Workplace advice applications

Over the last couple of days I’ve published two articles on that contain excellent, succinct advice for small/micro businesses and entrepreneurs. But, you’ll remember that this site is focused on performance improvement in the workplace, which includes the interests of employees and employers in all sizes of businesses. So every time I publish an article, I think about how it applies to other parts of the workplace, to career development, to corporate management and to entrepreneurial endeavors. That’s why I’ll often list articles in two or more categories in my articles directory.

But, today, I’d just like to take a moment and use those two recent articles to point out some ideas in each that I think apply to other areas:

In “5 Ways to Boost Credibility and Boost Sales,” by Nancy Marmolejo, you get some solid advice on making yourself trustworthy to your target audience. She repeats the adage that we buy from people we know, like and trust and then gives five tips on how to build the credibility that underlies the trust.

But we don’t just buy from people we know, like and trust, we also work better with them, hire them to work for us, accept their ideas better and are more confident in them as our bosses. An employee in a large corporation gets a good reputation, builds supporting relationships and gets ahead by using the same basic techniques as an entrepreneur. A middle manager has pretty much the same face-to-face relationship with employees as a coaching professional with clients (at least the good managers do.)

So, the advice Ms. Marmolejo gives is well worth reading for career development and for management.

In “How to Make Your Business Thrive Rather Than Survive,” by Sandra Martini, the author makes two points that apply equally to small business people, employees and managers:

1. Negative thinking destroys growth and progress.
2. High performance and productivity depend upon constant and consistant small actions in daily practice.

Could Deming have said it better? Or CouĂ©? (“Everyday, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”) Those who focus on constantly improving — in small ways –what they can improve, eventually end up with the status we call “excellence.” They get hired, they get promoted or they get more business. They develop better employees. Entrepreneurs, managers and employees, take note. You all profit from the advice.

Answer me this…

A guest article I published earlier today, “Winning at Working:Busy About,” by Nan Russell contains some questions I think we should all ask ourselves on a regular recurring basis. They are essential to continuous performance improvement.

Nan Russell writes for an audience of employees who want to improve themselves in relation to their jobs. But often her articles apply to not only employees but also to people in small businesses, to management in corporations and to just plain personal considerations. This is one of those articles. It also has the charm of being presented in a metaphoric style — a kind of fairy tale.

However charming the little story, the relevant part of the article is the questions. When you are performing a task, Ms. Russell suggests you ask questions like these:

1. Why do you do what you do? That is, what is its purpose or function?
2. How does it add to your life, work, relationships or whatever else is affected by it? How does it support your goals?
3. Is there any reason to continuing to do it?
4. Why do you do it in the way you do it?
5. Is there a better way to do it?

When I was young, there was a very popular saying: “Question everything!” I think we probably wouldn’t get much done if we questioned everything, but staying aware of our goals and whether or not we’re doing the best things to achieve them is probably a good idea.