It’s time to clean your company’s proverbial hallway closets and garages.”

Like the classic movie “Ground Hog Day,” many employees experience work as one recurring nightmare after another – same old stuff, just a different day! And recurrent mistakes and problems eat up over 40% of your people’s time and effort – time better spent proactively selling and servicing customers – not to mention what it does to morale.

Like water on a rock, these ongoing hassles eventually wear you and your people down.
It’s time to clean your company’s proverbial hallway closets and garages. It’s time to find everyone an extra four to eight hours of productive time each week. It’s time to “dehassle” the organization.

HASSLE LOGS

Nothing works better and faster than giving every employee a piece of paper and asking them over the next two weeks to “note every time they spend a minute or more doing something that shouldn’t have to be done, should have been done right the first time, is too hard to do, and/or is generally a frustration in doing their job.” And have them pay special attention to situations that also hassle customers including recurring questions, concerns, issues, and problems.

The first time I saw this executed there was a whopping 1784 instances logged by just over 200 employees. And this company was considered to be one of the best performing companies in their industry! Items included the perennial favorite “we need a bigger wastebasket in the women’s restroom” to hundreds that pointed to some challenges with a specific order entry system (it’s not unusual to see a number of hassles related to the IT systems of the company).

ONE AT A TIME

The first step is to pick a few easy issues you can resolve immediately, like the wastebasket issue.

Another classic group of hassles revolve around a poorly designed form. One recent client had inadvertently left off a place for customers to put their email address on an order form, not allowing them to email a confirmation of the order. This, in turn, resulted in a rash of calls to the staff that didn’t need to occur. Obviously, this was an easy fix, but no one had had the time to stop and consider the problem – everyone was literally too busy answering calls!

It’s also important to pick a couple big issues and let the staff know a team will be assigned to resolve each issue. This same client with the form problem also identified a significant production scheduling issue that was creating a huge ripple effect of hassles throughout the organization. The executive team assigned a team of four to revise the process within a week.

In the process of fixing these problems, it’s critical that you publish the entire list for everyone to see – in its raw form. Resist the temptation to group the hassles into common categories and only publish the summary of those categories.

Your people are going to be looking to see if their own specific hassles are on the list and they don’t want to feel like they have been summarized away. The only exception to publishing all the hassles is if any represent a direct attack on an individual. These need to be culled from the list and handled privately.

You also need to emphasize that all the hassles can’t be addressed immediately. Explain how you arrived at a prioritization of the list and share openly the criteria you used. One company was short of cash and needed to focus on those hassles that didn’t require a great deal of money to fix. Another firm needed to focus on those hassles impeding sales activity. Whatever your criteria, make it transparent to your employees.

EASING THE BURDEN
The first reaction from many executives when this process is suggested is that they don’t need another “to do” list of activities – that there is already too much on their plate. And great leaders know its better not to start something than to go at it half-heartedly. Nothing will kill this process and create ill feelings faster than to fail on executing fixes to the various problems. It’s a quick way to turn enthusiasm into cynicism.

The key is to identify three to five middle managers or supervisors willing to form a team to administer this process. There’s no better training you could give your up and coming leaders within the firm than gathering, learning, and working through the solutions to these hassles.

Besides, they are one layer closer to the problems and should have better data and insight into the solutions. Assign one top executive to champion the process and to provide a link between the middle management team and the senior leadership.

FINDING TIME
The time and frustration saved by eliminating hassles is enormous. And it’s a process you can do a couple times a year to keep the organization running smoothly. More importantly, dehassling the company on a regular basis is a better alternative than simply throwing people at the mountain of work created by these hassles. Clean house and make everyone’s day a little better.

[Ed. Note: Verne Harnish, also known as the “Growth Guy”, is the author of “The Rockefeller Habits” and publishes a monthly column in Fortune magazine. You can sign-up for Verne’s insights here where you’ll discover what today’s leaders and top entrepreneurs are doing in their businesses to succeed in today’s turbulent economic climate and to build cohesive teams dedicated to the achievement of the company’s BHAG.]

 

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How to Find More Time

August 30, 2011

  • How to Write Articles for More Traffic
  • How to Find More Time

I’m writing you from beautiful Colorado today. My seminar in San Diego ended on Saturday and then I extended my trip to visit my business partner Matt Smith.

Today you’ll get articles from two of the most influential people in my businesses. The first is Rick Porter, the man in charge of helping my websites get traffic through a process called “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO).

A good SEO expert will allow you to get your website ranked in the top position of Google searches when someone is looking for ‘keyword phrases’ related to your business.

Rick Porter has given you an exact step-by-step article today (and part 2 will come tomorrow) on how you should write articles for your website so the article gets ranked high in Google – therefore getting you traffic to your website without costing you money.

Rick’s article today explains how you should structure the keywords in your title, the keyword density, and the article content for this purpose. I’m following this advice when writing for my new site, WorkoutManuals.com.

And we have another article from Verne Harnish, the author of  “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits“. His book and newsletter have been extremely influential in growing my businesses and Verne will show you how to find more time in your business for you and your employees to be more productive.

Please let me know your thoughts on this content at www.EarlyToRise.com

To your success,

Craig Ballantyne
Editor
Early to Rise

“Learn from highly respected people what makes them tick.” – Frank McKinney


How to Write Articles for More Traffic

By Rick PorterWhen it comes to getting more traffic to your website (i.e. Search Engine Optimization), there are two important factors. First, a site that gets a lot of links back to it will rank high. Second, on-site optimization, meaning the correct use of keywords in the title and article, is also important. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Unfortunately, most so-called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts don’t understand the importance of on-site optimization. Many are concerned only with building links back to your site.

It still amazes me how other “seo experts” out there are still completely missing the boat on onsite optimization.  There are link builders out there calling themselves “seo experts”.

One SEO expert recently asked me to look at one of his niche websites as he wasn’t ranking even in the top 100.  I was astounded at how horribly optimized the site was.  It was actually embarrassing to see how poorly the site was setup.

So even though he is charging a lot of money for ‘seo services’ to build backlinks, he can’t even optimize his own site which means he can’t even figure out why his own clients sites are getting stuck.

Seriously.

Don’t just trust anyone just because they say they do “SEO”, because to a lot of people that merely equates to link building and they couldn’t optimize a website to save their life, or make a sale for that matter.

Now let’s talk about on-site optimization. That simply means what you do when you put content on your website and make little tweaks to the headline and content so that it shows up in the top rankings for Google Searches. This is a big part of Search Engine Optimization.

If I’m trying to write a super optimized post that I want ranking Top 3 in Google I follow this format

1) Keyword in the title of the post

Keep the keyword in the beginning of the title and try to keep the density of the keyword in the title high.

Really long titles that grab attention don’t necessary rank well in the search engines for competitive keywords.

To rank high really fast just make the keyword the title.

Most would argue that your click through ratio will be very low, BUT unless you are ranking in the top 3 you don’t need to worry much about click through ratio, so I focus on getting the ranking first and then modifying the title second.

2) Use the keyword in the first sentence.

Google has to score what an article is about by a fairly simple algorithm.

If you were going to speak to someone about a topic, wouldn’t it be normal to mention the topic in your first sentence?  That’s sort of how the search engine looks at it.

If it sees the same word in the title and the first sentence it knows there is some importance there.  An strong opening statement is most likely going to introduce what something is about so put your keyword in the first sentence.

3) I try to use the keyword every 100-150 words…

…but to keep from sounding robotic use variations of the keyword that would sound natural, the good think about this is you will pick up long tails at the same time.  If my keyword is ‘bodyweight exercises’ I wouldn’t just keep repeating ‘bodyweight exercises’ over and over.

I would look to see what are the other long tails searched around that keyword.  To quickly find out just open up the Google search bar and start typing in your keyword, the Google suggest will start to suggest keywords.

It’s a really good idea to put these keywords into your articles because chances are many people will click on the long tail suggestion that Google is giving to them.

I would even go as far as creating 1 article per suggested keyword and linking them together.  Going back to the keyword ‘bodyweight exercises’ I might write a phrase about ‘bodyweight exercises for women’ or ‘bodyweight exercises for strength’ or ‘bodyweight exercises for chest’ – the point is, you can make your post sound much more natural, AND pick up long tail search phrases.

To take it 1 step farther, link the long tail keyword like ‘bodyweight exercises for strength’ to it’s own article titled ‘bodyweight exercises for strength’ – this strategy is a knock-out punch when creating a niche site.

It’s what Google wants to see, and it provides a great user experience by having 1 article link to other relevant articles.

The best example is Wikipedia.  That site is starting to rank #1 for just about any word you can think of just because the site has the biggest internal linking network in the world. I started paying a lot of attention to Wikipedia because everything I searched in Google seemed to have a Wikipedia entry in the top 3.

If you want to check your keyword density there is a really useful SEO plugin that I use all day long to analyze competitors webpages

http://www.quirk.biz/searchstatus/

You can use this plugin to check keyword density, meta tags, keywords, backlinks, page rank, whois, etc.  It is a very handy tool for SEO reconnaissance as you plan to beat your competitors.

That’s enough for today.

I’ll be back with Part 2 of this plan tomorrow.

[Ed. Note: Rick Porter is the one of the best Search Engine Optimization experts in the world and works for the top Internet Marketers in the world today, in addition to helping major corporations increase website traffic. You can read more of Rick Porter’s step-by-step guidelines to getting more traffic on the Internet Independence website here.]


Finding More Time

By Verne Harnish, The “Growth Guy”

“It’s time to clean your company’s proverbial hallway closets and garages.”

Like the classic movie “Ground Hog Day,” many employees experience work as one recurring nightmare after another – same old stuff, just a different day! And recurrent mistakes and problems eat up over 40% of your people’s time and effort – time better spent proactively selling and servicing customers – not to mention what it does to morale.Like water on a rock, these ongoing hassles eventually wear you and your people down.
It’s time to clean your company’s proverbial hallway closets and garages. It’s time to find everyone an extra four to eight hours of productive time each week. It’s time to “dehassle” the organization.

HASSLE LOGS
Nothing works better and faster than giving every employee a piece of paper and asking them over the next two weeks to “note every time they spend a minute or more doing something that shouldn’t have to be done, should have been done right the first time, is too hard to do, and/or is generally a frustration in doing their job.” And have them pay special attention to situations that also hassle customers including recurring questions, concerns, issues, and problems.

The first time I saw this executed there was a whopping 1784 instances logged by just over 200 employees. And this company was considered to be one of the best performing companies in their industry! Items included the perennial favorite “we need a bigger wastebasket in the women’s restroom” to hundreds that pointed to some challenges with a specific order entry system (it’s not unusual to see a number of hassles related to the IT systems of the company).

ONE AT A TIME
The first step is to pick a few easy issues you can resolve immediately, like the wastebasket issue.

Another classic group of hassles revolve around a poorly designed form. One recent client had inadvertently left off a place for customers to put their email address on an order form, not allowing them to email a confirmation of the order. This, in turn, resulted in a rash of calls to the staff that didn’t need to occur. Obviously, this was an easy fix, but no one had had the time to stop and consider the problem – everyone was literally too busy answering calls!

It’s also important to pick a couple big issues and let the staff know a team will be assigned to resolve each issue. This same client with the form problem also identified a significant production scheduling issue that was creating a huge ripple effect of hassles throughout the organization. The executive team assigned a team of four to revise the process within a week.

In the process of fixing these problems, it’s critical that you publish the entire list for everyone to see – in its raw form. Resist the temptation to group the hassles into common categories and only publish the summary of those categories.

Your people are going to be looking to see if their own specific hassles are on the list and they don’t want to feel like they have been summarized away. The only exception to publishing all the hassles is if any represent a direct attack on an individual. These need to be culled from the list and handled privately.

You also need to emphasize that all the hassles can’t be addressed immediately. Explain how you arrived at a prioritization of the list and share openly the criteria you used. One company was short of cash and needed to focus on those hassles that didn’t require a great deal of money to fix. Another firm needed to focus on those hassles impeding sales activity. Whatever your criteria, make it transparent to your employees.

EASING THE BURDEN
The first reaction from many executives when this process is suggested is that they don’t need another “to do” list of activities – that there is already too much on their plate. And great leaders know its better not to start something than to go at it half-heartedly. Nothing will kill this process and create ill feelings faster than to fail on executing fixes to the various problems. It’s a quick way to turn enthusiasm into cynicism.

The key is to identify three to five middle managers or supervisors willing to form a team to administer this process. There’s no better training you could give your up and coming leaders within the firm than gathering, learning, and working through the solutions to these hassles. Besides, they are one layer closer to the problems and should have better data and insight into the solutions. Assign one top executive to champion the process and to provide a link between the middle management team and the senior leadership.

FINDING TIME
The time and frustration saved by eliminating hassles is enormous. And it’s a process you can do a couple times a year to keep the organization running smoothly. More importantly, dehassling the company on a regular basis is a better alternative than simply throwing people at the mountain of work created by these hassles. Clean house and make everyone’s day a little better.

[Ed. Note: Verne Harnish, also known as the “Growth Guy”, is the author of “The Rockefeller Habits” and publishes a monthly column in Fortune magazine. You can sign-up for Verne’s insights here where you’ll discover what today’s leaders and top entrepreneurs are doing in their businesses to succeed in today’s turbulent economic climate and to build cohesive teams dedicated to the achievement of the company’s BHAG.]

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