The HR Advisory Notice

February 2010

 Volume 2 Issue 2

The Small Business Resource for Growth and Change

Excerpts from Inside This Issue

Simple Ways To Spot A Business Trend

Successful managers should be able to anticipate and adapt to changes in their industry. The following are some quick tips to help you spot trends that may affect your job:

Scan your junk mail before you discard it. What trends in advertising, marketing, new products and emerging technologies can you see?

You may want to let the mail collect for a week or two before reviewing it. It’s easier to spot a trend when you have plenty of data to analyze.

Reflect on the way your job has changed. What is in your "in" basket as compared to this time last year? Has your organization’s mission changed?

Talk to the people you work for and with to uncover clues about the ways attitudes, values and commitments are changing.

Listen to a different radio station every week for a variety of perspectives. Who is the market for the station? Who listens? Who advertises? Why?

Source: adapted from Thinker Toys, Michael Michalko, 10 Speed Press, (800) 666-5436.

The Best Leaders Argue With Success

We've all heard the adage "You can't argue with success." But if you don't question your own success, you're doomed to eventual failure.

Here are some ways you and your staff can fight complacency:

Court complainers. Not all of your customers are happy. Bring in unhappy customers and let them speak directly to employees about product or service improvements.

Study the competition. Identify competitors that are making significant improvements. Ask your staff some tough questions. Example: "How are they keeping costs down, and what can we learn from that?"

Avoid happy talk and generalizations. It's time for a reality check when your staff starts making statements such as: "We don't have to worry about..." or "We have a few problems, but they're no big deal." Talk to them about the challenges you face. Ask them to come up with ideas to improve procedures.


To Be A Better Team Contributor

M ore and more often, employees are expected to contribute to the performance and success of their work teams. While it sounds great on paper, it isn't all that easy to work in a team, since often team members are different in style, attitude, commitment and work ethic. If you are a work team member, supervise, manage or lead a team, take a good look at these tips and hints which will make it easier for team members to contribute more productively to their teams, and decrease friction among team members.

Stop The Blaming Cycle

Often teams get bogged down in blaming members when things go wrong. As a team member you can do two things to stop this wasteful and destructive team behavior. First, eliminate blaming language you may use. Replace blaming and finger-pointing comments or questions with a focus on solving problems, or preventing problems. Second, if other team members get into the blaming cycle, step in and "turn" the conversation back to a constructive approach. For example, here's a good phrase: "Ok, maybe we could save some time here by trying to ensure that the problem doesn't happen again, so what can we do to prevent it next time?"

Stop Back Channel Talk

Talking about a team member in private with other team members usually involves a blaming process. While sometimes it's good to vent frustration about a fellow teammate, you shouldn't be doing it within the team. It's counter productive, and harmful. Stop doing it unless you have a specific, constructive reason for doing so.

Personal Responsibility

Take responsibility for your behavior and the results that your team produces, but NOT the behavior of your teammates. When you take responsibility for another member's actions, you will tend to want to change your teammate, something that often creates dissension.

Finally, focus on YOUR contributions. Think about what you can contribute, and how you can contribute more effectively. Then do it. For example, if you have a great suggestion, don't dump it in the group with the expectation that someone else will implement it. You offer to do it...after all it's your suggestion.

Reprint permission by Bacal & Associates 252 Cathcart St. Winnipeg, Mb. Canada, R3R 0S2 © Copyright

Stay Out Of Legal Trouble

The wild frontier nature of the Internet has got more people thinking about what is and is not legal about advertising.

Here are a few guidelines to keep your advertising out of trouble:

Don't talk about your prices with competitors. If you're a big company, this could be misconstrued as price fixing.

Resist the temptation to mislead people with your advertising. Ask yourself if your ad claim is true or just wishful thinking.

Never sell products or services that clearly hurt people. Don't limit who can take advantage of special deals.

If a problem pops up and the media shows up at your front door, be open and honest with them. Telling them an untruth will only get you into hot water with the media later.

This point about media is a bit controversial. Lawyers often point out it is better to say nothing than to hurt your case by talking to the media. Studies show the public forgives a business faster if they publicly tell the truth.

Reprint permission by Kevin Nunley (801) 253-4536, or e-mail him at:

All articles, quotes, and material in this newsletter are copyrighted. © 2002. No part can be reproduced or redistributed in any form without specific written consent from copyright holder(s).

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