Tag Archives: clients

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Banking on your reputation

If your chances of being hired or promoted – or winning a new client – depended 20% on your qualifications and 80% on your reputation, would you need to change your behaviour?

I’m sure for most readers, the answer is ‘no’ because you are already aware of how important your reputation is to your success.

In this post we’re going to look at some of the things, beyond honesty, that contribute to a good reputation.  If you’d like to know more about how to get more insights into a person’s reputation, read this post.

These are our top five factors contributing to a high personal approval rating:

1.  Valuing others for the relationships you have with them, not just for what you think they can do for you.

2.  Positive interactions and communication with peers, managers, suppliers, clients and competitors. 

3.  Congruence or acting in ways that are consistent with your values and the values of your organisation.  This is ‘walking the talk’.

4.  Delivery – doing what you said you’d do, even if it will cost you.  Corollary:  Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

5.  Consistency in how you act in the full range of situations you encouner in life and business.  People like to extrapolate from how they’ve seen you behave in one instance to how you will approach other situations and if you’re not consistent you’ll cause confusion, which can be damaging for you.

As an employee, consultant or adviser, be aware of how all these factors contribute to your reputation and the reputation of your organisation.

As a manager, you could use these five factors as a checklist when assessing candidates for employment or promotion, as you go through your interviews, reference checking and staff development processes.  Lack of clarity on any one of these factors is a signal that you may need to do some more research before making your decision.

Remember “You can’t build your reputation on what you’re going to do.”  (Henry Ford)

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Top Business Ideas in the Aftermath of the GFC

This is a guest post from The Quinn Group:

The Global Finance Crisis was a trying time in the lifecycle of any business.

The good news is that we are seeing some softening effects from the GFC and there are certainly things that you are able to do to help your business run smoothly:

Turn negatives in to positives:

  • If your business suffers a lack of profitability, increase prices, shop around for cheaper suppliers, increase value-adds to your customers, develop loyalty programs and encourage referrals
  • Meet with your staff and assess whether they are being managed correctly, ask for their opinions and act accordingly
  • Review the gross profit margin of each product or service separately and eliminate underperforming offerings and replace with higher performing, higher turnover offerings.
  • Review the sources and reasons behind any customer complaints and alter your processes accordingly e.g. service, manufacturing, supply, quality control etc
  • As a manager you need to learn how to stop working and start managing. It is impossible to do everything yourself so ensure that you delegate tasks to the right people and free up some of your time for more important things
  • Plan your capital purchases to capitalise on any tax breaks before the end of the financial year

Capitalise on your assets:

  • Increase marketing to raise awareness for your business
  • Create systems to ensure that your quality is consistent
  • If you have great staff, review incentive packages to ensure you retain them and decrease your staff turnover rate
  • Plan for growth – if there is room for expansion find out the amount of funding needed to fund this growth and secure appropriate finance if necessary. Perhaps you may be able to franchise?
  • You may have a great product or service – protect it by attending to patenting or trademarking.
  • Outsource anything you do not have the expertise to do yourself. There can be great benefits in drawing upon the training and experience of others

The team of accountants, lawyers and financial planners at The Quinn Group are able to assist you in all your business planning needs and provide advice on the best strategies to undertake in the wake of the GFC. Click here to make an online enquiry or contact us on 1300 QUINNS (784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to book an appointment.

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Networking gets personal

Have you noticed how personal business has become recently? 

In this post-GFC era of distrust of corporations, we are relying more and more on the individual relationships we build to grow our businesses.  This is more important than ever before for financial services.

Yesterday I spoke with Dr Jim Taggart of Taggart Group about his recent doctoral thesis.  Jim chose to research the role of business networks and in particular the importance of trust, commitment and reciprocity to effective networking. 

This started me thinking about how you would select, or coach, employees who have a role that includes the important task of networking to bring in new business. 

Here are just five of the 155 traits measured by Harrison Assessments that I believe would enhance your team’s networking success:

  1. Outgoing – the tendency to be socially extroverted and enjoy meeting new people
  2. Warmth/empathy – the tendency to express positive feelings and affinity toward others
  3. Helpful – the tendency to respond to others’ needs and assist or support others to achieve their goals
  4. Optimistic – the tendency to believe the future will be positive
  5. Persistent – the tendency to be tenacious despite encountering significant obstacles

Other traits that could have a positive impact on networking include self-motivation, assertiveness, diplomacy, influencing, flexibility and tolerance of bluntness.  On the other hand, care should be taken to avoid employing someone to this type of role if their profile shows they are blunt, dogmatic or self-sacrificing.

Every one of these traits can be measured as part of our online assessment that takes less than half an hour.  You can try it for yourself here.

It is possible to assess these traits in your selection process.  Employees can also improve their performance through coaching, once you know their strengths.

Imagine how your business could benefit from knowing your employees better.

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

What I learnt about business in two days in Hong Kong

Last week I attended expert level training on Harrison Assessments, delivered by the founder, Dr Dan Harrison.  It was wonderful to have the opportunity to learn from Dan himself, as well as the many experienced users from around Asia.

It was also my first visit to Hong Kong and led me to reflect on what we could learn from the locals about doing business better.  Here’s my summary:

  1. Welcome clients like old friends, with respect and hospitality.
  2. Do your best to anticipate their needs so you make it as easy as possible for them to do business with you.
  3. Have a clear structure and processes so they know what will happen next and why – and who is responsible.

If you did just these three things, why would your clients ever want to go anywhere else?

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Are you confident you can deliver on your Client Value Proposition?

When you make a promise to a client, are you confident your staff can – and will – keep it? Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and managing staff performance are popular management concepts. This article looks at their practical application and importance in providing a consistent quality service for your clients.

In the Future Ready III whitepaper, the Business Health authors say: ‘The results for those businesses willing to invest in their people are quite astonishing – the firms that implemented an effective performance management system deliver (on average) almost three times more profit to the business owners than those who are not yet leveraging the full potential of their team.’ How well do you leverage that potential?

Every effective performance management practice has the following:

1.  Expectations

Everyone likes to know what they are supposed to do and what outcomes they can expect for their efforts. Figures from the Business Health whitepaper show that those practices where more than half the staff had personal objectives were 76% more profitable than firms where fewer staff had individual KPIs. KPIs need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, given a time frame and agreed with your staff. It’s important to write them down for future reference and review.

Set expectations about consequences. What will you reward and how? For example, achieving KPIs may be worthy of one level of reward, and exceeding them will attract greater rewards. Also be clear about the consequences of poor performance.  

2.  Review

Monitor performance and adjust expectations if necessary. Consider, for example, if adequate resources and training have been provided to enable achievement of KPIs. Having a ‘no blame’ culture will encourage staff to learn from their mistakes, rather than try to hide them.

3.  Feedback

Giving feedback is a management skill that takes practice to perfect (which is why we sometimes avoid it until it’s too late!). Here are some tips that apply to both positive and negative feedback:

  • don’t avoid or delay
  • provide specific examples of the performance or behaviour the feedback relates to
  • be clear about consequences
  • agree on any changes that need to occur
  • take the opportunity to seek feedback yourself
  • set a date to review performance

4.  Rewards

If you are going to provide rewards and incentives, you need to be committed and consistent. How can you be sure staff will value the rewards you offer? Simply by asking what would be of value to them and ensuring you honour their individual preferences. For example, an afternoon tea celebration and public recognition might be relished by some people, while the attention would only embarrass others.

You can use your imagination, and staff suggestions, to develop a reward program that will be motivating without breaking the bank. Whatever you do, remember that all the research indicates that the most important reward is your genuine appreciation. Saying ‘thank you’ and giving as much attention to your consistently strong performers as you do to managing poor performance can make the difference between keeping and losing your best employees.

5.  Momentum

For truly outstanding results, provide guidance and feedback on an ongoing basis. Studies have shown that feedback and rewards are quickly forgotten by employees, so they need to be applied continuously and consistently. Michael Gerber, of E-Myth fame, recommends weekly individual employee development meetings (EDMs) between staff and their managers. The EDM gives both you and your employees an opportunity to re-establish priorities and provide feedback.

Industry data, again from Business Health, shows that practices where staff performance reviews were held within six months of the survey date had profit levels 35% higher than those where performance reviews had not been conducted for more than 12 months. Regular reviews enhance performance that can be tracked to your bottom line.

One final comment on performance management: In ‘Good to Great’, Jim Collins says ‘If you need to constantly manage people and their performance, you know you’ve got the wrong people on the bus’. If you suspect this is the case, it might be time to review your recruitment and selection processes (see previous article in this series) and/or seek some external assistance.

If you have any comments, or questions, about these articles, I’d love to hear from you. Please email me or call on 1300 785 150. For more information about Balance at Work’s range of people management services, visit our website or subscribe to our newsletter for more practical tips.

"The last couple of years at batyr has seen incredible growth and the Balance at Work team has supported us along the way. They have helped us improve leadership skills across the team by helping us source and manage mentors, and even engaging as mentors themselves. As a young and fresh CEO Susan has also supported me personally with genuine feedback and fearless advice to achieve great things. "
By Sam Refshauge, CEO, batyr
"We used the Harrison Assessment tools followed by a debrief with Susan, for career development with staff, which then allowed us to work with Susan to create a customised 360 degree review process. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and is able to offer suggestions and solutions for our company. She is always ready to get involved and takes the time to show her clients the capability of Harrison Assessments. "
By Jessica Hill, Head of People and Culture, Choice
"Balance at Work are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool and the follow up coaching sessions have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organisation is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such a great support crew on this key project."
By Chris Bulmer, National GM Learning and Development, ISS Australia
"We use Harrison Assessments with our clients to support their recruitment processes. We especially value the comprehensive customisable features that allow us to ensure the best possible fit within a company, team and position. Balance at Work is always one phone call away. We appreciate their valuable input and their coaching solutions have also given great support to our clients."
By Benoit Ribe, HR Solutions Manager, Polyglot Group
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By Shaun Stanfield, Managing Director, Insurance Advisernet

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