Blog

Monday Morning Coffee: Performance Management Trends

Recent trends indicate that many companies are reevaluating the way they evaluate employee performance.  According to the Deloitte 2017 Global Human Trends Capital Report 79% of executives rate redesign of performance management a high priority.  When it comes to performance management trends, what strategies can leaders utilize to improve performance management cultures?

Provide more positive feedback.  Annual reviews are being replaced with more agile performance review strategies, since employees typically require more frequent communication.  Deloitte Studies show that 90 percent of companies report employee engagement improvement and 83% report improvement in the quality of conversations between employees and managers.

Provide less managing and more coaching.  Employees typically feel more valued and contribute more when they feel invested in, and receive more individualized attention relating to personal job growth.  The Deloitte Report indicates that an increased number of companies are placing more emphasis on coaching and development versus management and supervision.

Increase peer evaluations.  Peer evaluations can encourage transparency and open communication, since peers can add a different perspective from that of a supervisor.  For example, Facebook incorporates peer reviews with performance appraisals which are used to conduct fact-to-face meetings between managers and direct reports.

Increase team building rather than forced ranking.  “Pitting” employees against each other can risk creating an environment which promotes prima donnas rather than team players.  If a company is hiring properly, all of its employees should be strong performers.

Outdated performance management cultures can put companies at risk, causing high turnover resulting in increased cost and time. Click here for more information on developing strong performance management cultures.

Happy Monday!

adminMonday Morning Coffee: Performance Management Trends
read more

The Art of Effective Planning

Nothing helps move things along better than an effective plan.  It helps to guide those who are working under the plan, as well as maximize resources.  Since most effective projects begin with a good plan, what steps can leaders take to get things done faster, and anticipate problems before they occur?

  1. Outline the tasks of the project.  Ask questions such as, what do I need to accomplish?  What are the goals and objectives?  Within what time-frame does the project need to be completed?  What resources do I need to complete the project, and how many of those resources do I control?
  2. Establish the plan.  Utilize a flow chart or invest in project planning software to map out the project and communicate your plans to others.
  3. Track progress.  Set measurable goals and objectives.  Establishing goals will help keep projects on time and on budget. Establish goals for the entire project, then set up objectives or sub-goals.
  4. Establish sub-plans to manage complex projects.  Complex plans require leaders to manage multiple tasks at the same time.  Therefore, establish parallel tracks to help decrease the chances of spreading yourself to thin.
  5. Match people and tasks.  Employees are different, with different levels of knowledge and experience, and strengths and weaknesses.  Assign tasks according to individual capacities.
  6. Envision worse-case scenarios.  Consider the possibilities of what could go wrong and rank the problems from the highest to the lowest. Then, think about what you would do if the highest to the lowest worse-case scenario occurred, and create a contingency plan for each.
  7. Set up a process to monitor the progress of the plan.  In other words, how do you know if the plan is on time?  Establish an estimated time-frame or percentages to complete the plan.
  8. Ask for feedback.  Find someone who is better at planning and model how it is done.  Set goals and strive to increase things they are doing.  Also, ask for feedback from those who have had to follow your plan.

Good planning leaves more time to do other things, while ensuring that things are on track…click here for more information on developing effective plans in the workforce.

Happy Monday!

adminThe Art of Effective Planning
read more

Leading Through Collaboration

Today’s organizations operate in an increasingly complex and ever-changing environment. As a result, leaders need to rely on the aptitude and resourcefulness of their employees.  Since collaboration is not something that is simply “nice to have,” rather essential for organizational survival and success, what tips can leaders utilize to build collaboration within an organization?

First, leaders should recognize that silo mentalities can destroy a business. Many employees feel the need to hoard information, and do not wish to share with others in the company.  These behaviors are typically associated with power struggles, loss of corporation, and lower productivity.  Operating with such mentalities can result in profit loss for the company, and workforce loss for the employees.

Second, leaders should recognize that successful collaboration is a human issue. Companies can invest millions of dollars in portals, software and intranets.  However, collaboration is more than the technology that supports it, or the strategies directed at optimizing organizational experience.  Collaboration is a change in individual behaviors, which strives to capture and communicate collective wisdom.

Third, leaders should see collaboration as a change strategy.  No matter how intelligent, or savvy a leader may be, he or she cannot change an organization alone.  Organizational change requires the commitment of a team, allowing individuals to be involved in the process from the beginning.

Fourth, leaders should recognize that collaboration makes visioning a team effort.  Successful leaders guide their companies through a shared-purpose rather than command and control.  In other words, they adopt and communicate a vison that is focused on the future, in which employees have a part in creating.

Collaboration promotes an inclusive environment, which energizes teams, and releases creativity. Click here for more information on building collaboration in the workforce.

Happy Monday!

adminLeading Through Collaboration
read more

Developing Employees Though Effective Feedback

As a leader, a part of your role is to provide effective feedback in the workplace.  Employees not only need to know what they are doing well, they also need to understand where they need to develop. Unfortunately, many leaders are either very poor at giving feedback, or fail to give feedback at all.  What are tips leaders can utilize to provide effective feedback in the workplace?

  1. Catch employees doing the right things.  Many leaders fall into the trap of giving feedback only when things go wrong.  Make it a point to give feedback when people are doing things right, such as taking on an extra project, or hitting their sales goals.
  2. Notice when people are asking for feedback.  Many employees will not directly ask for feedback, they are more subtle in seeking feedback.  Know your employees well enough to understand when they are seeking information concerning their jobs.
  3. Provide feedback as early as possible.  Although many companies provide annual or bi-annual appraisals, feedback should be provided on an ongoing basic.  Whether feedback is positive or negative, always provide it as soon as possible.
  4. Focus on how individuals behave.  Workplace behavior will either have a positive or negative impact on a company’s objectives. Productivity comes down to behavior.  Leaders must reinforce the behaviors they want to see, rather than those they do not want to see.
  5. Check to see that feedback is understood.  In other words, ask individuals to repeat what has been stated, to clarity they have understood.
  6. Give employees the opportunity to provide input regarding their feedback which helps demonstrate authenticity, resulting in increased productivity.
  7. Use language that is non-threatening.  Leaders should choose their words carefully when providing feedback.  The goal is to make consequences clear, in a non-threating way.
  8. Lead by example and be a role model.  One of the most effective ways to demonstrate being open to feedback, is to seeking it yourself.
  9. Avoid feedback that cannot be acted upon.  Don’t give feedback, you know you are not going to carry  out. Be sincere, and do what you say you will do.
  10. Set a date to follow-up.  Let your employees know you are committed to supporting them by setting an appointment to follow-up.

Although providing feedback may be challenging, providing effective feedback can result in increased performance….click here for more information on developing employees in the workplace.

Happy Monday

adminDeveloping Employees Though Effective Feedback
read more

Maximizing Talent in the Workplace

In today’s environment, successful organizations understand how to effectively connect silos of knowledge across the organization, to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace.  Since the success of a company is dependent upon the quality of its talent, what are some of the key challenges organizations face in maximizing talent in the workplace?

Maximizing talent requires organizations to recruit the right talent.  Training does not fix ineffective recruitment and selection. When companies fail to invest the energy and time in hiring the right people, the probability increases that their competitors will.

Second, maximizing talent requires organizations to cultivate and nurture talent. Today’s talent has a unique set of needs, and leading these individuals is not always easy. For example, individuals enjoy meaningful work and the opportunity to make a difference. They desire the freedom to control, and flexibility promoting work/life balance. As a result, leaders must instinctively be on the same wave length.

Third, maximizing talent requires organizations to leverage top talent. For example, leaders can rotate key people across various departments to ensure they understand different aspects of the business, or initiate a talent development program with specific milestones and initiatives.

Finally, maximizing talent requires organizations to motivate and retain talent.  Finding and hiring top talent is not enough, organizations must ensure they retain their top talent.  A loss of key talent adversely impacts an organization’s productivity, ultimately causing customer dissatisfaction.

Talent management should be a critical business objective at all levels of the organization. Click here for more information on developing effective talent in the workplace.

Happy Monday!

adminMaximizing Talent in the Workplace
read more

Strategies for Effective Team Meetings

Effective meetings are not only important to achieve team goals, but they also reflect how well a team is functioning. Whether team meetings are face-to-face, or remote, team meetings are important tools for managing team tasks and productivity.   How can leaders create effective team meetings, drawing upon each members knowledge, skills and perspectives to achieve the teams overall goals?

  1. Organize the logistics for the meeting such as the meeting location, date and time, and the technology support required.
  1. Always distribute an agenda to keep everyone on task. Also, provide adequate notice for all those who need to attend and pre-determine who will present. Send the agenda out early, allowing attendees adequate time for review.
  1. Start and end the meeting on time, following the agenda closely.
  1. Establish and review the ground rules for the meeting. For example, if someone comes in late, refrain from recapping what has been covered.
  1. Encourage and ensure each team members commitment to achieve mutual goals.
  1. Assign administrative roles prior to the meeting such as identifying the recorder, and a time-keeper.
  1. Summarize decisions and assign action items.
  1. Debrief, evaluate and plan for improvement.
  1. Promptly distribute the meeting minutes, typically within 24-48 hours.
  1. Encourage all members to actively participate, everyone’s viewpoint is valuable.

Effective team meetings require effective team members. Click here for more information on developing effective teams in the workplace.

Happy Monday!

adminStrategies for Effective Team Meetings
read more

Maximizing Peak Performance

Many companies have leaders who over manage and under lead.  However, successful companies understand how to lead their teams to maximize peak performance.  In other words, employees must be challenged to make creative contributions, and foster their abilities to solve problems.  How can leaders guide their teams to achieve maximum performance in the workplace?

Maximizing performance requires leaders to align employees based on their strengths. In essence, organizations must have the right people in the right seat. Leaders should take stock of their employees, understanding the talent on their team, and when necessary, reshuffle the deck to maximize talent. Don’t keep someone in a job role just because they’ve been there for a while.  If you think they are better suited for another role, reshuffle your deck.

Maximizing performance requires leaders to align employees according to their passion. Another part of getting people in the right seat, is finding out what they are passionate about, and finding ways to let them channel their passion.  This may mean putting an employee in a position where they don’t have much experience.  Knowing an individual’s work history, coupled with their passion, could be worth creating an opportunity, since passion typically fuels a strong desire for success.

Maximizing performance requires leaders to find a balance between overly challenging and realistic goals.  Leaders must understand the “balancing act” when setting goals. In other words, goals must be challenging enough to hold employees accountable, giving them something to strive towards, yet they cannot be so extensive that employees fall behind and feel they cannot achieve them.

Maximizing performance requires leaders to create an environment of trust.  One of the best things a leader can do is to let his/her employees know they are trusted to do their jobs. If you don’t trust your employees to perform, they need to be managed up or managed out.

Successful leaders offer a roadmap for building and maintaining teams that are efficient and impactful. Click here for more information on maximizing performance in the workplace.

Happy Monday!

adminMaximizing Peak Performance
read more

Leading Organizational Change

Communication is one of the toughest issues in an organization. Although you can never make everyone completely happy when managing change, research does provide some broad suggestions as to how to communicate in a way to facilitate effective change management.  What are some key communication strategies when leading change initiatives?

  1. Clearly communicate the vision, mission, and objectives of the change effort. In other words, help individuals understand the big picture and the impact it will have on them.
  1. Communicate consistently and frequently through various channels such as speaking, writing, training, focus groups, and intranets.
  1. Provide adequate time for individuals to ask questions, request clarification, and provide their input.
  1. Recognize that communication is a two-way process or conversation rather than a presentation. Leaders should spend some time creating a dialogue with those who will be impacted by the change.
  1. Help individuals understand the WHY behind the change. For example, what is the context, the purpose and the need for the change.
  1. Demonstrate proactive rather than reactive communication to prevent rumor mill conversations.
  1. Leaders should be available to employees when possible. Provide answers to questions only if you know the answer. Otherwise, be honest and say you don’t know but you will get back to them. Avoid being defensive and making excuses.
  1. Create formal and informal networking opportunities for employees to share ideas concerning the change. Hold forums and interactive workshops where employees can explore changes together.
  1. Communicate publically how the organization will chart progress, or measure the change effort.
  1. Publicize rewards and recognition for employees who demonstrate positive approaches to change. Celebrate the small successes.

You cannot over communicate when asking an organization to change. Click here for more information on leading change in the workplace.

Happy Monday!

adminLeading Organizational Change
read more

Building Leaders in the Workplace

Although technical skills are important, they can only take an individual so far in career development. Since few people are born as leaders, and leadership skills are considered to be important traits which help individuals get on top on their career fields, organizations must provide the opportunities for employees to develop critical leadership skills. What are some key strategies for building effective leaders in the workplace?

Good leaders are able to foresee potential problems before they arise. Therefore, good leaders take initiative which allow them to foresee opportunities, and take advantage of them to benefit their company and employees.  For example, most bosses assign employees tasks as they prove themselves adept.  However, leaders don’t wait to until they are given more responsibility, but go above and beyond in their current position, taking on extra projects outside their job descriptions.

Second, good leaders listen effectively.  One of the most important leadership skills is listening. Individuals who do not practice good listening do not position themselves to get feedback from others and develop a sense of what their team members like and dislike about the projects they are working on. Effective listening requires one to maintain eye contact and avoid distractions which cause you to respond inappropriately.

Third, good leaders motivate others.  According to John Quincy Adams, “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” In other words, true leaders influence others for the good.  They help energize people, when they lose their ambitions and their passions. Good leaders motivate others by knowing what they need and want.  For example, if an individual is motivated by personal recognition, a good leader will offer the recognition they deserve.

Fourth, good leaders practice discipline.  A person can have a good idea, yet lack the discipline to carry it out.  In order to execute effectively, you must have discipline.  For example, you can have lots of ideas to create a business plan, but lack the discipline to ensure your presentation for presenting the plan is rehearsed.  Good leaders are self-disciplined and ensure those on their team are disciplined as well.

Regardless to where you are on the career ladder, more than likely you will be handed a leadership role and you will be expected to hit the ground running. Click here for more information on developing leaders in the workplace.

Happy Monday!

adminBuilding Leaders in the Workplace
read more

Driving Business through Talent Management

Positioning talent as a key driver of business effectiveness requires organizations to move away from traditional job-based approaches of organizational design and management, and focus on competencies and capabilities needed to execute business strategies. Companies should analyze competencies based on the tasks and activities that the organization needs to execute, rather than the development of job descriptions. How can an organization develop an effective talent/business strategy which drives business results?

Driving business through talent, requires organizations to recognize that business has changed, and talent should be viewed as a company’s most important asset, focusing on the potential sources of the talent needed to implement business strategies. When analyzing talent, companies should consider multiple types of engagement relationships, as well as whether talent it is best developed internally, or recruited. Consideration should be given as to how the talent should be organized and managed.

Second, driving business through talent requires recognizing that talent availability and management must become a driver of strategy. In other words, leaders need to consider talent as a driver of strategy, not just a consideration once a strategy has been developed. Utilizing talent management as a strategic goal helps to streamline hiring and leadership succession processes within a company, from competency-based recruiting.

Third, driving business through talent management allows organizations to have the right people in the right job. Despite changes in the global economy, attrition remains a major concern. As a result, organizations that fail to retain their top talent are at risk of losing out to their competitors. Given today’s business environment, a number of options can be considered including gig talent, contract employees, and partnerships with other organizations that possess the type of talent and capabilities critical to getting a strategy implemented.

Successful organizations focus on the potential sources of talent needed to implement their business strategies. Click here for more information on managing talent in the workplace.

Happy Monday!

adminDriving Business through Talent Management
read more