Developing Employees: Start With Yourself

The most important resource in any successful business is the human talent, yet many times developing employees beyond training for basic tasks is the last thing on the list for the business owner. There are many facets to employee development and each individual is unique. There is no cookie cutter, as every business is as equally unique as the individuals are. There are, however, some common tools that can be used in the employee development program such as personality assessments, communications workshops, team building workshops as well as any technical training that might be required for job performance.

Where do you begin? It is best to begin with number one—yourself! If development of the employees is needed then the owner/manager needs to be at least as deeply involved in the programs if not even more so. It has been said that before you can have your business grow and develop you must grow and develop yourself. Some places to start can be to read the classic business books like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and the more recent books by Patrick Lencioni. You might even look into learning the techniques of the manager as a coach.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Management is getting things done through others
2. You need your subordinates more than they need you
3. You get paid for what your subordinates do, not for what you do
4. Thus your job is to do everything in your power to help them be as successful as possible. You succeed only when they succeed

Coach Judi Harris
Executive Coach
Cirrus Business Group

Will the Zappos Experiment Work?

If you spend any time with the Cirrus team or have been in one of our development workshops, you’ve heard us say that healthy organizations are run by areas of responsibility rather than titles.  I was reminded of this when I read The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) blog “Zappos Says Goodbye to Bosses.”

It can be very easy as an organization grows for managers to hide behind titles and push responsibility down the chain of command.  We see that very clearly in government.  It’s often the low-level employee that takes the fall for failures and the person at the top all too ready to receive the accolades for success.  This is a sure-fire way to create a disengaged workforce.

As #Zappos grew, they noticed that the bureaucracy they needed to run the business was getting in the way of their agility.  It was taking longer to respond to customers and markets.  This is a textbook case of the organizational life-cycle and why innovation is so difficult in large organizations.  As organizations grow they must have systems and processes to create predictable results.  However, the systems that are designed to produce “sameness” don’t do innovation or agility well.

So in a bold move, Zappos is changing to a self-organizing organization.  Sure there will be an executive team that is accountable to the board, but otherwise the company will be made up of self-governing teams.  This works very well for project-based work.

The holacracy, as it is called, is not a new concept, and it’s gone by several names over the years.  However, it will be interesting to see if this will work over the long term in an organization the size of Zappos.  I also have some reservations about whether or not the type of work in which most Zappos employees are engaged is conducive to this structure.  We’ll soon see how many folks were just in the boat versus rowing the boat.

Creating Your Strategic Plan

Creating your strategic plan is a primary duty as a business leader.  All businesses big or small need to have a strategic plan, but what is it anyway? Chris Reese and Judi Harris explain what a strategic plan is and share some tips on what that plan should include.

Original Air Date – January 4, 2013 | BIZ1190 AM | Atlanta, GA

Build Your Farm Team

Recruiting quality talent is a topic that is top of mind with CEOs.  Without a solid bench of talent, business growth is a scary thing.  Chris and Judi offer some great tips for building your farm team as they visit with Phillip Saxton in this podcast.

Original Air Date – December 28th, 2013 | BIZ1190 AM | Atlanta, GA

Built to Sell – Biz1190AM – Atlanta

Built to sell – why your business should always be ready.
You’ve probably read Built to Last, but is your business built to sell?

In this episode, Chris and Judi talk about why it’s important to be working to have your company is sale shape even if you never sell.

Original Air Date – November 23, 2013

The Power of Celebration

What is the right amount of celebration within an organization?  Does celebration really help get anything done?

I’m still getting caught up on getting these out.  These are just a few of the questions Chris and Judi answer in this segment from Small Business Samaritans Radio on BIZ1190AM in Atlanta, GA.

Original Air Date – November 16, 2013.

Defining Diversity in the Workplace – 11/09/2013 SBS Radio Show

How do business leaders define diversity in the organization?

With so much talk about diversity these days, it is important to know where you want it and where you cannot tolerate it.

In this episode, Judi and Chris provide a working definition for diversity.  They also explain where you want it and where you don’t.

After you listen to our podcast, we always welcome your comments and feedback.  We also want to know what topics are of interest to you.