The People Pro

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Location: Small town, Northern Wisconsin

Barbara is an author, speaker and psychotherapist in private practice. She provides keynote presentations and is a Certified Professional Speaker, a designation held by fewer than 8% of the speakers in the world. She has appeared on FOX, CNN, and CBS and is considered an expert in relationships.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Less is More

As the economy sputters and business leaders are scrambling for answers, Karen Vernal, of Vernal management consultants, is urging them, instead, to discover the right questions. Based in Milwaukee, the team at Vernal has quietly been providing consulting services to organizations for over eighteen years. Experts in teambuilding, leadership development, and strategic planning, they promote simplicity and focus for organizations to achieve their goals.

“Too often executives attempt to undertake too many changes at once,” explains Vernal. “It is much more effective to identify one or two things that are priority. The success of one skill leads to other successes.”

Some other advice from the Vernal team of experts:

  • Discover the right questions. Too often businesses are looking for packaged and ready-made solutions rather than looking deeper at the issues. Talking less and listening more will help elicit what the questions really are. Listen to your customers, co-workers and staff. Don’t forget to ask people outside of your industry as they may offer a unique perspective. From the questions come the solutions to many business problems.

  • Less is more. Rather than constant bombardment with info-garbage, tighten the focus on where change can occur. Avoid the “program of the week” and multiple new initiatives that only confuse employees and leave them fragmented in their efforts. Give less to your team and make sure that the information is meaningful. Concretize results in action.
  • Learning is discovery. Much of the growth of leadership is personal discovery, according to Vernal. “Spirited leadership” ignites the fire of enthusiasm, teamwork and commitment of an organization. The current climate and future organizational success mirrors the spirit and skills of its leaders. Executives must follow a personal discovery process to be inspirational leaders for their teams. Make sure that you have your own personal development plan on the front burner as a model to the rest of the team.
  • Focus efforts on where change can occur. Strategic initiatives are great but behavioral changes at a service level are even better. Where is change most likely to occur in the organization? Where will it have the most impact? There is many a strategic plan that never got off the bookcase shelf.
  • Listen. By listening carefully to multiple people, wisdom emerges as to the right steps at the right time. And don’t forget the minority opinion. Many breakthrough initiatives have been started by the one person who disagreed.
  • Make choices wisely. Today’s leaders are faced with hundreds of important decisions on a daily basis. Make sure that each choice produces maximal results. As Vernal states, “If you are going to use up the calories, make sure it’s with the best chocolate you can find.”