January 2020
Ladysmith Chamber Business Essentials


2020 Chamber Membership Renewals
Happy New Year!  The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce greatly values your trust and confidence and sincerely appreciate your loyalty and support through your membership.  
Membership Renewal invoices have been sent out by email.  Payments are due by January 30, 2020.  If you did not receive yours please call the office 250-245-2112.  We look forward to working with you again in the New Year. 
Please take a moment to review your  Business Listing in the Directory on the Chambers Website and  email us any updates that you would like made or questions you may have.  
Dealing Effectively with Negative Behaviour


Dealing Effectively with Negative Behaviour

Kevin, your sales manager of three years, has developed a habit over the last few months of coming in 15-20 minutes late for work. He always seems to have a legitimate excuse (heavy traffic, kids got sick, had to do a personal errand, car broke down, etc.). You generally don't mind being flexible, but his behaviour is becoming a pattern, and it's affecting your other staff. You've noticed telling looks between staff members when Kevin walks through the door, the inadvertent glance at the wall clock by your receptionist, the hushed whispers by the coffee machine in the staff room. Everyone is wondering why you're putting up with it (and subconsciously perhaps, why they shouldn't try to get away with the same thing). For the health of your business you need to address this behaviour, but he's the best sales manager you've ever had, and he's a great guy. How do you deal with the situation without damaging your relationship with him, and still maintain credibility with the rest of your employees?

Confrontation is never easy, but sometimes it's a necessary part of running a business, and when the business is yours, you have to deal with it. Here's a highly successful three-phase approach to confronting negative behaviour.

Step 1 – Problem Identification

This is the initial conversation you have with the person. Carry this out in private, and at a time when neither party is feeling rushed or stressed. At every stage be as specific as possible.

  1. Describe the behaviour you see.
  2. Tell the person how the behaviour is affecting you and others.
  3. Allow the other person to respond (expect excuses but look for underlying reasons and possible solutions).
  4. Outline how you want the behaviour to change or describe the behaviour you'd like to see.
  5. Get agreement that this is reasonable and that they will behave in this way in future.
  6. Set a deadline for follow-up.

In Kevin's case, your conversation might go something like this:

"Kevin, I've observed a pattern over the past few months where you're coming in 15-20 minutes late in the mornings. The rest of the staff depends on you to be here on time because they need to meet with you in order to plan their day's schedule. Their productivity is affected when you arrive late." (Allow Kevin to respond.) "I appreciate that from time to time you may have to come in late – we all do, but here's what I'd like to see from now on. I need you to be here by 8:30 so that your 8:45 meeting with other staff proceeds as scheduled every day. If there are occasions where it's necessary for you to be late, I'd like you to call ahead so we can plan around it. Does that sound reasonable to you? Let's meet again in two weeks to see how it's going."

Step 2 – Follow-up

By now, the person will either have corrected the behaviour (in which case you can conclude the meeting very quickly, thanking them for their efforts), or the behaviour will still be causing a problem (in which case you go through the following steps).

  1. Describe the behaviour you requested and the behaviour you're still seeing.
  2. Remind them that they had agreed that this was reasonable.
  3. Ask why no change has been made.
  4. Describe the behaviour you'd like to see once again.
  5. Ask whether they understand and are willing to act in this way.
  6. State a consequence that will occur if the behaviour is not changed.
  7. Set a deadline to review again.

The meeting might go something like this, "Kevin, two weeks ago we discussed the problem of you coming in to work late, and I requested that you make an effort to be at work by 8:30 every morning. In the past two weeks, you've only been on time three out of ten workdays. Can you tell me why you haven't been able to do what I've requested?" (Allow for response) "I can't accept you continuing to arrive late, so I'm going to give you another week to show me that you can get to work on time each day. If this situation doesn't improve, we'll need to discuss whether your employment here can continue. Let's get together in a week to see how things are going."

Step 3– Consequences

If steps one and two haven't changed Kevin's behaviour, then you need to make some decisions. How badly do you want to keep him? Is there a win/win solution that can be reached? Or is it time to let Kevin find another job? Let's assume you want to find a way to make it work for both of you, but you also need to be seen as being firm and fair by your employees.

  1. Describe what you have decided to do, and why.
  2. Allow the person to respond to your decision (only if you're continuing the employment under revised terms).
  3. If you are suggesting a win/win option - ask them if they can live with the new terms of their employment
  4. If the behaviour is serious enough to warrant termination, make sure that you have provided the appropriate number of warnings (written or verbal) they are entitled to prior to their termination notice. This will avoid complications later. Provide the details of their termination and end the conversation.

If you've decided to continue employing Kevin but to alter his employment terms, the conversation might go something like this. "The problem of you coming in late hasn't resolved itself; it seems that mornings are just very difficult for you for a variety of reasons. You are a valuable member of the sales team and I don't want to see you leave. In order to allow you to take care of the personal issues that require your attention in the mornings, I'm going to reduce your hours to 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, I do expect you to be ready for work at your new start time; if that doesn't happen, I'll have no choice but to let you go. Can you accept these new terms?"

Confrontation isn't easy, but it can be done effectively if you have a plan and stay firm. In the end, the process outlined above is fair, efficient, and effective.

Dealing Effectively with Negative Behaviour


The Language of Home-Based Business Owners

Perception is everything and if you are a home-based business owner, the image people have of you may be very different to the reality. There you are sitting at your kitchen table in your pajamas, enjoying your second cup of coffee and reading the latest business journal when your company phone rings. You leap from the table run to your office, pick up the phone, and in your most professional voice answer, "Acme Enterprises Inc., how may I help you?" In a nanosecond, you've been transformed from someone in pajamas to a well-respected business owner. This month we thought we'd take a light-hearted look at how things are not always what they seem when you're a home-based business owner. Hopefully you'll have a chuckle as you recognize a few examples of this home-based language.

What they hear:
"Could I put you on hold for a minute?"
What you mean:
"I'm just going to put the telephone receiver beside the radio while I scrounge through this stack of files to find your letter."

What they hear:
"We're expanding our facilities."
What you mean:
"I'm cleaning out that closet for extra space."

What they hear:
"Let me speak to our accounts receivable department."
What you mean:
"I'm just going to grab another cup of coffee – I'll be right back."

What they hear:
"We're experiencing a period of unprecedented growth."
What you mean:
"We're expecting twins."

What they hear:
"Have you had a look at our current promotion?"
What you mean:
"I'll make something up if you're interested in buying it."

What they hear:
"I'm going to have to see how that fits in with our timeline. Can I get back to you?"
What you mean:
"I'm going to stare at my empty calendar for an hour, so you'll think I'm really busy."

What they hear:
"Of course we can do that for you. We have a team of experts at our disposal."
What you mean:
"I'm really going to have to scramble to find someone who knows how to do that."

What they hear:
"I'll need some more information and statistics before I'm ready to proceed." What you mean:
"I am behind schedule and need to buy some time."

What they hear:
"No problem. We can work within that deadline."
What you mean:
"Great, I guess I'm going to be pulling an all-nighter."

What they hear:
"Can I just discuss this with my colleague and get back to you?"
What you mean:
"I'll run it by the cat and see if she purrs."

The next time someone asks you about the square footage of your storefront, or how many departments you have, or what your anticipated growth margin is, pour yourself another cup of coffee, smile and realize your success is all in the eyes of the perceiver. And go ahead, say something brilliant. Only you and your coffee mug will know!

Dealing Effectively with Negative Behaviour


What are your intentions?

"What we speak comes to life...our words inform our action and empower our intentions." Oprah Winfrey, in an introduction to a meditation with Deepak Chopra.

It is important for us to realize that our words often lead our actions, reinforce our feelings and emotions, and as Oprah wisely stated, "...empower our intentions." Positivity in our vocabulary will lead to positive activities and feelings. Likewise, negative thoughts and words reinforce a negative mindset.

Think of those days when you wake up in a happy space, feeling cheerful and bright. Often the day continues in this vein, leading to positive interactions with colleagues, family and friends. On the other hand, when we start the day in a negative space, the day may continue in that way unless we press the reset button.

This is where our intentions become important, where our outlook is important. Whether conscious or unconscious, there is intention behind all of our actions. As Sheri Salata, co-president of the Oprah Winfrey Network stated in the January 2016 Leadership issue of Fast Company, "We don't do anything without an intention. Sometimes our intention is just to have some fun. But there definitely is some soul-searching done on every decision we make."

How do we approach the day? What is important to us in a conversation with our boss, colleague or subordinate? What do we want to accomplish today or this week?

When we put our intentions into words we are guiding ourselves towards desired outcomes. When we ask questions related to our intentions, we are ensuring that the decisions we make, or the path we take, are clear and thoughtful. When we think of intentions as an integral part of our daily life, we are mindful of our goals and actions.

As with planning ahead, setting goals, or stating our expectations, it is important for each of us to clearly outline our intentions for our various activities whether they are a meeting, a conversation, or a project. Verbalizing our intentions strengthens our resolve in following through and committing to a course of action. It allows us to clearly put things into perspective and identify the important actions in our work and family life.

When we plan and schedule for the coming days or weeks, shining a light on our intentions is an important part of looking ahead and assisting us in becoming more effective in our personal and work life.

What are your intentions? How will you incorporate them into your good habits?

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching and Development


Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 598, 33 Roberts Street, Ladysmith, BC V9G 1A4
Phone: 250-245-2112