Viewing by month: February 2014

Take care of conflicts

Regardless of your company culture, it is inevitable that conflict arises at some stage. Whether the issue is between you and a member of your staff, or between two staff members in your team, it’s worthwhile preparing some strategies to confront and resolve any conflict scenarios which may be encountered.

Though resolving conflicts can be a difficult task, the following approaches may assist the resolution process.

Make time to talk - and listen

When a conflict arises, it’s important to start a conversation to resolve the underlying issue once a suitable amount of time has passed to let any emotions cool down. Avoiding a confrontation will not resolve the issue, and could also mean the conflict resurfaces at a later stage and with the added pressure of built-up frustration. In addressing the issue, it’s vital to allow all involved parties equal time to voice their concerns. This will ensure everyone feels that they’ve been heard and their concerns are being taken seriously, while also potentially identifying of the true source of the conflict.

Reflect

Once the conversation has been had, it may be worthwhile to advise everyone to take some time to consider the conflict introspectively. Assigning a specific goal for reflection, such as considering the part they played and how a similar conflict could be handled more productively in the future, will allow potential solutions to arise naturally and in a non-confrontational manner.

Regroup

In some circumstances it may be constructive to regather all participants together and discuss any constructive feedback regarding the previous discussion and the conflict resolution process. This strategy would be most appropriate where the conflict has already been resolved and there is scope for learning from the experience.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 25/02/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Reduce role overlap

As companies expand it’s not uncommon for responsibilities to overlap where new tasks are taken on organically to cope with growth. While this may happen without input from managers, it’s important that managers identify its occurrence and take action to avoid the duplication of efforts.

This may provide specialisation benefits which achieve cost savings and increased efficiency in the long run: by having one person coordinating and placing advertisements with local papers, for example, this person is likely to become an expert at this task.

The following tips can help identify and remove duplication of work:

Create job descriptions

By writing down a job description for each employee you manage, you may be able to identify and remove any potential areas of overlap. Going one step further, you could even ask each employee to write down their own job description so that you gain a more precise idea of the actual tasks that they undertake daily.

Incentivise cost savings

It may be useful to provide employees with an incentive to identify any role overlaps. This incentive could take the form of a team reward, for example a staff lunch or social drinks, or be rewarded individually, such as a gift voucher or small bonus.

Hire a consultant

It can be difficult to spot your own flaws, however. It may be more effective to hire an outside consultant to review the activities and roles each staff member as they will be able to provide a fresh perspective, and more readily identify areas of overlap.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 21/02/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Focus your business in 2014

As a business owner, it can be easy to allow your attention to spread far and wide across all of the activities your Century 21 franchise undertakes. While periodically checking in on individual tasks or projects might keep you generally abreast of operations, it may be more effective to focus on ensuring key aspects of your business are operating at peak performance. Below we have three tips for aspects of the business which you could focus on improving over the next twelve months.

1. Customer service

Ensuring your staff are highly skilled in the provision of superior customer service could significantly contribute towards making a name for your brand in the community. Being known for quickly responding to customers and providing a high level of attention to detail and service is a strong point of differentiation for any business, and could allow your franchise to stand out for all the right reasons as compared to other real estate offices in the region.

2. Quality

While “quality” can be somewhat of a tricky indicator to quantify, it’s still important to strive towards the provision of a quality product at every step of the process. This could mean ensuring that staff are providing correct and timely advice to clients, exceeding customers’ expectations wherever possible, or even something as simple as ensuring all staff are proudly wearing their uniforms.

3. Creativity 

Is your team tackling challenges with a unique and individual approach, or merely providing every client with the same solution? Facilitating an environment which encourages your team to resourcefully adapt to differing circumstances and create new solutions to a client’s individual circumstances may help to ensure that clients are receiving a high level of customer service.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 12/02/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories:

Reinvent your interviewing

Interviewing and hiring a new staff member can take a considerable amount of time away from your other duties as a manager and business owner. However if you’re able to streamline the interviewing process, you may be able to save yourself valuable time while still finding the perfect staff member.

Below are four questions you can ask to more efficiently interview prospective staff members.

1. How would you....?

Asking an interviewee to demonstrate how they would perform a task by using role playing in the interview can give you a unique insight into how they might operate in a role. This could be as simple as asking them to demonstrate how they answer the phone, or as complex as negotiating a price with you for a fictional house.

2. How did you research our company?

This question will help identify candidates who haven’t done their homework before attending the interview. You’ll also gain a unique insight into their resourcefulness – whether they merely searched for your business on the web or visited the local newspaper archives to discover more about your history.

3. What worries you about this position?

By discussing the candidate’s potential concerns about in the role you’ll be able to identify what their weaknesses and strengths are. This may also yield a more relevant answer than simply asking what the interviewee thinks their weaknesses are.

4. What annoyed you about your last boss?

Asking an interviewee about their previous employer will gain you valuable insight into how they relate to authority and deal with conflict in the workplace. You’ll also be able to ascertain whether the employee is likely to work with your management style.


0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 05/02/2014 at 12:00 AM | Categories: