Adele Sommers

Adele Sommers

Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is the author of the award-winning "Straight Talk on Boosting Business Performance" success program. She helps people "discover and recover" the profits their businesses may be losing daily through overlooked performance potential. Adele is currently a freelance business consultant and the president of an award-winning chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC). She also has taught college courses on project planning and systems thinking.

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Adele Sommers Free Articles

Should I Train or "Tune up" My Organization?

Is there a standard cure for every performance gap? When your organization detects areas it wants to improve, it's critical to prescribe the right remedy for each situation. This article explores two ways of many to close achievement gaps, using 1) training and 2) organizational tune-ups to remove "burning hassles" and obstacles that hinder productivity.

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A Best-Practice Blueprint for Banishing "Burning Hassles"

Your organization may be experiencing "burning hassles" -- the sometimes hidden and sometimes obvious obstacles and sinkholes that keep people from performing ideally and dissolve morale, productivity, and customer satisfaction. This article provides the step-by-step, "how-to" formula for detecting and resolving hassles once and for all.

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Are "Burning Hassles" Melting Your Morale and 
Pulverizing Your Productivity?

Your organization may be experiencing "burning hassles" -- the sometimes hidden and sometimes obvious obstacles and sinkholes that keep people from performing ideally. This article explains how to recognize situations in which hassles may be dissolving productivity, morale, and profitability like corrosive acid.

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Getting Unstuck: Tips for Overcoming "Decision Gridlock"

Have you ever felt so stymied by your choices that every time you stared down at your "chessboard of life," you weren't sure where you could possibly make a move? Whether that feeling of being "stuck" relates to your business, personal matters, or both, it can serve to encumber your progress. This article discusses two patterns of "decision gridlock," and what to do about them.

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Turning Breakthroughs and Mishaps into "Best Practices"

We can measure the success of our organizations to a large extent by how much we learn, absorb, and apply from experience. Such organizational learning can occur either intentionally or accidentally! This article offers tips on what to do with your breakthroughs and mishaps. The more data you can extract from them to create systems that everyone can follow, the more flexible, robust, and effective your organization will be.

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How Strategic Is Your Business Plan?

If you currently have a business plan, how much of it taps your most creative strategic thinking processes? Many plans are static, formal documents designed to impress potential backers, but do not necessarily serve as dynamic, living visions. This article describes seven essential exercises to incorporate into a traditional business plan, or into a flexible slide presentation that powerfully communicates your vision to others.

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How Perceptions Influence Customer Satisfaction

Both suggestions and complaints represent the "voice of your customer," and thus deserve a deeper look to understand their impact on your audience's behavior. For that reason, this article focuses on the role of perception in the minds of consumers. Is the glass half empty or half full? The definition resides in your customers' eyes.

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5 Ways to Finesse New Project Budget Discussions

If you have difficulty engaging in budget discussions for new projects -- particularly during initial client meetings when it can be tempting to make promises that might be difficult to keep -- this article explores five ways to help you gracefully avoid backing yourself into a corner.

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How Is Your Suggestion Box Working?

Do you have a suggestion box for your business? If so, how sincerely do you consider the recommendations and complaints you receive? If you haven't yet tapped this invaluable resource, this article offers several tips for using the input you collect to actually strengthen your business and bring in more revenue.

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Build Your Expert Status to "Tip" Your Audiences in Your Direction

Why is developing "expert status" so important in business positioning these days? Because as consumers, our ability to focus our attention has reached an all-time low due to the deluge of information and advertising we contend with today. We thus lean on know-it-all experts, or "mavens," to give us authoritative advice on what to think, do, or buy. This article offers a three-stage process for building a maven reputation in your field.

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12 Tips for Accurate Project Estimating

Projects typically involve many dynamic aspects, yet they're often constrained by finite conditions. These contradictory forces make it very difficult to determine with pinpoint accuracy the time and effort required. By using a set of proactive estimating techniques to scope, plan, and constrain your project conditions, you can dramatically improve your estimating practices, reduce and mitigate risks, and increase your project success rate.

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Setting the Criteria for Business Success

Aligning our life passions with our business purpose can help us define a set of "business success criteria." Until that occurs, we might be unable to recognize the options that truly fuel and inspire us -- those that are best suited to our values and strengths. Once we develop these important criteria, we can select worthy endeavors with much deeper insight, as well as choose the best possible collaborators, clients, and employees.

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Can Your Products Pass the "Midnight Test"?

Gaining an understanding of how your customers might want (or need) to use your products and services can guide you in creating offerings that help people succeed in many situations and circumstances. Whether you are developing a product or service for mass consumption, or creating a customized solution for a client, imagining how your audiences will consume your material can make all the difference between their success and failure.

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Tips for Turning "Lessons Learned" into "Best Practices"

By incrementally capturing 20:20 hindsight (lessons learned) and turning that hindsight into 20:20 foresight (best practices), you will achieve far greater long-term success than if you simply ignore or forget what occurred once a project ends. This approach can greatly reduce the negative effects of attrition on a company's intellectual assets when people leave because they quit, retire, are laid off, or were temporary workers to begin with.

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How to Set the Conditions for Business Success

Creating a stellar organization involves setting the conditions to help people do their very best work, and your company’s success depends on designing the circumstances under which people can function most effectively. Two areas that deserve attention in this regard are your ability to observe the results of cause-and-effect relationships, and how well your business can shift to becoming system-dependent instead of remaining person-dependent.

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