Jan 24 2010

Click Your REFRESH Button!

Step Back From Your Business.


    When’s the last time you clicked your own “Refresh” button? After bursting out of the New Year’s gate, it’s only natural to get a little weary rounding the home turn, headed toward Valentine’s Day! But NOW is the perfect time to adjust your course and your attitude about the course that you’re on (this, btw, is not an endorsement of happy hour).

     You already have your goals. And they’re specific, flexible, realistic and due-dated. Your new value-added products and services are off to a good start. Prospective customers are filling up the sales pipeline.

     Cutbacks haven’t left you with as many disgruntled employees as you imagined and most, in fact, have been rising to the occasion. Your marketing programs are working off sparser budgets and dipping into some unknown territories.

     You’ve innovated the innovations and things feel okay.

     Well, don’t shoot the messenger, but guess what? If things feel okay:

A) That’s not good enough. Maybe “okay” would have put you in cruise control a few years ago, but not in this economy, and not in this supersonic-tech-paced lifestyle. Things have to feel a whole lot better than “okay” to survive and thrive.  

B) A rolling stone gathers no moss (Thanks, but no — I didn’t make that up. Actually, my version has always been “Some action is better than no action”!). The point is to save the lounge chair and iPod for vacations and retirement. 

My friend Kevin Bousquet who runs www.InterlakenInn.com — a GREAT place for meetings — once said about tending to management transparency (as Jonena Relth calls it at www.TBDConsulting.com): “There’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead.”  

C) Do the 10-minute escape-to-reality thing, and in all probability you’ll surprise yourself. It’s not hard; in fact, your 3 year-old will help if you get stuck. Ready?

1. Step back from what you’re doing, clean off your eyeglasses (or take a couple of deep breaths http://bit.ly/Bb1Tw while you press gently against your closed eyelids for ten seconds), and

2. Take another nine minutesand 50 seconds to clean up, straighten out or rearrange something in/on/at your worksite that will help you be more effective.

3. One last step back, away from what you’ve just done. Another deep breath can’t hurt. And look at what you’ve just done. Critique yourself. What did you just learn about your self that you can apply to re-energizing and adjusting the course you’re on? Who can best help you?

What are you waiting for?  What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for? (Valentine’s Day is on the way!)


……….Visit Hal’s Guest Blog Posts………. 

GOT A SICK WEBSITE?> @http://bit.ly/6iYe6g 

WHAT’S YOUR T-SHIRT SAY?> http://bit.ly/7K0s4a

 LEADERSHIP SEARCH?> 12/30 @http://bit.ly/XhN1h

 DOES NO BEAT MAYBE?> 1/6 @http://bit.ly/74qlG5

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Comment below or reply direct to Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US  Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day!  Blog FREE via list-protected RSS feed OR $1 mo Amazon KindleGreat VALENTINE for GRANDPARENTS: http://bit.ly/3nDlGF

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Dec 30 2009

2010 MISSION OR 20/20 VISION??

Is Your Vision Statement A Mission?


Does Your Mission Statement


Have Vision?


You’re getting ready for 2010 and you’re confused?

Gee, hard to imagine.

Just because the media and politicians tell us the economy is getting better? Just because we’re looking at a healthcare reform proposal that has absolutely nothing to do with healthcare? Just because enemy combatant terrorist situations surface from circumstances that we’re assured do not exist? Just because global warming hoaxsters had us running to refrigeration investments? 

     We’re probably feeling like confusion is nothing new, right? So why not live with a little more? 

     Well, here’s why: The business you own or manage doesn’t need to be as misguided and convoluted as politicians and the media. Remember they get paid for creating confusion. Your success depends on keeping things simple.

     Keeping things simple starts with attitude, awareness, and hard work.

     First off, don’t let anyone tell you to work smarter and not harder. That’s baloney! Every business success comes from hard work. Next, don’t let people confuse you about the characteristics and values of Mission and Vision Statements. [No, they are NOT the same!]

     A Mission statement is essentially a declaration of intent, challenge and pursuit. It is your goal statement that clearly and succinctly explains what you plan to accomplish over what specific period of time and by what means. It is action-focused.

     And, like every meaningful goal, your Mission Statement needs t0 be specific, flexible, realistic and have a due date. [Without all four criteria, you’ve nothing more than a wishlist fantasy!] 

     A Vision statement is a summation of where you see your business in 5-10 years. It is a picture you paint in your mind and share with others. It answers the question: If you succeed in your mission, where will you be?

     It’s a set of words that best describes what you imagine to be your future state of existence, and how you expect (hope) to be viewed by others: your employees, associates, vendors, customers, markets, industry or profession, and community. It is dream-focused. It’s primary value is to inspire pursuit of your Mission. 

What’s your Mission for 2010? What’s your Vision for 2020?

     Oh, and in the same fashion that it helps to start ANY mission with 20/20 vision, it is often most useful to put your 2020 Vision on the table (to keep focused on it) while you develop your 2010 Mission (or while you think up the ways to get where you want to end up).  

More on 2010 “LEADERSHIP”? Come visit me and comment on my Guest Blog post at TBD Consulting’s Jonena Relth’s site http://bit.ly/XhN1h

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Reply Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US (Subject: “Blog”) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day!  Blog FREE via list-protected RSS email OR $.99/mo Amazon Kindle. Branding Line Exercise: 7-Word Story (under RSS). GREAT GIFT:new Nightengale Press book THE ART OF GRANDPARENTING http://bit.ly/3nDlGF

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Sep 15 2009


Exceptionally Rewarding?


OR Extremely Frustrating?


     Common to most volunteer groups  I’ve experienced as a management consultant and trainer is that they bite off more than they can chew! Goals are generally vague and too all-encompassing, which creates feelings of frustration, prompts rapid turnover, and frequently results in failure.

     Remember that group goal structures  and criteria are no different than the ones I’ve discussed here for individuals. http://bit.ly/aaCJpz     http://bit.ly/ay6N2C   are two good examples worth checking] 

     For a goal to be a genuine goal  and not a “wishlist” item, you’ll find at the above links — among other points — that a goal must be specific, realistic, flexible, and have a due date, and it must adhere to all 4 criteria. You may want to re-read the last sentence. It contains the guts of establishing goals that work for individuals as well as groups, and it’s worth giving some thought to each of the 4 criteria.

     Why are meaningful goals  particularly important in working with volunteers. Because achievement leads to feelings of success, and feelings of success are the ONLY attributes that can sustain and justify volunteer effort. 

All other problem solutions mean little unless (volunteer group) members feel that they are progressing toward an achievable goal.

     According to  the training profession benchmark University Associates Editors Jones and Pfeiffer in one of their classic  Annual Handbooks for Group Facilitators, “All other problem solutions mean little unless (volunteer group) members feel that they are progressing toward an achievable goal.”

     One way to accomplish the task  of setting realistic objectives — based on consensus and group decision-making methods — “is for volunteers to set aside a block of time to devote totally to planning,” say Jones and Pfeiffer.

     Volunteer groups,  the much-acclaimed editing team experts go on to say, also need to establish meaningful and appropriate contracts between group members and the organization. And these contracts need to spell out what each individual can and will do.

     To function at a high performance level,  volunteers should also have regularly-scheduled group meetings, individual written job descriptions, and a permanent agenda item of “Are we meeting our job descriptions and how should they be upgraded as we go forward?”

     Leadership and accountability  require designation of project leaders and a volunteer coordinator, plus a “buddy system” orientation arrangement for introducing new group members. Rewards (e.g., expense grants, certificates, academic credits, extra training opportunities, news release coverage, commendation letters), and attention to the process that evolves are all critical ingredients in making volunteer group leadership work.    

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Hal@Businessworks.US  302.933.0116 or comment below.

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, and God bless you!

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Jun 18 2009

Is Your Business On A Collision Course?

Don’t Choose To Dwell


On Your Goals!


     It’s no wonder we get our businesses in so many accidents. As Americans, we’re virtually (and probably literally) brainwashed with the need to follow rules and regulations, and only ever pay attention to where we’re going.

     We are obsessed with the future…planning for it, wondering what it will bring, worrying about it, looking toward it. Once in a while it’s a good thing to glance in the rearview mirror.

     Following all the rules and regulations and focusing only on what’s in front of us will never get us anywhere that’s unique, remarkable, or successful. In fact, it may never get us anywhere at all.

     Rules, regulations, and the future are certainly not directional signs to the path of progress for business because they represent an investment in the status quo and nonproductive worry.

     Why is that? you may ask. Because success only comes from breaking the “rules,” of which there are none in business (except perhaps in law, accounting and certain parts of retailing and shipping logistics)… and because focusing on the finish line inevitably prompts one to trip over one’s own feet!

     Driving your business forward on the road to success while devoting your attention to what the next exit is, and when will the next service center appear, and how many more miles are yet to go doesn’t leave much balance of attention to focus on the vehicles that are driving alongside you, and coming from the opposite direction.

     There’s probably no need to say anything more than the three dreaded words, “head-on-crash” to send chills and shudders up and down your spine and butterflies doing cartwheels in your stomach.

     But wait! Tragedy and disaster only strike when you make a conscious or unconscious choice to set yourself up (and your business) for tragedy or disaster.

     Here’s what it’s all about: YOU are the captain of your business and YOU decide when and where to drive, and at what speed, and at what hours, and at whatever condition your vehicle is in. It’s YOUR business. It’s YOUR choice! If you own or manage your own company, the behavior of your company is YOUR choice!

     So stop tuning in all your energy to where you’re going and start paying attention to where you are. Only by seeing and responding to what’s around you can you make your business move forward in productive directions.

     Take some “real time” inventory of where your business stands at any given present moment and then adjust it from there going forward, but don’t choose to dwell on your goals. Dwell on what you’re doing right now to take you there.   

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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Jun 04 2009


Action In Pursuit Of


Meaningful Goals


Delivers Success


     Much has been made in motivational literature about the wisdom of rewarding those employees who have tried and failed—solving, launching, selling, creating, producing, developing, inventing—cited often as a best practices reverse-psychology hallmark of many of the human resource management approaches used by the same big business catastrophes that have dragged down the entire global economy 

     The point of this thinking is that by mollycoddling people who can’t cut the mustard, these non-performers will inevitably produce more positive results when you continually reward them with an “A” for effort. After all, shouldn’t business be like T-Ball or Cub Scouts where everybody who does a good job of trying gets rewarded? After all, rewarding employees for failed efforts that are born of sincerity may produce failures, but will also produce more sincere efforts, which will presumably and eventually pay off in success. Right? 

     Well, I don’t buy it. It’s non-productive circular reasoning. We’re not talking about sensitivity here. Insensitive bosses don’t survive long term. We’re talking about making businesses work. Period. I believe when you reward people for failing, you are simply prompting them to produce more failure. Don’t you think? I mean, it seems to me it makes more sense to instead reassess the goals attached to the challenges at hand.

     Are goals clearly defined? Specific? Flexible? Realistic? Due-dated? If they’re not ALL of these things, they’re not goals; they’re wishes. Wishes don’t get things done. Action gets things done. Real, meaningful goals that are specific, flexible, realistic and due-dated are the ones that trigger action. Action in pursuit of meaningful goals delivers success. 

     Huh? Well, consider that if perhaps the carrot is closer, the rabbit will actually reach it and then get a commensurate reward (a bite of carrot) vs. having to try getting to a far-away, out-of-reach carrot, the pursuit of which serves only to exhaust and stress out the rabbit, nes pas?

     It is a far more productive practice to reward steady small steps to achieving success with incremental (small, frequent) rewards along the way. It’s easy to say the sky’s the limit, and set off for the sky, but whatever is “easy to say” is rarely productive, and almost never is “reaching the sky” realistic.

     Except for those few wondrous gifts to humankind—like the Wright Brothers, Mother Theresa, Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, Einstein—most of us will not achieve their levels of the impossible dream in our lifetimes.

     We can, though, most assuredly achieve our own levels of the impossible dream by scaling ourselves and our employees back to manageable steps and by chunking up tasks to within the range of reason. And to then appreciate and reward accordingly. “One small step…” proclaimed the first moon-landing Astronaut.

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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May 28 2009


Mind Over Undermine


     At some time or another, every business and professional practice boss discovers a hired or inherited employee or group of employees whose sole mission appears to be to undermine operations—from manufacturing to customer service/patient care to administration to sales.

     Sometimes it’s vindictiveness, jealousy, bitterness, resentment…all good stuff, right? Sometimes, though, it’s naivety, ignorance, immaturity, misplaced loyalties, or just plain stupidity. While the reason might be important to uncover, what’s most important is to act on the discovery before it has chance to fester.

     If it’s too late to contain the infection from spreading out and affecting others in your organization, it may require you to rise to the confrontative occasion and call for all the cards to be put on the table. This, however, is not always the best solution.

     Why? Someone who may have been undermining you or your business or practice may be truly innocent of premeditation, or was perhaps unwarily acting out someone else’s issues. In that situation, you could be pulling the plug on someone who is a valuable potential asset to your operations or reputation.

     This may be the right point, instead, to pull in a professional to facilitate differences and/or re-train problem employees, or to counsel you on how to do it, or to force the situation to a head on your behalf. At any rate, it’s certainly worth the time to discuss the circumstances with an outside consultant before making that decision. 

     Prepare a short bullet list of issues and individuals involved with your own assessments of how effectively each performs in the roles for which they/he/she were/was hired. Try to keep your comments as objective as possible so as not to prejudice an outsider’s opinions, but articulate your issues and concerns clearly.

     Make your mission clear, and make your goals for each position that’s involved clear ones. In the process, look to your self as well, and question what (if any) contribution your own statements or behaviors may have contributed. Ask your consultant for a straightforward, unvarnished opinion and recommendation.

     Decide when, where and how to act, and what to say. Be receptive to whatever responses you provoke, and assess those in private. In the end, you will have given enough time and energy to the situation to justify moving forward from the point of implementing your decision. Then move forward.     

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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116 

 Open minds open doors.

 Thanks for visiting.  God bless you. 

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Apr 26 2009


Rule 1: Chunk it up!


If your job is to paint the Brooklyn Bridge, and your goal is to paint the Brooklyn Bridge, you’ll never make it!. If, on the other hand, your goal is to paint the first 100 feet of cable on the northeast quadrant by one week from Friday, and the first 100 feet of cable on the southwest quadrant by two weeks from Friday, and so on, and keep it flexible based on weather, etc, you will undoubtedly succeed.

If you put “clean house” on your list, it won’t happen. If you chunk it up into a series of small tasks like vacuum the second floor carpets, fold and put away the laundry, wash the first floor windows on the front of the house, de-clutter the kitchen counter, and so on, you will have much greater success.

Being specific and reducing the monster chores to small individual tasks not only keeps you on track, it serves to motivate as well because you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment each time you complete an item and cross it off your list (use a second color, by the way, to be able to still read what was on the list and keep track at the end of the day).

And interruptions? Life is an interruption! When interruptions come along add them to your list. (You run into a bee’s nest while painting the bridge and it takes an extra hour to get rid of it? Add “get rid of bee’s nest” to your list and then cross it out when you’ve taken care of it. While washing the first floor windows, you notice an overgrown shrub that’s scratching against the house siding? Add “trim overgrown shrub in front” to your list and cross it out when you’ve taken care of it.)

Keep reviewing your list of goals to see better ways to chunk it up. As you achieve or complete each chunk, cross it out, and add new chunks. Never-ending? Yes, goal-setting, like exercise and eating right, require commitment to changing your lifestyle. No one achieves their goals by dabbling with them. If you’re serious about goal-setting and pursuits, you need to be constantly monitoring them.

It helps to have a weekly checklist of goal criteria to be certain that you’re on track with keeping your goals specific, flexible, realistic, and due-dated. Without all four of these criteria, you have only a wish. Wishes, like hopes, get us nowhere. Action gets us somewhere. Any action is better than no action. Chunking up what you need to do and where you need to go works light year’s better than “paint the bridge” and “clean the house.” Now apply the same dynamics to your business and business planning.

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Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT Day for Someone !

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Apr 25 2009

Your Business and Personal Lives DO mix, but…

Don’t Blabber Your Goals!



     You probably just went through some wrenching exercises to create or recreate your business and/or personal goals. You defined your problem in writing. Then you turned your problem statement into a pursuit statement. 

     Perhaps, for example, you started with a problem statement like “Sales are down 20% last quarter” and took it to a goal statement like “We are increasing sales 20% next quarter by introducing a new revenue stream and reinforcing existing customer accounts with added support services.”

     Or maybe your goal is a personal one, and you took it from a problem statement like “I am feeling increasingly edgy around my family” to a goal statement like “I am learning and regularly practicing two new approaches to stress management so, by the end of next month, I can better control my upset feelings at family gatherings.”

     Next, you applied ALL fournecessary criteria to your goal statement to make sure it was/is: 1) Specific, 2) Realistic, 3) Flexible, and 4) Due-dated. You did this because you know that without ALL four criteria, you don’t have a goal; you have only a wish, and you know that wishes live only in nonproductive fantasyland. (Notice too the goal statement examples are in the present tense of you having already accomplished them to help visualize them in your mind as done deals.)

     And you’re on your way . . .

     Congratulations, but don’t blow it by blabbering to others about your goals! Most other people, first of all (and sadly) do not have real goals, do not understand goal-setting, and do not believe that having goals actually works. Most people would rather wallow in self-pity and go nowhere in life. So you know where it will get you to tell this sluggish majority what you are in pursuit of achieving.

     Second, keep in mind that even when you run across someone in your immediate life who does think goals can work, and perhaps has a few herself, you are putting your goals at risk by sharing them because that other person –even with all good intentions– simply does not walk in your shoes or live in your head, and your goals may seem intimidating, annoying, overbearing, ridiculous, threatening…no need to continue this. Just keep your goals to yourself!

     Your business goal of increasing sales can become a source of mockery to someone who feels threatened and that will roadblock your progress just because it will divert your energy. Your personal goal to improve family relations by learning stress management can have the same kind of distancing effect on the very people you’re hoping to get closer to.

     Don’t waste time and energy and defeat by testing this. I can give you 150 gazillion examples anytime you want. Call or email me. Keep your goals to yourself if you really want them to work! 

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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Apr 16 2009


Biz Cards in the Men’s Room?


     Filling your pipeline has to do with how attentively you are keeping as many sales prospects as possible, alive and kicking, at any given moment on any given day! If you make your living by selling, you know what I’m talking about, and unless you’re in one of those numbing slumps, you need not read further.

     IF YOU RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS, however, you could stand to examine this post a little more thoughtfully. Why? Because when you’re not selling 100% of the time, filling your pipeline is easy to forget. It’s easy to overlook it, or become pre-occupied.

     It is especially easy to drift away from your pipeline when you’re busy tending to new and existing customers and projects. But therein lies the challenge. How can you prompt yourself to physically, mentally, and emotionally rise to the occasion?

     What can you do to rattle your own cage? How can you be running your business AND continuing to network and cold call while servicing others? Knocking on doors, after all, takes time and energy, not to mention travel preparations and expenses.

     Okay enough questions. Here are some answers. CONTINUE TO LEARN ALL YOU CAN ABOUT YOUR SELF! By doing this with relentless attention, you will do a better job of working with others — customers, staff, vendors, prospects, the community. Because the more you know about what makes YOU tick, the more you’ll understand what makes OTHERS tick and the easier it is to be productive in your dealings with them, and inspire their productivity in return.

     CONTINUE TO APPLY ALL YOU KNOW ABOUT HOW TO MANAGE YOUR OWN STRESS! Do deep breathing as routinely as you can remind yourself. Take a cue from wristwatch beeps, from little signs in your briefcase, on your rearview mirror, in your medicine cabinet and refrigerator…whatever works for you. Click here http://halalpiar.com/?page_id=35 for detailed 4-step approach that takes a full 60 seconds! Do yoga, meditate, exercise (regular fast-paced 20-minute walks will do it!), dance, sing, play with little kids…

     PAY MORE ATTENTION TO TIME MANAGEMENT! Return phone calls at 11:30-noon and 4:30-5pm when people are less likely to waste time because they’re getting ready for lunch or their commutes home. Use to do lists (and add interruptions) and colored markers to cross out accomplished tasks (including those added). ALWAYS PLAN FOR DELAYS (BE READY FOR THEM, NOT PROMPT THEM) as times to be productive with phone calls, text messages, pen and paper writing, reading, laptop activity. BRING READING & WRITING MATERIALS EVERYWHERE! Polish up your delegation skills and learn to let go of nonessentials tasks!

     SET REALISTIC GOAL TARGETS OF HOW MANY NEW BUSINESS SALES CALLS AND PITCHES YOU WILL MAKE EVERY MONTH, BY WEEK and stay flexible enough to shift gears if you get overloaded with other tasks or people issues…or underloaded!



 Good Night and God Bless You!  halalpiar     

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    ADD TO THE DAILY GROWING 7-Word Story started 217 days ago (inside a coffin).  Click on the link to the right, or go to “BOOKS” tab at the top of this page, then to the top headline link.


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Mar 03 2009


No, you don’t need to move


  your business    


to the Caribbean!

(aaaah, but it might be nice to try for awhile, eh?)

Here’s a 6-Point Approach to creating a more positive climate for your business that comes partly from The Management Analysis Center and partly from my firsthand experience. it works:

1.  BUILD KNOWLEDGE. Know the capabilities of your staff as well as their weaknesses. With the understanding that Heraclitus the Greek philosopher said over 2500 years ago that “the only thing that’s permanent is change,” and that Thoreau once said “all we ever have is limited knowledge,” use what you know to determine (or update) the fundamental goals of your business.

GOAL CRITERIA REMINDER: A goal must have all four of the following criteria, or it is merely a “wishlist,” and not a goal. It must be 1) Realistic, 2) Specific, 3) Flexible, and 4) Have a deadline or due date.

2.  DEVELOP A SHARED VISION OF YOUR BUSINESS GOALS. Let employees participate in the process. Tell them the problems. Listen to their ideas. Take notes. Encourage others to take notes.

3.  DETERMINE WHAT SPECIFIC CHANGES SHOULD BE MADE. Should changes be made in job descriptions or physical layout to improve working conditions?

4.  SET THE EXAMPLE. As an owner/operator or manager, you are a role model whether you like it or not. People pay attention to everything you say and do. You will not be fostering teamwork if you rule by threats and intimidation. Praise in public; criticize in private. Act, talk, and think consistent with the goals you establish.

5.  REASSESS YOUR OWN FUNCTION to make it consistent with the changes you are making. If, for example, you want to establish better communications, you may need to establish a more open door policy, listen more, and listen more attentively! To get more good work from people, seek out and reward the things people do right, and try to overlook those they do wrong. (Remember that small, frequent, one-time-expense rewards motivate best and cost less than permanent ongoing pay raises with accompanying tax and benefit increases)

6.  DEVELOP NEW METHODS AND SYSTEMS for enhancing a more positive climate, such as instituting weekly status review meetings (with set time periods, a clear agenda circulated ahead of time and follow-up report focused only on decisions made and who will do what by when) to evaluate progress, or a reward system for improved performance.

In an optimum positive climate, people know exactly what it is that is expected of them and where they fit in. Everyone shares the same goals. They know how they can be effective and what kinds of behavior will be rewarded.    halalpiar

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    ADD TO THE DAILY GROWING 7-Word Story started 174 days ago (inside a coffin).  Click on the link to the right, or go to “BOOKS” tab at the top of this page, then to the top headline link.

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