prioritize. Don't fall prey to the urge to do "just one more thing" before leaving the house—even if you think you have a few extra minutes to spare. Instead, get to work a few minutes early and do your "one more thing" there.

6. Practice. Tardiness, like punctuality, is a habit. And since it takes only about three weeks to a month to replace one habit with another, a little practice should make perfect.

All the success!

Peter Mclees, MS LMFT


P. S. Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping restaurants, stores and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

SMART Scheduling


Planning to Make the Best Use of Your Time

Scheduling is where these aspirations meet the reality of the time you have available. Scheduling is the process by which you look at the time available to you, and plan how you will use it to achieve the goals you have identified. By using a schedule properly, you can:

+ Understand what you can realisticaly achieve with your time.
+ Plan to make the best use of the time available.
+ Leave enough time for things you absolutely must do.
+ Preserve contingency time to handle 'the unexpected'.
+ Minimize stress by avoiding over-commitment to yourself and others.

How to Use the Tool:There are many good scheduling tools available, including diaries, calendars, paper-based organizers, PDAs and integrated software suites like MS Outlook or GoalPro 6. The scheduling tool that is best for you depends on your situation, the current structure of your job, your taste and your budget: The key things are to be able to enter data easily, and to be able to view an appropriate span of time in the correct level of detail.

Scheduling is best done on a regular basis, for example at the start of every week or month.
Go through the following steps in preparing your schedule:

Start by identifying the time you want to make available for your work. This will depend on the design of your job and on your personal goals in life. Next, block in the actions you absolutely must take to do a good job. These will often be the things you are assessed against.

For example, if you manage people, then you must make time available for dealing with issues that arise, coaching, and supervision. Similarly, you must allow time to communicate with your boss and key people around you. While people may let you get away with 'neglecting them' in the short-term, your best time management efforts will surely be derailed if you do not set aside time for those who are important in your life.

Review your To Do List, and schedule in the high-priority urgent activities, as well as the essential maintenance tasks that cannot be delegated and cannot be avoided.
Next, block in appropriate contingency time. You will learn how much of this you need by experience. Normally, the more unpredictable your job, the more contingency time you need.

The reality of many people's work is of constant interruption: Studies show some managers getting an average of as little as six minutes uninterrupted work done at a time.

Obviously, you cannot tell when interruptions will occur. However, by leaving space in your schedule, you give yourself the flexibility to rearrange your schedule to react effectively to issues as they arise.

What you now have left is your "discretionary time": the time available to deliver your priorities and achieve your goals. Review your Prioritized To Do List and personal goals, evaluate the time needed to achieve these actions, and schedule these in.

By the time you reach step 5, you may find that you have little or no discretionary time available. If this is the case, then revisit the assumptions you used in the first four steps. Question whether things are absolutely necessary, whether they can be delegated, or whether they can be done in an abbreviated way. Remember that one of the most important ways people learn to achieve success is by maximizing the 'leverage' they can achieve with their time.

They increase the amount of work they can manage by delegating work to other people, spend money outsourcing key tasks, or use technology to automate as much of their work as possible. This frees them up to achieve their goals.

Also, use this as an opportunity to review your To Do List and Personal Goals. Have you set goals that just aren't achievable with the time you have available? Are you taking on too many additional duties? Or are you treating things as being more important than they really are?

All the sucess,

Peter Mclees, MS LMFT

P. S. Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping restaurants, stores and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Effective Leaders Use Leverage to Achieve More with Less Effort

To lift a heavy object, you have a choice: use leverage or not. You can try to lift the object directly – risking injury – or you can use a lever, such as a jack or a long plank of wood, to transfer some of the weight, and then lift the object that way.

Which approach is wiser? Will you succeed without using leverage? Maybe. But you can lift so much more with leverage, and do it so much more easily!

So what has this got to do with your life and career?

The answer is "a lot". By applying the concept of leverage you can, with a little thought, accomplish very much more than you can without it. Without leverage, you may work very hard, but your rewards are limited by the hours you put in. With leverage, you can break this connection and, in time, achieve very much more.

 Levers of Success

So how can you apply leverage to your job? And how can you achieve much more, while-if you choose to-reducing the number of hours that you work?

To do this, you'll need to learn how to use the leverage of:

•Time (yours and that of other people).
•Knowledge and education.

Prioritization is an essential time lever you need to employ to make the very best use of your own efforts and those of your team.

Prioritzation is particularly important when time is limited and demands are seemingly unlimited. It helps you to allocate your time where it is most-needed and most wisely spent, freeing you and your people up from less important tasks that can be attended to later… or quietly dropped.

With good prioritization (and careful management of deprioritized tasks) you can bring order to chaos, massively reduce stress, and move rapidly towards successful outcomes. Without it, you and your peoplewill flounder around, drowning in competing demands.

There are only so many hours in a day that you can work. If you use only your own time, you can achieve only so much. If you leverage your employee's time, you can increase productivity to an extraordinary extent.

To your greater success!

Peter Mclees, Principal

P. S. Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping restaurants, stores and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.