HR: Avoid Bias in Evaluating Top Employees Who Backslide



Management of employees can be the most challenging with rollercoaster emotions. That’s especially true in employee terminations.

Employee terminations are the most stressful and legally treacherous events for any human resources professional or manager.

Naturally, if you find it necessary to terminate employees, you must be legally and morally prepared with a paper trail that show your documentation in your evaluations of them.

The five most-common reasons to fire employees:

  1. Lack of productivity
  2. Toxic behavior
  3. Cannot cope with change
  4. No call or no show
  5. Customer and supplier complaints

But what about high performers who decline in their work?

Don’t be too lenient with talented employees with a history of strong performance but who decline in their work. Document every event in any downtrend of performance.

Inevitably, many terminated employees will file claims accusing you of discrimination.

So, it’s vital to be mindful of your biases when you assess the performance of employees. Don’t be misled about your high-performing employees. Sometimes, their performance decline.

If they are given excellent reviews but there are is no documentation of their declining performances, you risk legal trouble.

To reiterate, when a previously high-performing worker starts to go south, you must avoid playing favorites. Be very careful to document the person’s waning performance.

Their past excellent reviews don’t mean you’re stuck. The person is not impervious to scrutiny and unassailable.

Before terminations, ask yourself three questions

  1. “Am I following all applicable laws?”

You should be diligent in your human resources paper trail. That should include progressive discipline and counseling.

Be careful in what you do, say and write. If there’s any doubt, check with an expert. Actually, it’s a good idea to do it anyway.

  1. “Am I acting on facts and irrefutable information?”

Take and use copious notes.

Employees are entitled to know the answers to three questions:

  • What’s expected of me?
  • How am I doing?
  • What’s in it for me?

Don’t allow your behavior to become less than polite.

  1. “Am I fair and compassionate?”

Follow the Golden Rule. Treat employees as you would like to be treated in a termination by a world-class employer.

If an employee is not expecting to be terminated, remember the fault does not entirely lie with the worker. It’s your fault. 

Appearances

To avoid appearances of discrimination or favoritism, you must be 100 percent objective with all your employees. Show how each of their performances are improving or declining.

All too often with older employees, companies face accusations of age discrimination.

Take notice the very day an employee starts missing goals or otherwise performs poorly. Don’t risk firing a worker after giving a sudden negative review after years of excellent reviews.

Should you find it necessary to terminate an employee, be prepared:

Present evidence that you had discussed errors and poor productivity, requested improvements in the person’s performance, and to conform with your company’s objectives and plans.

Yes, it’s kosher to terminate employees who fail to adjust in this Digital Age.

You can rest assured that courts don’t automatically condemn your decisions in human resources.

What judges, juries and the Equal Employee Opportunity Commission want is to see is your documentation that you’ve discussed performance issues with your employees.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant articles:

Human Resources: 12 Errors to Avoid in Evaluations — How should you properly evaluate employees? Make sure you are careful to avoid errors in evaluations. Naturally, you want to praise good performance and discourage bad. What are the best ways? Here’s how to avoid making those classic mistakes.

For Best HR Performance Reviews, 10 Sample Goal Phrases — A well-written set of performance goals work to motivate employees and help them to focus better on their responsibilities. They must be written with the right phrasing so they inspire performance and don’t invite costly lawsuits.

10 Best Practices for an Online Employee Handbook — Companies that don’t convert their employee handbooks into electronic documents are missing noteworthy opportunities in human resources. Conversely, businesses that switch to a digital format accomplish at least five HR goals.

Management: 7 Tips for Success if You Must Layoff Employees — Companies typically make two short-sighted errors in a business downturn. They slash the workforce and marketing investments. To the contrary, it’s important to place a maximum value on your human capital and avoid layoffs, and to expand marketing.

Avoid EEOC Legal Hassles over Unpaid Leave Requirements — You might want to review your current human resource policies. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has continued to push employers on unpaid leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

10 Tips on Responding to EEOC Complaints — Despite all the court cases, warnings and complaints filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a study shows big companies are guilty of favoritism in their promotion practices. If you’re so accused, here’s what to do.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

-Benjamin Franklin


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Storytelling: Motivate Customers to Brag about Your Company

 

More and more in marketing, you hear buzz phrases about storytelling – advising you about the concept of telling your story. It’s good advice.

Your best opportunity in marketing messages is to inspire your customers to write testimonials about their positive experience with your company.

Certainly, you’ll profit more if you can entice your customers to tell your story about your products and services.

Positive run-of-the-mill reviews are great, but it’s much better if you can get your customers to provide inspiring details about you.

Unfortunately, businesses struggle to persuade their customers to give a complete and outstanding review.

However, , you’ll see a domino effect if you employ the right strategies for customer engagement, collect their impressions and distribute it to your customers.

Once positive testimonials entice other customers to buy, the new customers will be inclined to become your brand ambassadors, too.

Four strategies to motivate customers to brag about your business:

Daily prioritize your engagement throughout your business

Your immediate goal should be to promote your brand as the best – with optimistic, powerful testimonials.

Go beyond just using social media. Develop a foundation to collect your customers’ impressions.

Inspire and appoint your employees to collect, edit ad publish customer stories. Monitor the performance of the testimonials on your social media and site.

Ascertain what you need

If customers are unhappy, they will crusade against you. If they are happy, most people will take you for granted.

So, avoid lethargy and disinterest. Get customers to sit down and go to work as your brand ambassador.

Don’t be mundane by giving customers a basic text box to complete.

Create a structure in which you make it easy for customers to be comprehensive to enable you to harvest their all-inclusive testimonials.

Use an easy-to-complete template to motivate customers to write.

Ask customers to explain the purpose of their purchase, how they achieved their goal, why the purchase was beneficial, and how they now feel about the purchase.

Show previous testimonials

Consider a reality – most customers aren’t the greatest of writers. So, help them with examples they can emulate.

Customers love a happy buying environment. When possible, use humor to make buying fun.

That should include soliciting the desirable tone and length of their stories.

Show gratitude – prevent buyers’ remorse

If you succeed in eliciting great testimonials, you should prevent buyers’ remorse. So, reward such customers.

You can do it in a variety of ways:

Consider letting them see their testimonial before you publish it. Happy customers are often delighted to see their comments online.

Provide rewards points. Toss in even more reward points if customers provide a picture. It’s truly worth a thousand words.

If your products are spendy, send them a check. The higher the price, the bigger the amount.

Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant resources:

8 Strategies to Enhance Your Customer Service Image — Poor customer service is a salient reason why consumers aren’t loyal to businesses. True, today’s consumers are very demanding. It’s worth noting they’re demanding because they constantly encounter poor customer service.

Best Practices to Get Positive Customer Reviews on Amazon — Amazon has become the e-commerce destination where prospective customers can discover and buy anything they want. Here are four best-practices to attract great reviews.

Are You Attacked by Bad or Bogus Reviews? 5 Tips to Respond — Certainly you only want positive customer reviews. Internet-savvy shoppers read reviews to make buying decisions. Reviews can make or break you.

Marketing Tips via Mobile Devices, Reviews, Coupons — Digital marketing opportunities keep growing and growing. For instance, 70 percent of consumers research product reviews while they shop in stores. Ninety percent are relying on their mobile devices as they make in-store buying decisions.

14 Tips to Profit from Online Customer Reviews — For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce.
 

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

-Robert McAfee Brown

 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

 

 

 

 

Key Strategies for Best Holiday Sales on Amazon



Naturally, just like all your other holiday sales, Amazon has become increasingly important for retailers in e-commerce.

For instance, Cyber Week – the week prior to Thanksgiving – will account for a major portion of your Q4 sales as Black Friday and Cyber Monday follow in importance.

So, due diligence in Amazon strategies is imperative. Maximize your sales while also positioning your business for success in the future.

Here’s how:

Coordinate with strategic partners

Don’t wait to prepare for your inventory and sales needs. Well in advance, communicate with your manufacturers and retailers in planning your inventory.

Analyze your sales from the previous year. Then, forecast the best you can. If you have retailers, ask them about their purchasing plans. Ask your manufacturers if they can supply what you’ll need.

Try to anticipate your competitors and their prices.

Plan to look for late-breaking opportunities in sales.

Review fulfillment requirements

Make sure you know and comply with Amazon’s packaging requirements and shipping guidelines. And prepare for shipping with enough materials and have enough staffing to fulfill your orders.

Minimum advertising price (MAP) policy

Talk with your legal team about your MAP policy. Protect your company’s image and sustain pricing among retailers for compliance with state and federal regulators.

Communicate your MAP policy with your retailers. Work with them for productive relationships.

Take steps to compete effectively. Know your best price points and maintain flexibility along with your limitations.

Prevent arbitrage – people who buy discounted products and resell them on the Internet. Know and limit your sellers. Allow buybacks if they’re struggling to sell your products.

Avert legal risk

This is the time of year when your brand and profits can suffer. You potentially face a higher rate of copyright, counterfeit products and swindles and trademark infringements.

To reinforce your policies, communicate with your distributors and retailers. Scrutinize who is selling your products and the prices they charge.

Deal only with retailers you trust. Don’t allow unauthorized selling. Typically, such scammers never ship the products.

Check for bad customer reviews, questionable seller names and alleged so-called just-launched offers. That’s a benefit of Amazon’s Brand Registry program.

Plus, Transparency by Amazon means a transparency code is inserted on product packaging to enable scanning for authenticity.

Be seasonally specific

Your messaging and images will be more effective if you convey a holiday emotion. To connect with shoppers and for their repeat business, emotions will play an important role en route to success.

Use a great branding slogan but avoid year-round generics. That means verbiage in value propositions and images must be holiday-themed. Reinforce ideas for seasonal uses by using suggestive phrases.

Partner with Centers of Influence in your social media for organic interest in your products.

Do your research

Know which of your products are most-likely to sell. Usually, this involves The Pareto Principle. In other words, the 80-20 rule. Eighty percent of your sales will derive from just 20 percent of your products.

Check your search-engine optimization to see that it’s ready for Q4 sales. Update your keywords to take advantage of seasonal opportunities for sales growth.

If you utilize pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) advertising, update your search terms and bidding. Note: Bear in mind, you might have to do it on a daily basis.

Take special precautions to monitor questions about your products and customer reviews.

Capitalize on Amazon’s “Deal of the Day”

To take advantage of the Deal of the Day, know that your pricing must be your lowest of the year.

Plan your biggest discounted price but to stay profitable and plan to schedule your promotion several times.

Capitalize on history’s lessons

Amazon shoppers anticipate the lowest prices of the year. But be clear on differentiation. Shoppers subconsciously ask themselves the WIIFM question – “What’s in it for me?”

Take great care to make certain you have ample inventory on your earmarked products. If you don’t, of course, you’ll risk losing sales and allowing a black mark on your company’s image.

Remember shoppers love coupon deals.

Again, in advance of your holiday selling, don’t forget your Centers of Influence and social media to promote Amazon sales.

Harness the potential of mobile

This means optimizing for mobile customers.

With less screen space for mobile users, be doubly sure to insert salient features/benefit statements and keywords first.

Note: A+ detail pages are not decreased in size on mobile devices and appear on the screens before your product description.

Test … test … test

A data-driven approach is key. Start early to prepare for sales, so test early. But continue to monitor your data during the sales events.

With A/B testing you’ll be able to discover your top-selling products and deemphasize to poorest-selling items. Analyze, also, your verbiage and other factors including your coupon offers and search-term reports.

From the Coach’s Corner, additional relevant information:

Checklist to Create Cyber Monday Sales Success — In order to celebrate your Cyber Monday sales, you must first create a happy buying environment. That means reviewing your store and Web site to attract prospects and to create happy customers.

10 Tips to Optimize Your Web Site for Higher Sales — If you haven’t optimized your Web site for sales, you might want to reconsider. There are more and more indications that online shopping will continue to grow.

Marketing Strategies to Maximize Your Holiday Sales — The holidays are an emotional time of year. Consumers spend a disproportionate amount of money during the holidays, so it behooves your business to take advantage of your seasonal revenue opportunities.

Trending: How Merchants Increase Profits in Q4 Holiday Sales — As consumers continue to start earlier and earlier to shop for their holiday giving, merchants are honing their marketing strategies. Their tools include advertising, brand protection, strategic pricing, staging events, and using traditional media and digital.

Best Sales Pipeline Tips: Content Marketing, Follow-up and Marketing Automation — Here’s how you can maximize your sales pipeline with effective content marketing, prioritizing follow-up and marketing automation.

“Amazon has done something for all of retail, which is resetting the customer expectations about how quickly and easily you can get things.”

-Mary Dillon


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Tips to Limit Employer Liability on Employee Cellphone Use



Smartphones should improve your employees’ performance and facilitate profits. But that’s not always the case because of some employees’ behavior.

In this litigious society, you can never be certain you’re free from lawsuits. That includes the use of smartphones.

Yes, there are increasing risks to companies over the use of smartphones by their workers. So, for your employee handbook, it’s imperative to develop a smartphone policy. Then, training employees regarding the policy is imperative.

Risks range from losing proprietary information such as trade secrets to harassment and other legal liabilities.

Legal liability involves employees who talk on the phone or texting while driving at work. Ouch.

Here are cellphone-policy tips to consider:

Prevention of accidents

Smartphone functions have become so elaborate, not only talking and texting, but taking pictures and games, too.

It’s very dangerous if employees use their smartphones while driving. Your policy should include avoiding such risks.

Etiquette

Develop and implement a policy regarding employees’ use of smartphones in driving and in other work situations.

More than a quarter of a century ago, I learned an embarrassing lesson in a client meeting just after I launched my consulting practice. My vintage phone was in my briefcase but it abruptly rang interrupting the meeting. So, before every meeting I quickly learned to turn off my phone.

So, it’s amazing now to see people use their cellphones meetings. It’s a sure-fire way to annoy clients or any other attendees in a meeting.

True, there might be times when an employee is expecting an urgent call necessitating the use of a smartphone.

As a consultant, sometimes I had to keep my phone on in meetings – if I needed to keep it handy if I was handling an important project for the clients. The clients certainly appreciated it.  But not as a rule.

Keeping records

Texting in business has become a common practice. But as you know, texts can’t be filed. Deleted texts are challenging to recover.

Decide how you want to keep texting records in case they’re needed; especially for legal matters.

Also, sometimes, emails become an issue in financial, legal or regulatory matters.

To avoid misunderstanding, don’t allow off-the-clock work which easily morphs into lawsuits.

Privacy

Employees should be advised that any of their messages on company-owned devices are the property of you, the employer.

In other words, they should be warned that they have no privacy in using a company device and their communications can be reviewed by you.

Also, point out that the business owns the telephone number. You don’t want employees who are leaving to use your number in a secret effort to steal your customers.

Inappropriate use

Employees should be advised that other inappropriate use of your phones will not be tolerated.

Along with your standard policy for sexual or any other type of harassment, institute a policy that your devices cannot be used for any form of harassment.

Performance and productivity

Your policy should cover how and when smartphones can be used. Remind your employees regarding your policies in using smartphones as a computer, the Internet, and social media.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant tips:

Basics to Consider Before Writing Nondisclosure Agreements — If you have business secrets to protect you might want to use a confidentiality policy, a nondisclosure agreement and possibly a noncompete agreement. Here are the pros and cons.

16 Best Practices to Stay out of Legal Trouble with Employees — Generally, in human resources, companies find themselves in legal hot water because they inadvertently make mistakes with their employees. It’s important to triple down on preventative measures and responses to legal hazards when necessary.

Best Practices with HR Records to Guard against Legal Risks — If you aren’t able to supply relevant documentation, you’ll pay a heavy price. In some cases, you’ll even be forced to give the job back to a nonperforming or toxic employee.

Best Employee-Handbook Values to Avoid Legal Issues — Neither you, nor your company and nor should your employees be relying on an employee handbook with illegal or antiquated policies. Here are employee-handbook values to consider.

Management – How to Improve Accountability in Your Company — If business and tepid growth have affected your outlook, take a look at your human resources and consider a couple of questions. If you don’t like your answer, here are eight solutions.

“The cell phone has become the adult’s transitional object, replacing the toddler’s teddy bear for comfort and a sense of belonging.”

-Margaret Heffernan


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Finance: Zero-Based Budgeting Aligns Resources with Priorities



Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is no longer just your average budgeting technique. ZBB means all expenses must justified for all functions and analyzed for company needs and costs.

Many companies began using it in 1970 to help reduce expenses and cost-effectively apportion resources. But over the decades, ZBB went out of vogue.

In recent years ZBB has been gaining favor with companies. For them, it’s no longer business as usual. Why?

They know they experience improved cash flow for sustained growth by consistently aligning their business priorities. How?

Such companies take full advantage of the advances in technology, society’s increased awareness of human nature, and the desire for long-term strong financial results.

Instead of staying stuck using the same old budgeting approach, ZBB can change a company’s culture and managers’ mindsets – for more transparency and awareness to enhance discussions about managing costs and cost-effectively apportioning resources.

In essence, ZBB brings a new culture of continuous improvement with enhanced visibility in spending and cost discipline.

That’s easier said than done. Many companies have found their managers and department heads are reluctant to change. They’re somewhat territorial and want to maintain autonomous control over their budgets.

ZBB has been criticized for being labor intensive and too complex.

On the contrary, companies that have made the switch realize that with ZBB, profit and loss statements can be simpler in all cost categories – from manufacturing to marketing – as a result of new software or cloud-based solution approaches.

This also means financial recordkeeping and planning are much simpler to implement and to significantly reduce costs.

With ZBB, there’s more accountability as department heads are incentivized to justify expenditures. So, it’s all about governance of policies, costs and pursuing business goals.

ZBB doesn’t have to focus entirely an anticipating negativity. Some businesses are fortunate to have employees open to change.

For maximum profit, they know to partner with employees and to motivate them to offer profitable ideas.

Changing to ZBB

For success, there has to be a commitment at the leadership level and in role modeling for the ZBB approach. Leaders must lead by example with decisive action.

Senior management must commit to altering everyone’s mindsets and changing how things are done.

In this way, lower-level managers are more apt to adhere to planning in keeping with the companies’ culture and goals.

Managers become more sophisticated cost-containment and investment in initiatives. They take a balanced look at expenses and setting targets.

For long-term success, there has to be a new infrastructure. Leaders must continually reinforce and communicate the ZBB message.

So then, employees’ behaviors change in order to make every dollar count.

Checklist for lasting change

  1. For the desirable outcome, you must diligently reinforce the new ZBB method on budgeting and funding decisions.
  2. Again, as it can’t be overemphasized, constant communication of your convictions is paramount.
  3. Forget using the reams of spreadsheets. For real-time data in decision-making, make sure to choose the right tools of technology either in software or cloud-based solutions.
  4. Make training of your staff a priority to use the new tools.
  5. Be certain that everyone understands there are no sacred cows. You might need a cultural change. Don’t allow obstinance.
  6. Some employees will be tempted to call for exceptions claiming ZBB is too complex. Don’t allow them to submit cost leaks. Hold discussions about how to utilize ZBB and set limits on how they can qualify exceptions.
  7. Stop all the pain. Use uniform standards and require burden of proof from your employees.
  8. Evaluate every aspect and detail. Make sure you assess every cost driver. As a result, you’ll be more likely to identify growth opportunities.
  9. Keep an open mind. Don’t limit your thinking. Visualize the future using all feasible digital tools.

You might need to make significant changes in your culture. Your ZBB process must be consistent. Use unassailable analysis and insights. Make certain you maintain a strong governance structure and make decisions on facts not irrational emotion.

Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, here additional relevant tips:

Optimize Talent Management with 5 Coaching Culture Tips — When managers become coaches, you get a higher-performing workforce. You will have replaced mediocrity with strong performance. Here’s how to develop a coaching culture.  

Cutting Costs: 9 Best Practices to Avoid Making Reactionary Decisions — In chaotic times, it’s common for businesspeople to be fearful and reactionary when they feel they must cut expenses. But entrepreneurs need to be unemotional so that they make decisions that will bolster their objectives. They can take the emotion out of their decision-making — by eliminating stress factors — if their priorities are clearly defined with values.

Tips for Strategic-Thinking in Finance: Your Staff, Individuals — Many companies want accountants and finance professionals who are strategic thinkers. But that’s not happening at most companies. Here are tips for managers and employees.

Artificial Intelligence: How to Maximize Your ROI — You will maximize your return on investment in AI with these strategies.

Strategy: How You Can Capitalize on Predictive Analysis — The promise of predictive analysis: Obtain forward-looking insights to innovate and quickly recognize opportunities for growth.

“The budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations. “

-Jacob Lew


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




To Stay Stress-Free after Your Vacation, Copy a Dog’s Mindset



Two questions: Have you ever felt stressed even after a long holiday or vacation? Soon after returning to the office, have you felt the need for a “mental health day?”

If so, you’re not alone.

We go on vacation  for serenity – to lift our moods, change our perspectives and alleviate negative emotions.

However, even after a nice holiday or vacation, it’s pretty common to start feeling stressed when you jump into work.

Have you ever noticed how dogs behave? They stay in the moment and never seem unhappy.

Why not emulate the behavior of a dog?

The trick is to prevent stress from rearing its ugly head to keep it from ruining the benefits you received from your vacation.

Here’s how to minimize stress after a vacation:

1. Prevent phone calls your first day back

Before you leave for vacation, your automatic reply on your phone should indicate your return date, mention your preference that important matters be handled by email, and explain whom you want be contacted in your absence.

2. Shorten your first week

Return midweek. In this way, you’ll be more enthusiastic rather than dreading a heavy workload and week of problems. Prioritize the issues.

3. Work a minimal first day 

Go to the office for only four hours. Consider it to be sort of an orientation to ease back into your pressures, handle any pressing issues and to plan your schedule for the next few days.

Then, take the afternoon off. 

4. Work on an attitude of gratitude

The most serene professionals focus on the positive – the 90 percent of what’s going well rather than the negative 10 percent that isn’t going well. In this way, it’s easier for them to tackle the 10 percent.

So learn to keep a smile on your face by practicing an attitude of gratitude. In fact, if you haven’t already, start a gratitude list.

You’ll find you can think of 10 things are worth appreciating. Review your list. Reflect on it. Make it a regular thing to do.

5. Vary your routine

Avoid falling into a rut. Learn to keep an open mind by using the “Principle of Contrary Action.”

Keep a mental or written record of your routines. Every time you do something try to approach it differently. For instance, take a different route to the office and park in a different parking space.

Ever notice how happy your dog gets when you reach for a leash?

Sometimes people in business need a creative place at out-of-the-ordinary locations. Perhaps you have an employee whom you need to counsel. Or you might have a peer who needs encouragement.

So for discussions on difficult issues, try walking meetings.

6. Budget blue-sky sessions

While you immerse yourself in your daily routines and challenges, budget time for blue-sky sessions to dream about future plans.

Never allow the fires and problems distract you from your long-term goals.

7. Exercise

Whether you’re a runner, walker, golfer, yogi or gym aficionado – whatever your favorite way to exercise — budget time do it regularly.

And don’t forget to exercise your spiritual and mental health.

8. Consider planning periodic mental-health days

Don’t allow depression to consume you. Take periodic days off to relax with your family, play golf, go boating, fishing, or take in a Wednesday afternoon baseball game.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

Career Tips: 5 Morning Habits of Winning Entrepreneurs — The key is to manage the highs and lows synonymous with a dynamic roller-coaster ride. You must stay on an even keel, despite all the negative surprises. Develop habits that make certain your attitude is contagious – an attitude worth catching — to prepare for daily success.

6 Best Mental Attributes of Successful Entrepreneurs — Becoming an entrepreneur is the hardest task you can imagine. The hours are long and you can expect a physical and emotional roller-coaster ride. A song made famous by Frank Sinatra explains it best.

5 Personality Traits for Personal and Professional Success — Five personality traits are important for overcoming stress and achieving goals academically, professionally and in personal relationships. This article includes a link to take a personality test.

How You Can Improve Your Memory for Career Success — Data is important in business but only if you retain and understand it. Your memory helps you to embed, store, maintain and recover information. Here’s important information to improve your memory.

Tips to Prevent or Eliminate Employee Toxicity — From time to time, nearly every boss has to cope with an employee’s negativity. That’s annoying enough, but you’ve got a nightmare if toxic attitudes spread among the rest of your workers. Here are solutions.

30 Time Management, Stress Reducing Tips — Tips that will enable you to take bold measures to invest in your future and make money by saving time and reducing stress.

“Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table. It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness.”

-Louise Hart


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Basics to Consider Before Writing Nondisclosure Agreements



If you have business secrets to protect, you might want to use a confidentiality policy. That will inform your employees and other stakeholders what’s important and what you want to keep in confidence.

To assure privacy, you might also consider a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) with your employees and strategic partners. They are typically appropriate and lawful.

Assessing your situation

Before you decide what to do regarding an NDA, assess your situation, for instance:

Do you have to protect proprietary information? Such information might be unique marketing and sales strategies, proprietary research or maintenance of confidential data belonging to your customers that need to remain private.

Do you have to stop leaks? You don’t want employees to be careless with your proprietary information. So, convey your concerns about confidentiality.

Take precautions such as only giving information to certain employees on their need-to-know basis and discipline anyone who violates your trust.

Do you have to guard against theft? You will probably need to inform your employees to keep your proprietary information secret. They need to know you’re serious enough to use lawful means to back up our policy.

For legal success, you have to make certain your information is not publicly available outside your company.

Noncompete agreements

In addition to issuing a confidentiality policy or an NDA, you might also consider a noncompete agreement with key staff.

Basically, a noncompete agreement is usually a contract designed to keep proprietary information secret and prevents an employee from working for your competitors for a certain length of time.

However, for any chance of success with a noncompete, the company must demonstrate it’s reasonable and necessary to guard against unfair competition.

Note: Consult a good local employment attorney to make certain a noncompete is valid in your situation.

Each state has its own laws about whether a noncompete is lawful. Many states restrict or don’t enforce noncompete agreements usually because they’re too broad.

Some will enforce some provisions in business-trade secrets but not the work restrictions.

The good news is that companies often prevail in court if an employee signs a noncompete and gets an extra payment before the start of employment. That’s because the court will rule the noncompete was part of the employment package.

However, if the agreement is signed after the start of employment and without extra payment then the pact is likely to be invalidated.

Also, the agreement will likely not be upheld depending on the states where the company is domiciled and where the employee is situated. If one of the two states restrict noncompete agreements, then it likely won’t be upheld.

In some cases where companies have terminated employees for refusing to agree to a noncompete, the employers have been found guilty of wrongful termination and of unfair trade practices for acting in bad faith to enforce a noncompete.

Determining feasibility of an NDA

To determine the likelihood of prevailing in court if you ask your employees to sign an NDA, consider some scenarios:

  1. Your information must not be available outside your business. Your information must be purposely limited within your business.
  1. You must take logical precautions to protect the confidentiality of your information.
  1. The information must be valuable to your business and to your competitors.
  1. To develop your information, it must cost you considerable resources and time.
  1. It must be difficult for competitors to either get or develop the information.

Before you create a confidentiality policy and/or an NDA, be sure to state what is confidential and propriety. Provide some specifics. And be sure that people understand that the information is not limited to your example specifics.

From the Coach’s Corner, relevant HR tips:

10 Tips for Hiring the Right Attorney for Your Business — In selecting the right business attorney, talent and skill levels are among the crucial traits needed for your success. Here are Biz Coach 10 tips.

16 Best Practices to Stay out of Legal Trouble with Employees — Generally, in human resources, companies find themselves in legal hot water because they inadvertently make mistakes with their employees. It’s important to triple down on preventative measures and responses to legal hazards when necessary.

Best Practices with HR Records to Guard against Legal Risks — If you aren’t able to supply relevant documentation, you’ll pay a heavy price. In some cases, you’ll even be forced to give the job back to a nonperforming or toxic employee.

Best Employee-Handbook Values to Avoid Legal Issues — Neither you, nor your company and nor should your employees be relying on an employee handbook with illegal or antiquated policies. Here are employee-handbook values to consider.

Legal HR Issues? Best Practices in Workplace Investigations — As an employer, one of your biggest nightmares can be issues involving your employees. There can be many reasons to conduct an investigation. “Action expresses priorities,” said Mohandas Gandhi. So you should act quickly.

HR Tips to Avoid Legal Hassles with Immigration and Customs Enforcement — Employers have been having problems with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Here’s how to avoid issues.

“Confidentiality is a virtue of the loyal, as loyalty is the virtue of faithfulness.”

-Edwin Louis Cole


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Want to Win in a Negotiation? Implement These 7 Key Points



Consider that negotiations are synonymous with skills in marketing and sales.

It’s important to make certain you’ve done everything possible to avoid regret in the end. As in marketing and sales, the best outcomes from a negotiation results from due diligence in preparation.

So, obviously, to successfully negotiate any issue, you must identify your goals while understanding the motivations of the people with whom you negotiate.

This means you must take the time to become fully aware of the important points to discuss, plan and to rehearse.

To accomplish all of this, you need to become fully aware of seven key points:

1. Understand your skills and your important positions

Evaluate your skills and decide where you need to improve for a successful negotiation.

Identify, assess and prioritize what’s important to you. This can be monetary and non-monetary, and short and long-term.

2. Know what will motivate the other party

Do what you can to build trust.  Listen carefully when the other party is talking and pay close attention to their reactions.

Understand the interests and motivations of the persons sitting across the table from you. It could be they’re just representing themselves.

It could also be they’re teamed with others not in the room; stakeholders whom are likely to be affected by any outcome. Get to know their concerns, too.

3. Create value for both parties

Again, before going into any negotiation, take precautions to develop a positive rapport with the other party. This entails discussing mutual interests.

Diplomatically remind the other party of the value you bring to the table.

Agree that there’s room for negotiation. Go as far as you can to learn and address their inclinations.

There are a couple approaches you can take. You can either learn their bottom-line preferences by asking open-ended questions. Or, you can directly ask what they want.

4. Anticipate the most persuasive and relevant tactics

Know what commitments you’re willing to make, and what points or arguments will likely be the most effective – both for you and the other party.

Use best practices in communication. That starts with intense listening and promoting your concerns and addressing those of the other party.

5. Prepare for contingencies

Recognize there might be surprises. Think about all possible scenarios. So, anticipate and prepare for any possible surprises.

You’ll have a better chance to enhance your position and to satiate the other party.

But be prepared to walk away.

6. Whenever feasible, think big picture

If it’s an important relationship that you’ll need for the long term, consider whether you’ll risk winning a battle in the short term but losing the war long term.

In other words, if you insist on something that benefits you in the short term but would alienate the other party over the long haul, walk softly.

Instead, consider “log rolling” as a plan B. That means yielding if it will hurt you long term.

7. Consider what you’ll do next, if you don’t reach an understanding

Realistically, you can expect to win but you must anticipate that you might have to consider plan C if you don’t get what you want.

That goes for the other party, too. Research and know the options. Know your fallback alternatives, if any.

If you’re not successful, this means you must know two walkaway positions – theirs and yours. You might have to walk away.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are additional relevant tips for successful negotiations:

The 22 Dos and Don’ts for Successful Negotiations — No matter what you need to negotiate, there are easy strategies to get anything you want. But you must first remember it’s important to reach a fair compromise – with win-win negotiating skills. President Reagan showed us how to do it right.

11 Tips to Negotiate Your Commercial Real Estate Lease — Depending on your locale, commercial real estate is either readily available or hard to find. Either way, it requires due diligence and skills to negotiate the best commercial real-estate lease.

Hiring? 4 Pointers on Negotiating Wages with Applicants — Some employers have had difficulty in successfully extending job offers to applicants, especially Millennial professionals. Here’s what to do.

In Negotiations, Chit-chat Pays off More for Men than Women — FYI, some small talk just before a negotiation provides a boost for men but not women, according to academic researchers. So, if you’re a man, a little chit-chat before the serious discussion helps you make a better impression for better results. But it’s just the opposite if you’re a woman. Men benefit 6 percent more than women.

Complete Guide — How to Market Your Ideas to the CEO — Whether you’re an executive — in finance, human resources or marketing seeking to be a partner in the C-suite — it’s vital to communicate effectively with senior management. To market your ideas to senior management, here are the four best practices.

“If your first objective in the negotiation, instead of making your argument, is to hear the other side out, that’s the only way you can quiet the voice in the other guy’s mind. But most people don’t do that.”

-Christopher Voss


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Marketing/Sales: How to Win Like a Big-League Player


Plus, a motivating Salesforce infographic, “The Big Leagues of Marketing: How to be Successful in Enterprise Marketing.”



A St. Louis, MO marketing company provides some marketing truisms.

“Let’s face it: Doing business in the modern, global workplace means that you and every one of your departments are pulled in multiple directions all the time,” says Jessica Pyykkonen of Ghergich & Co. (ghergich.com).

“It’s not just customer service and sales but production and marketing, too,” she explains. “And developing an enterprise marketing system or effort can feel overwhelming. It’s hard to focus and it’s easy to fall back on the impersonal, to the detriment of your customers.”

How to tap into customers’ emotions?

“They need to feel as if you are tending to them and to their needs and wants,” she says.

“And smaller companies may feel as if they don’t have enough resources to devote to something that’s big in execution,” she adds. “But both of those approaches would be wrong.”

A better option?

“It just comes with access to a method known as the Ansoff Matrix, which helps guide companies through their decision-making process,” she contends. “That matrix is a great way to think about opportunities as they relate to increased sales.”

Yes, indeed.

“While the layman may understand enterprise as ‘marketing for big companies,’ this … breaks down the strategy necessary for large-scale marketing,” she concludes.

She provides an informative infographic courtesy of Salesforce:

The Big Leagues of Marketing: How to Be Successful in Enterprise Marketing

From the Coach’s Corner, related marketing and sales tips:

Marketing Psychology: Choose the Best Colors for Online Sales — Here are color tips to improve visitor experience and to capture customers – including a great infographic on 40 facts about the psychology of colors.

Best Sales Pipeline Tips: Content Marketing, Follow-up and Marketing Automation — Here’s how you can maximize your sales pipeline with effective content marketing, prioritizing follow-up and marketing automation.

Best Strategies to Manage Unpredicted Business Growth — Fast growth can present difficult challenges for a business, if it isn’t prepared. That goes for any sector – from service businesses to manufacturers. Here are five best strategies.

Psychological Pricing Tips to Sell More Products, Services — Depending on your products or services, psychological pricing is based on the idea that certain prices are more appealing. Here are six options.

7 Voice Tips for Professionalism If You Can’t Get Face Time — Face time is best for making sales calls, negotiating with associates or in job hunting. But if you can’t meet in-person, here are the phone-voice techniques used by top broadcasters and sales pros.

Tips for Your Success with Effective Follow-up Emails — Ever wonder why you’re waiting nonstop for emails – why you’re unsuccessful after you send follow-up emails? It might be because of your approach.

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

-Peter Drucker


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




As Tech Disrupts, HR Strategies to Meet Future Staff Needs



With the ever-increasing skills gap faced by businesses despite the record unemployment in a stronger economy, the millions of unfilled jobs serve as a conundrum to companies.

Innovations in technology such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing and driverless cars further threaten businesses that already have challenges in human resources.

Hence, a big red flag: To avoid workforce pain, how to strategically plan for the decades ahead?

Obviously, all of this points to the need for strategic planning.

In the tech revolution, prepare for four HR challenges:

  1. Fix your culture to prepare for rapidly evolving technology
  2. Recruit people who can propel your business
  3. Retrain your current workforce
  4. Terminate employees who cannot adapt

Your company is not terminally unique. Worldwide, in the decade ahead, countless businesses will have hundreds of millions of workers who need reskilling or face laying them off.

Employees who have a self-direction aptitude for adapting and reskilling will be at a premium for companies.

In this competitive marketplace, it’s definitely not going to be enough to outsource and or to hire new people. Retraining is vital. This might require a cultural change.

Arguably, constant technological change means many people won’t adapt.

Therefore, it’s vital to implement the Pareto Principle – the 80/20 rule. Like it or not, only 20 percent of your workforce will contribute to 80 percent of your future operational performance.

Focus on rewarding these people and retrain the rest. If they can’t be retrained for the right skills, enhanced recruitment and layoffs will be needed.

Unfortunately, the optics as well as implications for society with long unemployment lines will be unfortunate.

It might seem harsh, but automation means major change. A heavily unionized company will face unacceptable choices. Given political change in public policy, it might be difficult to terminate unproductive workers.

It’s critical for companies to identify the future skills and roles they’ll need in their staffing, and to make needed changes.

As technology evolves, there will continue to be new jobs with new demands for workers.

The competition for skilled workers will intensify – resulting in a crisis for each HR department. So, employers and workers must enthusiastically participate in reskill planning.

Companies that excel in identifying future HR needs will compete the best.

Seven strategies to meet your future needs:

  1. Evaluate your culture for its potential to adapt. Employee accountability is vital.
  2. Analyze and visualize your personnel gaps and skills you’ll need in the years ahead. Concurrently, understand the value to your company.
  3. Develop a series of plans that include recruiting, hiring, reskilling and outsourcing.
  4. Renovate your operational infrastructure and talent pool to create high performance.
  5. Seek ideas from your best talent.
  6. Be disciplined in your timely execution of making needed changes.
  7. Continually fine-tune strategies when necessary.

In conclusion, you should have a mindset to prepare for a workforce war. You’ll have a battle in prepping your culture for needed changes, recruiting the right workers and in reskilling.

From the Coach’s Corner, here relevant tips:

For Profits, Align Your HR Program with Your Business Strategy — For profits, a successful human-resources management strategy should complement your overall business strategy. Here’s how.

Hiring Applicants: 5 Deadly Sins of Even Savvy Managers — In this competitive and litigious marketplace, small details in human resources can make or break a company. Even though an organization’s performance matters, many managers unfortunately take shortcuts in the hiring process.

Management Strategies for Productive Applicant Interviews — You must be assertive – ask the right questions and listen intently to cut through the morass of canned answers to get the answers you need to make good hiring decisions.

HR — Succession Planning Is Essential for Business Success — To keep growing a business, it’s vital to preserve the trust of customers, employees, partners and investors. No matter how small or large your company is, a strategically written succession plan for the chief executive officer and talented employees is critical for sustainability.

Management – How to Improve Accountability in Your Company — If business and tepid growth have affected your outlook, take a look at your human resources and consider a couple of questions. If you don’t like your answer, here are eight solutions.

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

-Jimmy Dean


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.