Create A Culture of Trust

3 12 2011

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

-Ernest Hemingway

It is important that you trust your employees and they trust you back equally. The best way to insure a culture of trust is transparency. If you are straightforward with your employees, there will not be much room for dishonesty. Trust is the most important element in building an effective team. It needs to be clear to your employees what you expect out of them, and how you will be making sure that they are meeting your expectations.

An organization with a rich culture of trust must convey trustworthy behavior. Not only is it gaining trust from the team, but you must also trust them. If you don’t give them a line of trust, they will not want to trust you in return. There must be transparency. If you want trust, you cannot keep secrets from others.

When implementing a culture of trust, start with the top of the organization.

1) Capability Trust. Allow people to make decisions, lead discussions, and trust that their ideas and input will be useful and helpful to the organization.

2) Contractual Trust. Be consistent in terms of keeping agreements and managing expectations.

3) Communication Trust. Share information, provide constructive feedback and speak with good purpose about people.




Closing The Gap

30 11 2011

The flow of communication between departments must be clean well understood. Often times, the quality of the organization is not at its maximum potential because they have poor communication. Poor communication leads to additional questions and things having to be done multiple times, due to misunderstanding. Further, the organization cannot function to its full potential when the departments are not achieving their tasks in an efficient manner.

Interdepartmental communication can be improved so long as the effort is put forth to do so.

What can be done to help your organization become more efficient with its interdepartmental communication?

1. Identify What Information is Really Needed.

Each department should develop a list of the kind of information they feel is lacking from other departments. This should be need-to-know information. The nice-to-know information can just get in the way.

2. Conduct Team Building with Department Heads.

Properly conducted team building can improve how well department heads work with each other. Typically this requires the use of an outside professional with experience getting senior managers to coalesce as a team.

Standard operating procedures should include steps that outline when and how information should flow between departments.

4. Implement Job Rotation.

Rotating employees through other departments can help them get to know their co-workers and gain a fuller understanding of what they do. This will provide employees with a more rounded perspective of how the work of the organization is conducted and the importance of sharing information between departments.

5. Think Of The Other Departments

Ask not what information other departments can provide to you. Ask what information you can provide to other departments. Encourage employees to commit to provide this information on a regular basis.

Try a few of these exercises and look for better communication in between the departments. The more you look for ways to improve your communication, the more areas you will find room for improvement.

Create A Thank You Habit

26 11 2011

Get out of the envelope!

It is important to recognize and reward hard work in the organization. Recognition and reward result in increased motivation. Employees need to know that the executives and their managers acknowledge and appreciate hard work.

It is important to give credit where credit is due. That is not to say that each manager should be personally shaking each employee’s hand when they complete their normal required duties. It is to say however, that personal actions of appreciation should be given when the employee goes above and beyond and/or their performance leads to great results.

Showing appreciation builds good will within the organization and helps to create a culture of trust.

Here are some ways that a ‘thank you habit’ can be developed:

Create a process for recognition. Design a process where managers and supervisors at each level can recognize hard work and great results. The workplace is fast-paced and people are traveling and moving around constantly. It is difficult to pay attention to all employees at the same time. Keep it simple.

Make it personal. The more personal the thank you is, the more value it has. A written acknowledgement on a newsletter is not the same as a handshake and a thank you from an executive. A personal thank you noticed by the co-workers can increase motivation for everyone.

It costs nothing. A personal thank you is effective and it costs nothing. Recognition and reward programs do not need to be an elaborate and expensive operation. Make a genuine connection with someone who has done something you appreciate and let them know.

Act on the Thank You. We all fall victim to appreciating things people do for us and never saying anything. Make the connection with the employee and show them that you really do notice the good work and you really do appreciate it. 


Thank you to everyone who has read my blog or followed me through wordpress, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. I appreciate all of the comments and feedback provided.


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Give Breaks Where Breaks Are Due

24 11 2011


 Inspired by the holiday season and the upcoming Black Friday- the biggest shopping day of the year. A lot of my friends will be out there working this Thanksgiving evening well through the day tomorrow.

It is important, while working these hectic days, to give breaks and let your employees recharge. It is wild day for all retail outlets around the country. Often times, employees will show up later in the evening, and work through the night and into the next afternoon. The stores see sales jump astronomically on this day. The turnover and customer traffic requires that all employees be on their ‘A-game’.

Employees need their breaks. Not only will they be working upwards of 10 to 12 hour days, those hours will be filled with some of the most stressful and active working times of the year. If you want your employees to stay effective and remain positive with their customers throughout the day, let them have the proper breaks they need.

Have a great Thanksgiving and a fun Black Friday! Whether you’re working or shopping- take care!


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Develop Effective Time Management Habits

19 11 2011

Time is important in every aspect of business- time is money. You often find yourself managing a bunch of activities, all on different timelines. Managing your time wisely not only helps you get your activities done effectively, but they can help you stay away from unnecessary stress and chaos that comes with procrastination.

Time Management Tips:

1) Realize that you can only control so much. No matter how organized we are, there are always only 24 hours in a day. Time doesn’t change. You can always have the unexpected happen. All we can actually manage is ourselves and what we do with the time that we have.

2) Find out where you’re wasting time. Do you spend too much time ‘Net surfing, reading email, or making personal calls? Tracking Daily Activities explains how to track your activities so you can form a accurate picture of what you actually do, the first step to effective time management.

3) Prioritize ruthlessly. You should start each day with a time management session prioritizing the tasks for that day and setting your performance benchmark. If you have 20 tasks for a given day, how many of them do you truly need to accomplish

4) Establish routines and stick to them as much as possible. While crises will arise, you’ll be much more productive if you can follow routines most of the time.

5) Get in the habit of setting time limits for tasks. For instance, reading and answering email can take up your whole day if you let it. Instead, set a limit of one hour a day for this task and stick to it.

Trying some of these time management tips will help you get on a good plan and create some healthy time management habits.



Prepare For The Unexpected

18 11 2011

I love this quote by American motivational speaker and author, Zig Ziglar:

“It is important in anything you do, to be prepared for the unexpected.” 

It is great to assume things are going to work one way, as long as you realize that new things pop up and you will have to work around them in order to accomplish your goals.

I was led to write this blog this evening as I just returned from my first ski day of the season. The weather was great down in Reno today, and we assumed we would have great weather up in Tahoe for some skiing at Boreal. Our plan was to go up, ski for a few hours, come back down and have time this afternoon to work on some other things. That however was not the case.

We drove up, almost halfway there, and found ourselves in the middle of a windy winter storm, that was not only piling snow up on the interstate, but it was blowing in every direction, making it very difficult to see while driving. As we made it up to the top of the pass, where Boreal is located, we realized that this was not going to be a quick trip. The interstate was completely backed up and there were accidents everywhere. We went along and skied for a few hours. It was an awesome first day of skiing as we were surrounded in what felt like a mid-winter storm.

As we left at the end of the day, we were caught in the middle of a traffic jam and not returning to Reno on time. We arrived in Reno almost 4 hours later than we originally planned.

Thankfully I planned ahead and completed some of my projects before I left, and made sure I would be capable of finishing the rest of my work in case we couldn’t make it back in the timely manner we expected.

The important thing we gathered from this experience was how important it is to plan for some setbacks. You never truly know what is going to come your way and there is a lot that will be out of your control. The only thing you can do is plan ahead of time. This way, no matter what happens, you will be ready for it, and you can decide how to make it work towards your goal!

Expect the best, prepare for the worst, and capitalize on what comes!

Avoid ‘Double Work’

16 11 2011

I see it all the time. It happens within every company and it costs every company a ton of money. Everything you do costs money in one sense or another. If you are not making the same amount of money off that activity, you are, in a way losing money.

This morning I was inspired to write this blog after I woke up to the Waste Management truck picking up trash in my alley at 7am. About half an hour later, I heard the truck again, so I went to my back door and looked out. I saw the same truck coming back down the alley, picking up trash from the houses on side they previously didn’t pick up.

To paint this picture, my alley only big enough for one car to drive down at a time. No matter how the trash truck drives down the alley, the trashcans on either side of the alley are just as far from the truck.

I was amazed to see that the driver did a loop, went on to another street, then came back and picked the trash up from the other side of the alley.

This is a great example of ‘double work’! This may seem like a small task with an insignificant cost, but these things add up. There is no reason for double work like this.

Working to make your organization more efficient starts with the small things. Are there areas where adding a little task might mean that you don’t have to come back later and work on it?

It starts with observing these processes and trying out new ways of getting things done.