Developing Your People

One of the most important roles as a leader is to develop your people into the best that they can be. Development actually starts the day you first meet them and should never stop. Every day is a chance to learn not just about yourself, but those you work collectively with to achieve your goals.

People are your best resource. They can grow your company for the better or for the worse. Because most managers normally progress up through the ranks, they believe they really know and understand people. Successful managers, just like successful people have the ability to adapt their management style to each person who reports to them.

It’s important to understand and analyze your team by taking a look at their development levels. (Self Reliant, Independent, Intermediate, Dependent). As you know, people tend to grow so its your job to lead and be the guide to your people’s success. One leadership/management style that’s assisted in my company’s growth is empowering my employees to do better. Allowing a person to identify, define, manage and plan their activities is very effective – especially to those who are self reliant.

Coach your team all the time regardless of their development level. Focus on improving techniques by reinforcing the principles that you instilled when they were first hired. Remove any interference to keep your team focused and productive.

Here are my top 5 elements to Developing your team:

1) Goal Clarity – Members must understand the team goals and commit their best efforts to achieving them.

2) Recognition/Cooperation – There must be an awareness of each member’s personal strength to the team. Members must be willing to cooperate with one another and make their contributions accordingly.

3) Role Clarity – Responsibilities and expectations for members are clearly spelled out, communicated and acknowledges. Responsibilities are openly discussed and questions clarified.

4) Trust – Members respect the competence of one another, trust and support each other and will come to the aid of a member when problems arise.

5) What’s Important Now! – The leaders keep members focused on what’s important to be successful now. Unnecessary activities are eliminated and the team is sheltered from outside distractions as much as possible.

Hope this helps. Always remember that ‘Knowledge without action is useless!’


You don’t need a title to be a leader.

This week has been an eventful one! One of our companies, The PEOPLEsource received some great news this week. Our president Teri Scott, was awarded one of the Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs. Can’t stress enough how really proud for Teri all of us are here at The Wish Group. Her bold determination to provide unsurpassed quality of service to every client and each associate we employ has been inspiring.  Teri’s attention to developing people whether our external or internal staff has been a great example for all of us.  This achievement reflects the passion and dedication that her entire team has for people and the business in general.

Personally, I believe none of this would be possible without understanding what it means to be a great leader. Great leadership involves many things. Although I’ve been successful in my career, I strive on working everyday to take the time to inspire others to do what they aspire to do. It’s all about having a great idea and doing what you can to motivate and assemble a team to bring that concept to life. That’s what separates the dreamers from the entrepreneurs.

Here are some key qualities that every good leader should possess, and learn to emphasize:

Ability to Delegate
First and foremost, these are one of the most important tasks of a leader. Understanding your brand and its vision is essential to creating and organizing your business. You have to learn to trust your team or else you might never progress to the next step. Delegating tasks to the appropriate departments is one of the most important skills you can develop as you grow. I find that the key to delegation is identifying the strengths of your team, and capitalizing on them. Allow your team to find our what they enjoy doing, and empower them to do what they love all while working collectively to reach the end goal.

As the saying goes: “miscommunication leads to complication” – I can’t stress that enough. Knowing what you want accomplished may seem clear to you but you must ensure that you explain your vision to your team. It’s extremely important. If you can’t do this then you all won’t be working towards the same goal. Try your best to be accessible. Whether that stems from an open door policy in the office, or making it a point to talk to your staff on a daily basis, making yourself available to discuss ideas and/or issues is essential. Your team will learn to trust and depend on you, and you’ll be more successful as a team.

Try to make a list of values and core beliefs that both you and your brand represent, and post this in your office. Here at the WishGroup we have our core values placed right at the front desk. It’s a reminder of how we should act individually and as a team. By emphasizing these standards, and displaying them yourself, you will hopefully influence the office to follow suit.

Ability to Inspire
Being able to inspire your team is great for focusing on the future goals, but it is also important for the current issues. When you are all mired deep in work, morale is low, and energy levels are fading, recognize that everyone needs a break now and then. Acknowledge the work that everyone has dedicated and commend the team on each of their efforts. It is your job to keep spirits up, and that begins with an appreciation for the hard work. As CEO of the Wish Group, I try my best to commend those who are doing well at their job every day. It’s important, especially for growth!

Positive Attitude
Positive energy attracts positive outcomes. I’m sure we’ve all dealt with negative situations in the workplace. As a leader you want to keep your team motivated towards the continued success of the company, and keep the energy levels up. Everyone on your team is a person. Don’t forget that.

You don’t need a title to be a leader. Take ownership and responsibility for what you do and you’ll be successful. Leadership is defined by results not attributes. Nothing more, nothing less. In closing – “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu”


Escaping Negativity

escape-negativityYou know those days? Those days where everything seems to go wrong, be it on a technical level or something else entirely? Those days are extremely difficult to cope with, but that’s all they are – just single days. The trap to be weary of is letting these days turn to weeks, then weeks to months until you’re consumed by this negativity.

Doing your job becomes incredibly difficult when you constantly create barriers that stop you from performing well. As cheesy or clichéd as it sounds, your state of mind has a tremendous effect on your surroundings. I won’t turn this into a debate on whether you believe me or not, but I do want to offer some points on how to evaluate your negativity to see if something productive can come from it.

Talk It Out With Someone – This of course works with most difficulties in life, but its important to talk this out. Discussing your issues with different people in your life will give you a different view of your situation. You’d be surprised by how many coworkers might be going through the same situation you are. Don’t limit it to coworkers either. Friends, family, significant others… There are rarely any problems you experience that haven’t been dealt with by someone else. Perhaps you won’t like what you hear, but at the very least you’ll have a different opinion.

Pinpoint Your EXACT Cause – After you’ve discussed why you’re feeling so negative with other people, I imagine that you’d have a general idea of what type of negativity is consuming you. What’s important though is that you figure out EXACTLY why you’re being negative. Was it something that has been building over time, a bad experience that you can’t shake or do you feel unfulfilled with what you do? Pinpointing the exact reasons for of your bad vibes can have a better understanding of how to resolve these underlying problems.

Look At The Big Picture – After you’ve talked it out and narrowed down the exact reasons of your negativity, it’s time to act. This will depend entirely on you. Consider the options though, and don’t act on instinct. Perhaps you are long overdue for a vacation, or there’s been something brewing between you and your manager for a long time coming. As drastic as it sounds, you also have to consider that you are simply not happy with the organization you’re with, and its time to move on. As difficult as that might be, in the long run staying somewhere that makes you feel negative isn’t beneficial for either party.

Escaping negativity isn’t easy, but you’ll be thankful once all is said and done.

Mastering Efficiency For Better Business

2594377_origThis past week I had the pleasure of taking part of an internal strategy summit with all of the Presidents of the different Wish Group companies, as well as attending our quarterly meeting with all of the companies. Admittedly, one of the challenges that we face with having so many different companies under one umbrella is a unified focus. While I’m perfectly happy with the success of each company all they have achieved, I adamantly believe that if all of the companies combine our synergies, we can become a much more efficient unit.

In fact, the heavy focus of this quarterly meeting was on efficiency. As with all of our meetings, we pick one theme and message to drive home to the team and our leaders felt that efficiency was certainly something that any company can always improve on. As such, from both our strategy summit and our quarterly meeting, here is what we are doing to increase our efficiency that can be applied to any company.

Re-examine How Things Currently Work – The first step towards making anything more efficient is taking an honest look at how things are currently working. I say honest because if you keep telling yourself that everything is perfect, nothing will ever improve. Examine some of your shortcomings and try to assess what mechanics you can put in place to streamline processes that will make you work smarter.

Assembly Line Principle – One of the analogies that we used to drive home efficiency is one of the most successful business efficiency success stories of all time – the assembly line. Henry Ford was famous for taking a long, complex process and turning it into something that made it significantly easier to produce more cars in less time. The main idea behind this was to have staff focus on using their strengths, instead of spreading them thin by trying to do everything. This is incredibly difficult at a start up company as everyone is always wearing multiple hats, but try and discover what tasks your team members excel at and whenever possible give them those tasks.

Trust Your Team – Tying into the previous point, once you’ve discovered what areas your team members are adept at, trust them to complete their task. If you’re constantly worrying about the kind of work your team is doing, it’ll leave less time for you to focus on running your business. Have faith that your team will always produce the best work possible.

I’m certain that efficiency is always top of mind for your company, so I’m curious to know what tasks you think you could be doing more efficiently, and what you want to improve on in your company.

“Thanks For All Your Hard Work”

86539528When you’re sucked into the day to day of running your business, it becomes far too easy to let some things slip through the crack. Administrative tasks, maybe a deadline on a project…but these things you can recover from. What you should NEVER let fall through the cracks is how much you appreciate your employees.

Your employees are the backbone of your company. Whether they’re in sales or operations, you wouldn’t have a business without them. You might be shaking your head in agreement, but I challenge you to remember the last time that you truly appreciated a stand out employee of yours. Taking the time out of your day to praise your employees can make the world of difference to them. Here’s why I think that appreciating your employees will work wonders for your company:

They’ll Work Harder – This should be an obvious point. If you never appreciate how hard your staff member’s work, they’ll eventually stop working hard for you. Everyone works hard for different reasons. Some work hard because they want to shine better than everyone else, while others truly believe in the growth of the company. It’s critical that you get to know your employees and what motivates them. Everyone takes appreciation in a different way, so you can’t assume that just telling one person “good work” will suffice. Take the time to examine how exactly their work has helped the business, and explain the positive impact to them. Doing this will make your appreciation towards them seem much more sincere.

They’ll Feel Needed – Have you ever worked at a company where you felt expendable? Those are the worst possible conditions to stay motivated in because you’ll feel that no matter how hard you work, it won’t make a bit of difference since you don’t think that your employer needs you. This is easily the most important reason to take the time to praise your employees, because they will understand exactly how all of those long hours are helping the company and having a positive impact. This is also the time where you can work in some mentorship with your staff, as they’ll not only be looking at your for guidance when they do things right, but also for some advice on how to always do things right.

If your staff feels needed at your company, they’ll want to stay at your company AND work hard to ensure successful business growth. It may look like these points can stand on their own, but it’s when you do a combination of all this appreciation towards your employees that you’ll really see your business grow and prosper.

Make The Most Of 24 Hours

24-Hours24 hours in a day – to some people it seems like that’s never enough to accomplish anything, but then there are the people who seem like they can get everything done in that time, plus still have time for their family, friends and a million other personal tasks. Your gut reaction might be to be envious of these people, but it’s not as if they’re cheating and getting an extra hour from somewhere. We ALL have 24 hours to make the most out of, which means that it really just comes down to time management.

Managing your time really is an art. It takes a lot of practice and experience to know how to best use your time, especially when you’re a sales person. Selling isn’t as simple as calling random names in a phonebook (which admittedly is a dated phrase), sending random emails and then patiently awaiting the results. You’ll need to be tactical of how you organize your time to ensure that you’re getting the best results while taking advantage of the time you have. I’ll provide you with a few insights from years of selling:

Write EVERYTHING Down – The key to any form of time management is to keep track of your day. Eventually you’ll be able to adjust and plan ahead, but to first start things out you should just write down everything that you’re currently doing in a typical day. This way you’ll get a solid understanding of how you currently spend your time. You’ll also get a very stark view of how much time you’re not using effectively, which might be difficult to accept. Everyone likes to believe they’re productivity machines, but we all fall victim to distraction.

(Try To) Limit Distractions, Or Schedule Them In – Once you get an understanding of how you’re using your time and see how you’re distracting yourself, the next step is to try and limit your distractions. I put an emphasis on “try” because I know that it’s not as simple as just cutting yourself off from the internet or turning your phone off. At the end of the day, we’re all human and can’t keep working hours on end without some form of distraction. What you can, and should, start doing is penciling time to be distracted. That way, you’ll make the most out of the bit of time that you have. Keep in mind though, that there will be many times when you can’t predict things coming up, and you’ll need to just act on instinct.

Know When You’re Good – Not everyone is an early bird, and not everyone is a night owl. Every person is efficient at different times of the day. For example, those who prefer working early mornings will tackle their most important tasks first thing, while those who are more functional in the afternoon will focus their mornings on less vital tasks and preparing for the tasks ahead. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to this. Figure out what works best for you and try to work around it. If you can prove results to your manager, you can even try changing your working schedule to accommodate this!

Like I mentioned, each step might vary slightly based on the results that you find, but once you find out what works for you, stick with it and you’ll find yourself using time a lot more efficiently – both in your work life and personal life.

How To Learn From Your Successes

Celebrate-SuccessMost people tell you to learn from your failures. I’m saying that it’s important to reflect on your failures to understand where you went wrong, and I’ve even talked about it in great length in the past, but it’s equally important to focus on your successes too.

While failure can teach you what NOT to do next time, success teaches you about what works and what you need to continue to do. However, don’t be blinded by success and forget that things can and will change, and you’ll need to adapt. Next time you close a deal or make a decision that grows your bottom-line, keep these tips in mind to continue your winning-streak.

Self-Reflect and Give Credit – When it comes to failure, we often look elsewhere to determine how something went wrong. But when it comes to success, we often credit ourselves. Reflect on what you did well and when it is appropriate apply the same methods. Equally as important, give credit where credit is due. Key players in your success need to be acknowledged and appreciated. It’s not only best practice but it will also help motivate your employees to drive success in the future.

That’s Good But It Could Be Great – Yes, you’ve accomplished something great but there is always something you could have done better. Pick apart the process of your success and try to find areas of improvement to make your next move stronger. It may be the timing of your deal or not negotiating enough. Either way, dig deeper.

Discuss Success With Your Team – Gather feedback from your team to ensure you have a rounded perspective. What you think may have went well, may have been perceived differently from your team. Engage in active listening when receiving feedback and let your guard down. Allowing your team to participate in the construction of future success will help grow a stronger team with commitment to your future action plan.

Celebrate Your Success – Don’t forget to celebrate. The team has worked so hard for this and you all deserve some fun. If you’re consistently successful but you never get to enjoy it, your success won’t be sustainable. Employees don’t want to work in a team where their success is not rewarded while being pushed to grow future success. Make hard work worth it – reward yourself and your team.

Overall, don’t be blinded by success but remember to enjoy it. Every milestone in your company can be learned from so it’s important to take the time to recognize it.  Whether it is success or failure, get to the root cause of it with your team.

Say No Without The Guilt

NOAs entrepreneurs we generally want control of everything within our company, which means that when someone hands something off to us “yes” is the first thing that usually comes. That isn’t always a good thing because when you say yes without really thinking about it, things don’t always work out.

Whenever we need to say no but never end up saying it, it’s usually because of guilt. We feel guilty that if something goes wrong with a project it’s because we, personally, didn’t do something about it or simply because we don’t want to offend our peers.

You might not realize it, but saying no can actually save you from many headaches that you have to deal with. Here are some ways to say “no” without feeling guilty.

Think About It First – ‘Yes’ is often the answer we give people almost instantly without even thinking about how this may benefit you or potentially damage you. People would much rather have a well thought out no rather than an instant response without any consideration. A simple, “Can I think about it and get back to you later?” can work wonders for you, and it will generally lead you to an answer that you’re happy with after the fact.

Aces In Their Places – Sometimes we accept tasks because we simply want control over the situation. This is where delegation is critical. You should know the strengths and weaknesses of your team members, and who would be the best person for each task. If someone else can do the job as well as you can, it’s worth it to delegate. Entrepreneurs are busy people, so you need to prioritize and maintain balance.

Learn To Accept “No” From Others – If you can dish it, you have to be able to take it too. Learn to accept no from others. You need to understand that other people’s priorities aren’t always aligned with your own, and know that it’s almost never personal when someone says no.

You Can’t Do Everything – Is it really going to kill someone if you say no? No, it is not.  You can’t do everything. Do things that you genuinely want to do for others and not just because you feel like obligated.  It will make the things that you participate in much more rewarding and the 100% effort will be recognized because it’s genuine.

Make your commitments genuine by saying no to things you are not particularly interested in or do not have the time to do. You only have 24 hours in a day so use them wisely.

Work-Life Balance Beyond the Summer

work-life-balanceThe summer holidays are winding down, meaning that the hustle and bustle of regular office life will be coming back into most organizations come September. Our offices here at the Wish Group have been busy, but there’s no denying that there’s an absence of people thanks to vacation time and such.

Taking time off is tough for most entrepreneurs – myself included. I touched briefly on this in the past, but I wanted to revisit it since it seems more relevant now. As gung-ho as you may be towards your business, you can’t give always give a resounding “yes!” every time an opportunity comes up that will make you put in extra hours.

Learning to say no is the first step towards having a good work-life balance. As much as you think that working that extra five hours will do you and the company good, you may be missing the importance on some important events and putting your health at risk too.  Here are some advantages and advice for how to have a great work-life balance.

Don’t Miss Out on Things That Matter – Some things only come around once a lifetime, like important milestones for your children or events from your friends. Although events like these seem like daily routines today, unfortunately the grim truth is that they won’t last forever. Take time to enjoy the big events as well as the small ones. How does this affect your business? It helps you realize that it’s sometimes the little things that help grow your business or retain a client.

Time to Refuel – A car can only run for so long without having to fill up at the gas station. If machines need to stop from time to time, rest assured, you do too. A pit stop doesn’t mean you are further from your destination, but rather it means that that you can sustain your power the entire route. In business and in life, you need to take a break so that you can come back to work with a full tank.

Try to Keep Work and Life Separate – People mix this up all time. A work-life balance doesn’t mean that you work in between your relaxation time. Just like you schedule meetings to wholly focus on a client, you need to schedule time to wholly focus on yourself. Detach yourself from work and focus on spending time with your friends, family or even just yourself.

Your Health – Working long hours can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, which can eventually deteriorate your health.  In the short term, you lose your ability to think clearly when making important decisions. Long term, a foggy mind and slower reflexes can harm your professional reputation, due to ineffective or slow performance on a consistent basis.

At the end of the day, learn to take a breather once in a while, be it a long vacation or just a day off. I promise it won’t kill you. In fact, I guarantee it’ll make you stronger.

When is the Risk Worth Taking?

entrepreneurial-riskEntrepreneurs are known as risk-takers. Whether the risk involves investing a large sum of money into a new venture or hiring a new employee, it’s critical to evaluate whether the risk is worth taking.

I’ve taken my own share of risks from the time I started my first business to now owning multiple businesses, and I’ve come to notice a few distinct methods I use to make my decisions whenever risk is involved. Here are a few tips I can offer from my time as an Entrepreneur:

Evaluate What’s at Stake – When presented with a major decision, I sit down and jot down what I’ve got to lose, as well as what I have to gain. Keep in mind that it’s not always money that’s at stake – you could also have personal stake or even mental stake in something. If you’re in too much mental anguish over a big risk, it’s often best to just let it go.

Estimate the Probability of Loss and Trust your Gut – Although you may not be able to determine the exact probabilities of success and failure, you should be able to reasonably estimate it thanks to your time as an entrepreneur. Sometimes though, this means that you’ll have to trust your gut. I can understand that sometimes it’s hard to listen to a quiet voice from within, but if you listen hard enough you’ll sometimes get the most profound wisdom. However…

How Realistic are your Fears? – Listening to your gut sometimes means listening to your fears, and let’s admit it: sometimes you over-exaggerate a negative outcome because fear comes into play. I’ve mentioned this before in the past, but it’s important that I reiterate it here. Take a step back and seriously consider how realistic your fears are before you back out. Don’t let a moment of fear become a lifetime of regret.

Discuss It with Mentors and Peers – Like with most things in life, you can accomplish much more with people than you can on your own. This means seeking out advice when you need it as well. Don’t just think that a mentor can provide you the best information either. Talking to your leadership team, your whole entire team or even just close friends will give you much needed perspective and let you truly evaluate how big a risk actually is.

Take the time to take a step back from a major risky decision in order to get an objective view on it. Sometimes things aren’t as bad as they seem – and sometimes they’re worse. These are just a few of the tools that I have found useful when I am just stuck and don’t know whether to accept a risk or let it go. How do you decide whether or not to take risk?