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Management VS Leadership

In one of my last management roles, we didn’t refer to ourselves as ” Managers”. We called ourselves “Leaders”. We lead our teams through inspiration, to the best of our ability, to meet our desired goals. In my early years in management, if someone asked if I was a leader or a follower, I always answered as identifying as a leader because I was a manager; I never put together that they were separate things What I have come to learn since those times, is that managing and leading are two different things that go hand in hand and not everyone in those respected roles is going to be good at both- that point can be saved for a future post.

Management and leadership are often misconstrued as being the same thing.  The most basic difference between management and leadership is that a manager manages business activities and has a staff working for them while a leader leads a team of people who are looking up to them and following their example.

Leadership requires the ability to inspire a group of people to see a bigger picture. A leader has traits about them that promotes innovation, motivates teams, and pushes individuals to want to do and be better. Leaders create environments where everyone wants to work together to achieve their common business goals. There is a level of trust among colleagues and they know their opinion matters.

Management, on the other hand, is very cut and dry. There is no real motivation or incentive for employees. Staff members are expected to complete their tasks promptly with few questions to be asked. There is a plan to be followed and results to be seen. A manager may be good at achieving results and devising plans of execution but the approach is very one note. Managers are not ” people” minded. Their job is to remain in control while delegating directions.

In my own personal experience, I’ve had times where I found myself wearing both hats. There is a time and a place for everything. It’s a hard balancing act when you are managing anywhere between 10-50 people at a time. As a business manager and team leader, you may not always have the best approach. Sometimes what could or should have been a moment to provide inspiration comes out raw or insensitive. There is always the opportunity to redeem yourself if you find yourself in that situation. As a leader, you cannot be afraid of failure and trying again. Other times, you know there is energy pumping through the room, you and your team are on a roll, and it’s a beautiful moment. Those moments are what you need to thrive on in order to be a good leader and keep inspiration and motivation flowing because as we all know in business, the tides are ever changing.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, not everyone will be good at wearing both hats, or even one of them! Stay tuned for my next article on the different management styles and how to create good management habits.

Happy Hump Day!

3 Types of Plans to Implement Within Your Company

According to businessdictionary.com, the process of planning is ” The development of goals, strategies, task lists, and schedules required to achieve the objective of the business. The planning process is a fundamental function of management and should result in the best possible degree of need satisfaction given the resources available.” 

The key thing is planning always has a purpose, an objective, and a desired end result in mind. The more time you invest in preparing your plans and creating actionable steps to implementing them, the better off your team and company will be.

In my last post, I wrote a few quick tips for creating and implementing an action plan. This time we’re going to discuss the three main types of business planning: strategic, tactical, and operational. 

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Let’s start with Strategic. Your Strategic Plan will be a very broad statement that applies to the entire company. It includes the mission of the company and future objectives and goals. Its purpose is to ensure that all team members are working toward that common goal. The Strategic Plan is essentially an agreement that sets priorities, focuses energy and strengthens the operation. 

The Operational Plan goes into a little more detail. It applies to mid level management and focuses on the company’s products and services. While you’re creating financial projections, you’re also incorporating your production costs, softwares and other processes the company uses, staffing, equipment, and inventory. It will entail answering the Who, What, Wen, Where, and How much? There can be a single use Operational Plan as well as an ongoing Operational Plans.

An example of an operational plan would be coming up with tangible way to achieve the company’s strategic goals, such as cutting costs by 10% within 12 months time. This would entail single use plans. But an on going plan would be changed as necessary and would be pertinent if the goal of the company was to cut costs by 10% while avoiding lay offs.

Lastly, the Tactical Plan is much like an action plan it breaks down the bigger goal into small plans. Remember, the idea is to start producing results and see change so there needs to be bold and clear directives with specific deadlines. These directives should be delegated to specific, key people that will drive the result you want to see. Without action, there will be progress or forward movement.

You want to ensure that your employees know why their actions tie into the company goals and what makes the planning relevant. There should be just a handful of directives as you don’t want to overwhelm your team.  An example of a tangible, measurable tactic would be requiring your sales team to recommend a specific add on service or product for all customers who purchase “Product 1”.  A tactic in itself has the purpose of being a result driven action step that will lead to measurable success. 

While all of these plans and their creation as well as implementation are critical to your business, they are often neglected. Writing these plans can be the hardest part, sometimes its hard to articulate your vision. Not to mention, it’s time consuming and as a small business owner, you are busy busy busy with day to day activities.

This is the part where I tell you High Tide Writing Services has you covered. Help us help you get your mission and strategies aligned and turned into working plans! Drop us a comment or e-mail if you’d like to learn more!

Happy Friday!!

 

 

 

 

6 Ways To Create a Successful Action Plan

One of the main keys to success is in planning. As a Small Business Owner, you should have a plan in place for everything. If you aren’t sure where to begin, I suggest you start with an action plan.

Let’s start with the first question you might have, what is an action plan?

Well,  It is a detailed outline of prioritized tasks required to meet an identified goal or end result.  An action plan lays out tangible, actionable items with a set end time. These can be created to improve the performance of an associate or you can assign tasks to members of your team who will be held accountable for the end results, such as improving sales or monitoring Key Performance Indicators, (KPI’s).

Regardless of the objective, the plan paints a picture of how these items or goals will be executed.  Writing the plan out can increase accountability among your team and act as a tool or point of reference. They are designed to gauge progress. When created for a sales team, it can shed light on top and bottom performers.

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Here are 6 ways to write a successful action plan:

  • Define Your Objective and choose obtainable goals. Once the plan is implemented,  it should be easy to understand. Your plan should also promote incentive and a sense of motivation among your team. 

  • Be Transparent with your plan. Bring on the valued guidance of your team. Have a brain storm session with them. Their input can result in stronger plan results and also give them a voice in the overall health of the business as well as their needs as employees. 

  • Create solid, measurable action steps. These steps are goals. They should be easily identified and obtainable. I cannot stress that enough. You should be discussing with your team ideas to improve areas or departments in which you are currently lacking support or results. You could create target sales goals for each member of your sales force and devise a plan on how they can reach their targets. There could be a hot new item that you’re about to introduce to your customers and you want to gauge their interest or engagement in your marketing of this new product. You need to write an action plan on how you will implement your marketing strategy.   Your plan should have target end dates that are created to promote productivity.

  • Delegate the steps of the plan to specific team members who will ultimately claim ownership and be responsible for the success of their part. Be sure to set them up for success  by giving them the necessary resources and support along the way. 

  • Adhere to a strict schedule, whether you are going after a short term or long term goal. The idea of an action plan is to break your goals down into smaller, shorter ones so they are easier to achieve. Having a clear time table will impose a sense of urgency and efficiency. 

  • Monitor & update your plan as you go. Keep your team in the loop as you endure the journey to success. Let them know where the areas of opportunity still are   and when their hard work has paid off with a specific milestone achieved. 

    If you keep these steps in mind as you go about writing your action plan, you’re sure to set up an actionable and successful plan that will not only positively affect your business but push your team to a higher standard.  

    High Tide Writing Services is always here to help you write and execute action plans for your team and business. Check out our ‘Additional Experiences’ on our homepage and drop us a line! We love hearing from you!

 

Seven Steps to Writing a Business Plan

I was recently asked by 7 Pillars Digital Marketing in Jersey City to guest write for their blog! We are all about sharing the knowledge and wisdom so that we can reach as many SMB owners as possible! I’ve already written once on the importance of having a business plan but this is a more in depth look at what goes into the creation of a plan. Click the link below to check out my article and when you’re done be sure to check out the rest of the 7 Pillars website as they have copious amounts of information and great marketing tips to share. Enjoy!

Seven Steps to Writing a Business Plan

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The Importance of Leading by Example

One of the most important aspects of being the leader of a team is making sure that you are always leading by example. Whether you have small team of 3 working beneath you or a team of 50, it’s vital to remember that they are always watching you. And I don’t mean they are watching you and waiting for you to slip up, they’re just watching you. Observing and taking note. The habits that you form and display in front of them each day will become their habits therefore it’s up to you to make sure you are mindfully leading by example. Let’s discuss what that can look like.

First and foremost, as a leader you must take care of yourself throughout the day and maintain a positive attitude. In order to be the most effective at work, you have to be sound mentally and physically. You must ensure you are eating and taking short breaks when necessary to clear your head and refresh your mind. Remember to breathe during frustrating and unforseen scenarios. Take time to contemplate your responses, in person or over the phone and in e-mail. Your team is watching you. If they see you day in and day out skipping lunch and having a melt down when you’re overwhelmed with work, then they are not going to feel encouraged or motivated themselves. As their leader, they look up to you to know the answers and expect you to communicate in an effective manner. Lead by example by checking in with yourself throughout the day and fueling your body with what it needs to sustain long hours. Maintain a can and will do attitude even when you aren’t feeling 100% confidant. The beauty of running your own business and having your own team is that you get to make mistakes and learn from them together.

Another way to lead by example is to never ask something of an employee that you wouldn’t do yourself. The first person who should show initiative to get something done is you. When a team sees their leader cleaning, taking out the garbage, processing stock, answering the phone and taking on customers, it shows that nothing is beneath you as their leader. You are hands on in all regards of the company.

With being hands on, comes showing respect to your employees. You may be the business owner but you became a manager when you hired employees. You can lead by example by showing your team that you are not above the rules. The basic policies about conduct and work ethic that are in place for them are the same for you. How would it reflect on you has a leader if you are late to the store or office every morning and is always leaving before the work is done? How would it reflect on you as a leader if you curse and yell every time the computer freezes or the toilet overflows. You wouldn’t accept that behavior from your staff, so it’s not acceptable for you to behave that way either. You are not above the rules.

The best kind of way to lead by example is to have a strong presence on your sales floor and with clients. Remember, you’re being watched. Working personally with clients in front of your staff is in a way also the best kind of training you can give them. You are setting the example and standard for how the client experience should be. You can show your sales team exactly what is expected of them and in return, they will see the passion you have for the industry that you are in and the customers who keep you in business.

Being a leader to others is a lot of responsibility and some say it takes a certain personality to be good at it. I say, as long as you remember that your employees are always watching you and observing how you do things and what you do or don’t do throughout the day, then you can always be aware to make sure you’re setting an and leading by example, which already makes you a better leader than some.

 

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