The Achiever | Optimization Solutions Consultingtop
MAY 2013

Welcome to this issue of "The Achiever," a monthly newsletter brought to you by Optimization Solutions Consulting!

This edition of The Achiever focuses on overcoming the obstacles to your organizations success.  An obstacle is defined as something that impedes, stands in the way of, or holds up progress. Does your organization have a plan for overcoming the impediments to your success?  Once your organization has an understanding of the obstacles to achieving the desired results, it is essential that the leadership of the organization focuses on establishing clear objectives, motivating employees, improving performance gaps, and  innovation. The articles in this edition will give some insight into these considerations.

Walter Swindell, II - President
Optimization Solutions Consulting, LLC  
In This Issue...

article1Determining and Improving Performance Gaps 
Human capital is a top priority in today's organizations.

In fact many organizations are faced with the reality that they need to get more results through smaller and perhaps more fragmented teams. As your employees have added and shifted roles, positions, and responsibilities, how do you know you have the right people in the right positions in order to maximize your organization's efforts and outcomes?


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article2Setting Clear Objectives
To achieve a goal, there is a process that you should implement. This process is to streamline and analyze your objectives. Begin at the very beginning at the smallest, specific part. These are the most important steps to take to meet the guidelines. An objective is a way of knowing what action or plan is to be taken and identifying the expected results. This plan provides a set of directions so that making the decision will not be as complicated as when the goal is just being considered.

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article3Ten Ways to Stimulate Employee Motivation
Today's fast-moving business environment demands that the effective manager be both a well-organized administrator and highly adept in understanding people's basic needs and behavior in the workplace. Gaining commitment, nurturing talent, and ensuring employee motivation and productivity require open communication and trust between managers and staff.

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article4Five Ways to Make Your Organization Innovative

Creative ideas are what turn ordinary companies into market leaders. These companies see the end result first, and then build a path to achieve those results. Creativity and innovation are key elements that propel businesses to the top. Without either, your company comes in second at best, and no one remembers No. 2. While being No. 1 certainly doesn't guarantee continued success, it is definitely better than being forgotten.


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article1_contdDetermining and Improving Performance Gaps (continued)
The reality is, in some cases you do have the right team members in right places, and in some cases you probably guessed wrong, as we all have. Companies forced to reorganize made quick decisions resulting in people landing in the wrong roles. Likewise, companies that have experienced intense growth have ended up with similar results. Diagnostic assessments can help you to determine performance gaps and help your company to effectively understand and align the talents, behaviors, and motivators of every employee. Having the right employee in the right position is as critical to the individual's success as it is to the success of the company. 


The first step in bridging performance gaps is for management to be committed to a people development process for employees. It should be based on the skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to do their jobs successfully. If the size of the organization is large enough it can be HR implemented, but the objectives and strategies of developing employees and how those employees are going to help drive results needs to be driven by management.


After the commitment is in place and the objectives have been identified, diagnostic assessments can help specifically and individually determine performance gaps, as developmental issues will be employee specific. Assessments can also be the secret tool for creating skill development as well attitudinal and behavioral improvement while eliminating resistance to change.


When working with clients, we focus diagnostically on the whole person as defined by these three key areas:

* WHAT natural talents do your employees possess? How do they make decisions and interact with the world around them, as well as how do they perceive themselves?


* WHY are your employees motivated to use their natural talents, based on their personal motivators and drivers? Everyone has their own unique mix of personal drivers and motivators that help guide them toward success. Understanding what really drives a person is a crucial part of success.


* HOW do your employees prefer to use their natural talents, based on their preferred behavioral style? Since each individual has their own unique preferences and habits for how they like to behave, this understanding is crucial when working with team members, as a leader or manager, or in an environment that requires conflict resolution.

Establishing new behaviors requires the employee to feel able to adopt the behavior and feel comfortable doing so. A well-designed people development process focused on objectives using diagnostic assessments drives long-term change. We consistently see 80-100% in adaptable change after the completion of a development process with sustainable results that remain a year later.


Tammy A.S. Kohl is President of Resource Associates Corporation. For over 30 years, RAC has specialized in business and management consulting, strategic planning, leadership development, executive coaching, and youth leadership. 


Contact Optimization Solutions Consulting to learn how you can improve performance gaps in your business.

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article2_contdSetting Clear Objectives (continued)
Peter Drucker documented a book published in 1954 entitled Practiced Management where in MBO, which stands for "Management by Objectives," was introduced. This is a program that consists of simple, but very useful processes in order to meet commitments in an organization. Never worry, as this is also applicable to personal plans.


MBO consists of five steps:

1. It should be SPECIFIC. It is better to accomplish one goal at a time rather than thinking of several different plans at one time. A single objective cannot be derived if there are two or more results expected. What's important is that there is a need to clarify what is to be achieved and should have your full attention. This must be taken as seriously as possible.


2. It should be MEASURABLE. A lot of things that are not tangible are hard to measure, and there are things that are really measurable for the mere fact that it includes numbers or ratings. Take the service crews for example, it is hard to measure how the service was delivered, but if the number of complaints is counted then there is a specific number that can be used to rate the effectiveness of the service.

In offices, the number of tasks or assignments that were accomplished is used as basis for the measurement. Cooperation, though a very vague word, can also be measured by means of getting a subordinate and peer survey. How fast or delayed assistance was provided to a certain individual is enough to provide information on how situations can be measured. Try not to use general terms when making an objective statement. It should be something clear and specific like: to write, to recite, to perform, to fix, to process, to designate, to purchase, to choose, to reprogram, etc.   


3. It should be ATTAINABLE. The resources available give information on how an objective can be attained. This must be something that is derived from fact and very realistic. It could be that a certain objective is indeed realistic, but the time frame to reap the result may not be. It is better to say objectives that can be factual for this promotes motivation rather than an objective taken from belief as this may cause unexpected failure and feeling of discouragement.


 4. It should be RESULT-ORIENTED. An objective should be stated clearly so that the expectation is clear. Focus on the end result, as this will be the guide whether or not the objective to reach the goal is effective and meaningful. Is this objective going to help an individual grow or succeed? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Once the success has been attained, and all the plans were completed, then it is a success.


5. It should be TIME BOUND. There should be a limit to all the things that need to be accomplished. This matters since the root of any plan can be traceable. This will also tell if the objective is effective enough not to cause any delay. There will also be more of a sense of fulfillment once a goal is attained with the objectives set earlier than a deadline.


To sum it all up, develop an objective that is easily measured, can be attained, with a limited time. This will help in determining if the objective is realistic enough, meaningful, and proven to be worthwhile to everyone involved. A chart or journal can be kept to keep track of any opportunities and strengths that were met along the way. This will also indicate the time that was consumed and the length of the objective developed. A successful objective helps motivate the individual or the group involved toward greater achievements.    


Contact Optimization Solutions Consulting to learn more about how you can set clear objectives for your business.


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article3_contdTen Ways to Stimulate Employee Motivation  (continued)
1. Understand their behavior. People at work naturally tend to adopt instinctive modes of behavior that are self-protective rather than open and collaborative. This explains why emotion is a strong force in the workplace, and why management often reacts violently to criticisms and usually seeks to control rather than take risks. So, in order to eliminate this kind of perspective and to increase employee motivation, it is best that you influence behavior rather than to change personalities. Insisting on specific behaviors from your employees will only worsen the situation.


2. Be sure that people's lower-level needs are met.

People have various kinds of needs. Examples of lower-level needs are salary, job security, and working conditions. In order to increase employee motivation, you have to meet these basic needs. Consequently, failures with basic needs nearly always explain dissatisfaction among staff. Satisfaction, on the other hand, springs from meeting higher-level needs, such as responsibility progress and personal growth. When satisfaction is met, chances are employee motivation is at hand.


3. Encourage pride. People need to feel that their contribution is valued and unique. If you are a manager, seek to exploit this pride in others, and be proud of your own ability to handle staff with positive results. This, in turn, will encourage employee motivation among your people.


4. Listen carefully. In many areas of a manager's job, from meetings and appraisals to telephone calls, listening plays a key role. Listening encourages employee motivation and, therefore, benefits both you and your staff. So make an effort to understand people's attitudes by carefully listening and questioning, and by giving them the opportunity to express themselves.

5. Build confidence. Most people suffer from insecurity at some time. The many kinds of anxiety that affect people in organizations can feed such insecurity, and insecurity impedes employee motivation. Your antidote, therefore, is to build confidence by giving recognition, high-level tasks, and full information. In doing so, you not only refurbish employee motivation, but boost productivity as well.

6. Encourage contact. Many managers like to hide away behind closed office doors, keeping contact to a minimum. That makes it easy to be an administrator, but hard to be a leader. It is far better to keep your office door open and to encourage people to visit you when the door is open. Go out of your way to chat to staff on an informal basis. Keep in mind that building rapport with your staff will effectively increase employee motivation.

 7. Use the strategic thinking of all employees. It is very important to inform people about strategic plans and their own part in achieving the strategies. Take time to improve their understanding and to win their approval, as this will have a highly positive influence on performance and increasing employee motivation as well.

 8. Develop trust. The quality and style of leadership are major factors in gaining employee motivation and trust. Clear decision making should be coupled with a collaborative, collegiate approach. This entails taking people into your confidence, and explicitly and openly valuing their contributions. Simply giving your staff the opportunity to show that you can trust them is enough to increase employee motivation among them.

 9. Delegate decisions. Pushing the power of decision-making downward reduces pressure on senior management. It motivates people on the lower levels because it gives them a vote of confidence. Also, because the decision is taken nearer to the point of action, it is more likely to be correct. Consequently, encouraging staff to choose their own working methods and giving them responsibility for meeting the agreed goal will encourage employee motivation among your staff.

10. Appraising to motivate. When choosing methods of assessing your staff's performance, always make sure that the end result has a positive effect on employee motivation and increases people's sense of self-worth. Realistic targets, positive feedback, and listening are key factors.

If you follow these simple steps in increasing employee motivation, rest assured you will have a good working relationship with your staff and at the same time boost your company's productivity. Just bear in mind that people are employed to get good results for the company. Their rates of success are intrinsically linked to how they are directed, reviewed, rewarded, trusted, and motivated by the management.


Contact Optimization Solutions Consulting to learn more about how you can motivate your employees.  


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article4_contdFive Ways to Make Your Organization Innovative (continued)

Here are some ways to keep your company at the top:

  • Foster a business climate that's open to innovation and creativity. Innovation is the ability to come up with ideas and solutions to pressing problems. It is the process of producing something that has value and did not exist before. Creativity is the ability to take that new idea and make it valuable in your customers' eyes. Realize that every problem has a solution, although the solution may not be in plain sight.

  • Become No. 1 with your clients. The more satisfied your clients are, the more business you'll have in the future. Realize that the only commodity your clients know is you. Since you are the catalyst providing the solution to their problem, you are accountable for fulfilling their needs. As a result, you need to invest time in keeping the channels of communication open.

  • Create a partnership with your clients. Clients recognize partnerships when the companies they work with function as problem solvers. Remember, value is something you produce by the acceptance clients place on what you do for them.

  • Create a partnership with employees. Asking people to be creative and then shooting down their ideas creates a rift in your organization. Instead, show people that bringing their imagination on the journey is welcome. Information wealth flows directly from innovation, not optimization.

  • Implement next-generation approaches. Replacing "rules" with "roles" will free your employees from the "we have always done it this way" syndrome. The secret is not knowing the formula, but applying information in a way that works for your employees and benefits your clients.

Contact Optimization Solutions Consulting to learn more about how to make your organization Innovative.  


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