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In creating an efficient machine, there would be no reason to deliberately hinder employee advancement as this would directly affect productivity and eventually profit. Personally speaking, it makes sense to train new staff members according to the same criteria that you would live by. When you teach by example and are helpful to new workers, they will remember this training in future years, considering you more of a personal mentor than just a boss.
The Most Important Factor in Overseeing Progress
The single most important factor in overseeing progress is that of individuality. You cannot assume that delegation or training can be lazily standardized and yet simultaneously help an entire staff progress rapidly. Some people will progress faster than others, others slower, and still others will require special training because their perceptions are totally different from most of the other workers. Some staff will be particularly hard working, convergent thinkers. Others will be very good at “thinking outside the box.” The key is to identify the skills of each particular team member and then individually hone those skills until every worker progresses at a comfortable pace. It may also involve you identifying the weaknesses of some workers and coming up with ways to train them into becoming more efficient performers, or give those tasks to someone else who can be or is efficient at those tasks. Leverage people inherent skills.
Employee training and delegating authority are part of overseeing a company’s progress. It is a golden opportunity to advance your interests while helping others grow into their professional roles. It is a great feeling to see others make progress with your training and mentoring and it makes everyone more effective and efficient which means people are more productive overall and that leads to goal achievement.
If you would like to obtain client stories or testimonials, you can interview people with a set of questions and condense it into what you need, and then send it to them for their approval. If you need something from them on letterhead so you have a record of their approval, you can send it to them, typed and on a plain piece of paper so all they have to do is photocopy onto their letterhead and mail it back to you in a self-addressed stamped envelope that you provided them.
Here’s an idea on obtaining what you want as it relates to testimonials or success stories from clients. You always want to make it as easy as possible for people to provide you with what you want or need. This helps them from having to take the time to do something for you and it gets you what you want and in the words that you would like. Let’s say you would like to obtain more testimonials or endorsements from clients about your services. One very effective way is to write several based on what you know of the client. Send them to the client and ask them which one they prefer or if they prefer to modify any of them, and then send them back to you. This makes it very easy for them to complete this request quickly and you get exactly what you want. You can also choose to ask people a set number of questions. Based on their responses, you can write one testimonial and send it to them for their approval. Either way works very effectively and is efficient.
Creating Pros versus Cons list. When you aren’t sure about doing something, you might want to consider the old fashion Pros and Cons list. List the things you are considering. Then prioritize each item. Then give each item a value of importance. Everything you are doing is subjective so you just have to do the best you can to list every pro and every con for the things you are comparing. The value system can be on a scale of 1-3, 1-5, or even 1-10. You identify what has the most weight or value and then add up the scores in each column. This does help when you are trying to decide whether to do something that can have an impact on your life, personally and professionally. Your ‘gut’ may still have a say in what you choose to do in the end.
Do you have a project, decision, or issue to resolve that you can use the Pros versus Cons Worksheet on the following page? If so, do it now. If you don’t, consider using the process in the future when you do have something where it would help you work through making a decision on a project or issue.
When you have team members come to you with problems, issues, or concerns, they must also bring you a solution or solutions to this problem, issue or concern. I had a manager once who, nicely said to me, “B.M.” only flows one way. Actually, he used a different word as you might have already guessed. In other words, team members can’t delegate up to you to solve and do what they should do or try to do. This is called reverse delegation and should not be acceptable behavior.
When you use this method to solve issues, concerns, and problems, it makes the team member think to solve the issue instead of just complaining and having you solve everything for them. It may also give them more confidence and make them feel like they have a say and can contribute to the organization. When they come to you with solutions to the problem, issue or concern, you might be amazed at what they come up with – they might be also.
You want to create processes for every function in your firm including developing procedures manuals. This means starting with the script that the receptionist says when she answers the phone and transfers the calls. You want this person to have an attitude where they are happy to be alive when they answer your phone. They are the first point of contact for people calling your firm so you want to create a great first impression with the ‘right’ person answering the phone.
You will want to create or update a job description for every position that includes all the responsibilities of that position so the person doing it knows exactly what they are responsible for and their performance will be measured against.
Every position in your firm should have a procedures manual at their desk. One benefit is that they don’t have to ever ask you how to do something since it is in the manual. You don’t have to tell them a second or third time because it is in the manual. When someone is out sick or gone on vacation and someone else needs to know how to do something that person who is gone did, it is in the manual. If you have to terminate someone, the learning curve is greatly reduced because you have a manual for that position. Someone new that may start might see a better way to get something done when it is documented. If you do a certain process only a few times a month, a quarter, or a year, it is all documented so you don’t have to waste time trying to remember how to do it. It may take a little while to create the proper procedures manuals but it is so worth it in the long run.
A financial advisor that I coach said to me that obtaining referrals is “luck of the draw.” I said how do you make the “luck of the draw” happen on purpose? He hadn’t really thought of it that way before. So we came up with a process to help him obtain referrals from professionals and from Ideal Clients on purpose. He created a ‘script’ to say to professionals and one for his clients where he asks for referrals, on purpose. He has a process where he makes it easy for them to provide him with as many people they know who they think fit his profile. He added asking for referrals as an agenda item when he has certain types of meetings with other professionals, and when he has client reviews. He is more on purpose with a desired goal every time he asks. And he is now receiving a lot more referrals and on a more consistent basis. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to provide you with referrals. Send or give them a sheet to complete with the information you need along with a self addressed stamped envelope to mail back to you. If they prefer to fax something, give them tools to do this. If they like to type and would prefer to provide them to you via the internet, provide them with an electronic form that is easy for them to complete and email to you.
Some people are members of various organizations. Most organizations have a membership directory. Would they be willing to share with you who they know on the directory so that you could contact them? Could you contact all of them in the directory? Some things to think about…