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When Setting Goals in Strategic Planning Remember This Important Distinction

I’m pleased that I received so many comments last week in response to my new 4R Strategy for Results for businesses to apply in their strategic planning for 2013. The comments I received came both directly on the blog article itself and to me individually via e-mail.

Between those comments and a couple of client discussions I’ve had recently I want to make sure everyone is aware of an important distinction in goal setting.

There are two types of goals that often get confused in the strategic planning process:strategic planning and goal setting model, replaces the old SMART Goals formula

  • Means Goals
  • Ends Goals

Means Goals:
Means goals are the interim results we need to achieve on the way towards our ultimate desired outcomes.

Ends Goals:
Ends goals are the ultimate end result we desire to achieve

For example, in the work I do with my clients to help them achieve a high-performing, positive, productive and profitable work environment, which is often is defined with specific revenue and profit goals, this is their ultimate ends goal.

To make that ends goal achievable we have to achieve other things such as improving communication in the workplace, breakdown silos across the departments/divisions at various levels of the organization, improve teamwork, internal customer service, etc. These are the means goals.

Its important to understand this difference. If business leaders get stifled on means goals the results will also be less than what is ultimately possible because the means goals will be seen as the ends goals.

For both means goals and ends goals it is also important to define them in measurable terms. How will you know when you have achieved the goals. What evidence will you use to determine if you are effectively moving towards your desired objectives.

Hope these last two articles help as you plan for 2013, which is just around the corner.

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith Was Half-Right

Recently I’ve started quoting executive coach to millionaire CEOs Marshall Goldsmith from his book What Got You Here, What Won’t Get You There! (a book I strongly recommend to my clients who want to take themselves and their teams to the next level).

The book is written for executives who want to move up the corporate ladder. It explains that the primary thing keeping most men and women from getting their ideal position isn’t their knowledge, skills or experience in the technical, tactical or strategic activities in their present role, but their people skills. He offers many resources to build better soft skills in being better in influencing others around them in a positive manner.

I’ve been using that phrase in another context for the leaders of small businesses I’ve been working with this year. The context relates to their business as it presently exists and where they want to go with it.

It’s a great metaphor for getting to the next level in any endeavor. It’s a metaphor all business leaders should be using.

When I was delivering this message in a client’s team development workshop an audience member made the point that the statement is only 0ne-half to two-thirds true. In making his point he made sure I understood that he had some habits and traits that significantly contributed to his success to this point in his life and were still very valid to help him get to the next level. I had to agree with him.

If we’ve achieved any level of success in our life or business we have done some things right. Some of those things we should keep doing because they work and they will continue to work at any level. Some will not and need to be changed.

The key is knowing the difference!

The key is knowing what to keep from the behaviors that got us to where we are, and then being honest with ourselves, our employees and even our customers/clients to let go of what will no longer serve us on our journey to the next level. That’s where a business coach can help.

Coaching Exercise Question:
If you were completely honest with yourself what are three habits, behaviors, tendencies, skills you must change or improve to get you and/or your business to the next level?

(If you’ve got the guts, share you answer and make a public commitment below, and get the final third of the year off to a great start, who’s game?)

’til next time, make it a great weekend!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


Happy “National Small Business Week” – Here Are 5 Critical Mistakes in Small Business Leadership

This week is the 5th Annual National Small Business Week.

In honor the event I thought I’d offer my 2-cents on the topic of small business leadership.

Many of my blog subscribers attended last week’s webinar on The 5 Critical Mistakes Small Business Leaders Make that Kill Productivity & Profits.

In this webinar I offered 5 things small business leaders must take a look at within their business in order to make sure they are running optimally.

For those of you who did not attend the webinar, I’ll list these five critical mistakes of small business leaders here:

  1. Not having a Championship Game Vision and articulating it clearly and consistently to the team.
    • create something inspiring that employees can get excited about contributing to, just like an athletic team playing for a championship
  2. Not investing enough time in the hiring process
    • invest time and energy making sure the new hire is a fit for the organization’s culture and put more attention on attitude, behaviors, beliefs and work ethic, and get to those through behavioral interviewing strategies
  3. Focusing on time worked vs. job performance results/outcomes
    • too much is focused on accomplished the tasks in job descriptions and ‘FaceTime’ in the office instead of defining clear results/outcomes that should be achieved from the position
  4. Think the paycheck is/should be enough for motivation
    • in the 21st century the paycheck is just not enough to motivate employees, and that’s a good thing as it takes the focus off the money and more on purpose and making a difference.
  5. Proclaiming to have a “Family Atmosphere” and trying to create one
    • Most families are dysfunctional and many family businesses are run dysfunctionally from a personnel perspective. Define the aspects of the culture you would like to incorporate into your organization and build from there, forget about defining it as a ‘family atmosphere.’

If you’d like to take this concept deeper, I encourage you to experience the webinar. If you go to you can download a free mp3 audio recording and view the streaming webinar.

Enjoy National Small Business Week and the free webinar to help you make your business even better!

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results



A Simple Step to Improve Teamwork at Your Workplace

I’m getting ready to begin a new client project this week and in discussing the scope of the project, one of the desired objectives identified was improving teamwork among the small staff.

In investigating the issue further during our discussion, another objective we uncovered was the breaking down of the silos in the organization. When the concept of “silos” was mentioned, I as flabbergasted! I almost fell out of my chair.

“Silos?” I exclaimed back to my prospective client, “you have less than 10 employees, how is that possible?”

This brought the conversation back to the teamwork concept, and people stepping in to help each other when the situation warrants. This would look like people either noticing that help is needed and volunteering to step up to pitch in, or to gladly accept the opportunity with a smile instead of grumbling or complaining with an “it’s not my job” response.

I asked one simple question that turned the conversation. “Well, is ‘teamwork’ and working to support other’s on the staff part of everyone’s performance expectations?”

My prospect asked me what I meant by that and I said, “do you discuss the willingness and ableness of individual team members contribution to teamwork in your regular performance conversations?”

After a few seconds of stunned silence the reply was, “you know, I guess we don’t.”

What gets measured, gets attention and will usually get done. Therefore, if you want teamwork to be a priority, then you as a leader must make it so. This means making it part of everyone’s job performance standards and behavior expectations (this is much different than a job description and should be developed for each job in the company).

In moving forward with this project I can assure you that teamwork will be part of everyone’s job performance standards and behavior expectations.

But, and this is a BIG BUT, if this sounds like something you need in your organization DO NOT just instill new performance standards and behavior expectations on your own as the organization’s leader. It will be seen with disdain and cynicism. This approach will get you compliance with little commitment and buy-in.

In the work with my client, first we’re going to have to discuss with the team what great “teamwork” looks like and why they would want to be part of an organization that has it, and how their present approach to teamwork matches the definition they just created so that we can identify the gap to gain buy-in to building a bridge of new thinking and actions to close the gap, they themselves, identified. That’s where true commitment will come.

If teamwork, or any other individual/group behavior, is not at the level you would like it to be, then figure out a way to make it a priority for all and begin measuring accountability to it. If you’d like help with this, I encourage you to join me for my April 26th Open-Forum Q&A Coaching Webinar where you can join me LIVE to have your specific situation addressed.

Go to to register for FREE .

Hope this blog article helps you look at one very simple and overlooked way to make teamwork work at your organization.

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

These 2 Different Leadership Styles Cause the Same Negative, Toxic and Unproductive Workplace Cultures

While evaluating my most successful workplace transformation client projects in preparation for my newest seminar on employee engagement, I made a discovery.

I’m sure other thought leaders have already come to this place but for me it was quite a revelation and those in the workshop found it of tremendous value in evaluating their leadership styles and the work environment it has created.

What I discovered is that two diametrically opposed leadership styles, lead to very similar and very negative, toxic, non-productive workplace cultures.

Let’s take a deeper look:

Leadership Style 1: Command and Controlcommand and control leadership style leads to negative, toxic, unproductive workplace cultures

This leadership style is one in which the leader rules with an iron hand with a very structured workenvironment in which employees need to do things according to specific guidelines. Here is a list of characteristics of the command and control leader:

  • Demanding standards
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Offers an open door with a closed mind
  • Rarely accepts feedback
  • Rarely accepts others’ ideas
  • Micro-manager, too much accountability and too little trust
  • Feedback mostly/always critical
  • Little praise & rewards
  • Gives impression (via communication style) that efforts/results “never good enough”
  • Behavior/performance standards applied inconsistently
  • Defensive when challenged
  • Mistakes not tolerated
  • Places blame vs. solution focused
  • Reacts harshly to bad news
  • Often communicates with inappropriate tone and body language

Leadership Style 2: Avoid and Let Goavoidance leadership style leads to negative, toxic, unproductive workplace cultures
(something I also call the “avoid & tolerate leadership style”)

This leadership style is one in which the leader takes a laissez-faire, hands off approach that offers an unstructured work environment in which employees need to figure things out on their own. Here is a list of characteristics of the avoid and let go leader:

  • Unclear standards
  • Unclear expectations
  • Offers an open door, listens to ideas but fails to act on them
  • Gives lip service to other’s ideas
  • People pleaser
  • Defensive when challenged
  • Often asks for other’s ideas, tries to be inclusive but little follow through and often does their own thing anyway
  • Too much trust, not enough accountability
  • Wants improvement but doesn’t implement accountability, feedback & development systems
  • Sometimes plays favorites, different rules for different people without justification by performance/position
  • Avoids/Ignores addressing behavior/performance issues
  • Behaviors/performance standards applied inconsistently
  • Let’s things go “until” exploding with inappropriate tone & body language

I’ve had the challenge of working with both types of leaders and the work environments created by each style.

The amazing realization in evaluating these projects is that both leadership styles, as different as they are create the same negative, toxic workplace cultures.

Below you will read the type of workplace culture that manifests from both the “command and control” as well as the “avoid and let go” leadership styles.

In these workplace cultures, employees:

  • Have feelings of fear, insecurity & uncertainty, permeate work environment
  • Create bureaucracy & information control systems to create “job security”
  • Are mostly just task oriented
  • Do the minimum; rarely go the “extra mile,” on their own
  • Need constant reminding, oversight to get tasks done and meet deadlines
  • Will not make decisions or try to solve problems
  • Have a “Not my job” attitude
  • See things as “us vs. them”/“win/lose”/zero sum
  • Throw their co-workers “under the bus”- look for ways to lift themselves up by putting others down
  • Are compliant with job requirements, but little creativity, innovation & contribution
  • Absenteeism / turnover high
  • BMW present (bitching, moaning and whining)
  • CYA – Cover You A!#@# attitudes

If any of those characteristics are present in your work environment it may be worth a conversation to discuss which leadership style is causing the challenge, click here to schedule your private, 1:1 Leadership Communication Strategy Session .

If you have noticed a similar experience in your work environment with one or more of the two leadership styles I outlined above, please leave a comment below and add to the discussion.

In my next post I’ll be writing about what I call “The Goldilocks” approach to leadership so that organizational leaders can create that “just right” workplace culture.

’til then, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

Proof That Maximizing Motivation, Trust & Commitment in Your Workplace Will Make the Difference in Today’s Challenging Economy

In an economy struggling to recover and with companies being pinched by inconsistent revenues and ever- increasing costs, business leaders need to look no further than within their workforce to return to higher levels of profitability.

It has been estimated by international research firm Gallup that U.S. companies alone are wasting $300 billion annually in lost productivity due to un-motivated, dis-engaged employees.

Additionally, the Sirota Survey Intelligence organization reported in 2005 that in 85% of Fortune 1000 companies, employee motivation and morale “declined significantly” within the first six months of joining a company, and continued to decline thereafter. And, that was during good economic times, before the economic downturn began in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Imagine what those numbers are like today?

Business leaders can dramatically improve bottom line performance by simply working to solve the problems causing those bottom-line limiting statistics.

As the world moves deeper into the 21st Century and as the younger generation continues to infiltrate the workforce, business leaders are going to have to embrace Douglas McGregor’s 1960s Theory Y approach to managing personnel that he released as management professional at MIT. McGregor’s Theory Y posited that managers view their people as ambitious and self-motivated, that they enjoy their mental and physical duties as work and will seek to grow, learn and look for greater responsibility if given the opportunity. Theory Y suggests that for these reasons employees can and should be engaged in creativity, problem-solving and insights into how to improve their employers operations.

Organizations that embrace a Theory Y approach, and look to create an environment in which those type of employees thrive will turn around the trends identified in the statistics at the beginning of this article, here are some examples of how transformational these efforts can be:

Oil Rigs in the North Sea and off the coast of South America:

There is probably no greater “command and control” type of work culture than on an oil rig in the middle of an ocean. Two failing oil rigs that were losing millions of dollars due to slow productivity and cost overruns were on the verge of being closed down.

As a last resort a process was put in place to ask the frontline workers to help solve some of the productivity, efficiency and cost problems.

At the end of each of the three round-the-clock shifts a brief meeting was held to evaluate the processes applied. In the meeting a simple question was asked, “what could we have done better or differently to make this process work more efficiently.”

Due to a lack of trust build up from the old “command and control” environment, it took a couple meetings before participants felt comfortable sharing critical ideas. But, eventually, after just a few days quality information began to come forth as employees began to see that their managers were truly interested in their contributions to solving the problems. As each shift shared ideas, one shift’s ideas built on the previous shift’s ideas creating an upward spiral of process improvements.

Within just three weeks the oil rig workers, on their own, contributed, implemented and then refined ideas that had generated an 800% improvement in the workflow process. One such workflow process went from an average 8 hours down to an average of just over one-hour.

Independent Insurance Agency

A small insurance agency with eleven employees and approximately $1million in revenue was experiencing significantly low morale among its workforce and suffering with a truly toxic work environment. Co-workers had a tendency to yell at each other in the halls and were holding on to information necessary for effective teamwork and customer service

There was a culture of continual lack of follow through on the part of the company’s leadership on agreed upon initiatives that fell into a black hole never to be heard from again. Employees had developed learned helplessness and defaulted to survival and self-preservation mode creating the toxic work environment all were living and working in.

Instituting a program that included one-on-one interviews, facilitated group discussions, accountability to follow through on agreed upon ideas and initiatives, implementation of job performance expectations and office behavioral standards, and the adoption of a “Team Agreement” the basic office culture was turned around within 90-days.

From that point on additional personal and non-industry professional development trainings were instituted that supported and reinforced the initial triage. The year after the company invested in this initiative revenues increased by 33%.

Many Other Examples

These are just two examples of what can happen when employees become beyond motivated to engaged, enthused and enchanted with the company they work for and the work environment they’ve helped to create.

Here are some others:

  • A healthcare system with 16 facilities and 15,000 employees implemented strategies that increased revenue and generating cost savings totaling $19 million.
  • A manufacturing company in Southern California eliminated $900,000 in waste from hits operation within 12-months of implementation of similar strategies.
  • Another manufacturer in the United Kingdom increase pre-tax profits by 300% over a five-year period.
  • On a smaller scale a chimney sweep company with six teams and six vans to service its clients saved between $12-$18,000 within the first 30-days of the company leaders changing their approach to how they were communicating with their employees.

These results show that it is counter productive and ineffective for company leaders to continue to exert a command and control leadership style, while looking for ways to decrease payroll expenses by reducing their workforce.

Instead business leaders should be shifting their approach to one of “engage and enroll” to tap into their company’s most value asset, their human assets on the frontline.

This is one of the most powerful strategies to turn around any company’s financial reality in today’s challenging economy. And, best of all, it is also virtually the only strategy that will not cost a dime to implement.

If you’d like to learn more join me on for a FREE Teleclass on November 17th titled:

“3 Simple Secrets to Increase to Your Bottom Line: How Maximizing Motivation, Trust & Commitment in Your Workplace Makes the Difference in Today’s Challenging Economy!

Register here

Or, if you’d like more specific and direct help to improve your approach to leadership communication to transform motivation, morale and performance in your organization, feel free to schedule a private, one-on-one strategy sessionTo get your private, one-on-one private, strategy session go here

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


Happy Anniversary…To Me! You Should Celebrate Your Wins, Too!

Today, October 3, 2011 marks my 10th anniversary of being in business for myself, and the beginning of my second decade.

That is hard to believe.

But, true, it is.

That’s a total of 3,650 days since I last earned a paycheck from an employer other than myself. They say most new businesses fail within the first 3-5 years. So, I guess I’m a success?

Congratulations to me!

And, thank you for joining me on this wonderful journey. And, thank you to my wonderful wife, Anne, 10 years with my sometimes workaholic tendencies and mood swings solo entrepreneurs sometimes go through.

But, I am writing this blog post in this manner because I believe it is important for business professionals at all levels to be able to provide their own positive reinforcement.

Often, it is the only positive reinforcement for a job well done that we get. And, although we may lament that our superiors, co-workers and significant others do not give us the positive feedback and the credit we deserve for a job well done, we should be lamenting ourselves more.

Most of us fall into the category of being way too hard on ourselves, beating ourselves up for every mistake, failure, setback. We kick ourselves when we’re down, and we kick ourselves when we’re up because I should have done even better.  Maybe so, but why not enjoy the success at the level you achieved and learn from it and move on.

I often tell my clients they need to celebrate more. They need to create opportunities for their employees to celebrate their little successes along the way.

These celebrations don’t have to be elaborate or costly. Simple recognitions are fine.

I often use examples from athletics, such as:

  • In baseball, no matter what is happening in the game, winning or losing, when a batter hits a homerun and circles the bases, he always gets a congratulatory handshake from the coach as he rounds third base, a high-five when he crosses home plate from the next batter coming up and his teammates when returning to the dugout.
  • In football, after a touchdown is scored the player who brought the ball into the end zone and his teammates that helped him get it there have their little celebratory dance.

These are just two examples.

In your business, why not send a hand written note card to one of your teammates or subordinates after a job well done? Put together a Friday pizza lunch for your team after one of their teammates has a big success.

Little recognitions go a long way.

And, don’t forget to celebrate yourself like I’m doing today.

Now, I’m not taking any time off, or doing anything special because we just spent almost 3-weeks on a European vacation, which was the perfect way for me to celebrate and now its time to get back at it to help my clients even more    in the next decade.

One way I am going to celebrate this month and allow my subscribers to participate in that celebration is to offer two special opportunities. One is going to be the official launch of my newest product, The Confident Leaders’ Training Camp Home Study course, and special and very limited opportunities for a private, 1:1 Strategy Session with me.

Both of these will be launching this week. So, keep an eye out for those announcements.

’til then, make it a great week and Happy Anniversary to Me!

All the best!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


Champion Leadership Tip #49: The Best Leaders Know Money Doesn’t Buy Success or Motivation

With the Major League Baseball World Series starting tonight with the Texas Rangers appearing for the first time in team  history I was reminded that they had the 4th lowest payroll of any major league team, “just” $55 million.

This is in significant contrast to the team they defeated in the American League Championship Series, the New York Yankees, whose payroll was $206 million.

Although this Major League example is a much different scenario than every day business, it provides a poignant, metaphorical example for ordinary business leaders that paying higher salaries and/or bonuses does not necessarily equate to higher performance.

Often times what happens in organizations is that providing an increase in salary or providing a year-end bonus that is not backed up with measurable performance results, usually creates only a higher paid, more wealthy dissatisfied employee.

Studies continue to show that a number of other factors come in front of money as a motivating factor for employees. Other key motivational factors include:

  • Interesting/challenging work
  • Co-workers and other team member relationships/attitudes
  • Relationship with their immediate supervisor
  • Recognition, reward and feedback

Usually money comes in #3 or below in surveys such as Gallup or the Wall St. Journal or Fortune Magazine’s “Best Places to Work” surveys.

As long as pay is deemed fair and provides a reasonable standard of living (it meets the fundamental requirements of Maslow’s heirarchy of needs), it is much less important than other environmental factors.

Yet, I find many business leaders who continually try and throw money at employees hoping to make them more motivated and engaged, only to find the enthusiasm and attitudes associated to that salary increase fade rather rapidly, like within 30-60 days.

It’s better for business leaders to focus on environmental factors and providing employees with greater control over their workplace, decision-making, interesting and challenging work, consistent recognition, appreciation and feedback will reap greater benefits than additional salary.

The money issue also becomes a dis-incentive often times when everyone on the staff is provided similar salary adjustments when there is an impression of significant difference in performance and contribution to the organization because of inconsistent and uncertain performance management processes.

If you would like to experience 7 powerful leadership lessons that can help you create a motivating work environment and engaged employees right away, check out “The Leadership Series,” which is on an anniversary special for just a couple of more days.

A few months ago I created “The Employee Motivation Equation” which provides a unique but accurate strategy to tap into the motivational needs of employees.

I encourage you to download “The Employee Motivation Equation” and take its accompanying assessment.

’til next time, make it a great week!

Treatise: The Critical Importance of Being Unreasonable

In continuing my recent strategy of providing resources from other experts, I found this blog post from a colleague, Dov Gordon, which is a nice follow up to the post last week on “leaders needing to be uncomfortable.” Enjoy, I did!


Do you ever tell yourself “I need to…“, or “I don’t have a choice…“, or just feel frustrated that you’re not yet the person you really want to be?

Here’s what I learned: It’s critically important to be unreasonable.

Unreasonable defined:
When you want – and expect to get – something you can’t have.

Being unreasonable is an entrepreneurial necessity.

When you think “I need this sale” you’re being reasonable.
Stop it.  Try this thought on instead:

“I need a business where I’m not needy of anything.”

“I need this employee.” Cut it out.  Try this:

“I need a business where no one employee will make us or break us.”

“I don’t have time.  That’s why I need to work 12 hours a day.”  You’re lying again.

“I choose to work the hours that I do.  And if I had 36 hours, I’d tell myself the same lies.  What if I only had 6 hours to work?  How would I guard and use every one of them? How would I be different?  What would I do differently?”

Is it unreasonable to think you could get it all done if you only had 6 hours? Well, there we go again. It’s time to start being unreasonable.  Be the person you WANT to be, but “can’t” be for whatever reason.

As far as I can tell, when you are unreasonable:

– You focus your thoughts and energy on what you CAN control now.
– You focus on what you CAN do TODAY.
– You accept responsibility for your life, for your choices and behavior.
– You focus your thoughts and mind on images of the person you WANT to be instead of dwelling on your weaknesses and who you’re not.
– You start acting that way right now.
– You FIRST figure out where you want to go, and THEN you work to get there.
– You make time for what’s truly important to you FIRST and let everything else fall into place.
– You refuse to allow others to make irrational demands of you.
– You expect life to be DIFFICULT and so you don’t shrink in the face of possible failure or hardship.
– You refuse to accept “advice” and guidance from people who don’t have your best interest in mind.
– You don’t allow others to get you worked up or upset. You remember that they are just being who they are in the moment and you can’t change them. So you focus on what you can influence.
– You refuse to give into pressure to rush when you know that the natural order of things will insist that you either go with the flow, or drown in it. (For example: You can’t rush a sale because you need the money.)

Looking back, this whole idea about being unreasonable is sounding very reasonable!

What do you think? Where have you started being unreasonable? And how has that improved your entrepreneurial life? Talk back below.

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