Category Archives: performance

Culture of creativity

Encourage feedback

survey-listDo you have a suggestion box? Have you done a survey lately?

It is important to get new input and ideas to change your perspective and consider creative and innovative approaches to challenging issues. You cannot possibly have all the answers or even know all the issues that need to be addressed, unless you get adequate feedback from employees and customers.

It is not enough to casually visit, observing, listening, and asking questions. The process needs to be both more formal and more open-ended. Solicit input from those most in the know: employees on the job, customers using the product and those suppliers and service providers with high expectations for you. Ask about processes and performance, relationships and communications, product innovation and quality, customer service and sales support, social and environmental initiatives. Give them the option of anonymous response, in case they think you cannot handle the truth.

Try not to take it personally, unless it is.

Take it all in, use what is useful and be prepared to ignore what is not, but avoid simply confirming your preconceived notions.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Constructive, not criticism

Please, no useless commentary. 

thumbs-down“Whoa, that didn’t work out as planned.”

Thanks, but I already knew that.

If you are going to comment on my performance, please take the time to suggest something helpful. Don’t just pile on with more useless criticism. All that does is kill the enthusiasm to try again.

Every performance review will be more constructive if it starts with the positive. “The packaging looks good.” “The price is very competitive.” “Well, at least nobody died.”

Followed by, “and it would be even better, if….”

Not followed by, “but you really screwed up with….”

Decide before you speak: Is this a complaint, a useless observation, or a constructive suggestion?

If you do it yourself, then you can expect the same from your critics. If they still don’t get it, I find it helpful to conclude with, “Thank you for your input, please don’t take it personally if I choose to ignore it.”

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Necessary, but not sufficient

You’re not there yet. 

Golf swing“Keep your head down, focus, stay calm.”

All good advice, but never sufficient to get you to the finish line with a higher level of performance. Remember there are usually a few more steps in the process of improvement.

The first step is necessary, but never sufficient to initiate real change or start seeing better results. In golf or business.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Make work fun

A simple principle for good management

Make work fun. It really is that simple. Don’t make it more complicated.

I know, it is more complicated, but let’s try to simplify good management down to one guiding principle.

Your job as a manager is to ensure that your employees are working effectively to meet the department’s and the company’s objectives. It requires that individual objectives be in line with the objectives of the business.

happy winnerHaving fun is one objective that we can all agree on. Especially if we accept that making money is fun! For both the employee and the business.

Don’t make it more complicated. Take a look at what you have to change or fix, so that work is more fun. Provide leadership, remove obstacles, give recognition. Everything else will take care of itself. They will get the job done and meet their objectives. And you will meet yours.

All the while, everybody is having fun. See, it really is that simple.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Annoying disturbances

To Prevent, Avoid or Ignore

mosquitos- (2)A pleasant walk in the sunshine this morning was interrupted first by the dive-bombing red-winged blackbirds along the riverside, then by the swarms of annoying mosquitoes in the woods.

Back at the office it may continue. The noisy air-conditioning, the neighbour listening to the ranting on talk radio, or the constant interruptions by telemarketers. You only have three choices in dealing with annoying disturbances: Prevent. Avoid. Ignore.

They may not all be available. They easiest and most obvious reaction may not be the best long term solution. Cursing and swatting at the blackbirds and mosquitoes didn’t seem to help.

But if your productivity, performance or enjoyment are being adversely affected, it’s worth recognizing that ignoring the annoying disturbance is not working. Try the prevent or avoid solution.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at: Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Performing past the obstacles

Dustin Johnson keeps calm and gets the job done

DJ in MexicoDustin Johnson won again last weekend at the World Golf Championship event in Mexico City. He held off the challengers on Sunday and finished first, in spite of losing one ball in a tree, hitting into the water and stumbling on a couple of holes to suddenly fall from four ahead to one behind as rookie Jon Rahm had an eagle and two consecutive birdies.

But Johnson kept his calm, playing solid golf to the end including a difficult long bunker shot on the 18th that found the centre of the green for two putts to win by one stroke.

Johnson always appears to be one of the most relaxed, loose, emotion-less players on the PGA tour, even though he admits to nerves and in the past has blown some likely wins with mistakes on the last holes. But his recent successes and the resulting rise to World No. 1 are proof that he now keeps his cool and can recover from costly errors, rule anomalies and bad luck to focus on meeting the next challenge and making the shot.

That attitude and approach are important to you and your business too. Consistency and strong performance are hard to maintain and disappointments can happen. Mistakes will be made, the competition will surprise you and conditions may add to the level of difficulty, but keep your focus on the goals and play to your strengths.

Don’t let the obstacles distract you from your game and a high level of performance.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.comand join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check outUncle Ralph’s books, Don’t Do It the Hard Way and The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans. Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

 

Jordan Spieth2Last year Jordan Spieth made history with five PGA wins, including two Majors and the FedEx Cup, for over $20 million in earnings as a 22-year old.

Can he repeat that performance this season?  Well, against the other Tour winners in a high profile tournament in Hawaii last month he won by eight strokes. That’s pretty convincing.

A few more tournaments around the world and he has only finished occasionally in the Top Five.  So he doesn’t win them all, but he is still No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings in spite of pressure from Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Ricky Fowler.

Spieth is a year older and wiser with lessons learned from winning under pressure last year.  He will be tough to beat.  We will be watching at the Masters in April.

How is that like business?

One year is not enough. Each year you start again from zero and try to repeat your best performance.  No one is very impressed unless you can sustain it.

Consider Phil Mickelson – challenging himself and the competition for twenty-five years with forty-two wins including five Majors and still in the mix to win again until the last putt on the 18th green at Pebble Beach last Sunday. He has already won the Masters three times (2004, 2006, 2010), so maybe the 45-year old will be duelling with Spieth in April. It will be fun to watch.

 

 

 

spiethHe got our attention this year.

Jordan Spieth had already had great success in college as a teenage amateur and won his first PGA tour event at only 19 in 2013. Last year he appeared regularly near the top of the leaderboard, won two more tournaments, played well for the US team in the Ryder Cup and broke into the top 10 of the World Golf Rankings.

But this year as he turned 22, we all noticed him.  He won five PGA tournaments, including the Masters, US Open, the Tour Championship and Fedex Cup, topped the World Golf Ranking three times, earned over $22 million in prize money and dominated all the individual performance awards. His consistently charming, humble and polite manner through it all have won him fans around the world and, not coincidentally, bumped his primary sponsor, Under Armour, to new levels of sales success.

So what he does he do differently to win so often and what can we learn from his approach to golf? He is obviously a talented, hard-working athlete, but so are all the top competitors he is up against.  It has to be more than talent and hard work.

Watching him and listening to him we start to understand where he gets the edge. First, he has mastered every element of the game – driving, approach shots, putting and recovering from trouble. He is near the top in every category and he does it without any drama.  Not the longest, strongest, most exciting or spectacular, just very, very good when he needs to be.  Second, he prepares meticulously to understand every nuance and peculiarity of the course he is playing. Third, he uses all the resources of his support team, including his caddy and friend, his coaches and his family. Finally, he manages his emotions, stays focused and makes good decisions during the round.  Part of that process is continually assessing his performance and adjusting his attitude, his swing or his strategy on the fly. It is part of his style to vent and talk to himself during the round.  No attempt to maintain the stoic, unemotional façade of his competitors. Sharing his emotions relieves stress for Jordan Spieth and provides clear feedback for his followers.

Consider your own management style and you may find opportunities to use his approach for better results in your business.  Remember the simple principles: master all elements of the game, prepare meticulously for every contest, use the whole team, manage effectively based on continuous feedback.

And avoid trouble if you can, but have options if you cannot.

Business is like golf

And Europe wins again, decisively.  How can all the golf stars from America keep coming up short in the team competition against Europe known as the Ryder Cup? Held every two years, it’s now 8 out of the last 10 won by Europe.Ryder Cup

Somehow the European players from the UK, Germany, Sweden and France have found a way to play better golf consistently.  My observation is that the Europeans are able to focus on playing their best golf under pressure by focusing on the team and keeping it fun.  The Americans get preoccupied with patriotism, pride and politics  - looking good for their country  - and choke on the pressure.  Not their best golf.

It would be easy to blame it on the nature of PGA Tour golf as an individual sport. For 23 months of 24 (ignoring the occasional interruption for the President’s Cup – US against the rest of the world except Europe – and now the occasional Olympic experience) every tournament is about earning some prize money and looking good for the sponsors.  Then suddenly there is a new commitment required to represent your country against very high expectations and the constant questioning of why him, not another guy? It would be unfair to suggest any lack of motivation because of the missing prize money.  This is not the FedEx Cup playoffs worth over $10 million to the winner.

So the biggest challenge goes to the captain of these solitary golf superRyder Europestars getting them to think differently for  the Ryder Cup.  Stay focused and relaxed to perform at your best. Paul McGinley got the best out of his team, Tom Watson did not. Selecting a captain for coaching skills is more important than recognizing past champions for their accomplishments.

Very similar to the Sales Manager trying to manage a group of individual sales reps all focused on making their commissions and bonuses.  Requiring them to be part of the larger team and move together towards corporate objectives of profitability and long term value respecting social and environmental responsibilities.  Not a simple tweaking of sales compensation, but constant coaching to play as a team and achieve winning results.


In business and in golf , buying better tools doesn’t immediately improve your results. (In spite of the advertising promises.) It’s never that simple. Sometimes a new driver or a new ERP system just gets you into trouble faster and deeper.

It is important to have good tools. And newer technology can lead to better results. But every tool needs to be combined with good technique if you really want to achieve new levels of success. In golf that means ensuring you have good fundamentals and then build consistency through practice.

In business, that means managing the change process well, supporting it with training and assigning the right staff to get performance improvements.

Now go ahead and make the investment.