Improve Your Leadership By Improving Your Communications

December 11th, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

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In his latest contribution to Forbes, Paul Koulogeorge, VP of Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations for Goddard Systems, Inc., explains how the company overhauled its corporate communications and offers insight and advice on how other leaders can benefit from improving the way they communicate.

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How To Maintain A Productive Mindset When You’re Self-Employed

December 6th, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

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Last week, I hopped on a video conference with a client, and the first thing he said to me was that I looked tired. As a career consultant, that’s never the first thing you want to hear from a client you’re supposed to be motivating and energizing. I actually was exhausted after a couple long nights with our 11-month old struggling to sleep with her cold.

However, it reminded me that when you’re the face of your business, there often isn’t room for you to look tired, even when you are. Your business’s survival and growth depends on your ability to show up at every single client engagement full of energy and enthusiasm so you can not only get the job done but also give your clients the confidence to know you can get the job done.

Being self-employed involves more than just building a business from scratch, bringing in clients, and delivering a useful service or product. It involves maintaining a positive mindset and firm belief that you absolutely will succeed so you can always bring your A-game to everything you do.

While running my own business has been incredibly rewarding, and I wouldn’t trade it for a stable full-time corporate job like the one I used to have, self-employment has also been the most challenging professional endeavor of my life. Building my own personal brand, managing all aspects of my business, and figuring so many things out on my own without any sort of roadmap to guide me can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of small businesses don’t survive beyond the first few years, a statistic that always looms in the back of my mind. So here are two principles I’ve kept in mind that have helped me stay productive during the more challenging parts of my own journey when I felt like stepping off the gas.

Don’t Celebrate Too Soon

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Last year, I was invited to be a presentation skills trainer at the European headquarters of a large corporation. After a few discussions over the phone, I eventually traveled to meet the team in person, and after my initial pitch presentation, they seemed impressed. They even went on to ask me whether I could share a proposal to roll out my public speaking workshops to several more of their offices in Europe. They agreed to my fees, and we even booked tentative dates. Everything looked promising.

When I was confirming final details, I literally never heard from them again.

The workshops never happened. The opportunity fizzled out. Just like that. To this day, I still have no idea why. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a big opportunity come up, just to have it fall through later. Or to get excited about a new collaboration, only to later find out about some catch. Or to feel like I’ve finally found the perfect person or team to hire, only to later realize it wasn’t meant to be. 

These days, I make a point not to celebrate too soon. I, of course, remain committed and engaged through to the end, but I try to detach myself from an assumed outcome to avoid a bigger let down in case things don’t work out. This mentality also forces me to ensure I’m still working hard to earn business, create other content, or nurture other client relationships so I’m not dependent on any single engagement necessarily proceeding.

Remember That Seeds Can Sprout At Any Time

 

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When I look out into the sea of independent business owners and solopreneurs, it’s hard not to notice those who have built a huge following or achieved enormous growth, especially because these exact people tend to be the ones featured in the popular press.

On the other hand, having run my own business now for five years, although it’s grown steadily, I’ve never felt like I’ve achieved a similar level of explosive growth. When I put out my first podcast episodes, I had hundreds of listeners, not thousands. When I posted my first career change videos and blog posts online, I got a handful of views, not millions. 

I sometimes wonder if my efforts will eventually bear some real fruit.

Sometimes they do, but sometimes, they don’t. So I just try to remind myself that you just never know when the seeds you plant will finally sprout.

I’ve had former colleagues whom I worked with over a decade ago become clients. I’ve had videos I posted online years ago lead to a big keynote speaking opportunity. I’ve had article pitches initially fall on deaf ears, but eventually get published months, even years later.

You just really never know when you will turn a corner. Keeping this in mind can help you keep going when you feel like throwing in the towel.

Maintaining A Positive Mindset Is Critical To Growth

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I’ve had plenty of times when I didn’t gain the traction I wanted to after a ton of work. Remembering that business ownership is indeed challenging and doing my best to be persistent during these inevitable moments of frustration has helped me stay on track and remain in the game through the tough times.

I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but five years in, my business continues to expand, my work remains incredibly fulfilling, and I can’t imagine walking away from this dynamic, rewarding ride as a self-employed business owner anytime soon.

 

This article was written by Joseph Liu from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

New Goddard School In Pearland, TX., To Open Early Winter 2018

December 4th, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

Sheetal Patel is the onsite owner of the newest Goddard School opening up in Pearland, TX.

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Goddard Systems, Inc., Celebrating 30 Years, Awards Franchisees With Top Honors

December 3rd, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

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Goddard Systems, Inc.’s (GSI), the franchisor of The Goddard School, annual franchisee convention was held in Nassau, Bahamas. Recipients of its yearly awards were announced to honor model franchisees who contribute to their communities through service-based projects and provide high-quality childcare with leading health and safety practices.

Goddard School franchisees attend the convention because they know it is essential to running a successful business.

“Ideas generated in workshops and time spent with fellow owners keep you up on latest trends and changes in the industry/business. Networking is paramount at these events and provides so much connection amongst GSI and Franchisees,” said Barbra Bryan from Mooresville, NC.

GSI is proud to present the 2018 convention award categories and winners:

Brand Ambassador Award

·         Vince and Nancy Radosta, Castle Rock, CO

Humanitarian Award

·         Leisa Byars, Hendersonville, TN

·         Anthony and Ada Vassallo, Norwood, NJ

Leadership Award

·         John Agaman, Sparks, NV

Philip Schumacher Award

·         Shauna and Jeff Barison, Redmond Ridge, WA

Rookie of the Year Award

·         Brooks Coatney, Fayetteville, AR

Circle of Excellence for Education Award

·         Dolly and Monty Kalsi, Bethlehem, PA

·         Mark and Wendy Reinhart, Anderson Township, OH

·         Mike and Janelle Glasser, Bare Hills, MD

·         Butch and Maria Aggen, Cedar Park, TX

·         Jim and Debbie Womack, Chesterfield, VA

·         Dina and Matt Speranza, Cranberry Township, PA

·         Amber and Dave O’Brien, Forest Hill, MD

·         Jim and Jill Worley, Gaithersburg, MD

·         Susan Hoy and Tim Hoy, Hillsborough, NJ

·         Michael Smithers, Ladera Ranch, CA

·         Kellie McDonald, Lake Orion, MI

·         Dipti Singh, Millersville, MD

·         Shauna and Jeff Barison, Redmond Ridge, WA

·         Ryan and Chelli Motherway, South Reno, NV

·         Denise Cross, Reno (Somersett), NV

·         Melanie and Bill Hyatt, Simpsonville, SC

·         Lissa Knox and Erin Goulet, Snohomish, WA

·         John, Jody and Kristen Agaman, Sparks, NV

·         Ted and Robin Ray, Sugar Hill, GA

·         David and Donna Raye, Third Lake, IL

·         Fran and Bryant Lubbs, Wayne, PA

Circle of Excellence for Operations Award

·         Olivia Teja and Kamal Desilva, Bellevue, WA

·         Angela Norman, Centerville, OH

·         Kate Joseph, Cincinnati, OH

·         Jim and Jill Worley, Gaithersburg, MD

·         Jyoti Verma, Henderson, NV

·         Kellie McDonald, Lake Orion, MI

·         Sheeba Mathew, Marriottsville, MD

·         Dipti Singh, Millersville, MD

·         Wendy Somers, Newtown, PA

·         Bob and Lori Santo, Peters Township, PA

·         Melanie and Bill Hyatt, Simpsonville, SC

·         Pete Joseph, South Lebanon, OH

·         John, Jody and Kristen Agaman, Sparks, NV

·         Ted and Robin Ray, Sugar Hill, GA

Circle of Excellence President’s Club Award

·         Jim and Jill Worley, Gaithersburg, MD

·         Kellie McDonald, Lake Orion, MI

·         Dipti Singh, Millersville, MD

·         Melanie and Bill Hyatt, Simpsonville, SC

·         John, Jodi and Kristen Agaman, Sparks, NV

·         Ted and Robin Ray, Sugar Hill, GA

Outstanding Market Award – Phoenix, AZ

·         Nicole and Matt Bigham and Beth and Vince Valentino, Buckeye (Verrado), AZ

·         Jake Thompson, Cave Creek, AZ

·         Todd and Christine Goldberg, Chandler, AZ

·         Van Phan, Gilbert (Higley), AZ

·         Penny Mekhanik, Gilbert (East Germann), AZ

·         Karen and Keith Latchaw, Gilbert (Warner), AZ

·         Natalia Elfimova, Scottsdale, AZ

·         JoEllen Johnson, Goodyear, AZ

Outstanding Customer Experience Award

·         Todd and Christine Goldberg, Chandler, AZ

Director of the Year Award

·         Stacey Molnar (director), Karyn Smykowski and Suzanne Hanf (owners), Toms River, NJ

Anthony A. Martino Scholarship Award

·         Sabreena Leach and Cindy Pyatt, Oakville, MO

 

“As proven by this year’s honorees, choosing to operate a School is more than just a good business decision,” said Joe Schumacher, CEO of GSI. “Our franchisees choose to make a profound impact on the lives of future generations.”

The Goddard School focuses on learning through play for children from six weeks to six years old. This year marks the system’s 30th anniversary in business. Learn more about franchising opportunities with The Goddard School at www.goddardschoolfranchise.com

Goddard School Opens in Woodbury

November 30th, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

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Franchisee, Shannon Gehrmann and her husband fell in love with The Goddard School, located near their home in the Chicago suburbs when they were new parents. Now they have opened their own School located in Woodbury, MN.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE >>>>

The Top 4 Childcare Franchises of 2018/19

November 30th, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

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After interviewing thousands of franchisees across hundreds of brands, Franchise Business Review ranked The Goddard School among its ‘4 Best Childcare Franchise Opportunities’

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6 Lessons from Successful Entrepreneurs

November 30th, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

Goddard Systems, Inc. CEO Joe Schumacher is featured in the Fox Business article, ‘6 lessons from successful entrepreneurs,’ where he gives advice on how to learn and grow from failure.

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Ways Active Listening Can Improve Your Leadership

November 14th, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

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While it may seem like common sense to point out that listening skills are important in the workplace, many leaders do not make enough of an effort to use their active listening skills. According to some studies, the average manager only listens attentively for 35-40% of the time and even then only remembers half of what was said. This has the effect of creating serious disconnects in the workplace that can negatively impact employee engagement and leave leaders struggling to utilize influencing strategies effectively.

Communication in the Workplace

Communication is not a one-way transmission of information, but rather a two-way street that is affected by individual perceptions, personal styles, and culture. It can take place over a variety of channels (e.g., face-to-face, telephone, video, and email), some of which may be more appropriate for specific situations than others. Knowing which channel to use and how to tailor the message for the audience is an important starting point for any communication process. Many communication strategies go awry when one side fails to take into consideration that there are different perceptions of a situation or how style and culture can impact how messages are sent and received.

Listening is a vital aspect of any communication process. Since conversations involve a two-way exchange of messages and responses, failure to listen on either side can render even the most carefully crafted message completely ineffective. Active listening incorporates a blend of specific skills that help to demonstrate attentiveness and avoid misunderstandings.

The four primary active listening skills are:

  1. Paraphrasing: A summary of what someone has said in the listener’s own words, paraphrasing focuses on the content of the message and is useful when verifying or clarifying meaning. It shows that the listener understands what’s being said, even if they don’t necessarily agree with it. Paraphrasing forces the listener to consider what was said and understand the other person’s point of view rather than simply preparing a rebuttal.
  2. Empathizing: Although similar to paraphrasing, empathizing is more focused on demonstrating an understanding of how the other person feels about something than what they think about it. Empathizing is valuable when someone expresses concerns or is in an emotional state. Spotting nonverbal cues and identifying when those cues are inconsistent with the verbal message is a key aspect of this skill. Patience and lack of judgement are essential because empathizing is less about offering solutions than giving people the opportunity to be heard.
  3. Questioning: While paraphrasing and empathizing are effective skills for letting someone know they’ve been heard and understood, questioning focuses on providing more context and information for the listener. By asking open-ended questions to draw out specific details, the listener can engage the other person in a two-way conversation. Questioning also helps to guide the conversation in a collaborative fashion that allows the speaker to contribute to working toward a solution.
  4. Balanced Response: Once key issues have been identified, effective leaders can use a balanced response to provide constructive feedback about a proposal or performance without being confrontational or diminishing anyone’s self-esteem. This can be especially effective when leaders need to overcome concerns or modify potential ideas. A balanced response emphasizes the strengths of an idea or proposal and highlights points of agreement without letting its weaknesses or concerns undermine problem solving.

Benefits of Active Listening

Active listening skills provide an excellent foundation for the effective use of most other leadership skills. As an information gathering strategy, it helps leaders to better understand their teams and creates opportunities to involve team members in developing solutions collaboratively. Although active listening may seem like a very “basic” skill, it has a very high impact on leader effectiveness. With more and more organizations making use of virtual teams, learning to communicate effectively with people who are not co-located is especially critical.

Practicing active listening is essential for leaders who want to build trust and inspire their teams. When people feel like their feelings and concerns are understood and that they are able to participate in solving problems through two-way conversations, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. Since low levels of engagement generally lead to diminished productivity and employee retention, learning to listen effectively should be a vital competency for any leadership position.

Active listening is also a crucial component of emotional intelligence, so working on these skills can help improve a trait that is strongly linked to job performance. Emotional intelligence emphasizes using observation, reflection, and proactive communication to help people understand their own emotions and those of others.

Trust is the bedrock of any effective workplace. Team members need to know that they can count on others to complete their tasks and provide assistance when needed to help the team accomplish its goals. While there are a variety of methods for building trust, few of them will get very far without effective communication. Active listening can help leaders connect with team members and demonstrate that they understand their value, which makes it easier for people to trust that they’ll be treated fairly and valued for who they are, not just for what they do.

This article originally appeared in 21st Century Leadership Insights.

 

This article was written by Rick Lepsinger from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

How to Add Freedom and Flexibility to Your Weekends

November 14th, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

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When you become an entrepreneur, TGIF may not hold the same meaning it once had when you had a 9-5. Many business owners find themselves working weekends in order to keep up or get ahead.

Running a business can be rewarding but also stressful and time-consuming especially if you have a lot of responsibilities on your plate. I’ll admit, I used to use weekends to keep my business afloat by catching up on assignments and working on side projects that were on my long to-do list.

Working every day can lead to serious burnout after a while. Plus, if you are your own boss you should be able to enjoy the freedom or setting your own scheduling and taking time off to relax and refuel.

Here are a few things you can do to manage your time better manage your time and workload so you can add more freedom and flexibility to your weekends.

Wake Up 1 Hour Earlier During the Week

It’s no secret that waking up earlier can do wonders for your productivity. Simply said, it’s a sure way to have more time in the day to get stuff done.

You can kick off your morning routine earlier and be ready to crank out work by the time you would normally just be waking up. If you want to work fewer hours over the weekend, this is one of the best solutions to try although it may not be easiest at first.

If you get up one hour early Monday – Friday, you’ll be adding 5 hours back into your work week. This will likely make you less stressed and overwhelmed by the time Friday afternoon rolls around.

Adjust Your Daily Schedule

Your to-do list isn’t a schedule. It’s simply a list of stuff you have to get done. You create a schedule when you organize those tasks effectively. Smart business owners create clear and realistic schedules to follow each day. If you’re looking to add more freedom and flexibility to your weekends, you’ll likely need to adjust your schedule to accommodate that. This often means becoming more efficient so more gets accomplished during the week.

Determine how much time you have to work on your business during the week and what amount of limited hours you’d like to put in on weekends if any. Then, consider block scheduling tasks or knocking out the most mentally challenging tasks on your list during the work week.

If you only have to do something small like social media posts or sending follow-ups for an hour on Saturday morning, it probably won’t really ruin your entire weekend and you’ll still have the freedom to take a step back from your business.

Start Being Unavailable For Business Tasks During the Weekend

Have better control over your calendar and set expectations with customers and clients that your availability will be limited during weekends. This way, no one is expecting you to respond to their email they sent on Friday or Sunday afternoon.

I always set my calendar as unavailable during weekends and specific days. You would think most people wouldn’t be doing business on those weekends anyway but you’d be surprised. I try not to agree to specific deadlines for tasks that fall on weekend days either because it’s better that I don’t have anything business-related scheduled and can just work if and when I please.

One of the most common reasons why business owners end up working and adhering to strict schedules on weekends is because they fail to determine a stop time for their work. It’s great to love what you do but working and sticking to a schedule 24/7 won’t help you out as much as you think in the long run.

It’s important to dedicate time to unplug and scale back especially if you have an online business as it’s often so easy to just log on and start working anywhere and at any time.

Theme Your Weekends

You’re likely reading this because you want to have more freedom and flexibility to do what you want to do on weekends instead of just tending to your business. Creating a loose theme around what you truly want to do during weekends can help seal the deal.

Just like you set goals for your business and create themes, theme your weekend based on what you truly want to spend your time doing whether that’s spending time with family, catching up with friends, taking day trips etc. It’s simple to do but it really works.

Sometimes, any free time we have can get spent doing unproductive work that doesn’t add any value to our lives. Just like you want to schedule important meetings and deadlines, schedule family days or time to read or plan. Establishing a loose theme will provide direction but also leave you with the freedom and flexibility to divvy up your time.

Weekends can fly by quickly and if you don’t manage your time and priorities well during the week, you’ll pay for it during the time when you truly want to relax and unplug.

The best thing an entrepreneur can do is put themselves on a schedule and set boundaries. Having a schedule doesn’t mean being glued to work 24/7. You should be sure to schedule in downtime and theme your weekends so you don’t let the opportunity to create memorable moments outside of work pass you by.

How do you create more freedom and flexibility during weekends?

This article originally appeared in Calendar.

 

This article was written by Choncé Maddox from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

4 Ways Managers Can Keep Their Top Performers From Quitting

November 7th, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

If you’re reading this article, congratulations! You must have an awesome team. Managing them must be easy, right?

In fact, contrary to popular belief, managing high-performers doesn’t mean you don’t have to do anything. While you could just let them fly solo for a long time, even the best employees will need support from their managers to continue thriving at work. While high performers do show a stronger tendency than other employees to direct their own learning, a Harvard Business Review article says they expect their managers to help them grow, too.

And the help you provide must be differentiated from how you might support a lower performer because their challenges, needs, and aspirations are also different.

Here are a few quick tips that should stop them from quitting:

 

1. Show Them They’re Valued (in the Way They Prefer)

Some people like getting feedback privately, others publicly. Some prefer it via email, others in-person. And some care little about words and more about actions of thanks: bonuses, bigger projects, or leadership opportunities.

In a study on what high-performing employees value at work, compensation, bonuses, and recognition from higher-ups all fall in the top 10.

If your employee’s doing great work, make sure they know their work is valued and appreciated. And if you don’t know how they like to receive positive feedback, ask.

 

2. Let Them Lean Into What They’re Good At

Too often, we insist employees check every single rung on the skills ladder. We wrongly believe that the only way for them to advance in their career is to be good at everything all the time.

But the truth is, just as you rarely find a candidate that matches 100% of your hiring criteria, it’s rare to find an employee that truly excels in every facet of the job. And yet we focus on their deficiencies—the checkboxes left unchecked—rather than sharpening their strongest assets.

So, give your highest performers a chance to continue to excel at their strengths, and the tools they need to become an expert in their field. If they find themselves getting bored, then you can work with them to find other skills they’d like to improve upon.

 

3. Encourage Them to Be Teachers

When you have amazing employees, one of the best things you can do to keep them engaged is encourage them to teach others. Teaching helps them hone their skills even further, and validates their expertise.

There are many ways to “teach,” whether it’s in the form of an employee mentorship program, a presentation to the team, or even authoring a publication. Encourage them to share their knowledge and flex their expertise, and leave the format to them to decide.

 

4. Actively Solicit Feedback

No manager is perfect. Regularly ask for feedback on what you can do better to support their career, and be prepared to take action as a result. As their manager, you may be able to unblock them, elevate them, and support them in ways no other person in the company can.

As the saying goes, employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers. So do everything in your power to make sure they are supported, and ask for feedback to ensure you are on the right track in your efforts.

Some questions include:

  • What can I do to make working with me easier?
  • What can I do to better support you?
  • What’s one thing I should start, stop, or continue doing for you?

If you have a high performer on your team, get ready to do the hard work of keeping them engaged. Don’t let them be the one in five who report being likely to leave their company in the next six months. Sure, it’ll take more effort on your end—but think how much effort it’ll take to replace them.

 

This article was written by Ximena Vengoechea from The Daily Muse and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.