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Are “Bad Apples” Spoiling Your Business Operations? - Column #150

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

Most businesses employ skilled team members, many with decent and even great attitudes. These individuals come to work, perform their jobs to a satisfactory level or above and contribute to the work environment in positive ways. But what about team members who have the skills to do their jobs, yet constitute a drag on the culture and, therefore, the business? Chances are, you’re thinking about those people right now.

Business owners tolerate “bad apples” because it’s expensive and time consuming to hire and train new people. This is especially true if these team members bring in large amounts of business, work in positions essential to operations or their knowledge of the business is extensive or proprietary. Under these circumstances, business owners often feel held hostage by these team members, which keeps them from taking necessary corrective action.

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Listen With Integrity To Build Successful Relationships - Column #149

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

Ineffective communication presents the largest obstacle to any successful professional or personal relationship, and it all begins with listening. Not truly listening to others and ineffective communication are often at the heart of dysfunctional businesses, disgruntled team members, unsatisfied clients, failed marriages, disassociation with loved ones, frustration and anger, to name only a few. The truth is, we all want to be heard.

Consider your life and relationships to understand the importance of communication. In those relationships you find most rewarding, fulfilling and successful, you feel heard and communication is more effective than not. Conversely, when you consider your relationships that are the most unsettling; cause the most frustration, suffering and dissatisfaction; and are least successful, you don’t feel heard.  Communication is so limited in its effectiveness the relationship suffers as a result.

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What’s Your Management Style? Leader or Boss? - Column #148

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

There’s a vast difference between being a leader and a boss. A leader influences, collaborates, guides, mentors and supports others to encourage movement in a desired direction. Conversely, a boss lords over others, controlling, domineering and relying on fear and intimidation to get ever more out of the individuals he or she oversees.

If you’re like most people, you’ve worked for a variety of business owners and managers. Undoubtedly, a few clearly stand out in your mind as people you enjoyed working for, while others created an unsavory work environment. It’s also likely there’s no doubt in your mind about the type of person for which you’d rather work.

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Does A Team Member Hold You Hostage? - Column #147

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

Every company has team members who hold positions critical to daily operations. While these individuals might fill important roles, they also could contribute to a negative work environment. They might not fully support company philosophies, objectives and goals. In fact, they actually could hinder the progress of the organization with their bad attitudes, gossip and dishonesty.

It’s typically believed if these team members were to leave or be let go, the business would suffer. This is a situation in which these team members hold a business hostage, but it need not be the case.

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Are You Addressing Barriers To Business Success? - Column #146

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

Internal barriers or blockages to business success come in many forms: ineffective hiring practices, poor on-boarding and training, bad teamwork, low morale and team members whose lack of desire and negative attitudes prevent them from performing at consistently high levels.

That’s not to mention less than effective systems and procedures, inferior customer service, inconsistent quality of products and team members who lack the skills and behaviors necessary to communicate effectively.

These are just some of the common blockages I help business owners and managers identify and eliminate to improve performance and success.

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Are Personality Conflicts Hurting Your Business? - Column #145

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

Personality conflicts hurt businesses by contributing to declines in communication, collaboration and teamwork. In turn, efficiency, productivity, retention, team member satisfaction and ultimately business growth and profits suffer. The degree to which team members don’t collaborate presents one of the greatest obstacles to business success.

The effective, efficient and smooth flow of information is critical when working to consistently meet and exceed the wants and needs of customers as well as foreseeing challenges and solving problems. Communication is also essential to the production and delivery of high quality goods and services in a timely manner. When communication is limited or even impossible because of  personality conflicts, the business weakens from within and the effects reach far and wide.

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Reduce Expenses and Improve ROI with Job Benchmarking - Column #144

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

Businesses experience turnover for a variety of reasons, and the expenses associated with finding, hiring, training and developing new team members are very real.

Studies have estimated the cost of turnover to range from several thousand dollars to upwards of 150 percent to 200 percent of a team member’s annual salary. The costs are high because they include not only loss of revenue, productivity and training expenses, but also the time, energy and stress involved with hiring someone new.  Wise business owners endeavor to reduce the high cost of turnover and maximize their return on investment in new hires.

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Are You Distracting Yourself With The Competition? - Column #143

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

Over the course of my career as a coach and consultant, I’ve met with many business owners who’ve lost their way in the face of “competition” with other companies. This occurred because of their choice to take on a negative attitude toward these businesses and their owners, especially when that business was outperforming theirs or had come to town and “taken” market share they once held.

In some of these situations, I’ve even seen business owners become angry with former customers for exercising their power of choice as consumers and going with what they perceived as the better value provided by the competition. Having a negative mindset isn’t necessary or helpful and actually will lead to the loss of more customers, market share, team members and possibly even the business itself.

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Hire Intelligently and Develop Top Performers - Column # 142

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

The easiest and most effective way to build a competent, motivated and engaged team is to hire intelligently. Unfortunately, the typical path to hiring people is obstructed with biased or incorrect information and involves quite a bit of guesswork and assumptions.

How can any business successfully assemble a team of skilled, solution-oriented and motivated people without the reliable data needed to do so?

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Would You Follow Your Example of Leadership? - Column #141

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re leading at work, at home and in your community. You lead by your example in all the areas of your life.

Your team members are watching. Your spouse, children, extended family and people you don’t even know also are looking to you for guidance on how to successfully navigate the professional and personal realms of life.

Is your example a consistently solid one?

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Create Raving Fans Out of Your Team Members - Column #140

Marcus Straub

Marcus Straub

Business owners who want to create sound ventures that survive in challenging times and thrive in easy times should consistently endeavor to create raving fans out of their customers. If your customers like — or better yet, love — your business, they’re going to give you their patronage and also happily share their glowing recommendations with others. But, how do you turn customers into raving fans?

While there are several key components, the best way to create raving fans out of your customers is to first create raving fans out of your team members. They’re the ones who interact with your patrons and deliver customer service. They control the quality of the products and services you provide. If your team members don’t trust, respect, like and appreciate you, your business will suffer due to decreased customer satisfaction.

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