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Don’t Blame Negative, Under-Performing Employees – 3 Reasons They Are Not at Fault

In a recent survey 44% of small business owners reported being unhappy with the performance of their employees.

To solve this type of problem, small business owners must first identify the cause and then create applicable solutions. There can be many reasons why employees under-perform and some leaders may point to poor attitudes, low motivation, low morale and individuals’ inability to work with others, or accept and adapt to change.

Although those reasons may be valid on the surface, there are always underlying issues that have led to the causes identified by the business leader.

The good news is that there are only two aspects to evaluate with under-performing employees. It’s either due to an individual’s:

  • ability, or
  • their attitude.

In either instance, the employee is not at fault.

(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)

There are three primary communication mistakes business leaders make that prevent employees from being engaged in their workplace and contributing at higher levels:

Business Leader Mistake #1 – Not Giving Employees a Reason to be Engaged, Motivated & Contribute

Many business leaders mistakenly believe that providing someone the privilege of a steady income and certain quality of life via a paycheck should be enough to create a motivated employee.

Yet, studies continue to show that salary and benefits, although important for providing base levels of motivation, is not enough to generate higher levels of engagement.

Many managers and leaders say they are frustrated with the feeling they have to continually find ways to light a fire under their people to get them to do what needs to be done. Instead they should be investing energy in connecting to their employees on a personal level to instead find ways to light a fire within them.

One extremely effective way to do this is to apply the Employee Engagement Equation.

The Employee Motivation Equation begins with creating an inspiring vision for the company that employees at all levels will be excited to contribute to. Daniel Pink, in his 2010 book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us identified “Purpose” as one of the key motivating components for a 21st Century workforce.

Business Leader Mistake #2 – Creating a De-Motivating Environment

In any new relationship there is always a honeymoon period where all the parties involved have good feelings about the possibilities moving forward. It’s the same when a new hire joins a company.

Unfortunately, a survey of about 1.2 million employees at mostly Fortune 1000 companies in the early part of this century conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence, and revealed in 2005 that in 85% of companies, employee morale sharply declines after an employee’s first six months on the job, and continues to fade in ensuring years.

In a significant number of companies, as this Sirota research shows, something is occurring in these work environments that causes an enthusiastic and engaged employee to change their attitude.

Many factors can be attributed to this drop off, some of which include:

  • Poorly communicated job descriptions and responsibilities causing uncertain performance expectations for the individual,
  • Inequity in managers addressing inappropriate behaviors and poor performance of co-workers,
  • Managers that play favorites and communicate disrespectfully in the workplace,
  • Lack of positive feedback for contributions made

Business Leader Mistake #3 – Making a Wrong Hiring Choice

In the haste to fill positions, often those making the hiring decisions fail to invest enough time in making sure the new hire is a good fit for the position.

A “good fit’ includes assessing skills, knowledge, attitude, talent, and the education and experience a prospective team member will bring into the work environment. I call this the S.K.A.T.E. Hiring Profile (Skills, Knowledge, Attitude, Talent, & Education/Experience).

Additionally, sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances employees are asked to fill roles not originally intended, and for which their skills and talents are not the best fit.

In these situations, despite the employee’s best efforts he or she is unable to meet desired performance expectations, causing both the employee and the employer become disenchanted with the relationship. Yet, the onus must be on the employer to get it right when inviting someone into his or her work culture, and when asking a team member to take on additional work responsibilities.

What You Can Do

Before proclaiming employees are unmotivated, and/or unwilling, to perform to expectations and bring positive attitudes to the work environment start evaluating these three workforce mistakes from an organizational leadership and communication perspective to see where there is room for improvement.

Remember that it comes down to only two causes. It is either an ability problem or an attitude problem. too many times training and coaching are provided as solutions to an attitude problem, which is a huge waste of resources. As you might imagine, fixing an attitude problem is much different, and much harder, than an ability problem, in most cases.

Here are 3 steps to get you started:

  1. First step is to get clarity there.
  2. Second, once you make that decision, know that for whichever you choose, the foundational cause of that situation is some form of communication.
  3. Third, decide on the best way to approach the situation and the individual.

(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)


Average Employee for 15 Years Becomes #2 Lead Generator – Here’s How:

They say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

Many small business owners feel the same about long-term employees.

Often they give up too soon.

Some think 14 years is too long to tolerate employees who barely do the minimum.


14 years may be too long, or it may not be long enough.

It depends on how the business owner communicates with that employee.

For one client’s employee 14-years wasn’t enough.

Now in his 16th year this employee is re-energized and performing far beyond expectations.

I wrote about this employee back in December when he verbalized how important it was for him to raise his performance in key areas.

But, I bet you’ve heard employees verbalize their commitment many times in the past.

Talk is cheap.

The only thing that matters is performance.

Well, four weeks into the New Year this employee has followed through on his promise.

He is now #2 on his team in generating new prospect leads as a field technician.

The entire team has generated 100 new prospect contacts in the first four weeks of the New Year.

This activity has led to six job quote estimates for prospects not on my client’s radar screen 4 weeks ago.

Two years ago my client was pulling his hair out trying to get technicians to generate prospective client leads from their jobs in the field.

Despite “communicating” ad-nauseam he was getting no cooperation, commitment or follow through on his requests.

The only thing changed in 18 months is how my client communicates with his staff.

Historically, this company converts about 75% of the quotes to qualified prospects.

This level of activity will equate to 54 new client jobs or more than $81,000 in new business, about 10% revenue growth this year.

If you’d like to identify strategies to get employees to take initiative and ownership that could grow your business by a minimum of 10% this year…

Request one of my 5 FREE Championship Caliber Company Strategy Sessions.

To learn more, and to request one, go to

Talk to you soon!
skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results





P.S. – Because of my schedule I can only offer 5 free strategy sessions each month and they’re first come, first served, so request yours now at

New Year, New Mindset of Abundance Will Make the Difference!

Happy New Year!

Over the holidays, like you, I was engaged in a number of interesting conversations.

My wife, Anne, brought up a topic I never thought I’d hear out of her mouth.

It came to her while listening to one of the podcasts she’s been listening to as she walks to work these days.

The topic was the concept of “abundance vs. scarcity.”

We agreed that having an abundant mindset was the singular most important frame of reference one could have for life.

The opposite, scarcity mindset, came with a lot of stress, cynicism and skepticism.

What is the difference between a mindset of abundance and a mindset of scarcity?

There are some key differences.

People with an abundance mindset see:
•    Unlimited resources instead of scarce resources
•    Opportunities instead of threats
•    Collaboration instead of competition
•    Applicable similarities instead of irreconcilable differences
•    Possibilities for growth instead of fear of loss
•    The sum being of greater value than individual parts
•    Opportunity to build on others’ success instead of a zero-sum game
•    An internal locus of control vs. external controlling factors
•    Internal responsibility instead of external blame

When I was younger if someone I knew received an award or a bonus or secured a new client, I would resent it, and them.

The sad thing was I felt this way whether the individual was working with me in my company or on my team, or if they were a friend in an unrelated field or career.

How crazy is that?

I felt as if their success reflected negatively on me.

In reality, it was the level of results I was producing that determined the impression others had of me.

The only thing preventing me from getting similar accolades, awards, bonuses or a new client was my skills and ability.

I needed to take responsibility for that.

What about you?

What is your relationship with an abundance and scarcity mindset?

Make 2015 the year you shift to a 100% abundance mindset and it will be a great year!

All the best to you, your family and your company in 2015!

’til next time, make it a great week!

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

Workplace Communication Riddle of the Week:When Is A Chair Not Just a Chair?

Here’s a riddle for you this week…

When is a chair not just a chair?

The answer:
When it gets in the way of employee motivation and morale.

Recently, I learned that Randi, one of my clients’ employees, struggling with a bad back, had been asking for a new office chair for six years!

(Want to cut to the chase? Click this link to a brief interview I did with Randi about her chair –

Imagine, six years?

She had been ignored in her requests.

Then, she was teased that she might be able to get one.

Then, she was told she had to survey the rest of her department to inquire who else would want a chair and what type of chair they would want.

After asking numerous times and being told it would only happen if she invested her time in this staff survey, she gave up.

Just 90-days after working with my client, the senior leader of her company’s division, she (and others on her team) got a new chair.chairphoto

Listen to Randi tell her story in this brief audio interview we did last week after the chair arrived.

There are millions of stories like this in business with leaders not listening to their employees needs.

More on this next time, stay tuned and listen to my interview with Randi, her story deserves to be heard by employees and business leaders alike:

Best Regards,

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


Teenage Employee Surprises Customer At Fast Food Drive Thru

At a Dunkin’ Donuts’ drive through last week a teenager working the window amazed me.

Teenagers today supposedly do not have the work ethic, attitude or focus to contribute to a business.

Well, this one did.

My standard breakfast order is a toasted bagel. And I always order a double chocolate donut as a treat.

After giving my order the young lady informed me through the scratchy speaker that they were out of double chocolate donuts.

Dunkin' Donuts double chocolate donut sitting on my car's dashboard to dry the frosting!

Dunkin’ Donuts double chocolate donut sitting on my car’s dashboard to dry the frosting!

At her recommendation I decided on a chocolate glazed (which is a double chocolate without the chocolate frosting on top).

I pulled up to the service window and paid.

BUT, instead of handing me a paper bag with my order, the young lady handed me a double chocolate donut on a napkin.

“I thought you didn’t have any,” I said.

“We don’t! I just made this for you. The frosting is still wet, so I couldn’t put it in a bag,” she replied.

In the moment she and her teammates decided to improvise, found some frosting and made me a double chocolate donut.

She made my day.

In my experience most young workers at Dunkin’ Donuts are typically like most workplace teenagers, disengaged, biding time ‘til a break or the end of their shift.

Not this teenager. Not at this Dunkin’ Donuts.

It was my first visit to this particular Dunkin’ Donuts.

But, I will be going back to see if this was an aberration or an expectation.

Because it was so out of character for the service at most fast food restaurants, I’m going to guess it’s part of the local franchise’s culture.

Something this franchise owner is doing creates a culture where teenage employees think for themselves to do the right thing for customers.

As I wrote last week, the younger generation in the workplace doesn’t have to be a problem.

Neither does the more mature generation.

Yet, the ineffective and contradictory motivation strategies applied in most small business work environments create the potential for both to be problems.

The result is the poor attitudes, low engagement and low productivity the business owners complain about.

If your workplace motivation strategies are just creating more drama and confusion, then…

You could definitely benefit from one of my Revolutionary Leadership Strategy Sessions.

To learn more, and to request one of the 5 free sessions I will be offering for February…

Go to

Talk to you soon!

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




P.S. – Remember that because of my schedule I can only offer 5 free strategy sessions each month and they’re first come, first served, so request yours now at

Silos Belong On Farms…

A CEO over lunch last year said she needed to break down silos in her organization.

“How many employees and departments do you have?” I asked.

“Six employees and four departments.”

I thought to myself, “Silos in an organization with just six people, how is that possible?”

As our conversation continued, a voice in my head shouted, “this is a serious leadership problem.”

So I asked, “This sounds like a priority for you, so I guess you’ve made teamwork and collaboration a part of every employees’ performance review, so it’s the expectation, right?”

In response I got the ‘deer in headlights’ look.

I added, “If you want teamwork and collaboration to be the norm, you have to set that as the expectation, set accountability to it, and set up rewards for it.

I told her, “Unfortunately, it won’t just happen.

She hadn’t been doing that, and admitted it.

So many small business leaders just expect it to occur through osmosis, or wishing and hoping.

Since our meeting about 18 months ago I see her from time to time at regional events and my sense is that not much has changed.

This is not unusual.

Many small business owners and leaders of small not-for-profit organizations have the best of intentions.

But, they are wearing so many hats that things like this that take extra energy and focus, take a back seat.

Then, they get forgotten.

So, they come to me to keep them focused.


  • Key initiatives in your company continue to fall through the cracks…
  • Silos are developing ever thicker walls with the silo leaders developing more entrenched attitudes…or if,
  • Employees just do the minimum to stay above the firing line…

You would definitely benefit from one of my Revolutionary Leadership Strategy Sessions –

To learn more, and request one of the 5 free sessions I will be offering for February…

Go to

Talk to you soon!

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





P.S. – Because of my schedule I can only offer 5 free strategy sessions each month and they’re first come, first served, so request yours now at

The Conscious Communicator Series

Today is the first of this year’s 2013 Conscious Commuincator series, which is committed to helping you become a more conscious communicator. Thus the title of this series.

Each week there will be one tip of the week in under 300 words and two weekly “Power Words” each 100 words or less to help you become a more conscious communicator in 2013.

I am starting the series with what I believe to be the 4 “P’s” of Conscious CommunicationPurpose, Patience, Practice and Poise.

Know why communicating consciously is important, in general, and important to you, specifically. (In one of the next tips in this series I will be sharing what I believe to be the true purpose of communication)

Consciously communicating takes poise and patience. This is the difference between reacting and responding. Reacting happens instantly, responding takes place after a brief assessment. Most adults react too much and respond too little. A great strategy is something we learned in our youth, which is to count to ten, or at least count to five, before responding. Other strategies include
to taking a breath, asking a clarifying question, etc. to buy some time and learn more about what the other person is requesting. All of this takes patience.

Because this is not natural for most humans we need to practice to build a new habit. Communicating consciously is not something that comes naturally to us. No one teaches us to communicate consciously, they just teach us to communicate. As immature youngsters we often react immediately in the moment and get in trouble for it. Because few instances are corrected it builds into an adulthood habit. Practicing patience as described above will allow us to build a new habit of communicating consciously.

When you put all three of the above “Ps” together, you will develop poise. Poise is a powerful approach and is a key characteristic of great leaders. It is charismatic and attractive and will allow you to become a much more influential communicator.

Best wishes on your journey to becoming a more conscious communicator, I’m pleased you will be with me.

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





The 4 Truths About Workplace Communication for High-Levels of Teamwork & Productivity

The last few weeks have been very active for me in terms of business development. It seems as though people are starting to pay more attention to the communication challenges in their workplace. Maybe they’ve just started to wake up to the reality and the frustrations. Who knows why, but I’m always happy to add value where I can.

Many of the discussions have been focused on similar issues and they got me thinking.

So, you, again are the beneficiary. If you lead a company, a department, a division or just a project team, here are 4 truths of communication for you to think about as you move forward:

  1. The most vital workplace communication issues are about people, not technology
    Don’t let people blame technology or hide behind it as an excuse for communication breakdowns because we have to communicate the old fashion way more often if we want to build a team grounded in high-levels of trust.
  2. Workplace communication issues must be addressed promptly, directly, and respectfully or they will get worse
    I can speak to this strategy from many personal experiences early in my leadership career in professional baseball, and I’m also sure you don’t have to take my word for it. You probably do not need to look too hard into your own situational experiences to know this to be true.
  3. Leadership communication drives workplace communication 
    Too many leaders continue to be a “do as I say, not as I do” leader. Too many lead the charge in organizations violating the corporate values they helped to create and expect everyone else to adhere to.
  4. Workplace communication can always get better 
    When we stop believing we can improve, we stop being a leader others are going to want to follow. Champions on the athletic field know there is always another level they need to work towards on the way to winning that championship. What about you?

Hope these 4 truths of workplace communication help make you an even better leader. If you’d like to learn more about these 4 truths, download this free, 15-minute audio report at this link or just hit the play button below:

’til next time, make it a great week!

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



A-Rod’s Playoff Shananigans Prove Money Not Highest On the Motivation Scale

Last Saturday night in the first game of the American League Championship Series, which ended Thursday when the Detroit Tigers completed their four game sweep of the New York Yankees, the Yankees’ superstar third baseman Alex Rodriguez was caught flirting with female fans in the stands late in an as yet undecided game.

As a former baseball executive and someone that now works with business leaders to create a more motivated work environment focused on achieving organizational goals through high levels of teamwork, I’m appalled by A-Rod’s (Rodriguez’s nickname) actions.

But, it doesn’t surprise me in looking at it from the standpoint of human motivation and focus.

Imagine, if a superstar athlete, playing a child’s game while earning $30 million a year, can’t avoid distractions while participating in a key game on the path to their ultimate vision of winning the World Series, what chance is there to keep the focus and motivation at high levels of every day employees  in small businesses? Not much, I would guess.

This really points out to the fact that money is not the motivating factor so many business leaders think it is, or think it can be. Daniel Pink in his 2010 book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us reinforces the role money plays as a motivating factor in small business workplaces.

My challenge with ARod’s behavior is that it also usurps my approach to overcome the money as motivator challenge, which is to encourage business leaders to articulate an inspirational Championship Game Vision for which employees can get inspired by, much like a Major League Baseball player would be inspired and motivated to strive to achieve a World Series victor.

Hmm, not sure where I can go from here to help my clients. Thanks, ARod. Regardless of ARod’s shenanigans, I think I’ll keep my strategy to help my small business clients to create their own inspiring Championship Game Vision. I believe it still does work, thought, at least when you have the right people on the team, and maybe that’s the Yankees problem.

’til next time…enjoy your weekend!

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

Leadership Made Simple – The Only 3 Skills Organizational Leaders Need

I guess its not surprising that the first day back in the office from a workshop on “common sense” consulting, I’m writing a blog post on simplifying leadership.

Search Google for the keyword “leadership” and you will get 513 million results in .15 seconds.

That’s a lot of leadership advice. Somewhere in those 513 million Google search responses are some articles from my Leadership & Workplace Communication blog. And, today I want to synergize everything I know about leadership down to balancing these 3 simple skills:

  • Ability to learn from the past and apply those learnings to future actions and behaviors.
  • Focusing on what can be controlled in the present and take action only on those.
  • Creating an inspiring vision for the future and communicate it in a way to engage others.

For now, that’s all you need to know.

If you have something that does not or cannot fit within those three, leave a note and let’s discuss.

’til next time…make it a great week!

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

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