Value Adding Performance

Classifying employee performance  varies with each company. Most traditional ways focus on actual performance against expectations or against established goals.

Here is an alternative approach. Entrepreneurs should categorize employees into three categories – those who add direct value to your business, those that are neutral or add indirect value, and those that reduce company value.

Clearly, you should pay special attention to the first category by training and motivating them so that they continue to add value. Have a strong retention program for these individuals so that they don’t leave your organizations.

Deal immediately with people that reduce the value of your company. These are the bad apples that need to be removed from the company as soon as possible.

The people that are neutral as far as their contribution to company value need to be either moved to the category of employees that add value by training, or red-circled if they are providing a support function to the first category of employees. If there is a chance that they would reduce the value to your company, they need to be transitioned out.

Identifying the three categories of employees and dealing with them appropriately will go a long way in building the value of your company.

Ravi Patel

Leadership by Example

Leaders often encourage their followers “to give their best” to whatever they are doing. Entrepreneurs do the same when motivating employees towards fulfilling the Mission of the company.

In a team environment it is normal for all employees to contribute to fulfilling the objectives of the mission. However, is it always true for the leaders?

If Entrepreneurs expect the best from their employees, then they too should give their very best to the employees and the company. Do they? Leadership by example is not just a catchy phrase!

Entrepreneurs need to give their best to the organization to inspire their employees to do their very best. If Entrepreneurs show an attitude of “do what I say, not what I do,” their employees are not going to be motivated for the long haul.

Doing the right things for leaders means giving 100% or more to prove to the employees that they all are part of the same team and everyone needs to contribute their very best.

Ravi Patel

Employee Attitude and Performance

Does your employee’s attitude have anything to do with performance? Of course, it does!

Employees with positive attitudes about themselves, towards the company and their fellow employees have the capacity to perform at a higher level.

So what could Entrepreneurs do to improve the attitudes of their employees?

It is important to have an understanding on how your employees feel about the company and their fellow employees. Using your HR department to conduct formal and informal surveys could help this effort. If affordable, it might be a good idea to have an objective, outside party conduct such surveys.

Supervisors should be sensitive to the problems faced by employees outside their work and how they might be affecting their performance. If the performance of an employees does not meet expectations, determine whether it is related to the abilities or skills of the employee or whether it is related to his/her attitude.

Entrepreneurs should use collected data to develop programs that improve employee attitudes thereby enhancing performance. It is by no means a one-time effort, but should be reassessed and revised  periodically.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on August 6, 2019 at 4:32 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Solution-oriented Culture

Don’t find fault, find a remedy – Henry Ford .

Entrepreneurs could learn a lot from this statement.

In our current blame-rich rather than solution-oriented culture, leaders (mostly political) often seek out whom to accuse of problems rather than find solutions. This behavior sometimes extends to poorly run companies with unhealthy culture and negative management practices.

It is perfectly acceptable for leaders to hold people accountable for their performance. However, it is not wise to continually blame others for problems. Entrepreneurs have to take responsibility for the issues facing their business and teach their managers to do the same.

More importantly, blaming others or even accepting responsibility does not solve the problem. Entrepreneurs need to create a culture where finding solutions or remedies to issues takes precedence over blame. Such a positive culture allows people to readily accept responsibility for decisions without having to face ridicule.

Do the Right Thing by creating a solution-oriented culture in your company and incorporating that in your Mission.

Ravi Patel

Trusting People

Entrepreneurs like to be in “total” control. It is difficult for them to acknowledge that other people can do as good, if not a better, job than they can.  A few also believe that if they share their ideas with people, someone may steal them and take advantage.

It is all about trust. However, it is less about trusting other people, but more about not trusting themselves enough.

Entrepreneurs do take significant risks in the business sense – that is embark on new ideas, in an uncertain environment, with a not fully developed product or service, no ready customers, lack of adequate funding and so on. They are good at that.

When it comes to relying on other people, their risk-taking is limited. While they may trust family members, it is difficult for beginning Entrepreneurs to trust outsiders. So what is the issue?

In my opinion, the issue is that Entrepreneurs do not have sufficient trust in themselves to identify, train, and coach the right people to delegate key responsibilities. Sometimes loners, people management skills are the least ones they have developed. This often creates a situation where Entrepreneurs end up performing all key tasks and stretching themselves too thin.

Entrepreneurs need to train and then trust themselves to make appropriate people decisions so they can then trust those people to do the things right. The sooner they learn to do that the faster their growth and success.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on May 14, 2019 at 4:48 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Do You Know Your Weaknesses?

Knowing your weaknesses and doing something about eliminating or mitigating them is actually a strength.

As a part of the strategic planning process, it is essential for Entrepreneurs  to do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis on their business and develop strategies for each area.

How do you find out your weaknesses?

Entrepreneurs can do an honest assessment and perform an in-depth, critical review. They could involve the management team in this process and have them openly, without fear of recrimination, list each area of weakness in the business. Have each manager of a functional area review not only his/her own area, but also other functions in the company.

Entrepreneurs could also solicit frank feedback from the Board of Directors and mentors regarding the areas that need improvement. Such feedback is more likely to be objective depending upon the relationship with the Entrepreneur.

The truest assessment of your weaknesses will come from competitors if you can obtain such information. Competitors analyze the business of their rivals very carefully to develop strategies to compete not only against their strengths but also to exploit their weaknesses. If you can find a way to gain analysis of your weaknesses performed by your competitors, it would be very useful in your strategic planning process.

Something to ponder ….

Ravi Patel

Published in: on March 12, 2019 at 4:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Thinking at a Higher Level to Solve Problems

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them. – Albert Einstein.

What a brilliant statement!

Problems occur in every business and for every Entrepreneur. Inexperience, limited skills and not fully developed thinking contribute to the situation . This is not unique and is to be expected from new Entrepreneurs.

However, learning from your mistakes starts the process of elevating your thinking. If you keep on making the same mistakes in  similar situations, you are not thinking at the next level.

More importantly, the level of thinking to solve the problem has to be at a higher level than what got you there in the first place. If you approach the issue from the same viewpoint as the one that created the problem, it would be difficult to have a new solution. Thinking from different perspectives helps solve problems.

How do you get there? Constant learning from mentors and advisers and acquiring knowledge through self-education elevates your thinking to solve problems. Asking for advice from professionals also contributes to elevating your thinking level.

Think at the Right Level to Solve Problems!

Ravi Patel

Published in: on February 26, 2019 at 4:04 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Deal with Performance Issues

Do you delay in dealing with performance issues?

Entrepreneurs, like many other managers, do not like to confront employees regarding poor performance. Entrepreneurs, especially, take a softer view with certain employees that started when the company was established. How can they after all be tough on people who supported them when the times were bad?

Not dealing with performance issues in a timely manner not only hurts the company, but is a disservice to the employee. If the employee is a potential long-term player, it is better to get them on track sooner by making him/her aware of the deficiencies and help the employee develop and work on a plan to correct the shortfalls.

If performance issues are not addressed promptly, it creates in the entrepreneurial company a sense that the Entrepreneur is partial towards certain non-performers. Obviously, a poor performer is readily visible in a small company and not dealing with such issues creates a situation with poor team morale.

Entrepreneurs need to create a culture where performance issues are dealt with promptly, either by implementing a corrective plan to improve performance or managing the consistently poor performer out of the company.

Ravi Patel

Published in: on February 19, 2019 at 4:36 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

Firing People

Is firing people wrong? Depending on the circumstances firing a person or a group of employees might be necessary for an Entrepreneur.

A continually poor performer in any enterprise becomes a liability to the other team members and the organization. If there is no change in the employee’s performance after repeated attempts to improve it, it would be wise to part company. Similarly if a third-party service provider does not consistently provide excellent service there is cause for firing that provider.

In a broader sense, for the survival of a company and a majority of its employees if a few employees have to be let go (after all other options have been exhausted), it is most often the right thing to do. As Spock used to say in Star Trek, .. for the survival of the many, a few have to suffer.”

Firing people for spite, revenge, uneconomic, or irrational reasons is never appropriate, but letting go of people for the right rationale is not necessarily wrong.

Ravi Patel

Being an Effective Manager

Various books and articles about management focus on each aspect of management and discuss skills to master these areas.

Here is my take – Effective management is all about making it easier for employees to perform their jobs to achieve the established goals.

It is the manager’s job to make his/her employees successful. An effective manager works on eliminating obstacles that impede their employees from reaching their goals, and providing the required resources and tools.

Poor managers bent on too much control, in fact, create obstacles for their employees. They create processes that make the jobs of their employees more complicated and difficult.

Entrepreneurs, which manager should you be?

Ravi Patel