Erich Stolz

Building on a very successful International Management career in several corporations, Erich has concentrated on helping companies to provide the foundation to grow, turning around or restructure.  Read more...

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Managers in general, have an arsenal of techniques and technologies at their fingertip, capable of improving many parts of any business's operation.  However, what is lacking even in today's executive suites, is the ability to drastically change the attitude or even improve the behavioral style of their employees.
Achieving superior performance is not charisma or style. To achieve superior performance at each employee level means change of attitudes and behavioral style. To bring an admirable change of attitude and behavioral style requires only a handful of effective techniques. Focusing on the emotional energy and emotional needs of others and inspiring them toward greater endeavors is the foundation of improving one's attitude and behavioral style. If there is one challenge that millions of executives and managers share is the consistent stimulation of excitement, enthusiasm, and dedication in those whose responsibility it is to get the job done. Forceful acts and strong words are just as useless, if not devastating, as fancy speeches of all sorts.
Maslow's theory of motivational effectiveness reveals numerous of excellent examples with unsurpassed success in thousands of companies around the world. It is herein where the key for improving the attitude of an employee can be found. The levels of motivational hierarchy consists only of five steps. It sounds modest and yet it encompasses the entire arena of human behavior and attitude. The five levels consist of:
* Security
* Belonging
* Recognition
* Quality of Work
* Self-Actualization
Improving an employee's attitude is probably the most important act a manager can do to make the employee and the company achieve the highest possible level of success.  It is the challenge to seek the specific level of motivational needs at which the employee is currently walking on. It never seems to be constant. Our needs change, sometimes daily, depending upon many circumstances we all face every day. To improve the attitude of an employee also requires a good knowledge and skill of basic human psychology.
How to deal with the difference in people is a basic requirement for any supervisor and manager with personnel responsibilities. We need to understand the principles of communicating with different personalities. Experts tell us that people can be generally classified into four major categories:
supporting, indirect, slow and easy, relies on close relationships, depends on conformity, hates pushy and aggressive behavior, is slow to take actions and slow in making decisions, is agreeable, is patient and likes cozy surroundings.
relies on socializing and is talkative, spontaneous, operates on intuition, has good persuasive skills, is always enthusiastic and exaggerates most of the time, depends on playfulness and is always friendly and ready to "party".
self-contained, serious, orderly, complies with authority, likes organization and structures, dislikes involvement, is slow and very cautious, is time-disciplined, works alone and mythologically and dislikes making decisions, likes processes and systems, heavily depends on being correct and precise.
fast track, result oriented, direct and likes being in control, causes actions and results, dislikes slow-pace, is impatient, strives to be a winner and to be on top of organizations, precise thinker, hates wasting time, questions any status quo, makes decisive decisions, needs maximum freedom.
Experts inform us also that the combination between the four different types of personality traits with the hierarchical level of motivation will give managers and supervisors an excellent foundation of how to influence behavior and attitude.
The best corporate system and business methods become virtually fruitless if employees will not be influenced toward a better and more positive attitude. The root to success can only be found in people, not systems or procedures. If management fails to influence behavior and attitude in employees, failure in changing the course of a company will be certain.
A positive attitude means never saying "That's not my job" or "I don't think I can do that" without even trying.  It means always accepting new challenges and always having dignity and pride in one's work. Our employees and indeed our entire company accomplishes more now than they thought possible with the aid of a positive attitude regarding themselves and those around them.   
Most employees try to constantly motivate themselves to keep a positive attitude.  Of course, it takes a certain level of intensity and energy to always look on the positive side of things.  However, without at least some positive reinforcement from supervisors and managers even some highly self-motivated employees will experience a sluggishness in their attitude. Our managers must recognize such temporary behavior and influence the employees to higher levels again.
One of the greatest effects of a positive attitude towards a person's work is that this attitude tends to help motivate and inspire co-workers, subordinates, supervisors, managers and customers.  People can sense a good attitude in a person's tone of voice, by what they say, and by how they say it.  A person who never quits when the "chips are down" can do wonders for themselves and for their surrounding peers to grow equally strong.
There is not limit to how much the individual employee can grow by improving his or her attitude. A little help and influence from supervisors and managers will pave the right groundwork for an improved attitude.




10 Ways to Prepare for Growth and Success

10 Ways to Prepare for Growth and Success

The economy taught you to expect the worst, but have you ever prepared for the best?
It's up to you to have contingency plans in place for when things go wrong. But, conversely, are you prepared for growth and success? What if it turns out your positive expectations were too conservative? What if an unexpected celebrity endorsement sends demand for your product soaring? On a more practical -- and likely -- note, as the economy shows signs of turning around, are you ready for what that will mean for your operation?

Here's what you need to do to be prepared for growth:

1. Know what growth means for you and your company.

To prepare for something, you have to know what it is and how you'll recognize it. Growth is more than just hitting a set of numbers -- it's a package that includes changes to your company in terms of operations, production, staffing and facilities. In addition, think about what growth means to you personally. What will your life be like when your company grows and profits increase? How hard are you going to have to work? Are you ready and willing to do what it takes?

2. Maintain relationships with your funding sources.
The faster you grow the more cash you're likely to need. Growth financing is every bit as hard--if not harder--to obtain than startup funding. Do regular cash-flow projections so that you know how much credit you're going to need well before you have to start writing checks. Develop and maintain strong relationships with your funding sources and be sure to have primary and backup sources available. In today's financial climate, it's harder than ever to predict credit availability, so stay on top of your cash and financial needs to give yourself have plenty of room to maneuver when it's time to borrow.

3. Get comfortable being in the spotlight.
Successful owners of growing companies are almost always in the spotlight to some degree --maybe not always to the general public but certainly within your industry and with your employees. Be prepared for a level of attention that you probably haven't received before.

4. Hire people based on where you want to be, not where you are.
The team that can successfully run a $1 million company is not the same team that can run a $100 million company. If your goal is growth, hire people who can perform in the size company you want to be -- they'll help you get there.

5. Put the `right` people in the right places.
The right people doing the right jobs is absolutely critical to sustain growth. Whole person assessments and job benchmarking will allow you to take a systematic approach to hiring and career development, which will reduce your mis-hires and employee turnover.

6. Take care of your people.
Your employees are what keeps you successful. Recognize and reward that. Working in a high-growth organization is stressful and challenging. Take note of your employees’ work and respond appropriately, or risk losing top talent. Create an environment where people are willing to work through the growing pains. In addition, take care of your suppliers, professional advisors and anyone else who can have an effect on your operation.

7. Listen to the experts.
You may be an expert in your business, but you don't know it all. What's more, there often will be experts who know more about particular parts of an industry than the insiders. Identify the experts, listen to them and learn from them. Let them help smooth out your learning curves and keep you on your growth track.

8. Stay close to your customers.
No company can do without customers, and if you do not stay close to them, you'll lose them. Know what they need, but more important, know what they want and do everything you can to give that to them. Most important, communicate. Never let your customers wonder what's going on. Tell them -- whether it's good or bad.

9. Focus on your core business and do not get distracted.
Stick to the business your company knows best. Be sure any diversification or product line expansion you do makes sense. If it has nothing to do with your core business don't get into it just because it seems like a good opportunity. Otherwise, you'll only confuse your customers and your employees -- and you'll likely find that dividing your efforts reduces the quality and profitability of everything.

10. Invest in the book `Accelerate with Impact`.

Improving the quality of people and your business model is necessary to take companies through the 21st century. The competition for customers is fierce. Customers want and expect much more from company employees. I believe that the contents of this book will help you to improve your skills in empowering your people to deliver quality and service excellence that will impact with an increase in the ‘bottom-line’.

Just as you plan for when things go wrong, also plan for when things go well. When you're prepared for growth, you better can manage the changes it brings and let it take you to the goal you set when you started.

Do you have any plans for `Growth and Success?



Ingredients for a Successful Strategy

Ingredients for a Successful Strategy:

- Create a vision - a common ground
- Develop strategies that make things happen
- Take intelligent risks
- Influence people to follow you
- Gain cooperation at every level
- Lead a winning team, department or organization
- Empower others to deliver results
- Recognize individual and team success
- Define performance standard and hold people accountable
- Master the 8-step planning process
- Align performance goals with strategy


A Great Leadership Style in Summary

A Great Leadership in Summary:


Part 1: Attract and retain outstanding talent.  It starts by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.


Part 2: Be a true partner with your customers. Make it a point to understand your customers’ needs better than the competition. Helping your customers to succeed is a vital core element. That leads to more effective products and superior service. Establishing an authentic relationship and building trust is the core of everything.


Part 3: Visionary Leader - Create and implement a sound business strategy plan. Your sound business strategy should start with a vision – where does the company need to be / or want to be in a few years? The vision must be crystal clear. Then you need to bridge the gap between vision and execution. Always get a “buy-in factor” as early as possible by having all your key players participate in the creation of your plan and the metrics. Empower employees to take responsibility and ownership of the business to exceed their objectives regardless of level of position.


Part 4: Performance Measurement. Any good business strategy must be measured. You need to measure and size up of how close you and your team are to the goals and take corrective actions. Talk with your people and customers and other stakeholders – constantly evaluating your progress. There should be a number of measurable items on the list, such as KPI (Key Performance Indicators) for all important tasks and goals.


Part 5: Prioritization. Many entities fail because they try to do too many things and, as a result, they tend do only a few very well. Try to fully understand the importance of prioritization, of creating clear expectations of what must be done now, what can wait, and what should not be done at all. Focus and prioritization are important differentiators in successful companies.


Part 6: Your main thrust: Drive exceptional performance in both top line sales and operating income. In most companies, the CFO is responsible for the accuracy of the P & L statements. However, accomplishment is the responsibility of the entire organization – from operations to sales to service.


Part 7: Passion, Energy and Enthusiasm. Your passion about your work brings a level of enthusiasm that can produce win-wins all around. Your high energy level motivates others to perform. Your energy is contagious – a genuine sense of enthusiasm for what you're doing builds a desire to succeed in others. Feeling like you are winning generates the willingness to win in others.


Part 8: Transparency with All Stakeholders. The philosophy here is simple, yet effective: Clear, honest, open communication with all stakeholders. It has multiple benefits. Your open style leads to faster, more effective decision-making, establishes trust, eliminates misunderstanding, and helps employees understand where their contribution fits into a company’s overall strategy.


Your Ideal Management Style & Personality = what others are saying about you

Your Ideal Management style & personality = what others are saying about you:

  • ·         A leader and team player - not a "yes" person:
  • ·         Competitive with a passion for winning
  • ·         Absolute personal integrity and credibility
  • ·         Humility, creativity, and a sense of humor
  • ·         High expectations, particularly of yourself
  • ·         Hands-on management style – no desk jockey
  • ·         Ability to lead / manage multiple projects concurrently
  • ·         Proven track record of delivering results concurrently
  • ·         Excellent people skills are critical - at all levels


You possess the following attributes:

  • ·         Ability to quickly get to the heart of the matter:  What is the real issue here?
  • ·         Excellent problem solving skills
  • ·         Curious to understand how things work
  • ·         Take interest in all people within an organization
  • ·         Passion for learning:  How could you / your team do better?
  • ·         Steadfastness:  Adhere to principals, adheres to plan, able to change when needed
  • ·         Accept personal responsibility for the group's actions and results
  • ·         Passing on praise to the group, act as a team builder
  • ·         Recognizing that the organization would be nothing without people working together 
  • ·         Ability to hire top talent:  not afraid to hire people better than you are
  • ·         Ability to develop top talent 
  • ·         Customer focused
  •           Understand different types of leadership style, and when to use different methods
  • ·         Ability to transition from hands-on to hands-off, knowing when to use both approaches