Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
December 2013

The Power of Personal Involvement

As 2013 comes to an end and 2014 appears on the horizon, business leaders are thinking about how to take their company, division or department to the next level. Those leaders wanting to ‘kick it up a notch’ are thinking about processes, goals and objectives. They are looking at how to improve their staff performance, organizational structure and sales and marketing strategies. While that is all good, perhaps it is also time for some self-examination. The top brass might start by considering its own impact on the team.

After all, just how much impact does a leader or owner of a business have on the success of his or her team, staff and direct reports? Can the employees of a business or division be just as successful functioning on their own as with a leader interacting with them? Just how necessary and important is the top leadership to a team’s productivity? That depends on their involvement and presence. It turns out that one of the best ways an executive leader can help a department succeed is by being present and available. Continue reading

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Storytelling = Marketing

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, marketing is defined as “the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products (or services) and making sure that the products (or services) are available to be bought.” Based on that definition, every employee is really engaged in activities that either make people aware of what the company is selling / providing or make sure it is available for purchase. Each employee is involved, in one way or another, with increasing awareness and availability of what is being sold. From an entry level clerk to the highest level of leadership, every person is involved in marketing their place of employ.

There are countless ‘marketing’ opportunities in the stories about what makes a company – any company — great. Every company has great stories about its products or services, its people, the ways that the company goes above and beyond, or the ways it helps the community. Every company has a multitude of stories, that when told strategically, have the power to convert lookers into buyers, prospects into customers, critics into fans, and one-time customers into loyal followers. A well-told, strategically-delivered story has the power to engage, encourage and enchant. You may wonder what story can the average worker have to tell and how can it be deployed strategically if the person doesn’t work in the marketing department or isn’t a great writer? You’d be surprised.
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Choosing the Right Employee Performance Review Method… or Methods

Every so often, the business world rethinks its methods for evaluating employee performance. Old approaches are replaced with new ones. Then, in time, those are tossed aside for yet newer methods of assessing worker efficiency, output, creativity, and attitude. Because employee performance is – by its very nature – tied to a company’s productivity and thus its bottom line and long-term success, methods for evaluating employee performance are constantly being considered and reconsidered… a pendulum swinging from one end of the spectrum to the other.

At one end of the scale are harsh assessment methods, such as the stack ranking approach that General Electric CEO Jack Welch employed in the 1980s. On the other end of the continuum is the “no evaluation” method in which employees are never formally evaluated at all. Between one extreme and the other, of course, are many strategies with varying degrees of rigor and results. If you’re wondering which method of performance reviews helps motivate and improve employee performance most, it depends. It helps to start by looking at what methods have failed or succeeded for other companies.
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Profiting from Mistakes

People make mistakes. That is why they put erasers on pencils. Sometimes those mistakes are small and can be easily erased or corrected. Sometimes mistakes have a bigger impact. And some mistakes are so big that they are considered failures. Regardless of the magnitude of the error, one thing is certain. While it is human to make mistakes and fail, no one is ever glad or happy about it. In the moment, no one thinks “Oh, I am so glad I made that error.” But what if failure is actually a good thing? What if failures and mistakes are actually necessary in order to succeed?

There are countless examples in history of people who made mistakes and endured failures – sometimes many failures… sometimes even big failures — on the road to success. But what if the idea that the road to success is littered with failure is not the exception to the rule but rather it is the rule. What if failures and mistakes are necessary elements to achieve success? Time and time again, we see people who experienced the disappointment and frustrations that come with failing, and then those failures ended up being not only instrumental to strengthening their resolve but key in directing their path to success. We see countless cases in history of mistakes that are important precursors to breakthroughs. In many cases, without those failures or mistakes, they would not have achieved their particular successes. Are mistakes actually road signs on the path to success? Can we actually profit from mistakes? Continue reading

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Profiting from Mistakes

People make mistakes. That is why they put erasers on pencils. Sometimes those mistakes are small and can be easily erased or corrected. Sometimes mistakes have a bigger impact. And some mistakes are so big that they are considered failures. Regardless of the magnitude of the error, one thing is certain. While it is human to make mistakes and fail, no one is ever glad or happy about it. In the moment, no one thinks “Oh, I am so glad I made that error.” But what if failure is actually a good thing? What if failures and mistakes are actually necessary in order to succeed?

There are countless examples in history of people who made mistakes and endured failures – sometimes many failures… sometimes even big failures — on the road to success. But what if the idea that the road to success is littered with failure is not the exception to the rule but rather it is the rule. What if failures and mistakes are necessary elements to achieve success? Time and time again, we see people who experienced the disappointment and frustrations that come with failing, and then those failures ended up being not only instrumental to strengthening their resolve but key in directing their path to success. We see countless cases in history of mistakes that are important precursors to breakthroughs. In many cases, without those failures or mistakes, they would not have achieved their particular successes. Are mistakes actually road signs on the path to success? Can we actually profit from mistakes? Continue reading

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