November 18, 2008

Team Building and the Sole Practitioner

Sole practitioners face unique challenges in building successful businesses. While the phrase, “No man is an island,” may be a cliché, it is none-the-less true as it applies to the sole practitioner. In order to succeed, the sole practitioner must draw on the expertise of a diverse group.
This includes administrative support, whether full time, part time or virtual, vendors and suppliers, and outside professionals such as attorneys and accountants. In practice, this results in the unique challenge of building a team composed of individuals who may sometimes have conflicting loyalties and priorities.
In fact, they may never actually meet one another. While this can complicate the team-building process, it also makes it that much more important.

Team building at its core is about relationships. The most effective leaders build solid relationships with and between their team members. From there it is an easy step to mold the team into an effective, high-performance unit. Building solid relationships relies on the following five principles:


Effective two-way communication is the cornerstone of relationship building and, by extension, team building. It’s not enough that you clearly express your goals and expectations. You must also listen and respond to your team’s doubts, concerns and ideas.


All good relationships are built on trust. Your team must trust that you are committed to your goals and to the relationship you are building with them. On the other hand, you must trust that the members of your team will act in your best interests and will be there for you when needed.


If you’re not committed to your goals it will be impossible to get your team to commit. First you must insure that your team understands and accepts your goals and their place in achieving them. Obtaining commitment requires an explicit understanding of the shared risks and rewards in achieving them as well as a well-understood system for addressing the team’s doubts and fears.


In order to build an effective team the members must feel that their input and performance is important. Additionally, you must take the time to address any doubts, fears or uncertainties your team members may express. Developing an atmosphere of inclusion will result in a team that agrees to, even if they don’t agree with, the steps you take to achieve your goals as sole practitioner.

Shared Responsibility

Your team must understand that your success is their success. Once communication, trust, commitment and inclusion are established, your team members will accept their roles and cooperate enthusiastically in helping you achieve your goals.

The most effective sole practitioners are those that have mastered the five principles listed above and built effective, supportive teams. Emphasizing communication, trust, commitment, inclusion and shared responsibility as they work with those who support them, these practitioners have built teams that are committed to their success and that will work diligently in support of the practitioner’s goals. And that is the ultimate measure of an effective team.

Doug Petch PhotoDoug Petch specializes in helping organizations and individuals create the synergies in team building, leadership and communication skills that lead to sustained profitability and long-term success. He is also the host of the popular Sixty Second Success Seminar, an audio program focused on the tools, tips and techniques that anyone can use to navigate their path to success. Website:

Filed under Developing Your People by Martin

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Top 10 Tips To Keep Your Business Organized

Keeping the workplace organized is a responsibility of business owners and managers. Employees do their share, but it’s ultimately the top executives who set the guidelines for workers to follow in order to maintain the cleanliness of the office. Here are some dos in workplace management.

1. Maintain a neat and clean office. First impressions, as they say, last. As such, offices frequented by customers have to be cleaned regularly. There should be no clutter because your client’s perception of your office is extremely important. Even companies that rarely have visitors need to follow this guideline because a beautiful and clean office makes employees feel good about themselves.

2. Place supplies in closets. Office supplies and extra equipment should be placed in closets because people have a tendency to throw things into cabinets unless the contents are arranged properly. Each item should be properly labeled to ensure that everything is in place.

3. Place unnecessary items in a box. Keep the things nobody seems to find useful in a box, rather than stuff them all in a room cluttered and unorganized. Label the boxes and place these at bottom of the closet. From time to time, clean up the boxes and ask the appropriate people for suggestions on what to do with these things.

4. Use handy desk accessories. Office desks with accessories that have the same type and color would look good so it is advisable to come up with the items that would work for the office. Order office equipment by the bulk so the purchase would be cheaper.

5. Organize your bills. If you have an accountant use an envelope for current bills and file older ones according to the date. Review telephone bills to see if different services are needed based on current calling patterns. For this factor, the ( voice T1 is often cheaper than standard line service.

6. Choose desks and cubicles that are easy to use and give you maximum storage space. This is an important rule to follow because employees with not enough space tend to put their items in common areas or even the floor. Give employees access to the file cabinet drawer and several other drawers to make sure that the office is really clutter-free. Overhead cabinets are useful for storing books or notebooks.

7. Businesses that have tons of files have to set aside a storage room
, instead of just buying file cabinets. This will give you ample space to store your current, as well as future files. To organize the files, consider hiring in a temp who can place all your important things and documents in their proper places. A file basket for papers that are not needed, but have to be kept, should be provided to the temp.

8. Coffee or break rooms keep the clutter of wrappers and cups from the workplace. But these rooms should be well kept at all times. Encourage people to clean up after themselves. Cabinets should be installed in these rooms to keep things in order and out of sight. Also make sure that dish soap, sponges and paper towels are provided so people would find it easier to help keep the place clean.

9. Hire a good cleaning service. Cleaning service can be hired for the office and they can report for work nightly or as often as needed. They can throw the garbage, recycle some items, clean the break room, vacuum and clean floors. You can also ask them to clean the windows once in a while.

10. Maintain cleanliness. Keeping the workplace neat and organized is everyone’s responsibility. As a head or owner of a company, ask your workers to do their share, such as cleaning one’s desk, cubicle or office. Tell them that they can get boxes to aid them in cleaning up their files. A temp, however, would be highly appreciated especially by employees who are always busy.

Article by Van Theodorou, he will help you slash your telecom costs, go to his site for business long distance carriers and learn more on his broadband voip learning center. This and other unique content ‘business’ articles are available with free reprint rights.

Filed under Managing Me by Martin

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6 Tips To Effective Delegation


As an executive, supervisor, manager or team leader, you make daily decisions about everyone’s workload. Delegation is an excellent management tool to maximize your team’s performance; however, it is a skill that needs to be learned. To help maximize your delegation skills, we have put together 6 tips and 5 core competencies to improve your delegation skills.

6 Tips To Effective Delegation

1. Give The Person A Whole Task To Do – People prefer to get the job done and not wait for someone else to hand-off a component of it. Likewise, connect everyone who is actively working on the project so they can all see the big picture.

2. Make Sure They Understand Exactly What You Want Them To Do – Take the time to manage expectations so things are done correctly. Establish performance standards with SMART goals. That way, it is crystal clear what and how the task or project needs to be done.

3. Share Your Vision With Them – People like to know what your vision is on a project so share it with them. If they understand the big picture and how the task or project they are delegated fits into that big picture, they are more likely to be committed to it.

4. Set Project Due Dates – Most people need to know due dates so they can effectively manage a project. By setting specific dates and milestones you will help your team better manage a project that has been delegated to them.

5. Give Them The Right Tools – Make sure your team has the right tools to do the job. This can range from computers to software and everything in between.

6. Reward Your Team – Rewarding people for their individual and group performance is a great way to motivate them. Although financial consideration is great, best-in-class leaders find creative ways to reward their team.

Effective Delegation Can Strengthen Any Organization

Delegating tasks not only fosters a team environment but can help individuals increase their level of performance. Doing so, you will find individuals increasing their responsibility, leadership skills and project management skills. Plus, it’s an excellent way for them to feel important to your organization.

The 5 Competencies To Help Maximize Your Delegation Skills

1. Make Your Team Accountable – Leaders who delegate well demonstrate personal responsibility and hold everyone accountable for organizational outcomes.

2. Human Resource Management – Leaders who delegate well make sure there are resources available to meet the team’s goals and objectives.

3. Solid Interpersonal Skills – Leaders who delegate well build solid relationships of trust and respect inside and outside the organization.

4. Leveraging Diversity – Leaders who delegate well find ways to leverage capabilities, insights and ideas across diverse cultures, styles and ability.

5. Strong Leadership – Leaders who delegate know how to enhance their organization’s value, while tapping into their team’s skills and abilities, to help achieve the desired results.

SUMMARY – Effective delegation is all about sharing the workload, with the added bonus of developing skills and responsibility in others. A leader not only needs to look at the “final result” but also who worked, who didn’t work and what they should do differently next time. The 6 tips and the 5 competencies above will not only help you achieve a work-life balance but also become more productive.

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
–General George Smith Patton, Jr.

If you want to find out more about how Dale Carnegie’s® Competency Based Development Solutions can make your business more effective, or need more information on this subject, please contact us.

Anita Zinsmeister, President
Dale Carnegie® Training of Central and Southern NJ
(609) 324-9200

Filed under Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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