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Seven Methods to Put Management Pillars into Practice
February 2018

By: Jan Makela

People management has drastically changed since earlier decades, where the corporation was king and people were just workers to serve operational efficiency. The operational model for today is mission, purpose and sustainability. Today, teams and team leaders are kings. How can you improve your team or organizational bottom line? Here are seven proven methods that will help.

1. Vision and mission
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey wrote, “Start with the end in mind.” What is it that you want? What is in it for others to follow you? There has to be something bigger than you that others can grasp and buy in too. Why does your organization exist? It is not to make money that is a result. Workers today want to work for organizations that can show a purpose or cause. Google‘s mission, for example, is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Today Google dominates 75% of the U.S. online search market.

2. Goals
Everyone sets them in January. Whether it’s to lose weight or exceed your sales forecast, most people begin setting and evaluating their goals at the first of the year. And then what happens? The goals go in a drawer or hidden in an electronic file never to see the light of day until someone asks. So put your goals on display so that the team and you can see the goals on a daily basis. Why? Out of sight means out of mind. Keep your goals in front of the people in charge of accomplishing them and ask them about their progress on a routine basis—preferably on a weekly basis. Ask them how they are doing and what can you do to make the goals easier to accomplish. Watch what your team does.

3. Expectations
Only 30% of employees know what is expected of them at work. Your goal is to get people to work and perform together. People will live up or down to the perception of your expectations of them. If they think you believe in their abilities and expect them to do well, they will. Remember, if people don’t know what you expect, don’t be surprised by what you get.

4. Feedback
Feedback is craved by high performers and by all employees as well. Positive feedback grows and negative feedback stifles. Catch your employees or team members doing the job right and watch when they continue. They will do more of what generates positive feedback.

5. Treat everyone fairly but not equal
The people you work with are all unique individuals, and although you need to treat each one fairly, that does not necessarily mean equally. They have different values, wants, backgrounds, skillsets, experience, and most likely are at different stages of their careers. One size fits nobody. Great managers play chess; average managers play checkers. In checkers all of the pieces move in the same direction. In chess, all of the pieces move differently and the key to success is knowing the differences between the pieces, how each piece moves and how to create a strategy that maximizes the moves for all of them. Another key piece of the puzzle is showing your team that you genuinely care about them. They need to know you have their interest at heart, people want to know that someone at work cares about them as a person.

6. Provide tools and resources to do quality work
Most people don’t wake up in the morning and say to themselves, “I think I will go to work today and do a bad job.” Most people want to do quality work. Part of that is having the tools and resources to do a quality job. Ask your people what you can do to make their job easier. Reaffirm your commitment and caring to them. If they say, “I need a new widget maker,” get it. Provide them with the resources they need to succeed. If they say they don’t need anything, your response should be – “I guess I can expect quality work.” You want to take away any and all reasons people can conjure up for failure. You only leave a path to success.

7. Celebrate success
What do organizations do when they accomplish a big thing? Well, they move on to the next “big” thing. It is important to stop and celebrate with your teams. Allow people to share the memory of what has been accomplished. Simple things like handwritten notes are important too. Write notes to your people, yes the old fashioned hand-written notes, saying thank for what they did and how their contribution lead to the overall achievement of the group. They might even post them on the wall of their work space, on their desk or possibly even on the family refrigerator!

The seven pillars can help separate your organization from the competition in your industry. If you are team leader, it can help you and your team standout within any organization. People who are working in organizations with purpose are much more likely to be promoters of their employers and managers. Not only do they come to work to do quality work, they are less likely to leave and go elsewhere for employment.

Jan Makela is an executive coach, highly-sought after speaker, and best-selling author of Cracking the Code to Success and Be the Manager People Won’t Leave. Jan has a long and successful history of working with companies to ensure quality hiring and training practices. His specialty revolves around strength-based leadership development, with a particular focus on working with senior and mid-level executives, business owners, and professionals. For more information on Jan Makela, please visit

Guest Articles
Below are listed the 12 most recent Guest Articles.
To see the entire list of Guest Articles, visit the Guest Article Archive.
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Seven Methods to Put Management Pillars into Practice
February 2018

People management has drastically changed since earlier decades, where the corporation was king and people were just workers to serve operational efficiency. The operational model for today is mission, purpose and sustainability. Today, teams and team leaders are kings.

By: Jan Makela

Maintaining Business Stability Amid Political Turbulence
December 2017

Have there been times during your career where you felt like you lost focus in your business? Outside influences may have affected the course you had set, tossing your business plan into a turbulent storm of chaos.

By: Jeff Bush

Five Secrets to be a Great Interviewer
November 2017

With the generational and workforce demographic challenges adversely impacting everybody’s ability to attract, hire, engage, develop and retain people, you need a leg up on ensuring that you are putting your best foot forward in the employee selection process.

By: Magi Graziano

7 Secrets That Increase Your Leadership Impact
October 2017

A major concern for senior executives is “bench strength”—that is, the quantity and quality of up-and-coming, potential leaders who are in the pipeline. The problem is that too often these would-be leaders “hold back, shrink and play small.”

By: Brian Braudis

Mistakes to Avoid When Communicating Change
September 2017

Gulp. Suppose the time has come to communicate a major change for your organization. Maybe it is a downsizing, a restructuring, or a switch to total quality management.

By: Henry DeVries

Once is Not Enough
August 2017

As a professional or thought-leader, you are constantly selling your intellectual property (IP). There’s no reason that IP can’t be repackaged for many different media, like speaking, writing, training, consulting, coaching, and so on.

By: Cathy Fyock

July 2017

Although many people struggle to completely define integrity, most everyone can recognize it.

By: Dave Martin

Closing Calls Like a Pro
June 2017

Telephone customer service may look easy, but until you’re responsible for navigating the world of tough calls, it’s difficult to appreciate the kicking, blocking, and sparring skills some customers have perfected.

By: Kate Zabriskie

6 C’s of A Visionary Organization
May 2017

Vision is the tension between what was, what is, and what will be. It reaffirms an organization’s reason for existence, identifies who it serves, and creates products and services to solve a societal or humanitarian problem.

By: Eliakim Thorpe

Three Questions that Capture Your Customer’s Attention
April 2017

You may be asking yourself, “Why didn’t I get the follow-up meeting with that recent prospect?”

By: Stu Schlackman

Know the Difference between Edutainment and Productive Training
March 2017

The first step is understanding that although good training is often entertaining, it is not entertainment.

By Evan Hackel

Six Signs You Are Not Assertive Enough & Four Ways to Fix It
February 2017

Those who achieve success make things happen and have developed the ability to be assertive. If your secret desire is a promotion or more money, being assertive can be the key to making your dream a reality.

By: Jill Johnson

Guest Article Archive
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