Posts Tagged ‘mutual’

Conducting business is by nature interdependent

Conducting business is by nature interdependent. It is the result of multiple interactions between multiple stakeholders every day. A stakeholder is a person or a group with a vested interest in the success of your organization and your products and services—people who can affect or are affected by the actions of your business.

Stakeholders come in many shapes and sizes. They can be found inside and outside your company. They are your employees, your customers, your vendors, your partners, your advisors, your lenders, the government, the local community, even your competitors.

Few companies have leveraged the influence of stakeholders like Starbucks, which turned a passion for coffee and taking care of stakeholders into a runaway success. Howard Schultz, the CEO who transformed the company from a small chain of coffee shops to a worldwide phenomenon, states, “If people relate to the company they work for, if they form an emotional tie to it and buy into its dreams, they will pour their hearts into making it better.”

When stakeholder relationships are strong, you have employees who work better together, customers who buy more products, strong supply chains, collaborative relationships, and seemingly infinite opportunity. Taking care of your stakeholders is good business.

This concept is embodied in a Japanese concept, Kyosei, embraced by Canon Corporation as its corporate philosophy. Kyosei is a way of living and working together harmoniously, enabling continuing growth and mutual prosperity to coexist with healthy and fair competition.

The stakeholder group that instantly comes to mind is your employees. Of all groups, they probably have the biggest stake in your business. Your employees count on you for their jobs, their income, working conditions, and their livelihood. If your business fails, employees are among the first to feel the pain.

As a business owner, you have a responsibility to all of your stakeholders, but especially to your employees. This means providing jobs, good working conditions, fair compensation, honesty in communications, access to information and tools, freedom from discrimination, and protection against unnecessary injury or illness.

Your employees are more than a group of stakeholders—they are the lifeblood of your enterprise. Spend the money it takes to hire talented individuals. Share the vision and goals of your company with them. Invest in your human capital and build teams that encourage cooperation and open communication so that they can perform to the best of their abilities.

And remember what Mary Kay Ash, pioneer of the Mary Kay Cosmetics, states, “People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.”

Helping others is what it’s all about and in today’s tough world; giving someone an advantage is extremely important

Helping others is what it’s all about and in today’s tough world; giving someone an advantage is extremely important. That advantage can come in many forms – things like verbal support, information that can be used in their personal or professional lives, or maybe an introduction.  It’s called many things but the meaning of mentorship has always been a word that brings up all kinds of positive impressions in my life. There have been so many people over the years that have offered their knowledge and support as I trudged through some very difficult periods in my life.  I’ve had many people that I would classify as my mentors but my uncle is the central person in helping to shape my personal and professional life. 

Now, mentorship does not mean doing it for someone but rather offering the support so that someone can do it for themselves. You’ve heard the old saying “give them a fish and they live for a day – teach them to fish and they live for a lifetime.”  That’s what mentoring someone is all about; giving them direction and practical knowledge so they can use your experience to expand on their own skills to discover personal solutions that work for them.  What you found to be a solution might not work exactly the same way for the next person.  We’re all different and our needs are very specific.  But the need to develop a positive attitude and the importance of showing respect and dignity to the next guy is pretty much the same for everyone. 

I’ve searched for mentors from all walks of life to ensure that I developed a well-rounded method of conducting all aspects of my life.  My time in the U.S. Marines was full of mentors, even though at the time I didn’t see them that way.  I learned so much in the Marines and these are lessons that I use every day of my life. 

If you are developing a small business, there are organizations like SCORE Association (Service Corps of Retired Executives).  This group offers businesses a free counselor/mentor from a group of retired business executives who are just itching to get back into the business world.  Even the Department of Defense has a mentor program.  Since 1991, the Department of Defense Mentor-Prot?g? Program (MPP) has offered extensive assistance to small disadvantaged businesses. Helping these businesses to expand the overall base of their specific marketplace has produced more jobs and increased national income.

If you are looking for a mentor, be certain that you choose the right individual or organization before moving forward. Ask questions and tell them what you want to achieve.  And if you are searching for that one special individual in your area to set you on the right path, same thing holds true. If you feel that a specific person can help you, just walk right up to them and ask them if they’d be interested in being your mentor.  Once you find the right group or individual you’ll know.  Never forget, mentorship is a team effort.

The attributes that make a great team in a mentoring environment include things like mutual respect, trust and a clear vision. A useful mentor holds the vision of what is possible, and leads the way to the vision. A mentor must believe in the vision as much as the learner does.  A mentor will offer wise advice, will show those he or she is guiding “the ropes” and will invest the time and energy necessary to successfully develop that individual. The more open the learner is to accessing this knowledge and insight, the more insightful these discoveries will be.  The mentor is an extraordinary person; a person we all aspire to be. A mentor is someone just like you. 



We hear it all the time (especially from kids) and ask it often (more on that later).

“Why?” is a question used in all sorts of situations, and its prevalence should hint to its usefulness.

And yet, for all of its value, “Why?” can cause a lot of problems, miscommunications, misunderstandings and more because the “Why?” question is so like a double-edged sword.

Therefore, we must examine and learn the uses and misuses of this powerful word/question in order to use it most effectively.

Why So Powerful?
“Why?” is a powerful question because it . . .

. . . stimulates learning. “Why?” is the quintessential open-ended question. The answer to “Why?” provides new information for the asker.

. . . allows discovery. Asking “Why?” helps us find the root cause of a problem by diving into the details. Similarly, this question can lead to discoveries in situations other than problem solving as well.

. . . creates understanding – for both parties. Have you ever explained something to someone else and after you explained it you understood it better? The “Why?” question creates deeper individual understanding and allows for mutual understanding as well.

. . . quenches curiosity. Kids ask “Why?” because they intuitively know that the answers will help them learn, discover and understand. In other words, “Why?” is the perfect question to ask when we are curious, and the perfect question to stimulate our curiosity as well.

Why So Dangerous?
The “Why?” question is powerful . . . and . . . it`s rife with challenge.

Do this quick mental exercise. Think about all the different ways you have heard (or you could ask) “Why?”

With just a bit of imagination you probably will be able to hear your parents or other people with positional power asking the question in a way that wasn`t about curiosity or learning, but in a more “questioning” or accusatory manner.

While the problems certainly don`t always come from a place of positional power, because we have all experienced this, it highlights the challenge this question faces.

“Why?” is dangerous because it can . . .

. . . insinuate power. The power piece can come when words are added to the question, like “Why did you to that?” The problem – and danger – is that as a receiver we can add those additional words in our mind even if they aren`t said; creating meaning that may or may not have been intended by the asker. Either way, once the receiver assumes it, that power is implied. Often – because of this – the receiver may be reticent to answer, may answer in a limited way or in the way we think we “should.”

. . . suggest judgment. Again, this judgment could be coming from someone in power, but not necessarily. The reality is most of us want to be liked and accepted. When we hear judgment in the “Why?” question, we can be stymied by caution or answer in the way in which we assume others want.

. . . impede progress. Any question that leads us to be cautious, incomplete or inauthentic in our answers is a dangerous question because almost by definition it will keep us from moving forward, hide problems or actually move us in the wrong direction. Improper use of the “Why?” question can do all of these things – and more.

Herein lies the danger, for none of these outcomes allows the question to reach its full power and may actually have a damaging effect in a conversation or meeting.

How to Best Use Why
The key to using the “Why?” question first comes in understanding the powers and dangers, then in balancing them correctly. Once we know the risks, we can . . .

. . . preface our questions to minimize the power and judgment concerns of the receiver.

. . . watch the tone of our voice, realizing that tone could – intentionally or not – imply judgment.

. . . monitor our intent, because if we really are passing judgment perhaps we want to modify our approach, or at least not expect the fullness of answers we might get if our intention was different.

. . . ask the “Why?” question differently, to avoid some of the risks (ask, “Can you tell me more?”, or “How do you mean?” as just two examples).

Using any or all of these approaches can help you get the very most from this most powerful question.

Remarkable Leaders know that asking better questions helps them in many of their leadership roles which is why questions are related to several of the competencies of The Remarkable Leadership Learning System – a one skill at a time, one month at a time approach to becoming a more confident and successful leader. You can get two months of that unique system for free as part of our Most Remarkable Free Leadership Gift Ever today at and become the leader you were born to be.

The effective people manager or supervisor has a framework of people management objectives, processes and best practices to ensure they lead, manage, motivate and develop each of their team members

The Effective People Manager or Supervisor has a framework of People Management objectives, processes and best practices to ensure they lead, manage, motivate and develop each of their Team Members.  They build effective habits, and these habits include identifying clearly their goals and expectations with each report, and identifying their way forward with each person.

The Goals of the People Manager

The measure of the Supervisor’s success is how much they have IMPROVED the performance of their people.  The questions to ask are –

  • Are the Team Members achieving their goals and objectives?
  • Are they constantly improving and developing?
  • Are blocks to improvement being addressed or removed?
  • Are they achieving the desired performance level and their potential as an effective Team player?
  • How much have these Team Members improved since you became their Supervisor? What have what have you added to their development?

Focussing on these goals is the first step in People Management. Thinking effectively is about visualising the goals, assessing your current situation of the Team Member, and planning the strategy to get the Team Member from this current position to the improved goal achieved position.

Effective People Management Processes and Practices

  1. Have a clear vision of your Expectations. Think very precisely about your expectations of the Team Member’s role. You will have to explain these expectations to your Team Member and it is very difficult to do this if you have vague, woolly thinking. What is the whole range of accountabilities in this role? Think in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes and actions to make a list of your desired qualities.

What performance level do you expect? Remember, people need some kind of measures of your expectations – quality, quantity or both.

What do you expect in terms of the Team? What is a ‘good’ Team player in your Team – what attitudes, values and behaviours do you want to foster within your Team?

  1. Make your expectations clear. If you explain your objectives clearly, you will already have achieved 50% of them – you are half way there! Tease out your expectations to each Team Member in a positive ‘can do’ way. Make a habit of identifying different aspects of the role and discussing each at separate performance discussions. An effective People Manager is doing this on an ongoing basis, ensuring the Team Member is on firm ground and knows exactly where they stand.
  2. Ensure Team Members know that their work has value. This involves briefing each Team Member initially on what exactly is the purpose of the Organisation, their own Team Purpose, and where we fit in relation to other departments. They need to know that they play a key part in achieving the shared output of their Organisation.
  3. However, it is Supervisory best practice to continue to work on this aspect, ensuring each Team Member knows that their work is important. In terms of motivation, this is a key factor. If your Team Member thinks their work is of no value to the Customer or to the Company, they will be de-motivated. If they feel their contribution is important and valued, they are motivated to perform well.
  4. Get to know each Team Member. Spend time with each in non-work chats getting to know them and letting them get to know you. Bonding is key to building mutual respect, so use your time wisely bonding with each Team Member. Manage how you do this to ensure you are spending your time equally with all Team Members.
  5. Set goals for the Team and for each Team Member. Discuss long term goals and objectives with each Team Member, sharing your thoughts on their next steps in development within their current role. People need to know where they are now, and where they are going next. Make the goals very specific and set time frames on each. They need to be so clear and detailed that it is possible to do a checklist of ‘Yes, goal achieved’ or ‘No, this goal was not achieved’.
  6. Have frequent Performance One-to-one discussions. An effective Supervisor will hold very regular one-to-one meetings. The objective is to show you are interested in the Team Member’s work and to stimulate performance and growth. At this meeting we review recent performance, goal achievement and team contribution. We ensure we are identifying learning points from the Team Member’s day-to-day experience and setting next step goals for the immediate future.
  7. Show interest in each person’s work output. Train yourself to notice good work, extra effort or positive attitude. It is often easy to see the negative, but harder to see the good. Praise desired attitude, behaviour or achievement on the spot, openly and honestly. Be sensitive to different people, and praise each in an appropriate manner. Think about how you do this, vary your methods so that the praise does not become staid or insincere.
  8. Have high expectations of each Team Member – they will not all perform equally, but each person can get better. Don’t treat someone as a loser – but give them something to achieve. Remember, success breeds success. It also fosters self confidence and job satisfaction.

Review your People Management processes and practices frequently to ensure you are working effectively and productively with each person. This will guarantee that both you and your People are continuously growing and developing.

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