Thursday, June 11, 2009

Patty De's Advice for Young Entrepreneurs

Last year I had the honor of working with a number of college students, including Kristine Westman pictured here in her United Way T-Shirt. She's the "poster girl" for her local chapter and quite an inspiration to her fellow students (now a new grad!) at Northwood U.
Kristine also helped with much of the research that went into our new E-Book, JOBS2.0, the NEW New World of Work. She helped me set up the research protocols, conducted interviews and kept me on track last year. (we were almost sorry to see her to back to school, but we wanted her to graduate too!)
I gave Kristine and others some general advice for Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders on Human
Resources….. often their greatest expense and usually a business’s greatest asset too.
Here is my advice..... which took over twenty years to learn well and million of dollars invested.

1. Nothing is so expensive as Cheap Help.
Staff UP to the level of your biggest and best potential client and make sure you stay
ahead of their needs.Just because times are tough and you may not have a lot of money
for payroll, don’t skimp on your people. You do not need to overpay them either, however
it is important that you staff your company for where you plan to be in 6-12 months, not
where you were last year Train your team mates to anticipate the needs of the clients and begin offering solutions before the client realizes they even need help. And Of course when
the client calls it is critical to be super responsive.

2. You don’t have to be perfect, just better than the competition. Unless your business is rocket science or brain surgery it probably doesn’t need to be executed perfectly.
I used to angst a lot about how my people were not fast enough, around enough, outgoing
or trained in sales enough. A Wise mentor released me from torturing myself and my people
by reminding me that I just needed to run the BEST company in its class….. not strive for perfection which, in the people business, was impossible to achieve.

3. Five Important Tips for Setting Goals for Top Performance by
your employees

a. *Clear goals…..and Company Mission.* In the context of your
companies Mission/Vision statement – give your people clear goals with
specifics including measurements, details and dates expected.
Statements which just say “Do Your Best” sound nice but are not enough
to get Top Performance.

b. *Tell them WHY…* by providing the reasons for specific goals, they
are much more likely to work hard to achieve them. Increasing the
commitment among you employees. If pushed, they will also find other
ways to accomplish the goals without you having to give them too much
direction. People want to help the company be successful and will take
pride in achieving high goals if they understand the business rationale.

c. *Model the Behavior you expect in others. *We all love to follow a
true leader, one who walks his/her talk. When your people see you
setting challenging goals for yourself and then working hard to
achieve them they want to be part of that success. It is a powerful

d. *Give Specific Feedback. *Feedback is the breakfast of champions!
If your employees know that you care, that you are paying attention
and “inspecting what you are expecting” they will deliver for you. Try
to give two to four times more positive feedback than negative, as
criticism can kill people’s confidence and motivation but when it is
occasionally sandwiched in with other positive input it really helps
guide and mentor your people for Peak Performance.

e. *Reward People Fairly and Frequently.* Everyone loves money but
that is hardly the reason people stay or leave a company. Words, deeds
and recognition really make a difference to many top performers. It’s
usually the boss that they “belong to” or Quit from. When people know
you will work hard to help them and the whole team benefits they will
do almost anything for the right cause.

Patty DeDominic

No comments: