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6 Ways to Keep Your Star Players from Walking Out the Door


Employee RetentionEmployee development is imperative for keeping your team on track and engaging them in their current position. Research has shown that developing and implementing a career plan is one of the core ways of keeping them ready to perform and even increase performance. But what if you invest in training your star players and they use their new skill set to walk out your door and find their next job?

Here is how to keep your star players walking out the door.

  1. Be proactive. Consistent engagement with your employees is the first line of defense in keeping them from leaving the company, or even worse, being poached by a competitor. Because employees often leave their manager versus the organization, make sure that you are not the manager that they are trying to leave! With consistent engagement, you will have the opportunity to simultaneously help them develop their career plan, and find out how you may be misfiring on communication or planning issues. The average employee tenure is shorter now than it has been in the past, particularly among millenials. With lifetime employment in the rearview mirror, it is especially critical for leaders to communicate well and strengthen their skills.
  2. Reward the good with the best. Consistent recognition is an invaluable tool in employee retention. Failing to acknowledge their hard work and accomplishments (small or large) is a quick way to ensure disengagement. Keep letting them know their contributions and reward them appropriately. A comprehensive development plan for your star players will pay off. How about your average performers? Develop another plan for them, and consistently convey their potential.
  3. Align talent and goals. One size does not fit all. Where possible, give responsibilities and projects that specifically match the employee’s natural talents and career goals. It will help establish and maintain meaning. Having meaningful work is one of the top reasons that employees stay working for an employer.
  4. Take a hard look at your own role in communication problems. Do your employees have a clear understanding of the organization’s mission? How about your core culture and the department’s priorities? Communicate it clearly and often. Give all of your employees the opportunity to assess the organization and department goals, and how they fit into their own career plans.
  5. Offer perks. As leaders, we all have limitations as to what we can offer our employees. Budget limitations are the most imposing and prevalent. The good news is that money isn’t what keeps your high performing employees from leaving. What other perks can you provide? A department party? How about an afternoon off? How about other cultural perks such as public recognition? Gather the perks you can offer so you are ready to use them whenever you need a way to recognize one of your employees.
  6. Find their pain. Look for the consistent stressors in your workplace. It might be something as small as a copier that is always breaking down, or as important as one member who consistently causes conflicts among their team.  Let them know it’s your priority to resolve the stressor and follow through on it.
  7. Show gratitude. It sounds simple, but it has great impact. Say thank you and let each person know the value of their contributions. Be specific and talk about their behavior, not their personality. Consider Indra Noovi, the CEO of Pepsi. She has adopted the habit of writing personal letters to the parents of her direct reports. She writes, “...therefore I’m writing to thank you for the wonderful gift of your son, who is doing this at Pepsi, and what a wonderful job this person is doing.”  This is not a typical practice, and while most leaders would not go to such lengths, the lesson is clear. -Gratitude pays off in engaged employees. 

4 Solutions to Employee Engagement & Morale Problems Part 1


Employee MoraleHuman resources are an underutilized asset of most organizations. We all know this, so why don’t we make the most of our employees’ capabilities? If our facilities are no longer serving us, we move the company. If our product is sub-par, we increase quality and production values. It all sounds simple, right? The challenge of the human aspect is, well, because we’re all human. There isn’t just one solution to any problem. With issues of employee development, engagement and morale, all of which can drastically impact productivity and profits, we need to address each one with multiple solutions.

Here are 4 simple solutions to common morale issues. You can implement them right away, and realize change in your workplace within a matter of weeks or even days. The next post will give you 4 more solutions. Put them together and start your week with by giving your team a brand new attitude and outlook on the company, their jobs, and you as their leader.

Are they Productive or Just "Busy?"
Sometimes busy equals productive, but let’s face it, much of the time our employees slip into a groove of keeping busy and keeping their heads down. You may be guilty of this yourself at times. What this means is that they are light years away from tapping into their full capacity. People have to put in all they have. Helping them focus on their strengths and areas where they can improve, giving them the incentive to be self-accountable will keep their eyes on their career goals and milestones, and away from water cooler conversations.

Don’t Succumb to Typical Communication Issues
It can be tiresome to continue hearing about how “communication is king,” right? Well, the truth is that the leaders who can actually develop sophisticated communication skills are the ones who can build positive, productive teams and cheerleaders for their products and organization. Foster an environment of openness, so people feel they can share ideas and opinions without reproach.  British writer, St. John Ervine once said, "To hear nothing but what is pleasing is to make a pillow of the mind."

Make Yourself More Accessible
Focus less on meetings and more on accessibility. What? Aren’t they the same thing? No, they aren’t. Take a look at your typical weekly schedule. What meetings do you dread? Which ones could you cut out? Use that time to increase open office time and informal interactions with your team. It will probably go a longer way toward increased morale and productivity than another meeting where everyone goes around the table, each giving a mindless update. How about slashing that weekly department meeting time in half and sending out a a single email update?

Establish and Commit to a Professional Plan
Everyone wants to grow personally and professionally. It keeps people engaged, looking toward the future, and increases productivity while they are striving. So why do skill building and employee development programs get cut to the bare minimum? Running as fast and as hard as possible does not lead to more productivity. It leads to burn out. Let’s all finally realize that we need to work smarter. Prioritize skill building and employee development once and for all. After all, once the newest project is finished, there will be another one right on its tail, and another mindless frenzy will begin. Stop the madness. Help your employees learn to think clearly, problem solve, communicate, become accountable, and take their own initiative to solve problems. That’s what you will gain through consistent, high quality training and employee development programs.

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 

“…an engaged employee understands what to do to help her company succeed, she feels emotionally connected to the organization and its leaders, and she is willing to put that knowledge and emotion into action to improve performance, her own and the organization’s.”

- from Closing the Engagement Gap


Convert Your Power into Performance & Accountability


employee appreciation, employee engagementBeing appreciated is a fundamental human need. As a matter of fact, many studies have shown that one of the top five needs expressed by employees is to feel fully appreciated for their work. Essentially, we do more for those who appreciate it.  So why is employee appreciation often a blind spot for leaders? We may think that a remark or two regarding recent project successes is enough, but appreciating employees comes down to taking action. Create defining moments that mark milestones of achievement. Integrate milestones into all of your projects and processes.

According to Nobel Prize winning scientist Daniel Kahneman, we experience approximately 20,000 individual moments in a waking day Each “moment” lasts a few seconds. If you consider your strongest memories, positive or negative, you’ll notice the imagery in your mind is actually defined by your recollection of a precise moment in time.*

What’s Your Ratio?
Think of your own defining moments. As a leader, you are able to produce for your team members the moments that they may look back on as marking major career hurdles crossed and successes achieved in their own careers. That kind of appreciation translates into sustained high accountability and performance. Look for moments where you can give positive feedback more frequently. Catch them doing something right and reinforce it! One recent study* revealed that workgroups with at least a 3-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions were significantly more productive than those having less than a 3-to-1 ratio. What do you think your current ratio is?

Improve Your Ratio to Increase Productivity

  • Tell a success story at a staff meeting. Stories are interesting then announcements, and engage the entire team. These stories become part of the folklore of the team, department, or company. It builds a rich and authentic corporate culture.  
  • Stop the regular work day and hold an impromptu special occasion or party, to celebrate milestones.
  • When possible, give them options. Offer team members a choice of project or role. This will lessen the time and effort required for them to have a stake in its success.
  • Say thank you!

Are They People or Just Employees?
Contributions are important, but the people behind them are even more so! Sincere interest in your employees will take their self-accountability and professional presence to the next level. Learn something new each day about your employees. Then weave that information into future conversations. Staying plugged in to your team members will show your sincerity. It’s easy to let days and even a week or more pass without any extended human interactions. Email does not do the job of sincerely appreciating your employees. We work in a high-tech world, but leadership is still a high-touch job.

Be available to them, regardless of your own busy schedule. Learn what makes each person ticks. It should be customized to each person, so personalize your recognition.

Provide opportunity, wherever possible. People want opportunities to improve personal effectiveness and knowing that their leader (and organization) is there to help them achieve their personal and career goals will give them incentive to increase performance. Remember, using your power to shift power to employees will come back to you in a solid team and star performers.

“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.” Mary Kay Ash

Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.” Stephen Covey

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 

Master Leadership: 3 Steps to Engaging Hearts & Minds


Employee Development Systems, Employee EngagementElevating performance is an ongoing challenge for leaders of all stripes. Trust us, you’re not alone. After 30 years at Employee Development Systems, Inc. (EDSI) we have worked with organizations of all sizes and across many industries. Regardless of whether you’re in the health care, energy, legal fields, or any other industry, here is one set of best practices for engaging your employees.

Get back to the basics! Are you meeting their three intellectual needs of Achievement, Autonomy, and Mastery?

"It's not enough to be busy. The question is, what are we busy about?"

When you fulfill these needs, you create a self reinforcing cycle of improvement, growth and performance. Intellectual engagement is like a muscle-if you don’t use it, it will go away. Don’t let that happen to your team. The more they engage intellectually, the better their ability to perform.

Everyone needs to feel like they are moving ahead in their professional and personal lives. EDSI takes on the professional realm. We have trained over XXX people. In that time, we can say with confidence that if people are moving ahead and engaged at work, they also will take the same concepts with them to their personal lives. It’s a marvelous side benefit of increasing engagement.

“Thought, not money, is the real business capital.”

What You Can Do
Elimate any barriers to achievement. Make it easy for your employees to succeed. Provide resources, give authority that matches responsibility, and be decisive with your decisions and timelines. If you don’t take your direction seriously, neither will your employees!

Involve team members in defining and improving their work processes. Some of them will contribute to major changes, others might just tweak a small routine in your workplace. Either way, People support what they create.
Determine the appropriate boundaries and defend them. Guidelines can help establish priorities. Broadly define the playing field, so employees have a strong understanding of the setting and organizational culture.

Find a good fit between natural abilities and job requirements. Make this an ongoing responsibility of yours, as a leader.  One of the strongest human desires is to become a master -to know that they do something very well. Once this is fulfilled, minds are engaged and inspired. Consider combining tasks that require similar levels so you can more easily match the person’s skills to their job requirements. Automate as many routine tasks as possible. As much as possible, take the mindless work off the table entirely. Streamline inefficient processes that burn up your employees’ time and take away from their ability to master a critical skill. Outsource tasks that require significant effort but have little impact on the organizational culture.

The Most Important Element
YOU are the most important and powerful element in engaging your employees. Regardless of leadership style or organization, you are a coach for your team. Find opportunities to coach them in post-project reviews, customer meetings, conflicts with other departments, changes in priorities, miscommunications, and mistakes. Ongoing feedback increases engagement and keeps it at a higher level.

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” -Anne. M Mulcahy

"There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” – Jack Welch, former CEO of GE

“Our newest competitive advantage is our oldest one-our employees’ minds and hearts.”

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 

Give Us Your Toughest Performance Management & Productivity Questions

Suzanne Updagraff, author and business leader

Dear Suzanne,
I have been the human resources director of a mid-sized law firm for three years. It’s a position I’ve been working toward for many years, and it I like the firm I work for. I’ve had three years of a high-stress environment, where I’ve worked with our CEO to tackle major changes in the firm.  I’ve met many of my personal and professional stretch goals in this position and don’t want to give it up.

In the last year, I’ve become much less effective, and haven’t been able to get traction on any of the projects and goals that moved ahead so quickly in the first two years.  I’m completely burned out, and my effectiveness seems to have drained away, along with my physical, mental, and emotional reserves. How can I get back on track and gain traction on my professional (and personal) goals?

Austin, TX

First of all, congratulations on reaching your goals. You’re clearly on a great career path. I can understand why it has drained much of your energy. It’s time to get yourself back on track, and here’s how:

  • There are times when we all need to pull out the stops for a big project. This isn’t sustainable for the long term, so you need to normalize your schedule and workload. Decide that you don’t have a scheduling problem, you have a priority problem. It seems like everything on your list is important, but if you give it careful consideration, you’ll realize that some things really ARE more important than others. Carve out those projects and make the hard choices about what you can accomplish.
  • Take baby steps. You will feel much less overwhelmed if you break down your projects into daily tasks. While it’s important to keep the big picture in mind, that wide angle lens will not serve you on a day-to-day basis.
  • Wait and watch. You’re obviously a very ambitious and smart person, and those are the qualities that have gotten you this far. However, sometimes plowing forward on a project only digs you deeper in the wrong direction. Carefully consider what you decide to take on, and be up front about it with your colleagues. Trust me, they’ll respect you for your candor.
  • Flex your goals. Goals can be changed, and it may be time to give yours another look. You don’t need to keep a firm grip on every goal and project if its priority and role in the firm (and in your life) have changed.

I hope this helps! Let me know how it goes. I’m sure you’ll recalibrate and reenergize!



Are you ready for more Dear Suzanne? Here are two more letters, where Suzanne tackles the real problems faced by your peers and colleagues.

Emergency Intervention for Performance Management

Dear Suzanne,
I  manage employees for a law firm in San Antonio. I know that star employees who leave an organization are often leaving the manager not the job itself. Recently I have had a few  resign, so I can’t help but ask myself if they are leaving because of my management style. If you had to make a short list for an emergency intervention of performance management, what would it be?

Find Out Suzanne's Advice


Impact Performance Now

Help! My Team Building Atmosphere Has Completely Broken Down!

Dear Suzanne,

As the general manager of a law firm, I am responsible for building and maintaining multiple teams, depending on the client and project. These days, law firms include many more roles than simply legal services. We often include an accountant, project manager, and outside content experts, depending on the case.

We have the age-old problem of how to build an effective team, and I'm looking for new insight and energy, so we can inject a true positive team atmosphere. Can you give me some advice?

Find Out Suzanne's Advice

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 





10 Steps to a Happier Workplace & Increased Effectiveness


Employee EngagementWhile we all know that a positive work atmosphere leads to higher retention, productivity, and increased effectiveness, sometimes you may find that you are stressed and in a rut yourself. How can you foster a happy workplace for your employees when you are overextended and running dry? Here are some quick reminders for how  maintain the happy, motivated workplace you envision.

  1. Give people control. Research shows that people’s happiness is affected by their sense of control over their lives. Being able to do your own work in your own way, or to influence your environment, gives a big boost in satisfaction.
  2. Make yourself available. This can be a tough one to maintain, but take 15 minutes out of your day to talk with one of your team members who is not on your calendar.
  3. Manage everyone individually. Everyone is different, but some are so different that they may require a personalized management style. Knowing your employees on an individual basis is the only way to know how to manage them effectively.
  4. Decrease time spent in meetings. One study compared decisions made by groups where members stood during the meeting compared to decisions made where members sat. Groups that stood took 34% less time, with no loss in quality. Why not give it a try? It could shake up the tenor of your office and the weekly meetings that never seem to end.
  5. Create a growth path for every employee. People have a strong desire for growth and advancement in their lives. Confirm that the plan is aligned with their personal and professional goals. Create benchmarks and a provide opportunities for training, to create a sense of accomplishment.
  6. Support new ideas. Even if you think your office is in a rut, if people are still coming to you with ideas, then all is not lost. They may be stressed, but at least they are still engaged. As much as possible, give people the chance to run with their ideas.
  7. Embrace change. Fighting change is harder than embracing change. If you are open to change, employees will feel free to give their input and throw out innovative ideas.
  8. Shake up the typical routines. People fall into a routine and as they are lulled into boredom, innovation and workplace engagement plunge. Get it back on track by changing up the schedule, giving everyone a turn to run the department meeting, or change up the physical space.
  9. Celebrate personal milestones and acknowledge professional achievements. Take time to note birthdays and other personal milestones. Celebrate them as a group, and you’ll see the levity (and therefore the happiness) increase in your workplace. Acknowledge a job well done with just as much energy as a birthday or other occasion.
  10. Provide ongoing feedback; don’t wait for a standard review cycle.  This is a core habit of an effective manager. Ongoing feedback keeps you connected to your employees, their challenges and successes -even the small ones. Get comfortable with both positive and negative feedback, so you can integrate them both seamlessly into a conversation or typical workday.

Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person- not just an employee- are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Enlist the steps here for a happier workplace!

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 

Employee Engagement on Steroids-Market Basket, The Real-Life Parable


EDSI MarketBasketThe Story of the Two Arthurs
Market Basket, a grocery chain with 71 locations throughout the New England area boasts over 25,000 employees. It is known for reasonable prices, a no-nonsense approach to business, and a unique customer culture. It’s the only grocery where customers regularly chat in the aisles, sharing recipes and news about the best sale items of the week. What most people didn’t realize until recently is that Market Basket employees are even more engaged than their customers

Market Basket is a family business that was originally started in Massachusetts by two Greek immigrants, in 1916. Now in its third generation as a family business, much strife and in-fighting recently resulted in a surprise takeover by one of the two managing cousins. Of the two cousins who ran the company, Arthur T. and Arthur S. Demoulas, Arthur T. was the active managing executive, cared deeply about his employees, showed empathy, rewarded them well, and was universally loved by the workforce.

Before the takeover, no one, including the board of directors, knew quite how engaged and dedicated Market Basket employees are. After almost two months of employees and distributors refusing to go to work, thousands of them holding regular rallies, demanding reinstatement of Arthur T., and living without a paycheck, Arthur S. and the board gave in, sold the entire company to Arthur T., and as of this writing, thousands of employees have gone back to work, trucks are delivering food to stores, managers are rushing around getting their stores back on track ...and the rest of us are left with the most inspiring, authentic employee engagement parable in recent history.

Impact Performance Now

Can you imagine any other company where (non-unionized) employees take to the streets, put their jobs on the line in support of an ousted leader? This real-life parable demonstrates so clearly what employees are willing to risk for jobs they love and a leader who inspired the culture behind it.

The Meaning is the Message
As this dramatic, real-life tale demonstrates, engagement and a sense of purpose is integral to keeping your star players who will go to bat for you, your department, or your organization, even in the tough times. How do you instill a sense of meaning and purpose?

  • Build and maintain an ongoing regular one-on-one dialogue with every person you manage.
  • Clarify expectations with I-statements.
  • Regularly give positive and corrective feedback.
  • Immediately acknowledge ideas.
  • Foster a culture of accountability.

These is a snapshot of the topics we delve into in the EDSI Communicating to Manage Performance program. We have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years., and would welcome the opportunity to work with your organization to help you develop an engaged, accountable workforce that is ready to go the extra mile for your organization.

The powerful words of Arthur T. Demoulas distill the sentiments of an effective leader who has fostered an engaged workforce:

“Words cannot express how much I appreciate each and every one of you (employees). You are simply the best. As I stand here, there is very little that I could ever add to your brilliant work, your extraordinary display of loyalty, and the power of your enduring spirit over the past several weeks. You taught everybody that ... Market Basket is a place where respect, honor, and dignity is a way of life. This was not about a family conflict or a Greek tragedy, but more about fairness, justice, and a solid moral compass that united the human soul. Because of you, I stand here with a renewed vigor and a sense of purpose."

Contact us to talk about how we can help increase, accountability, engagement, productivity, and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374

3 Practical Takeaways for Improved Organizational Leadership


Improving Organizational EffectivenessImproving organizational leadership can seem like an ambiguous goal, difficult to pin down. Here are three practical ways you can improve your organization leadership this week -or even today!

1. Know your target audience. According to a recent Forbes article, New Approaches to Customer Data Can Improve the Effectiveness of Marketing “We are entering an era of marketing where effectiveness will depend on creating highly personalized experiences at every touch point. To do this, marketers must have both the processes and tools needed to operationalize coherent views of prospects and customers.”

The same can be said about improving organizational effectiveness and leadership. The greater understanding of the target audience (your employees or team members), the better equipped you will be to help them improve their personal (and professional) effectiveness, accountability and most of all, productivity.

“Operationalizing coherent views” of your employees translates easily into learning their personality style and flexing it according to the person and situation. It also means fostering an awareness of the important role personality and work style play in the success of almost every project, meeting, or initiative. The DiSC (or a similar tool) can help you and your employees make great strides in active listening, effective communication, employee motivation, and engagement.  

2. Take stock of your network resiliency. Whether managing remotely or in a traditional corporate setting, network resiliency is usually overlooked. How many players are in your business network? Do you always communicate with the same core group of people? If you continually go to the same people for problem solving assistance, you’ll get a canned set of solutions. Instead, start to interact with more people across the organization (or more tangential contacts, if you’re working remotely).  

Consider “Network theory” that was first researched by the sociologist, Mark Grenovetter, in The Strength of Weak Ties, a paper that has been republished many times and has been cited over 27,000 times, according to Google Scholar. Grenovetter has shown that weak social ties are responsible for the majority of the social networks in society as well as the transmission of information through these networks:

“Specifically, more novel information flows to individuals through weak rather than strong ties. Because our close friends (and colleagues) tend to move in the same circles that we do, the information they receive overlaps considerably with what we already know. Acquaintances, by contrast, know people that we do not, and thus receive more novel information.”

Essentially, we need to always expand our cache of resources and connections, both in and outside of our own organization, to keep ideas flowing and fresh perspectives, leading to more effective organizational leadership and a more robust organizational culture. What can you do this week to start expanding your “weak” ties and using the power of a network to increase your effectiveness?

3. Foster a culture of accountability. Accountability for one’s professional presence, work results, and communication effectiveness is the hallmark of a robust organizational culture. When every member of a team feels 100% responsible for the outcome of a project, they will not spend time point fingers or damaging their relationships, should the project not go according to plan.  Instead, they will quickly regain composure and start to look for solutions. The ultimate and most powerful type of accountability is accountability for oneself. Many attendees of our programs, such as Increasing Personal Effectiveness have walked out of the program with a newfound freedom - the freedom to hold themselves accountable for their position, performance, and career. In the words of Stephen Covey, “Accountability creates response-ability.”

“If you are building a culture where honest expectations are communicated and peer accountability is the norm, then the group will address poor performance and attitudes.”
(Henry Cloud)

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 

3 Barriers to Professional Success & Personal Effectiveness


Employee Development Systems, Inc. Personal EffectivenessIncreasing self-awareness is the bedrock of many EDSI programs. Whether we’re addressing the 5 Habits of a Cohesive Team, Increasing Personal Effectiveness, Improving Professional Presence, or any of our other initiatives, self-awareness is at the core of adult learning and personal change in an organizational setting.

Many of us trudge through our days -and therefore our careers- behind one of these barriers. Do you see yourself in any of these?

Low Confidence
Do you believe in yourself, or are you constantly fighting off the fear that you aren’t able to measure up? Or maybe you have experienced a measure of success, and feel like an imposter in your own life.  Get comfortable seeing yourself as a successful person. Self-promotion, the ability to be assertive and talk about your achievements, are critical to your future success. Being timid or displaying self-doubt will encourage your employer to choose someone else when the next big project comes along.

Ongoing Communication Issues
We all think we’ve mastered successful communication, right? How are your feedback skills? Are you able to:

  • Understand how to manage different behavioral styles when dealing with conflict.
  • Learn the difference between assertive, aggressive, and non-assertive communication.
  • Realize the importance of non-verbal communication.
  • Identify clarity in your communication and learn to build it into your day-to-day speech.
  • Use the tool of I-statements to reduce conflict and defensive communication.
  • Discover an alternative to critical feedback.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers consistently rank communication skills as a top skill in prospective employees. When employees and supervisors communicate effectively, there is an increased chance of promotion and retention. If you consistently have communication issues at the office, then it’s time to reflect on why these same problems keep occurring, and what you can do about them.

Getting Sluggish
Many of us remember Stephen Covey’s advice to always “sharpen the saw.” This rule applies even more than it did when he first said it, as the workplace is changing every day. Employee expectations, new roles are being created, companies are forced to change and become leaner at any given moment. Do you feel too comfortable in your current position? If it feels like you could do it in your sleep, it’s time to do something more. Set new goals, learn some new skills, and challenge yourself to be a step ahead at work.

Impact Performance Now
If you have been in a rut, have had ongoing communication problems or have confidence issues that are holding you back, commit to resolving them and making your own professional (and personal!) success happen!

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization.


3 Steps to Creating Successful Habits for Your Personal Effectiveness

Employee Development Systems, Habits, personal effectiveness“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”
-Foster C. McClellan

Your habits determine your future. In the words of Horace Mann, “A habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last we cannot break it.”  We all face defining moments that can transform our careers and lives. Personal effectiveness and personal accountability are all part of developing and maintaining the habits that will lead to your success. Develop the habit of enthusiastic focused action, and your path to for personal effectiveness will become clear and unobstructed.

Look closely at the habits that are holding you back from reaching your peak professional presence and personal effectiveness. You can probably think of a few right away. Here are some common habits that negatively impact professional presence, courtesy of The Power of Focus, by Jack Canfield.  Do you see yourself in any of these?
  • Not returning phone calls on time.
  • Being late for meetings and appointments.
  • Poor communication between colleagues and staff.
  • Never updating your website.
  • Not allowing enough travel time when going to meet clients or prospects for outside appointments.
  • Not attending to paperwork quickly and efficiently.
  • Wasting time on the Internet.
  • Allowing bills to go unpaid, resulting in high interest penalties.
  • Not following  up consistently on long overdue receivables.
  • Talking instead of listening.
  • Forgetting someone’s name sixty seconds (or less) after being introduced.
  • Hitting the snooze alarm several times in the morning before getting out of bed.
  • Working long days with no exercise or taking regular breaks.
  • Not spending enough time with your children.
  • Having a fast-food meals program that often is Monday to Friday.
  • Eating at irregular times of the day.
  • Leaving home in the morning without hugging your wife, husband, children and/or dog.
  • Taking work home with you every day, or working all hours, every day, without conscious breaks for the rest of your life.
  • Being glued to your phone when having dinner with your spouse.
  • Making reservations at the last minute.
  • Not following through on requests as promised.
  • Not taking enough time off for fun and family-guilt free!
  • Not cleaning up your emails. Remember, that’s just a virtual task queue!
  • Controlling every decision, especially the small stuff you need to let go of!
Procrastinating on everything from filing taxes to cleaning out your garage.
  • As we often have talked about here at EDSI in our blog, our materials, and programs, is that your outward behavior reflects the real you. Your inner perception of yourself can’t be recognized by others if your behaviors and habits don’t reflect who you are (or who you think you are).

Successful people develop successful habits, and here is how they do it.

Clearly identify your bad or unproductive habits.
Be brutally honest with yourself about your professional and personal habits, and how they are likely impacting your personal effectiveness and professional presence. Do you need to improve your active listening skills? How are you doing at giving consistent, positive feedback to your staff? Does your physical presence accurately convey your professionalism and potential? 

Define your new successful habit
Your success is dependent on filling your current bad habit space with a good habit. What will yours be? If you talk over others in meetings, what will you do next time you get the urge to interrupt? If your habit is to only give negative feedback in negative situations, how can you start to recognize opportunities to consistently inject positive feedback?

Create a three-part action plan.
Make a decision about which specific  actions you are going to implement and when. You must take action. Start with one habit that you really want to change and focus on 3 immediate action steps and put them into practice. Remember, nothing will change until you do.

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