Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2011

Sometimes keeping this blog going is a chore. Like recently, when I've been so busy that I just couldn't keep my commitment to post weekly. I understand why so many fellow bloggers have let their blogs atrophy in recent months.

But then I get a few reminders that some people do value what I share in this space. Like being awarded the Golden Valuable Content Award for 2011 by a panel of British marketing consultants. Or the Google Analytics reports indicating that readership continues to climb. Or the periodic thanks from readers who appreciate my attempts at posting helpful content.

So I'll keep at it, and my workload is settling down such that I should be able to resume my regular weekly schedule. But alas, rather than posting something new today, this is the time of year when I recognize the most popular posts over the past 12 months. Perhaps you missed some of them, or may even find it worthwhile to read them again.

1. 10 Top Tips on ... Leadership. No business advice is in more demand than how to be a better leader. It's no simple role, but that doesn't prevent me from trying to compress everything I've learned about leadership into just ten tips. Do these few things well and I'm confident you'll experience greater success as a leader.

2. What Is Your Proposal's Core Theme? The best proposals have a story to tell. That's
the proposal theme, a central narrative that presents the key benefits your firm has to offer. You'll be hard pressed to discern a theme in most technical service proposals. That's your opportunity!

3. Does Service Excellence Pay? The feedback suggest that A/E firms generally fall short of delivering great service to their clients. So is it worth the extra effort to try to out-serve your competition? The research indicates the answer is a resounding yes.

4. Why Employees Leave. The economy has slowed voluntary turnover. But as business improves, the talent shortage in our industry will be evident again and employee retention will be paramount. You should be aware of what the research says about why employees leave.

5. Assessing Your Firm's Culture. Corporate culture exerts a powerful influence on how things get done within your firm. Ignore it at your peril, especially if you're looking to change and grow. Here's a relatively simple template to evaluate your firm's culture.

6. Taming the Proposal Monster. Most A/E firms submit (and lose) too many proposals. The economy has only made this condition worse. Your business development resources are too valuable to waste on excessive losing proposal efforts.

7. Why Incentives Don't Work. Most attempts to motivate better employee performance in our business are misguided. Traditional "incentives" have been shown in several studies to be ineffective in affecting behavior. This post, and the associated video, explain why.

8. Fortifying Your Firm's "Strategic Foundations." Culture, values, mission, and vision are generally undervalued. Most firm leaders consider these important to have, but rarely name them among their most strategic assets. But the research indicates otherwise. Some key questions to ask.

9. Why Technical Professionals Aren't Persuasive. Everyone has to sell something to succeed in business and life. But technical professionals seem particularly challenged to be persuasive. This post offers reasons why. You might also be interested in how to be more persuasive.

10. Preparing for Another Possible Downturn. As noted in the introduction, I tend reserve my optimism for what improvements firms can make themselves versus what the market forecasts indicate. This post offers several ideas for strengthening your firm's market position regardless of whether external conditions take a positive turn or not.

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