Deciding Who To Layoff: Ask Yourself These 10 Questions

downsizing staff

What to Consider When Downsizing Your Team It might be the most delicate and sensitive topic that you as a manager will face in your career: selecting the names of those people to let go or make redundant.  The context here is reducing the size of the organization to maintain profitability, or improve efficiency, not firing someone due to misconduct.  From

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How to Ensure a Remote Employee is Actually Working

remote worker actually working

Working Hard or Hardly Working?   It’s a question we all ask ourselves.  Telecommuting is no longer a “new” thing.  For many companies, large and small, more and more employees work from home, either occasionally, or on a regular basis.  All you need is an internet connection.  But supervising these remote employees presents challenges to you as a manager because, well,

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What is a Skills Matrix And How Do I Create One?

5 Things You Need to Do to Create Your Own Skills Matrix Imagine: a critical assignment comes in, and you need to figure out who to give it to in order to get it done.  You only have one shot to get it right in order to secure that new contract.  Who do you give it to?  Who is the most capable? 

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The Worst Things a Boss Can Ever Say

how to be a bad boss

10 Real Quotes from Bad Bosses   As managers, if it seems like our employees are watching our every move and closely listening to our every word, it’s because they are.  In particular, the words that managers and business leaders say are very important.  It’s not about being politically correct or about being nice, but it is about how a manager’s words and statements are interpreted by their

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What is an Internal Customer?

internal customers definition

The Difference Between Internal and External Customers   Several years ago, I was asked a very simple question: “Who is your customer?”   Perhaps I was naïve, or maybe just ignorant, but I replied to the simple question with an equally simple answer: “The people who pay our company money for our products and services.”  He clearly expected my response, because the

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How to Manage Your Time: 15 REAL Ideas for the Busy Boss

ways to manage your time

15 Ways I Manage My Time As a Boss   It’s just about that time of year when things are at their busiest.  With the end of the year closing in, the pressure is on to meet our numbers.  We’re busy planning our projects and budgets for next year.  People are starting to use up their vacation, making their availability limited. 

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How To Run A Meeting In China and Manage Your Customer

running a meeting in china

15 REAL Tips for Working in China   Having returned from a trip to China earlier this week, I wanted to take a few minutes to share some learnings about how to conduct meetings and work with your customer in the People’s Republic.  Despite some concerns and disagreements before our arrival, my team was made up of several veterans when

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16 Tips for New Project Managers

Dealing with Challenging Projects

When I became a project manager, the first thing I did was print out a bunch of documents, the Statement of Work, some spreadsheets with basic financial information and put it all in a well-organized 3-ring binder.  Beyond that, I didn’t know what I was doing.  So I just got down to work.  That was 20 years ago and since that time, I’ve learned a

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How to Develop Your Employees

How to develop staff

29 Fantastic Ways to Mentor and Develop Your Employees   If there is one thing that sets apart the great managers from the rest of the crowd, it would be their ability to continuously develop employees and to grow the capability of their teams.  Unlike managers who simply focus on results, the leaders who place deliberate emphasis on employee development build morale and

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7 Things I Look For When Interviewing Job Applicants

conducting interviews of applicants

Evaluating A Job Candidate’s Interview Performance   Whether you’re on a hiring spree for your startup or trying to fill a key role in your organization, interviewing job applicants reveals a lot about your candidates.  We recently filled a critical role within our company, and while all three final candidates were internal to our business and knew the organization well,

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10 Signs You’re a Bad Boss

horribe boss characteristics

Horrible Bosses … in Real Life If you’ve ever seen the movie Horrible Bosses, you probably reacted the way most of us did: some of the amazingly inappropriate behavior in the film registered a little close to home.  We’ve all had some sort of run in with a really bad boss in our career, and while the movie makes a

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How to Run a Staff Meeting

How to Run A Staff Meeting

Run Your Staff Meeting Using These 8 Easy Steps   Every manager out there has been faced with running a staff meeting.  Some managers treat them as afterthoughts and hold them out of obligation, others treat them as sacred and essential team huddles, regardless of what’s happening.  And for new managers, the thought of having everyone looking at you, or waiting

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The SMART Goal Concept: Effectively Managing Performance

Examples of SMART Goals

  Writing SMART Goals (With Examples)   A colleague once told me “I have a goal in life…I want to climb Mt. Everest, someday.”  While he was absolutely serious in his demeanor and spoke at length about why he wanted to do it, the short conversation revealed he had never done any climbing before.  Further, he had hardly done research into what it actually

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How to Manage Your Poor Performers

employee performance issues

If there is one thing that every manager has in common, it’s that we’ve all dealt with employee performance issues.  Everyone of us has a Susan, who always does everything right and never seems to make a mistake.  And then, we all have a Michael, who never seems to get it or who never seems to be able to get

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9 Challenges You Face When Hiring in an Emerging Economy

Hiring staff in developing nations

Hiring and Retention in Developing Nations Whether you’re hiring in India, recruiting in China, or opening an office in the Philippines, the obstacles are often the same.  Because of their rapid growth, hiring and staffing a team in an emerging economy will always present challenges in terms of language, skills and retention. But if you equip yourself with a plan

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Motivating Employees: Saying the Right Thing at the Right Time

motivating staff in performance review

5 Free Ways to Motivate Your Staff in Challenging Times Motivating employees is not easy. When times are tough, motivating your staff becomes even harder. For the past two years, our business has been undergoing a significant amount of corporate restructuring, downsizing, and changes in management, all of which have understandably left my employees concerned about the future.  And because of the

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5 Inexpensive Ways to Pay for Training Employees

pay for training

How I Cut the Cost of Training My Employees in Half   Many managers are familiar with the old 70, 20, 10 Rule for employee development.  The last 10% of the 70, 20, 10 Rule, of course, is training.  However, since formal training only makes up a small part of employee development plans, many managers push it off entirely.  After all, training employees takes

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Work From Home Employees: A Manager’s Dilemma

Managing remote employees

Should I Let Employees Work From Home?   Compared to just 15 years ago, the widespread availability of Wi-Fi, tablets, video conferences and smart phones have made the world our office.  Many jobs no longer require employees to be housed within the same four walls since they can connect virtually, just as if they were sitting at a desk in a high-rise

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When An Employee Quits: What to Say, What to Do

Letting go employees

Humility.  It’s the emotion you’ll feel the first time one of your employees resigns.  You’ll likely ask yourself a few pointed questions:  Did I do something wrong?  Can I convince them to change their mind?  Are they just using this as leverage to get something they want? All good questions.  When an employee gives their notice that they will be leaving,

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How to Build A New Team from Scratch

how to build a successful team

7 Steps to Building a Successful Team: People, Purpose, Performance   The opportunity doesn’t come often for us, but getting the chance to build a brand new team from scratch is one of the most enjoyable experiences a manager will ever have.  After all, building a successful organization requires planning, creativity, execution and oversight…all at once.  For me, the first such

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