|Business Management Information|
Have You Fixed the Broken Window?
Left alone it doesn't take long for a building with a single broken window to rapidly become a building with many broken windows. Fixing problems when they are small will prevent them from developing into larger problems.
The same is true when considering the level of employee satisfaction Dissatisfaction spreads like wildfire and in a surprisingly short period of time you've got morale problems of the kind that are notoriously hard to fix.
Ensuring your employees are happy is mostly about being tuned into what their problems are and, importantly, dealing with them early on. Keeping the initiative is really important and the secret is that it is better to give a little and often.
This turns out be a virtuous circle. Fixing the problem when it's small is also when it's easiest and when it's cheapest. And taking the initiative without being prompted puts the manager in a position of strength, which also suits the employees. Staff like strong, confident management and this approach generates respect not least because someone has taken the time to understand some of the employees' issues.
Compare that with managers who are out of touch. They arrive late at a problem so they are on the defensive, and with their credibility eroded they have to concede to demands which in turn leads to further and less reasonable demands. It's not big and it's not clever.
The issue, then, is how to go about monitoring the morale of a company without a big budget and without much spare time?
The first port of call should be an online survey. They're quick, easy to use, and a low cost solution. Surveys can be created in minutes and deployed in seconds, with the results compiled in real time; and by using email and websites they cost nothing to disseminate.
A corporate internet is the ideal delivery mechanism. By linking through to an online survey website such as http://www.surveygalaxy.com a company can regularly conduct surveys so they become part and parcel of the daily operations.
With an online survey's ability to produce results in real-time the mood of the employees can rapidly be gauged and concerns highlighted both on a collective and individual level.
Using the survey results companies can quickly identify problem areas and follow-up surveys can be used to target specific concerns. With good information managers are able to get to the root of specific problems and prepare a considered response.
A major advantage of regular surveys is that it allows a company to address small problems in a timely manner avoiding 'the straw that broke the camels back' syndrome where a relatively insignificant incident unleashes a torrent of pent up concerns.
And don't forget that the majority of employees appreciate being consulted so asking their opinion is not a sign of weakness but an indicator of good decision making.
It's unusual to find, but there it is ? sometimes management problems can be solved with something that is quick, easy and won't break the bank.
Martin Day is a Director of Survey Galaxy Ltd a web site that allows anyone to create, design and publish online surveys. For more information please visit http://www.surveygalaxy.com
Compensation and Six Sigma Black Belts
One of the more ambiguous elements of a Six Sigma project is the level and type of compensation the organization should give to its Six Sigma leaders and team members. On the one hand, setting compensation is not an integral part of any stage of a Six Sigma project; on the other hand, compensation is an important instrument to build loyalty and a sense of accomplishment that is a crucial element to the organization's Six Sigma success. While there are no hard and fast rules for compensation for Six Sigma leaders and team members, there are some good ways to think about how to productively provide compensation to your people. Black Belts are the key change agents for the Six Sigma process. They have an important role and should be compensated accordingly. If your organization is large enough to have people dedicated full-time to leading Six Sigma projects, their base pay should be in the top of your organization's range for their level of management. If your organization is asking a manager to also devote part of his or her time to leading a Six Sigma project, you need to find some way to compensate them for their extra efforts. In addition to base pay, you can find creative ways for recognition for completed projects. Black Belts should receive some special and public recognition for their efforts, whether it is dinners, award ceremonies, plaques, etc. Whatever fits best with your organizational culture. Such recognitions should not be strictly limited to Black Belts either, as acknowledging the achievements of all who participated in and benefit from the Six Sigma project should receive some sort of recognition to boost morale. Monetary bonuses are another way to compensate people for successful Six Sigma projects. Since Six Sigma projects are about helping the organization make more money it makes sense to share some of the cost savings from Six Sigma projects with the Six Sigma team. Develop a structured, team-based process improvement bonus system that will appropriately benefit each worker in the organization. As measurable and lasting improvements are made to processes, it is appropriate to share a part of the financial gains with employees. Just be sure there is a formal performance appraisal system that will identify what is to be accomplished, what success looks and feels like, and how an employee will be compensated, and that this is fully communicated to everyone. Such an organizational goal-sharing program will effectively support Six Sigma efforts. Being able to link compensation to Six Sigma implementation is much easier in a small company compared to a larger company. Bonuses can also be paid to Black Belts, but with differences due to their unique status. Instead of paying bonuses to Black Belts as a share of actual process improvement, pay them bonuses related to specific project goals. There is a danger in directly tying their bonus with a share of the actual improvements as they may be motivated to inflate or misconstrue actual gains. That still leaves you with many concrete project milestones that can be the basis for their compensation.
Can Your Corporate Policy Pass the Monkeys, Bananas, and Water-spray Experiment?
Five monkeys were placed in a cage. A banana was hung on a string and a ladder was placed below it. Each time one of the monkeys started climbing the ladder, all the monkeys were sprayed with a blast of cold water. This experiment was repeated for several days. Then each of the original monkeys was replaced with a new one. The experimenter did not need to spray the new monkeys because, as soon as any new monkey proceeded towards the ladder, all the other monkeys attacked it simply for the fear of being sprayed.
Unveiling the Value of Your Expertise
All of us have knowledge, expertise, and experience that others can benefit from. This is one of the reasons we play some of the roles in life that we play: leader, trainer, teacher, coach, mentor, and more. We all can contribute to other's success with our expertise. Unfortunately, some things keep us from doing this as successfully as we could.
Building Bridges of Communication
If you are a consultant to a client, or a salesperson attempting a closer relationship with your customer, here are five techniques that help achieve just that.
Interviewing: How to Stay Out of legal Hot Water
Some interviewers ask great questions; others ask dumb questions; and, worst of all, some ask questions that can get them into legal hot water.
Knowledge Management - Keys to Successful Communities of Practice (Networks)
How can I make my community of practice truly effective?
Avoid These Seven Deadly Dangers Of Outsourcing
Here are seven dangers of outsourcing your software development. They become deadly if your career or entire company depends on the timely release of your software.
Are You A B.O.S.S. -- Boisterous, Omnipotent, Self Indulgent, Sociopath
Boisterous, Omnipotent, Self- indulgent Sociopath. Avoid the B.O.S.S. syndrome with five leadership principles that translate academic leadership theory to real world, 21st century application.
Innovation Management ? smart people dont necessarily produce great ideas
Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.
Performance Reviews That Actually Improve Performance
Employee performance reviews are one of the most dreaded tasks by most managers. It is hard to win here ? you can never say enough good things, and one word of criticism is generally the only thing they will remember.
Increasing the Return on Your Training Investment
Insightful leaders and organizations recognize that training is a valuable tool for personal and professional development and therefore set some sort of an annual training budget.
Thoughts on Empowerment
People are empowered when they are given the authority and responsibility to make decisions affecting their work with a minimum of interference and second guessing by others.
A Fast and Simple Way to Update Your Business
You open your computer, the flashing button says, "We have a new update for your software program. Do you wish to update now or later?" You choose the Update Now button and immediately your computer begins to download a new version of the software program.
How Invisible Communication Barriers Kill Productivity
Many kinds of interferences or disturbances can confuse a message. Communication specialists call them ''noise.'' A noise is anything that competes against communication.
5 Ideas To Leverage The 3 Stages Of Career Development In Your Organization
In most industrialized nations, the average age a student graduates from high school is 18 years old and the average retirement age is 65 years old ? a difference of 47 years. On average, most people work 40 to 50 years of their lives. It is well established that during these 40 to 50 years of employment workers undergo at least three distinct phases in their career development:
Setting Direction Within an Organization
FINDING DIRECTION: An organization can't succeed without direction. Direction means having clear goals and guidelines; set goals and guidelines for staff to follow. When staff direction is needed, you must provide effective procedures for everyone to follow. Have guidelines and goals firmly set to keep the gray areas to the absolute minimum. It's up to you, to keep the departmental goals and that sense of direction so that it is not allowed to be buried beneath the workload.
Is Your Management Style Assisting or Hurting Your Business?
Many times business owners can have significant differences in management styles that can deter the growth of both the employees and the business.
What to do When You receive a Bad Check
As a small business operator, personal checks may be one method to receive payment for your goods or services. As a way to receive payment, a personal check is actually better than credit cards because the fees are less and there can be no charge back.
Employee Motivation - Access Their Unique Talents
Your people are invaluable to you. They are the lifeblood of your business or organisation. And yet, in many situations, managers take little time to truly find out what makes each of their people special. Makes them unique.
Saying One Thing, Doing Another...
This week I was asked to speak at an internal conference for a bank. The subject was how to build a great customer experience. However, the reality was somewhat different to the title. I sat listening to speaker after speaker - all coming along with the same message "how can we stuff more products into our clients and achieve our targets".
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