Quality Education

Productivity and Innovation – 5 Critical Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask

http://dearmckenzie.com/wp-content/alfacgiapi I was speaking with a friend and fellow business owner a short time ago who’s going through some growth transition issues. He’s improved his customer service practices and a key employee just couldn’t embrace the changes and keep up.

Biên Hòa After waiting too long (his words) he reluctantly made the needed change and replaced a long standing employee with a new person. He has a small business with only 6 employees so any personnel issue has huge ramifications. All in all he did a great job smoothing the exit of the employee and allowing for the relatively easy entrance of the replacement.

About a week into things he called the new employee in and gave him a ‘project’. The mission was simple, pay very close attention to the business process, work flow, communication both with clients and in the office and look for problems, issues and bottlenecks. This is a great idea for any of us. He basically recruited his new employee to function as an internal consultant looking at his business with ‘new eyes’. Now realize that this is not a witch job is to look at practices and policies not to spy on fellow co-workers and then tattle.

I suggested that he expand this practice one more step and I shared with him an idea that I’ve used, as a consultant in company after company that I’ve worked with but also as a technique that I’ve used to grow my own businesses.

Ask the 5 Critical Questions.

The process is simple, simply sit down with your employees, ideally one on one, and out of the office for a candid discussion. The larger the company the harder this is to do, so in large companies small groups of 5-10 people might be the best you can do. In a small business, coffee, lunch, breakfast, any 30-45 minute session works. This is not an excuse for dinner with the good looking employee and should never involve heading to a bar…I’ve found a diner works best. Let everyone know this is coming ahead of time so they aren’t shocked and let them know that you really want to hear from them, both the good and the bad.

Try to schedule all of the meetings in as short a period of time as possible to avoid ‘meeting cross contamination’. If not all of the usual stuff will crop up in water cooler talks, “What did you say?”, “What should we ask for?”, “What did he/she want to know?” Try to minimize this as much as possible if you want the best information.

Once you have the meeting, get to know your employee a little better and then ask the 5 Critical Questions…I have found that asking them in this order works you ask for good stuff first they’ll gloss over the bad stuff.

What are we as a company doing poorly?

What am I, or what is management, doing that gets in your way?

What are we as a company doing well?

What can I, or management do, do to make your job easier?

And the $Million dollar question… “If time and money were not factors, what would you STOP, START or CHANGE that can help us do better for our clients?’

He took my idea and in a period of three weeks was able to have a meeting with everyone. Part of the feedback about the process…”The level of communications with our employees is at an all time high, and both the volume of output has increased while the quality has increased exponentially at the same time. Another benefit is that all of our employees are finally taking ownership, freeing me to actually grow the business.”

Ideas that have come out of other companies who’ve tried it:

Wholesales changes to archaic customer service practices

Creation of project bid teams made up of marketing, sales and service reps to insure workable delivery deadlines

Changes to purchasing patterns resulting in significant cost savings

Employee/management teams that collaboratively created specs for capital equipment purchases

Creation of an award winning client service website

New and different marketing ideas

Development of new profit centers

A renewed sense of purpose after employees knew they were being listened to

Give it a shot, you have a lot to learn and you’ll have an opportunity to develop better relationships with your team.

You have nothing to lose, you have to eat anyway but trust me, the knowledge you’ll gain will make these meals some of the best money you’ve ever invested into your business.

School

Top Six Scrapbook Tools and Supplies You Should Always Have At Home

When a person desires to improve and be at their best, it is only fitting that they try to equip themselves with everything necessary and ideal for the sake of improvement. Just like in any other activity or craft, you need to be aware of the basic and advanced tools used in scrapbooking. This list may include only the essentials, but as you eventually increase your scrapbooking knowledge, this list can also comprise of secondary tools and items.
Below is a rundown of the basic and advanced scrapbook tools and supplies:
Multi-colored PensThe ideal pens would be waterproof, fade-resistant pens. These items usually come in various points, colors and tips. Color, for the most part, adds character to your scrapbooking page. Color can also influence your preference for various shades that complement the paper backgrounds and borders. There are also varied types of pens that are specifically made to suit your scrapbooking needs. These types of pens are acid-free and won’t smudge up your layout page.
Photo-labeling PencilsPencil types such as these, are helpful when categorizing photos to be used in scrapbooking. For one, it may be difficult at times to remember dates, events or places. Names of people may also hard to recall, especially if you are using a picture from a huge event like a family reunion or wedding. Photo-labeling pencils are not only present to help you in labeling. It also serves as your aid in sorting out old photos from recently taken pictures and souvenirs.
Acid-free PapersScrapbooks are meant to preserve memories, not to dismantle them. Photos are also primary elements that you have to be wary when it comes to adhesives or papers used in scrapbooking. As an important reminder, it is always best to choose paper types that are free of acid and lignin. Aside from patterned, textured or colored papers, it also pays to have your borders and die cuts acid-free. Using acid-free materials will ensure that your photos will be preserved.
Scrapbook AlbumThe album itself is definitely part of the basics list. Besides, this is where you are going to put your pictures and keepsakes. Since the scrapbooking album is considered essential and basic, the manner of choosing one is as crucial and important as well. Be reminded that old photos and pictures are susceptible to normal wear and tear. It can easily acquire moisture, thus causing pictures to fade. To avoid this, it is always advisable to choose adhesives, papers and borders that are acid and lignin-free. And the same thinking is very much applicable to choosing your albums for scrapbooking.
Page ProtectorsThese protective sheets are used in line with your scrapbooking album pages. They are normally used to protect pages from possible elements like stain or dirt. Scrapbooking albums usually include photos that are definitely valuable to the person who creates them, and as your way of acknowledging their value and heritage, it is only proper to prevent these scenarios (spillage and dirt) from ruining these personally-made items.
Photo Cropping Tools and TrimmersThis scrapbooking tool is made specifically to answer your photo cropping needs. Surely, there will be times when your pictures may be too big for a particular page layout. The only way to make these photos fit would be to cut or trim them. Some photo cropping tools and trimmers also have corresponding self-healing mats as surfaces, which is another likely incentive.