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How To Be A Consistent Winner In Business

There are individuals who are more consistently successful in business than others. This does not mean that their record of success is totally unblemished. It does mean that they eventually win because they are able to bounce back from adversity, learn from their mistakes, and ultimately succeed in achieving their goals and objectives.

These may vary from one individual to another. Not everyone measures success on strictly monetary metrics. Becoming a billionaire is not on everyone’s radar. For some, it is a matter of achieving consistent growth in revenues and profits so that they can gain financial freedom. Others encompass the welfare and happiness of their employees in their calculus of success.

No matter what the underlying reasons are, in business there is no escaping the fact that winning relies on building a viable and secure platform, which can withstand the vagaries of time, creative destruction, hyper competition and globalization. Just surviving in this environment is difficult, thriving requires a winner’s mindset. It is worthwhile to pin down the factors that contribute to winning:

Boost your knowledge – Recognize early on what it is that you know about the business and what intelligence you lack to succeed. It requires an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses and how they may affect the company’s performance. Certain weaknesses can be compensated for by hiring somebody who possesses the missing skills and knowledge. However, people that are hired do not necessarily become permanent cogs in the organization, and may choose to move their services elsewhere. Winners are fully cognizant of their missing links, and make the commitment to reinforce them by registering to online courses, subscribing to continuing education, or seeking experienced mentors. They understand that you cannot fully rely on others to fill the gaps.

Take the long term outlook– To win in anything you start of by building a solid foundation that will endure over the long term. While setting objectives in a five and even ten year time frame, you cannot get there without shoring up the company’s short term needs. It is only through a strong organizational structure, intrepid marketing, optimal productivity, and solid financial controls that the business can succeed over a much longer time horizon. This requires other talented players in the organization to work in close proximity and cooperate in setting goals and objectives.

Leverage through delegation – In any organized endeavor you win or lose as a team. This is as true in sports as it is in a business environment. You require total synchronization, cooperation, and commitment of all players. The coaches can’t succeed on their own, they need to delegate and distribute responsibilities to each member of the team. The key word here is delegation, and successful managers know that they cannot move forward without delegating responsibilities and authority to fulfill the different functions in the organization. They possess the necessary confidence to let go of the “B” list of responsibilities and allocate them to others without fear of losing control. They are also aware of the “A” list consists of and focus most of their energy there.

Turn failures into opportunities – Nobody goes through life without some failures in their personal or business life. The business environment is a risky one, particularly in the initial years. Forty percent of companies fail in the first five years. This can undermine confidence, destroy personal and business connections, and make it difficult to fashion a comeback. But to win, you must possess the drive to get up from the mat and find a way to overcome adversity. A good start in the case of initial business failure is to learn from the mistakes and forge a new, more sustainable plan for the future. In order to win you may have to start by losing.

Get others on board – A winning profile always includes great communication skills that promotes morale and group cohesion. This is evidenced by motivating, coaching, mentoring others to up their game in the performance of their duties. It is an indispensable trait that is either inborn or needs to be developed. The adept communicator of today does it well not only through verbalization but is also highly capable of using the internal and external communication media to their advantage. Effective company e-mails are important, but just as necessary is the ability to use social media to capture and influence a wider audience.

Manage time well – No commodity is more precious than time, yet it is often wasted on dealing with upside down priorities. The winners realize that their time must be focused on the items that are in synch with their stated responsibilities and are intrinsically tied to the achievement of revenue and profit goals. Time is managed through tight scheduling of priorities that include not only company obligations but also personal commitments. One can easily undermine the other. They are constantly aware of what the “A” items are on their schedule and deal with these first.


Performance Based Termination

“You’re Fired” Done Right

Performance Based Termination | How to Fire an Employee for Poor Performance

Unlike the dramatic firing seen on “The Apprentice” most managers find it one of the most difficult tasks that they have to perform. Many do everything to avoid it, or keep procrastinating until it causes severe damage to their company.

There is a wrong and right way to go about this difficult managerial responsibility.

The right way involves objectivity that connects the decision to a due process, which is transparent and egalitarian. This serves to eliminate any personal biases that can be attributed to an emotional cause, and renders the decision unjust to other employees.

It may cause them to fear that the ax may fall on them next without just cause. Team spirit and motivation is affected by impromptu acts that are often based on anger.

Fortunately, precautions can be taken to avoid unfairness in the termination process. Every manager must come to terms with the fact that it is sometimes necessary to remove the rotten apples, so that they don’t affect the rest.

This can be done in a way that causes no guilt and attests to fair treatment of all employees. The best way is to avoid some of the underlying causes that require termination:


Performance Based Termination

Path To Visionary Leadership


Use a performance based termination – This is achieved by a process that is based on progressive discipline (see this article entitled “Right Kind of Discipline – Progressive Discipline For Employees”. In summary, discipline is meted out systematically and progresses from verbal warnings to more stricter actions.

This should be seen as correcting unproductive behavior that affects the company and coworkers. All verbal warnings should always be recorded in the employees records for future reference and control over repetitive acts.

Good record keeping of poor behavior is the key to the application of the right kind of discipline.

Define performance expectations – The best way to accomplish this is to make them an intrinsic part of job descriptions and duties lists. Functional responsibilities and duties are laid out in writing and serve as the basis for regular employee evaluations and feedback.

These formal evaluations are the cornerstone for employee feedback and opportunity for corrections.

This is not a task to be neglected as too often happens in many small companies. They see the benefits at first but then drop the assessments claiming lack of time or other excuses. Neglect often leads to pressures building up and exploding in angry outbursts, and unnecessary firing.

Provide regular coaching –  None productive behavior can often be attributed to lack of consistent coaching on the part of supervisors. It is the obligation of managers to get the best they can from each employee by helping them to enhance their knowledge and skills in performing their jobs.

When not coached properly frustration sets in and unproductive behavior patterns deteriorate further.

In the long term, it is highly beneficial for supervisors to take the time to coach because it ultimately provides them with peace of mind and increases their own productivity. Every supervisor should allocate time for coaching and make it part of their schedule.

Through the coaching and fostering process the need and associated costs of termination are avoided. After all, there are no guarantees that the replacement for a fired employee will be better if there is no culture of coaching in the company.


How to Fire an Employee for Poor Performance
Small Business Scheduling System


Set up a corrective action plan – Once the employee is cited for unproductive behavior this must be followed by a plan on how this behavior can be corrected over time. This cannot be left solely to the supervisor’s discretion.

It is essential to get the employee on board, and have them take possession of the remedial process.

Participation in the corrective plan and a commitment  to making it happen by the employee is a prerequisite to success. Any verbal agreements should be recorded and signed by the employee.

A follow up meeting should be scheduled in a specific time frame to evaluate progress.

Check the legality –  Termination should never be a shock to an employee when progressive discipline is properly applied. It should also not be a surprise for others in the organization who have witnessed the care and consideration provided before the final step is taken.

But before the decision is taken to terminate, it is good to review the matter with legal counsel to ensure that all government labor laws are applied, and that the severance package meets the norms.

When the act of termination is preceded by accurate documentation over time most labor arbitrators will side with the employer. Accusations of discriminatory action can be avoided by carefully maintained records.

Don’t mince words –  Disguising the word termination with softer terms, such as lay off, leaves the employee with a false sense of hope. This can lead to delays in searching and finding new employment.

It can also cause  employee disgruntlement, which may lead to falsehoods of unfairness being aired out on social media.

Be Considerate –  Try and avoid the Friday PM firing, and give the employee a chance to leave with some dignity. Offering access to counseling to help them find a position in another company is now commonly practiced.

It is appreciated by those who are forced to leave and those that are left behind. Empathy is not expensive, and reflects well on the company.

Visionary Leadership Examples

Path To Visionary Leadership – Setting Meaningful Goals

Visionary Leadership Examples | Visionary Leadership Style

Welcome back to our part two (2) in this two part article series on the Path to Visionary Leadership – today we will conclude with the part two (2) . You can go back here to read our part one (1) on Visionary Leadership And Strategic Management.

Expanding  paradigms and setting meaningful goals

Many people live in their own limited mental cages and are often caught in the prison of their negative habits and attitudes.  They have either locked themselves in or have allowed their friends, families, or associates to do it for them.
The barriers of fear, embarrassment, tradition, social pressure, bad habits, playing it safe, keeps them in this cage.

The tragedy of this type of cage is that it is portable. You take it wherever you go.

You can change jobs, relocate, or get promoted, and still be trapped in your own cage. You are locked in, until you examine each of the barriers one by one and remove them.

A good place to start is to make a list of skills and abilities that you would like to have as an individual and business manager, or goals that you would like to accomplish, but which are now outside your beliefs. In making the list examine if you have allowed negative thoughts to limit your vision.  Define the paradigms that hold you back from accomplishing the things that you listed.

Look at the company that you manage and force yourself to expand its success horizons. Envision what you and others in your company need to do to achieve unprecedented success  and become a market leader.

Visionary leaders break the paradigm barriers and overreach in their objectives and goals. They forcefully motivate others to see their vision and follow through on what it takes to get there.


Visionary Leadership Examples
Small Business Scheduling System


There are three steps that you can take to analyze the mental barriers that prevent you  you from shedding old paradigms. This process, when regularly repeated, will assist you to free yourself of the  limitations that old paradigms impose and become a visionary leader.

Reflect on past successes

List several historical successes that you have achieved in your business and as an individual. Realize that at first they may have seemed beyond your comfort zone, but now cause you to feel better about yourself when you think about them. Then, list the inner  strengths that you developed as a result of these successes.
In your visionary thinking, build on these strengths and make other people in the organization see them.

Use creative possibility thinking

When you focus on possibility you place the accent on positive outcomes. Paradigm shifts are based on reaching for possibilities beyond what is seen as the current norm. Look for answers in new sources of information. The Internet is rich in expanding your horizons.
See what the industry leaders are doing and where they are going. Establish relationships and networks beyond the walls of your company that can stimulate progressive ideas.

Turn your obstacles into opportunities. The visionary leaders  differ only in how they think and act. The ordinary manager sees barriers, not opportunities, while the visionary one  sees opportunities in the obstacles. This by no means excludes the practice of good fundamental principles in business management, but it adds that necessary dimension that will help you to achieve the extraordinary.

Associate with visionary leaders

Associating with successful leaders in business is a good way to influence your own range of possibilities. Let them inspire you to reach beyond the security blanket that have kept you back from achieving new levels of performance.

It will stimulate you to organically gravitate to their level. By associating with winners, you give yourself a better chance to become a winner yourself. Follow the individuals that are moving beyond the established norms and making things happen in their industry.

Find a way to befriend them, either from your present circle of business acquaintances, or by joining clubs and associations that cater to them.


Visionary Leadership Style

Personality Types In Business


Whatever your current mental paradigms or belief systems are, recognize that they control your actions, feelings, behavior, and abilities. If your company is going to reach new levels of success, you, as the visionary leader, must firmly start to believe that it is possible.

Remove the negative attitudes that restrict your company from achieving more visionary goals and objectives. Help your key managers to break out of their own mental cages by showing them the way through your own transformational thinking and follow up actions.

Step over that invisible line that holds you and them back.

Visionary Leadership And Strategic Management

Path To Visionary Leadership


Path To Visionary Leadership | Visionary Leadership And Strategic Management


Hello and welcome to the first in our two (2) part article series on the PATH TO VISIONARY LEADERSHIP. Without any further ado lets get started.

The questions that managers often ask themselves is: “What does it take to make the leap from being an efficient manger to one that can formulate a long term vision for the company”?

They may possess good people handling skills such as coaching and mentoring, have solid credentials for planning, controlling and implementing strategic plans, yet they realize that something is missing.

Vision is much more than just having good management skills and an MBA education. Managers without vision can successfully run an organization,  but they will find it difficult to take the company to the next level, or  have their company achieve market leadership in their industry.

Recognized visionaries, such as Steve Jobs, have an inbuilt, psychological facility for going where no one else has  gone. They are able to do that because they dare step over the imaginary line that stops others from making that quantum leap into a new direction.


Path To Visionary Leadership | Visionary Leadership And Strategic Management

Business Management Tools for Entrepreneurs


Most managers never take the courageous step over that line, which crosses over the mental barriers of historical precedents, tradition, established ideas, and perceived market limitations.

In order to break that limiting mind set, fear and failure thinking must be replaced by success thinking


How to Fire an Employee for Poor Performance

As a designated leader of an organization you must arrive at the realization that you can drive it further, expand products and services, and target exciting new markets. You must see that there must be a more successful way to operate the business.

It is then that you take the step and become more conscious of things that prevent you from being more successful.

Stepping bravely across those mental barriers is the path to visionary leadership. By unblocking those mental constraints that focus on fear of failure you can become more confident in your ability, more self-assured, and more successful.

There are certain fundamental principles that apply in making the transition to a more visionary leader. One of the key factors is making a paradigm shift.

This is a process of casting old beliefs behind and using your inherent creative process to break new ground. Not everyone will become as successful as Steve Jobs, but making a paradigm shift is within everyone’s capability.

Shedding the old paradigms

 You know that you are physically different today than you were a year ago. You have only to look at a photograph or old video to recognize those  changes.

But even more important are the changes in your behavior and thinking process.  Some self reflection will allow you to rapidly assess that you currently think and act somewhat differently today than in the past.

The question to ask is whether that thinking has breached the old paradigms and allowed you to achieve greater success individually and for your company. Thoughts,attitudes, and actions should change with the paradigm shift.

Every time a new discovery is made, paradigms change. What we view as possibilities also changes because of the new discovery. Understanding the power of our mental paradigms can be a life-changing, dynamic concept that opens up new vistas of personal and organizational success.

Running the hundred meter dash under ten seconds was at one time thought to be impossible, but Carl Lewis proved that paradigm wrong.Within a few months of that new record others were able to break the ten second barrier with ease.  The result was that a new level of performance became accepted as possible.

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This concept impacts all areas of our life. When our belief system changes, our attitudes also change.
Paradigms not only influences our thinking, they actually control it. All of us view the world through strong beliefs and perceptions.
These perceptions explain to us just how our own individual worlds should function. Copernicus, Newton, Einstein, Edison broke away from the established thinking of their day that pervaded the field of science. Gates, Jobs, Musk did the same in business.You may never reach the stature of the these exceptional innovators, but shedding the old paradigms will at least broaden your horizons.

When basic assumptions were finally challenged by visionary individuals, others followed suit in expanding their present frame of reference.

History repeats this principle of paradigms over and over. It explains our successes as well as our failures. We limit or expand ourselves according to the way we think. Believe that you can and you will; believe you can’t and you won’t.

Your mental paradigm  powerfully controls your actions, feelings, behavior, and abilities. Your performance will not exceed the limits you unconsciously place on yourself.


Path To Visionary Leadership | Visionary Leadership And Strategic Management

Visionary Leadership And Strategic Management

Effective Communication Strategies


Putting pressure on yourself to go beyond your set mental paradigm causes stress, discomfort and disorientation. But those are good stresses to have. The old adage to think outside the box is inevitably controlled by your existing beliefs.

There is a positive aspect of our mental paradigms, though. Paradigms are useful to us. They help us to establish balance and stability in our lives.

They contribute to our feelings of comfort and security. When these paradigms are challenged we sometimes  become disoriented.

When our paradigms are threatened, or when we receive information that conflicts with our well-established beliefs, we usually react in these three ways:

  1. We completely shut out the information if it conflicts with our established paradigm.
  1. We aggressively attempt to attack its credibility.
  1. If somehow the evident truth of the new information forces a paradigm shift then we go through some discomfort, stress, and dissonance.

This feeling of discomfort opens the door to visionary leadership. Fear of the unknown or of reaching beyond our mental paradigms can at first be paralyzing.

However, we must push through our natural discomfort zone and look outside our current beliefs to expand the possibilities. It is then that we visualize and think creatively.

Join us next in part two (2) of this two (2) part article series as we discuss more on the PATH TO VISIONARY LEADERSHIP    (Coming Soon )

Business Personality Types Test

Business Personality Types Test | Personality Types In Business


In a business environment it is very helpful if you can define the personality traits of the persons in the organizational hierarchy. This leads to a better knowledge of the persons’ strengths and weaknesses, and an awareness of how you can better place yourself in a position where you can gain recognition and promotion.
There are four types of basic personalities, and they each have their specific characteristics. Sometimes an individual can possess traits that may fall into more than one single category.

Nevertheless, you will be able to gauge this through observation, and then using the analysis table provided you can arrive at your own conclusions.

You can also perform a self analysis in this way.

You don’t have to be a trained psychologist to recognize and categorize the basic personalities and their behavioral patterns. The following breakdown will be helpful:

Personality Type 1: The Socializer

This is a person who tends to empathize with others, and is usually seen as being very people oriented. He/she is sometimes overly friendly and considered as outgoing or extrovert. In his decision making concerning company issues dealing with staff there is strong tendency to make popular decisions that will please them.


Business Personality Types Test | Personality Types In Business

Personality Types In Business

The Five Key Factors In Communications


This may not always be in the best interest of the company. Their conversations and discussions tend to have a strong focus on people. Sometimes the observations about employees may become quite personal. They often have a need to possess personal information about their employees that includes their home and social life.
This can be seen as prying into affairs that are not of direct concern to them from a company perspective. Their style of dealing with people is usually enthusiastic and animated.

There may also be a strong tendency to dress stylishly. You can also expect a touch and feel tendency that often results in friendly back slaps and hugs.

As an employee of an individual with this personality it is good practice to reciprocate the empathy and develop a more easy going and friendly relationship, without overstepping the physical and social boundaries.
By making yourself likeable and enthusiastically ready to please, you will draw attention and recognition. Be somewhat receptive, but draw the line on private matters that go too far.
This type needs both internal and external recognition and is more task than results oriented so play up to those needs. Give them a hug or pat on the back when they achieve some worthwhile goal.

Personality Type 2: The Dominator

This is a type who commands, gives orders, and does not easily accept input from others. They usually go about their work, and get mixed up in the work of others in a restless and impatient manner.
They want results and see explanations for not getting them as mere excuses, not worthy of rational consideration. Decision making is usually quick but sometimes not very well thought out.

Goals and objectives are something that they constantly focus on, and sometimes tend to put undue pressure on their subordinates to achieve them. The environment they foster is one that is quick paced, which can inflict much stress on their co-workers.

Their attire is usually formal or distinct from others to make them stand out in some way.
This is a difficult personality to deal with because they are not readily approachable and don’t like being challenged by their subordinates.

The approach with this type should never be confrontational. Like The Socializer, they like recognition but they are almost exclusively results oriented. To gain their confidence concentrate on consistently meeting goals and objectives on time and on budget, and ascertaining that this is recognized.

When making suggestions try and make it seem that the idea originated from them.

If the pressure is too high at times find a way to relieve this by establishing calmness within yourself. Remove yourself briefly from the source of heat.

These types may have some traits that correspond to the three other categories, use the assessment table below to understand and use this to your advantage.

Personality Type 3: The Accomodator

This is another type that tends to be tasks oriented, but more prone to personal and corporate security instead of recognition. This is a personality that will not take too many risks, and will move to a safe position in his dealings within and outside the company.

There is a greater accent on the process and not just on results. They believe that if the process is well developed the results will follow. They will seek to break down how things function.
This is a steady going personality that will not show extremes of emotions but choose a balanced approach.

There is a certain amount of reserve and reticence when dealing with others. Don’t expect quick decisions here.

They are usually slow and meticulous about making the proper choice. Conformity to acceptable norms from a social and personal perspective can be observed by their personal dress code and objects which surround them.

If you want to get ahead as an employee with the Accomodator than try and mirror their need for process, and become useful in helping them break down the steps, through flow charts and similar tools.

When proposing ideas be patient and wait longer than you may think necessary to get back to them for a decision. You may be asked to provide more information and analysis before they makes up their mind.

If you tend to be extrovert, rein this in when dealing on any issues and take a cool and collected path. Restrain yourself in what you wear by staying away from overly showy or too colorful dress choices.

Personality Type 4: The Controller

Statistics, data, facts are the focus with these types. No decision is made without an in- depth analysis of the available data. This is usually a cool and somewhat distant personality who uses others only as needed. Gaining spontaneous access to them is difficult unless you have some key data to present on an urgent basis.

They often can be heard discussing order and organizational structures. Hierarchy within the organization, and clear paths of communication and responsibilities are important to them. In meetings with employees and outsiders they are controlled and thoughtful.

They will be conservative in their personal, social and political attitudes.

Thoroughly check out any data that you present to them so that you can gain their trust on one of their most important traits. Never formally meet them without doing your homework and getting your facts straight. Barging in on them when they are busy is a definite no.


Person’s Name:__________________________________________________

Quickly select the description that best fits the above named person.
Please select only one description for each trait.


Business Personality Types

The Five Key Factors In Communications

The Five Key Factors In Communications

Factors of Effective Communication | The Five Key Factors In Communications

Welcome back to the final part in our two (2) part article series on  Effective Communication Strategies – today we will continue with part two (2) . You can go back to part one (1) here.

The five key factors in communications:

1. Presenting – When we make a presentation we employ words, ideas and inner thoughts. In choosing the words we use it is important to know the composition of the audience. We need to use words and express ideas in a way that will be comprehensible to that particular individual or group. A presentation to a bank manager or sophisticated client will demand different words and phrasing then if you are speaking to a worker in the production department. You do not make yourself important by speaking over the level of comprehensibility of the audience. It will not lead to the objective of creating understanding.

Factor That Affect Effective Communication | Factors Affecting Communication Skills

Factors of Effective Communication

 Effective Communication Strategies

When expressing ideas and inner thoughts it is essential to make them open ended, leaving room for questioning or imposition of other ideas. It makes the audience feel that they are included in the communication process. This invites feedback from the listener, and offers a smoother path to agreement. Expressing your inner thoughts on the subject matter acts to personalize the presentation more and link the listener closer to you. They will feel that you are letting them in on something that is really important to you. In general, by staying away from a strictly factual presentation and taking it to a more subjective level will significantly raise the impact of the presentation.

2. Listening – As a presenter you must pay attention to the signs that indicate whether your listener(s) are engaged, and placing themselves in the right frame of mind to comprehend the message. A key gauge of this link with the listener is steady eye-contact. This tell-tale, outward sign is a ready indicator of attention. If you are not getting this, then you must find a way to prod the listener. You can simply ask,”Please look at me when I speak”. You can also encourage the expression of the two other key factors in effective communications: questioning and paraphrasing.

3. Questioning – Promoting questioning by the listener at an appropriate (none disruptive) time is a great way of winning over your listener. There are four types of questions and it is important to recognize the differences in each. Questions may be seeking further clarity, probing, expansionary or challenging.

In the first case the listener has not understood the message and is simply asking for more clarification; the probing question prompts a deeper explanation of the facts or ideas; in the expansionary question the listener logically stretches a specific part of the presentation to include items that the presenter may have omitted; challenging questions may force the speaker to evaluate the facts and correct some statements after listening to a different viewpoint from the listener.
It is not that important what type of questioning is used. All are indicative of attention and linkage. By recognizing the different possibilities, the presenter is placed in a better position to provide answers and not be caught up in some kind of ego enhancing game. The presenter should be well prepared to answer any type of question and welcome this as a sign of effective communication.


Factor That Affect Effective Communication | Factors Affecting Communication Skills

The Five Key Factors In Communications

Small Business Management System


4. Paraphrasing – Another effective way to determine that the message is getting through is to ask the listener to paraphrase the ideas, thoughts and concepts of the presenter.

Paraphrasing is a process of rewording and giving meaning to what was stated in another form. The listener is essentially asked to repeat in his/her own words what was heard.

This is a good way to check in on the listener to make sure that he is following the conversation properly, and has grasped its meaning. It is a particularly useful technique when the presentation is long or complex

5. Reaching Agreement – The purpose of most communications in a company setting is to improve behavior that leads to better productivity on a personal, technical, or organizational level.

Even if it a simple pat on the back for a job well done, we are reinforcing good behavior and promoting its recurrence. All communications have to lead to agreement that a thorough understanding of the message has been reached, and that there is a commitment for improvement.

The presenter has to directly ask for this agreement and get a positive response. Checking in through questioning and paraphrasing should facilitate this last step.

It is worthwhile to have a check list that serves as a guide for effective communications. Going through the items and carefully thinking about the items on the list provides an excellent reference for all future communications and helps the management team to make constant improvements in their attitude and techniques.

Please refer to the sample checklist below.


Communication Checklist

Subject matter of communication:______________________________________________________

Presenter: ______________________ Verifier:___________________

I. Presentation:
1. Was the purpose clarified and agreed upon? Yes ( ) No ( )
2. Was the proper climate set? Yes ( ) No ( )
3. Was the presentation well organized? Yes ( ) No ( )
4. Did the presentation get past the surface and include some expansionary thoughts and feelings? Yes ( ) No ( )

II. Questioning:
1. Did questions secure helpful answers? Yes ( ) No ( )
2. Were there creative responses to the questions? Yes ( ) No ( )
3. Were there expansionary or challenging questions? Yes ( ) No ( )

III. Discussion:
Give some examples of:
Logical Thinking: ____________________________________________
Creative Thinking: ___________________________________________
Visionary Thinking: ___________________________________________
Positive Thinking: ____________________________________________

IV. Paraphrasing (Listener Repeats what was said in own words):
1. Was paraphrasing used effectively? Yes ( ) No ( )
2. Explain some of the ways paraphrasing was used.

This checklist can also be used as a self check without third party verification. Used is this way, it serves as a self improvement vehicle. Avoid all personal bias, prejudice or discrimination to obtain an objective feedback.



Business Management Skills Blog | How to Fire an Employee for Poor Performance

Communicating Effectively

Top Tips On Communicating Effectively

Effective Communication Strategies | Communicating Effectively

Hello and welcome to the first in our two (2) part article series on Effective Communication Strategies. Without any further ado lets get started.


The whole purpose of communication is to lead to better understanding between two or more parties. A conversation or presentation that those not result in understanding is unproductive. This in turn leads to even more misunderstanding, resentment, and dissonance.

There are many barriers to effective communication, and these barriers must be bridged in order to reach understanding. Some of these barriers involve lack of proper preparation, failure to see the need to communicate clearly, complacency in delivery of the message, lack of empathy toward one or both parties, prejudice, feeling of superiority, and impatience.

Effective communication includes both skills and attitudes. Skills include: proper articulation, eye contact, listening, paraphrasing. Attitudes encompass: empathy, rapport, and basic respect for the other person.

When communication problems arise, there often is a disturbing tendency to blame the other party instead of focusing on our own responsibility to establish the necessary criteria for understanding.


List of Communication Strategies | Communicating Effectively
Effective Communication Strategies
People Management for Small Business


There is a strong connection between successful communication and respectful cooperation. When there is mutual respect, guidelines and techniques for communication are less important because the parties will have a strong desire to create mutual understanding. But, when this is lacking, even a command off the best techniques of communication will not help bring about understanding. This is not to say that techniques are not necessary. It is important to master them, but at the same time to remember that creating a cooperative and open environment is essential.

Effective communication is as much the result of a positive attitude to communication as it is of methods and techniques. Communication effectiveness is dependent on three main factors that can be broken down as follows:

a. Seven percent (7%) depends on the words we use.

b. Thirty-eight percent (38%) depends on our tone of voice.

c. A fully fifty-five percent (55%) depends on non-verbal body language and physical gestures.

The surprising realization for most people when looking at the three factors of effective communication is the predominance of body language. We often spend most of our time on the text of our presentation and totally forget about assuring that our tone and body gestures have the desired effect on the listeners.

Voice modulation is an important part of the delivery. There is nothing less attention destroying than a presentation delivered in an awkward monotone. You do not want to put an audience of one or more individuals to sleep. Raise and lower your voice to suit the contents of the text.
This is not difficult to do, just pick out the passages that you really want the listeners to fully grasp and both slow down and raise the volume slightly.
This is true if you are speaking to a larger audience at a company meeting or to just one subordinate.

Understanding the enormous consequences of body language should be a huge motivation to improve this element of communication. Standing or sitting in a straight but not rigid position, making confident but not overbearing eye-contact, preventing yourself from showing the outward signs of discomfort such as sweating or fidgeting, can be readily mastered.
Become aware of your own body language traits and work on correcting them by practicing in front of a mirror or a friend who can provide immediate feedback.


Effective Communication Strategies | List of Communication Strategies

Communicating Effectively

Business Restructuring and Reorganization

The skills part of effective communications can be broken down into five basic factors. The more you understand and practice these techniques, the more skilled you become.

However, you also must be always aware of the emotional backdrop and make certain that it is advantageous to the communication process. Your personal approach should be positive and seek the best possible outcome for both parties, as well as the organization.

Effective Communication Strategies Communicating Effectively

Join us next in part two (2) of this two (2) part article series as we discuss more on The Five Key Factors In Communications



Business Management Skills Blog | Creating A Climate For Change Within The Organization

Methods of Managing Change In An Organization

Creating a Climate For Change Within The Organization

Creating A Climate For Change Within The Organization | Methods of Managing Change In An Organization



Some of the principal reasons why people resist change include the following fear factors:

  • Financial loss.
  • The unknown.
  • Loss of status.
  • Implied criticism.
  • Bad past experience.
  • mismatch of skills.

We are living in a new millennium of unprecedented change. Because of increased competition, more demanding customers, and reduced brand loyalty. Change is more destructive. So volatile is the period in which we live that many top executives claim that the only constant today is change.

Many businesses fail because its managers don’t know what to do to keep pace in this dynamic economy. It is no longer uncommon to read of well-known, once successful companies being absorbed by more progressive firms. Others have been greatly diminished because the need for its products or services have disappeared or are offered more effectively and at a better price by a competitor from emerging market countries like China.


Change Management Strategy | Methods of Managing Change In An Organization

Creating a Climate For Change Within The Organization

People Management for Small Business

The need for change, stimulated by both domestic and international competition, is easily recognized. New materials, global competition, and new technologies like 3D printing have made serious inroads into markets that a company may have once dominated. A world wide emphasis on research and development and frugal engineering will translate into more intensified competition for the consumer’s pocket book.

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Today’s managers live in a world where nothing is as certain as change. Therefore, managers who are not skillful in dealing with, and implementing change will find themselves left behind and unable to effectively reach their profit objectives. Companies with managers who say, “Well, that is just the way we have always done it”  will inevitably sink into organizational and financial stagnation.



 How people react to proposed changes is greatly influenced by the kind of climate for change that is created. It begins by building the enthusiasm for progress and change. Dynamic, successful organizations are constantly seeking and introducing new methods, new equipment, new technologies, new standards, and new internal organizational structures. Managers, within these progressive companies embrace these changes,  provide enthusiastic support, and project this enthusiasm to their subordinates.

Creating the right climate for change involves encouraging employees to seek ways of constantly improving efficiency and suggesting specific improvements in their departments. Employees can quickly lose interest in becoming catalysts for change when their ideas are ignored or ridiculed. Seeking suggestions and ideas from employees at every level of the organization requires that managers listen and evaluate all serious feedback.


It is always easier to carry out any restructuring if there is a concise plan to follow. Whenever major changes are to be implemented, careful planning and preparation that involve all departments are necessary for success.  There are six steps that are helpful in launching major changes.

Sell the change:  many times the job of a manager is one of selling new ideas, and improvements to employees. Much of the difficulty encountered in getting cooperation stems from the employee’s lack of understanding of how the change will affect them. Take the trouble to put together a power point or video presentation that focuses on the positive outcomes of change for all concerned. Selling with this kind of upbeat visual backup will provide a boost to morale and improve acceptance for change by the majority.

Get Help:  Specialized staff can frequently be of great help in preparing to sell a change by explaining technical aspects and demonstrating new techniques. Seek them out within the organization first but also use outsiders when necessary

Another source of help in introducing changes are the informal leaders in the work force. These are employees with no official job title but whom other employees respect. Giving recognition to this type of leader puts him/her in a cooperative frame of mind and on management’s side.

Anticipate  Objections: Changes that upset routine, require new knowledge or skills are bound to meet with some objection or resistance. Looking at change from the employee’s point of view will help determine what their objections are likely to be. Listing these objections, a manager, with a little creative foresight, can turn these objections into opportunities to enlighten.

It really does not matter how much authority a manager may have. He/She must recognize that they cannot force people to accept their way of thinking. Cooperation, not just grudging compliance, comes about if you can show the win-win possibilities of any change. People are going to have to be made to feel that the change is really best for them, and that will not happen until their objections are seriously dealt with.

Accentuate the Positive: Everyone wants to know, “What’s in it for me?”. In order to motivate people and gain their support for change an effort must be made to personalize the beneficial effect it will have on each individual employee. It would be counterproductive, however, not to recognize any disadvantages that a change might bring. Sometimes change that is good for the overall company might not be good for a certain individual. Explain this carefully and try to show them that change will help the company to grow and present greater opportunities for all employees in the future.

Listen Carefully: Employees have a right to be heard. Their questions may be their way of demonstrating interest in their jobs or a means of making suggestions that would facilitate the change. If employees are treated with respect, as important members of the team, he/she will in all likelihood reciprocate  this respect.

Follow Up:  When purchase something in a retail outlet or on line, it is easy to resent the salesman or service support who loses interest in us just as soon as the sale is finalized. After having conscientiously sold the benefits of change to provide better after sales conduct, it is important to measure that the changes have been implemented at all levels of the organization. A sincere interest in how the change affected the employee and a willingness to make adjustments will help to build the environment in which future changes will be accepted more readily.


Change Management Strategy | Methods of Managing Change In An Organization

Methods of Managing Change In An Organization
Managing People Effectively



We are in an era of unprecedented change. The attitude of the company’s human resources is the key to how effectively change is implemented. People do resist change for some of the reason listed above, but it is just as natural to cooperate as it is to resist. In many instances the difference between the two depends on whether or not the employees are completely involved in the implementation of the change and understand the overall benefit.

The ability to develop mental flexibility, and to meet new challenges with creative solutions must become part of the company’s credo if it wishes to thrive. Developing an environment where employees embrace the change is the key to creating a better future for all.



Business Management Skills Blog | Tips on Restructuring a Business

Best Financial Ratios For Small Business

Performance Ratios For Small Businesses

Performance Ratios For Small Businesses | Best Financial Ratios For Small Business

Welcome back to our part three (3) and final part in this three-part article series on the Use of Financial Ratios For Small Businesses. You can go back to part one (1) here and Part two (2) here.

Total Debt To Net Worth: Total Liabilities ÷ Net Worth

This ratio expresses the relationship between capital contributed by creditors and that contributed by owners. It expresses the degree of protection provided by the stockholders for the creditors.

The higher the ratio, the greater the risk of being assumed by creditors.  A lower ratio generally indicates greater long-term financial safety.
The effect of long-term (funded) debt on a business can be determined by comparing this ratio with the Current Liabilities to Net Worth Ratio. The difference will pinpoint the relative size of long-term debt, which can burden a firm with substantial interest charges.

Total liabilities shouldn’t exceed net worth (100 percent) since in such cases creditors have more at stake than stockholders.


Most Important Financial Ratios For Small Business | Best Financial Ratios For Small Business


Marketing Strategy For Small Business

Operating Ratios

Operating ratios are used to assist in the evaluation of management performance. These consist of the following key ratios:

Percent Profits Before Taxes ÷ Tangible Net Worth

This ratio expresses the rate of return on tangible capital employed.  While it can serve as an indicator of management performance, it should be used together with other ratios.

A high return, normally associated with effective management, could suggest an undercapitalized firm.  Conversely, a low return, usually an indicator of inefficient management performance, could reflect a highly capitalized, conservatively operated business. Profits before taxes may be zero, in which case the ratio is zero.
% Profit Before Taxes ÷ Total Assets

This ratio expresses the pretax return on total assets, and measures the effectiveness of management in employing the resources available to it. It is also called the rate of return on investment, and it shows how efficiently a firm manages resources.

It is different from the Return On Equity more money is available for dividends and/or reinvestment in the firm. This ratio can be used to compare the performance of investment in a company compared with other investment opportunities.

If this ratio varies considerably from the industry average, a detailed examination of the composition of the assets and a closer look at the earnings figure is warranted.

A heavily depreciated facility and a large amount of intangible assets or unusual income or expense will cause distortions of this ratio.

Total Assets Turnover:  Net Sales ÷ Total Assets
This ratio is used to measure the sales generated by each dollar of assets. A high asset turnover is preferred. A low turnover could mean that the firm requires more assets than a firm with a high asset turnover or that the firm is not using its assets in an efficient manner.

If the ratio is less than the Industry Average, this means the company is simply not generating a sufficient volume of business for the size of the asset investment.

Sales should be increased, or some assets should be disposed of, or both steps should be taken.


Most Important Financial Ratios For Small Business | Best Financial Ratios For Small Business
Best Financial Ratios For Small Business
Small Business Financial Controls



These are the key ratios that a small business or any business, for that matter, should keep a close track of and fully understand the implications.

It is important to compare yourself to your industry.  It is even more important to monitor your own progress.  Improvements in indicators – even an improvement of a tenth of a percent will show management what strategies are working and how to capitalize on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.



Business Management Skills Blog | Business Management Ratios For Small Businesses

Methods of Managing Change In An Organization

Business Management Ratios For Small Businesses

Business Management Ratios For Small Businesses | Important Financial Ratios For Small Business


Welcome back to our part two (2) in this three-part article series on the Use of Financial Ratios For Small Businesses – today we will continue with part two (2) . You can go back to part one (1) here

Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio:   Net Sales ÷ Receivables

This ratio measures the number of times Accounts Receivable turn over in one year.  The greater the turnover, the shorter the time period between sale and the collection of cash.  If a company’s receivables are turning slower than the rest of the industry, an examination of the company’s collection procedure and quality of receivables should be closely examined.

This ratio may also be misleading if the company’s cash sales represent a large percentage of total sales.  Keep in mind that this ratio does not recognize cash sales.

Inventory Turnover Ratio:  Cost of Goods Sold ÷ Average Inventory

This ratio measures the number of times inventory is turned over during the year.  High inventory turnover can indicate better liquidity or superior merchandising.  Conversely it can indicate a shortage of needed inventory for sales.


Key Financial Ratios For Small Business


Business Turnaround Services


Low inventory turnover can indicate poor liquidity, possible overstocking, obsolescence, or in contrast to these negative interpretations a planned inventory buildup in the case of material shortages.

When the inventory figure is zero, the quotient will be undefined and represents the best possible ratio.

This ratio is considered a significant indicator of the efficiency of operations for many businesses.  This ratio is used to measure the speed with which inventory was being sold and replenished during the past year. As a general guideline, a high ratio suggests an efficient inventory system.

 Payables Turnover Ratio:   Cost of Sales ÷ Trade Payables

This ratio measures the number of times that trade payables turn over in one year. The higher the turnover, the shorter the time between purchases and payments.

If a company’s payables turn over more slowly than the industry, the company may be experiencing cash shortages, disputing invoices with suppliers, enjoying extended credit terms or deliberately expanding its trade credits.

 Working Capital Turnover Ratio:   Net Sales ÷ Net Working Capital

 Working capital (current assets minus current liabilities) is a measure of the margin of protection for creditors. It reflects the ability of the company to finance current operations.  Relating the level of sales generated by the operations of the company to the working capital supporting these operations, measures how efficiently working capital is employed. 

A low ratio may indicate an inefficient use of working capital while a very high ratio may signify overtrading and a vulnerable position for creditors.

 This relationship indicates whether a company is overtrading or conversely carrying more liquid assets than needed for its volume.

Each industry can vary substantially and it is necessary to compare a company with its peers to see if it is either overtrading on its available funds or being too conservative.  Companies with substantial sales gains often reach a level where their working capital becomes strained.

 Fixed Assets To Net Worth:    Net Fixed Assets ÷ Net Worth

Net Worth is defined as Retained Earnings plus Current Year to Date Earnings plus Capital Stock. This ratio measures the extent to which stockholder’s equity (capital) has been invested in facilities and equipment (fixed assets). 

A lower ratio shows   a proportionately smaller investment in fixed assets in relation to net worth, and a better “cushion” for creditors in case of liquidation.

           Key Financial Ratios For Small Business | Important Financial Ratios For Small Business


                                                                Small Business Financial Controls

Similarly, a high ratio would show the opposite situation. The presence of substantial leased fixed assets(not shown on the balance sheet) may deceptively lower this ratio.

The portion of net worth that consists of fixed assets will vary greatly from industry to industry, but generally a smaller proportion is desirable.

A high ratio is unfavorable because heavy investment in fixed assets indicates that either the concern has a low net working capital and is over trading or has utilized large funded debt to supplement working capital.

Also, the larger the fixed assets, the bigger the annual depreciation charge that must be deducted from the income statement.  Normally, fixed assets above 75 percent of net worth indicate possible over investment and should be examined with care.

Joint us in the conclusion of this three (3) part article series Performance Ratios For Small Businesses

You can go back to part one here – Use of Financial Ratios For Small Businesses.




Business Management Skills Blog | Best Financial Ratios For Small Business