Monday, 29 October 2012

3 Steps for Conflict Resolution

When it comes time to resolve any issues that are either new or ongoing, or dealing with difficult people and situations, it is very common for many of us to shy away and not want to face the problem head-on. In this case, there is no such thing as resolution- because nothing ever gets resolved. It is necessary to understand that proper conflict resolution involves three important steps; it is about knowing how to actively listen, how to understand and acknowledge the “real” issue and finding ways to seek a common solution.

The first most essential piece of the puzzle is learning how to actively listen, which involves three steps. First, the use of non-verbal messaging is very important when displaying that you are interested in what the other party has to say. Cues or invitations can also be used. These include phrases such as “Okay”, “Yes” and “Go On”- all of which signal our attention and will invite an individual to continue talking comfortably. Last but not least, clarification of what has been said is very important. We can do this in one of several ways: by asking questions, summarizing what has been said, or paraphrasing the message in your own words.
The next step is developing an understanding and acknowledging the real issue that you are experiencing- personally or professionally. It is important to clarify what the issue is, when it started and what feelings and emotions came along with it. By identifying the real issue, all parties will be able to understand more fully why there is conflict occurring and how it can be properly dealt with. In order to walk away from a situation having everyone mutually content, a common solution must be achieved. No good can come from a “temporary” fix to a problem. In order to build solid relationships for the future, each and every conflict should result in a common solution that will evenly satisfy all parties. This will prevent future issues from escalating, and will leave everyone with a confident feeling of knowing how to pursue a resolution process which will achieve a favorable end result- every time! 

Friday, 5 October 2012

Managing Times of Turmoil

Operating in an environment or market that is experiencing a down-turned economy is not the most ideal situation. But, that does not mean that there aren’t ways to take advantage of these times and make the best of them. The most important thing to remember is that there are always signs when an economy may experience turmoil and unstable futures. By being able to anticipate these times and preparing for them is crucial. You can’t be “blind-sided” by the onset of turmoil in your business and your market. Awareness and preparation for the hard times ahead is what will allow you to prosper.   
There are two important things to remember for managing these hard times: Prepare for the storm and stop playing hide and seek with your customers!  Anyone who is expecting the worst will be prepared for the worst. The nice thing is, turmoil does not always have to be a bad thing, because if you are prepared for it you will be able to manage it appropriately. Realize that during the chaos of the economy and after the dust has settled, you and your business will be remembered; and being remembered by your existing or potential customers is one of the fundamental keys to success!
It is important when you are trying to manage your way out of times of turmoil to not hide from your customers! Now is the perfect time to rally with your team to spread your marketing messages and reach out to current and potential customers. Your customers will notice your efforts and will commend you for them.
Managing a business is hard, but managing during times of turmoil may bring increased stress and challenges. Make sure you are aware of the most essential skills for effective management of your business. Take these hard times and attempt to view them differently. After all, things usually have to get worse before they get better. If you take the right steps and put in the effort while things are good before they get worse, you will experience a greater satisfaction when everything starts to turn around.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Investing in Human Capital

We work really hard for our money and we want to be sure that we invest it in the best way possible.  This is true for companies and organizations as well.  Should we invest our hard-earned dollars into real estate or new office furniture?  Maybe donate to charity?  Or- do we invest in our strongest asset- the people that make up the team that is the company?
Any associate would appreciate a new desk or computer but these things can easily be passed on to someone else.  However, training is something that cannot be taken from the participant and passed on to their successor.   The mere fact that an employer is willing to invest in their associates on this level will instill a sense of security, of a job being well-done and in turn that associate will dedicate himself to doing his best for the company.
Without a strong, dedicated team it is not possible for an organization to reach its full potential.  There is no better way to solidify a team than to provide them with updated skills and training.   Good training programs will increase confidence, productivity, dedication and loyalty to the team. 
An organization has no greater asset than the people that make up that organization. Is it not worth the financial commitment to ensure that all associates are the best that they can be for the team? 

Do you agree that the best investments are in our people?