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Is Your Employee A DUD?

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In my travels across North America working with teams in manufacturing, distribution, insurance, not-for-profit and even health care, invariably in every successful team there exists one or two people who fail to commit. You likely know who I’m talking about. It’s the employees who constantly complain but do nothing to help the situation; it’s those who never seem satisfied despite how hard you work to address their concerns; sometimes it’s those who lash out against co-workers about their poor performance, failing to recognize that they themselves are not meeting objectives.

Have you ever had an employee like this? Are you working with them now?

I’ve coined the term DUD to capture the essence of these employees. Don’t worry though, the term actually has a meaning and isn’t just some biased statement. In my experience there are several things you can do to help a DUD employee become a more productive and positive member of the team. It takes some work and of course patience, but there is hope.

In this week’s video I describe what I mean by the term DUD, and share the specific strategies that I’ve helped dozens of clients employ in order to continuously improve the performance of their team.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

© Shawn Casemore 2017. All rights reserved.

Lessons in Resilience from a Five-Year-Old

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Recently my youngest boy Dylan was sick with everything from a mild fever to stuffy nose and upset stomach. During several sleepless nights, my wife and I were up every few hours to get him water, medication, or just to lay with him and provide a backrub.

What I found surprising was that despite the lack of sleep and being under the weather, when I went into his room in the morning to ask how he was, Dylan sat up quickly and said, “Great!”

Really??

If you’ve had children, the one thing you’ve likely learned is that children are resilient. They can be under the weather, but their attitude and personality is often still quite upbeat.

It struck me while reflecting on how resilient children are that there are lessons to be learned from them that can be applied in building the resilience in a team. After all, most of the CEOs, executives, and business leaders I’ve met recently are seeking new and improved ways to help their teams become more self-sufficient, productive, and collaborative.

Enter team resilience.

The term resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Considering our desire to have our teams and the people on them achieve more and do so while working more effectively with their team members, there must be a level of resilience that exists both on an individual and team basis. To put it bluntly, in order to have a team and team members that can achieve higher levels of performance, we must ensure that the environment itself is one that supports a high degree of resilience.

Considering what makes a child resilient, there are a few things that you may not have thought of in the past.

Children primarily focus on having fun in their daily activities. Even when completing tasks or chores, fun is a natural element of getting their work done.

Children are encouraged while in school and through participation in sports to work in collaborative environments and value the input and ideas of others.

Children focus on what they see and experience.

The parents, teachers, and caregivers who work with children are generally patient, seeking to help the child understand through introspection rather than telling them what they should do without an explanation of why.

So what does this tell us when it comes to building resilience in our teams? Well, at a strategic level we need to consider the environment, expectations, and communications we use.

  1. Leaders need to practice being mentors and guiding employees rather then telling them specifically what to do and when they should do it.
  2. Humor and having fun should be on the agenda to ensure that employees are productive. A study conducted by the Journal of Labour Economics found that employees who are happy at work are 12% more productive than those that aren’t.
  3. Cross-training and various forms of interaction amongst employees that help them understand the roles and responsibilities of others is key to ensuring a greater understanding amongst team members and better collective decision-making.
  4. The ability to try new things, learn from failures, and create memorable experiences is a key component to ensuring resilience. If, for instance, failures are avoided or employees are expected to simply remain at their workstations for fear of lower productivity, there is little ability to navigate unexpected experiences.

There are literally dozens of adjustments and changes that can be made that will build greater resilience in team members.  That said, here is something I’d suggest you try with your team. Ask members individually and then collectively to provide a score between one and five for each of the four areas above. The scoring received will suggest to you where you need to shift efforts in order to build more resilience.

Let me know how you make out. In return, I’ll be sure to send you some additional considerations for building resilience in your team. Email shawn@casemoreandco.com

©Shawn Casemore 2017. All rights reserved.

Teams Aren’t Dysfunctional, People Are

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Are you struggling with a dysfunctional team? Possibly you’ve been dealing with conflict amongst your team or you’re faced with productivity levels that are lower than you’d like. Regardless of the issue, in my experience we’ve been looking at dysfunction in team environments all wrong.

In this video I share a few key points to identify what the driving issues really are including:

  • Why team dysfunction isn’t a team issue
  • How to isolate issues for what they really are
  • How to improve the performance of the team

If you have a team, then take 5 minutes to watch this video and apply the tips I provide to your own situation. Consider it time well spent on improving the performance of your team.

Watch the video HERE

 

© Shawn Casemore 2016. All rights reserved.

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You’re Measuring Employee Productivity Wrong

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Are your employees productive? Before you answer this question I think you’ll want to watch this video. You see for years I believe we’ve been measuring productivity all wrong. In this brief video I outline the key measures of employee productivity and what you might be missing.

Is it time to review or change your definition of productivity? Take time this week to look at the people in your organization who you think are highly productive. Inspire your people to use creativity and collaboration as a component of productivity; employees who interact and collaborate prior to completing a task often have a much better quality product and more creative idea or solution.

Watch the video HERE

© Shawn Casemore 2016. All rights reserved.

Why Employee Conflict Is A Good Thing

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Why Employee Conflict Is A Good Thing

Have you dealt with employee conflict with your team lately? If not then you should be concerned.

Too often leaders try to stop employee conflict before it gets too far, but the reality is conflict is a natural outcome when putting a diverse group of employees together. In fact there are numerous benefits to employee conflict if it’s managed correctly. Watch the brief video below to learn more on conflict management and getting more from your employees. Most Leaders will try and develop the most potential in their employees, but knowing how to see conflict and when to seize the opportunity to allow more creativity to develop or stop the conflict before healthy tension turns into disruptive chaos is a skilled art.

Creative employee conflict can be a good thing

Watch the video HERE: https://youtu.be/fA0Wgf8r16s

Spend time this week helping your team understand what their own natural approach to conflict is so they can begin engaging in healthy conflict and how dealing with employee conflict can driving more creative ideas and solutions. For tools and tips on how to do this email me at shawn@casemoreandco.com.

© Shawn Casemore 2016. All rights reserved.

Partial Internet Voting: 80% of the Benefit Without The Security Risks

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Everybody talks about internet voting and, while a few places have implemented it,  most elections don't allow it because of the security risks.

But, what about the efficiency of partial internet voting?

By this I mean that, the election commission could create a website and application that lets people vote, and then print out their ballot. Security wouldn't be an issue because you still have to physically show up, check in, and turn in your ballot.

At the voting places, they could replace voting machines with computer/printer combos, and set them in front, before you check in with the clerks.

Then, people who printed their ballots at home could walk right up to the clerks, check in, show ID, and submit their ballots.  Done!

Meanwhile, the people who want to vote at the voting place could simply line up at a computer, fill out the website, print their ballot, and then walk up to the clerks, check in and turn in their ballots.

This would get people in and out quickly.

IS YOUR BRAND COMPELLING OTHERS TO ACT?

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With all of the media hype around the US election now behind us, it will be interesting to watch if, and to what extent, Donald Trump manages his presidency. Like him or not, he’s going to be with us for the next four years, similar to the duration of the recent appointment of the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

What’s interesting about both elections is the fact that despite the extreme diversity in the opinions and platforms of both Trump and Trudeau (just realizing as I type this that the odd similarities in their last names), they both won on account of running a campaign built on a strong brand message, that in turn compelled people to act – or in this case, vote.

Trump’s message – “Let’s Make America Great Again.”

Trudeau’s message – “Real Change Now.”

 When you consider these brand slogans, notice the similarities:

  • They are simple and easy to understand.
  • The slogans create a sense of a better future.
  • They are “we” centered, suggesting a collective effort.
  • Both imply that action is necessary.

I’ve been sharing several ideas with you during the past couple months on building a more effective strategy that will dominate the competition, and with that in mind, it’s always a good time to consider the power your current brand has (or doesn’t have) in the marketplace.

After all, when it comes to being distinct in the market, your brand is literally your calling card for customers, employees and anyone else who, or could, support your business objectives.

Before I suggest an activity to help you build a stronger brand, consider that doing so requires significant diversity. Therefore, the more people you can include – both inside and outside your business or division – the more relevant and valuable the outcome.

In order to build or improve upon your brand, to ensure that it has the “power” you need and inspires the “action” you want, consider the following:

  1. Do you have a single brand statement upon which everything you offer is built?
  1. Does your brand statement achieve the same distinctions as those outlined above?
  1. Are you and your team using the brand statement at every opportunity, as the foundation of your business, culture, products or services?

As we’ve seen through the recent elections on both sides of the border, a powerful and memorable brand can be the difference between winning and loosing. Both matter not, however, if the brand doesn’t compel others (specifically your customers) to act.

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The Lines Are Blurring. Have You Checked Your Vision?

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It was only in the last two weeks that Facebook announced the launch of their workplace communications platform called Workplace, and I for one am not surprised. Not that I predict Facebook is the next best thing in communication, although having streams of information that include text, video and visuals is much better than sorting through a stream of emails any day.

No, I’m not surprised because of two reasons…

First, Facebook has clearly captured the marketplace when it comes to gaining people’s attention in an insatiable desire to share information, from the necessary (local events, marriages, births, news) to the unnecessary (what I had for breakfast). They are capitalizing on it to the extent possible (at this point in time) and therefore the best opportunity for further growth is of course to enter a new market.

There is something to be learned from what Facebook has done (time will tell the extent to which their move will be successful). You see Mark Zuckerberg and his team recognize that the lines between retail and wholesale are blurring, more and more each day.

I have a client, for example, in the wholesale business looking to put a shopping cart on their website. Why should they miss out on the 10 to 20 points their retailers are placing on their goods, when they are doing a lot of the legwork, and accepting the lion’s share of the risk to source, transport and store their goods?

It strikes me that there are industries that have understood they can service both the retail and wholesale market for decades. Insurance comes to mind, as does investment agencies. So then why, if we know it’s possible, do so many manufacturers and distributors hold back?

Don’t want to upset relationships with existing re-sellers?

Concerned over a lack of available internal skills to sell products or services?

The fixed costs associated with hiring more staff?

From my experience, it’s a concern with all of the above and here’s the kicker. Despite many manufacturers and wholesalers wanting to hold back on selling direct, or concerned about changing their model, the very companies they sell too, the retailers themselves, are continually diversifying the product lines and methods in which they sell, not to grow but to survive. If they are doing it, shouldn’t we?

Let me get to my point.

I’m not suggesting you need to put a shopping cart on your website if you’re a manufacturer (although I would recommend you seriously consider it), or increase the size of your sales force and reduce territory representation if you are a wholesaler (although again I’d recommend you consider it).

What I am suggesting is that if you are FIXATED on doing things they way you’ve always done them, then youve a problem. You simply cannot expect sales and revenue to remain stable (or grow!!) if you keep doing what you’ve always done in a world that has and continues to evolve.

If your objective is to compete, or better yet, dominate in your market, then you must be willing to try new things. There simply is no other way.

This week I’d like you to explore with your team or fellow executives what you might try, even on a micro scale that can support your growth objectives. Do something different and if it fails, celebrate the fact that you tried something new and learned from it.

Then again, you can just sit back and wait for the world to change back to how it once was… I’m sure that will happen soon…

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SOMETHING NEW; A FEW IDEAS BORROWED BUT NOTHING THAT IS BLUE

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Next year marks the tenth anniversary for my business, an incredible journey in which I’ve met some amazing people. If there is one thing that I’ve learned during the past ten years, it is that change is a constant IF you are seeking to continue to offer value and remain relevant.

You’ve likely heard me suggest this very idea in several of my weekly emails. Stop being consumed by what is happening today and instead force yourself (as difficult as it may be) to think about and act on your desired future.

My intention is always to practice what I preach, so you may have noticed changes lately.

A new podcast entitled Growth Inspired in which I interview CEOs, Executives, and those who are experts in helping organizations grow to understand what different approaches, tools, and ideas are necessary to grow a business in any economy and across all sectors.  In addition, as a result of some feedback from subscribers, I’m no longer adding a link at the end of this email, forcing you to go anywhere to reach the rest of this article.

Funny thing is, these weren’t ideas that I came up with. They came from you, and they came about by my asking a simple question, “What can I do to provide you with more value?”

Simple question, isn’t it?  I mean, when was the last time that anyone asked you how he or she could make your experience better? Aside from the flight attendant in first class, it is unfortunately a rare question.

 So here is my challenge to you. What are you and your team doing to continue to add value to your customers or clients and remain relevant into the future?

Stumped? Start with these questions.

  1. Ask your customers (both existing and potential, internal or external) what you might do to add value to their experience of working with you and your team.
  1. Listen carefully during discussions with prospective or existing customers to understand what they need that they simply aren’t getting today. What can you do to satisfy this need?
  1. Consider what areas of your business are outdated. What is stale that is either no longer in demand or relevant? McDonalds for example has decided that there is no more value from speaking with someone behind a counter when taking your order (replaced by automated order kiosks), and instead those people are redeployed into the dining area to assist customers to ensure they have a pleasant dining experience.

As value evolves, so must your desire as a collective team or organization to add new value, remove outdated value, and improve where it enhances the customer’s experience.

Do this and you’ve got the formula to a sustainable and thriving business.

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GENERATION NEXT: YOUR NEW CUSTOMER

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Every Monday I drop my boys off at their bus stop.  It’s a weekly ritual that allows me some father and son time before I often hit the road for the remainder of the week. What I’ve observed at the bus stop, however, has got me thinking about business (surprise!).
There are usually five teenagers who also go to the same bus stop, ranging in age from eleven to fifteen. What I’ve observed is that three out of these five teenagers have a smart phone AND have at least one ear bud in their ear the entire time (while walking to the bus stop, conversing with their friends, and boarding the bus). Not wanting to jump to conclusions, I asked my boys what the older boys say while on the bus. “Nothing,” was my oldest son’s response. They all have earphones in and are staring out the window.

You may be wondering why I think this unsurprising observation is important to business… Well, if you fast-forward ten years, these teenagers will be your future employees (ear buds and all). More importantly, they will likely be a consumer of your product or service, if they aren’t already.

Herein lies my point. Your New Customer, only ten short years away, has some very unique characteristics compared to your customers today, namely:

  • They live online – not during lunch break or after work, but all the time.
  • They communicate differently – sharing most anything about themselves online but less likely to do so in person.
  • They’ve become accustomed to hiding behind technology (I’ll only show you what I want you to see).
  • They are more comfortable with purchasing online than in person (Cash… What’s that?)
  • Money is no longer something to be amassed, but to be used anytime it’s needed.
  • They are neutralized to debt, many coming out of school with enough debt to cover a small mortgage.

I could go on.

What I want you to think about is not the distinctions in the generation, but the timeframe I mentioned above. It’s very realistic to think that in ten years (or fewer!), this next generation could be asking you for a job, or more importantly be buying your products or services… or not.

Here’s a little activity for you this week. Consider the people who support you in your department, business, or team. How will the habits, needs, and desires of this next generation influence their demands and desires of you or your team? What are you doing to prepare? How will you adapt?

It’s your prerogative of course to ignore my questions and continue on as if nothing will change, and possibly it won’t. Then again that’s likely what North American car giants like Ford and General Motors said about Tesla, or what Chapters or Indigo said about Amazon.

If you want a competitive edge, think about tomorrow’s customer as much as you think about today’s customer.

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