Archive for March 2012

Emphasize Core Values in Your Quarterly Review Sessions

March 29, 2012

If you’re on a calendar year performance review schedule, then you should be preparing for your quarterly reviews.

We recommend reviewing progress against quarterly objectives and goals as well as reviewing HOW those goals were accomplished. One of the best ways to evaluate the means by which someone has accomplished their goals is to ask your direct report to describe how they have demonstrated each of your company’s core values.

Don’t be afraid to challenge bad examples or to discuss any situations where your direct report behaved or performed in a way that was not consistent with your core values. Most importantly, make time to recognize and reward great examples. Reinforcement of your culture will pay off exponentially as you empower your employees to make the right decisions consistent with your core values.

Sleep Better At Night Knowing You Have A Plan For When Your Direct Reports Move On

March 23, 2012

If your direct reports are doing the same job, with the same responsibilities, two years from now, you have not done your job as a leader. Your job is to grow your direct reports and prepare them for added responsibilities or to be moved on. Poor leaders fail to groom their direct reports because they don’t have a succession plan for the activities currently being performed.

What if your direct report suddenly leaves? What is your succession plan? Often leaders neglect this important, not urgent task. Part of your plan for each direct report’s succession should be to have all key job functions documented. Don’t have time? Make it the direct report’s responsibility (maybe one of their quarterly goals) to create the documentation.

Knowing you have a plan should something happen to your direct reports will allow you to further empower them to grow and succeed in their current role or a new one (and allow you to sleep better at night).

The Value Of Written Goals

March 15, 2012

Mark McCormack, in his book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, tells of a Harvard study conducted between 1979 and 1989. In 1979, the graduates of the MBA program were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” It turned out that only 3% of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13% had goals, but not in writing; and 84% had no specific goals at all.

Ten years later, in 1989, the researchers interviewed the members of that same class again. They found the 13% who had goals that were not in writing were earning twice as much as the 84% of students who had no goals at all. And most surprisingly, they found that the 3% of graduates who had clear, written goals when they left Harvard were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97% of graduates all together. The only difference between the groups was the clarity of the goals they had for themselves when they graduated.

Yes, you read that correctly. The 3% who had clear, written goals earned ten times as much as the 97% who didn’t have clear, written goals. Almost all successful people have goals, and outstanding high achievers have clearly defined written goals. That said, why do so few people actually write out their goals?

Empower your direct reports to write down their goals and you’ll see them become more successful

source: Brian Tracy, Goals!

Take A Chance And Let Your Direct Reports Grow

March 8, 2012

Most successful leaders we talk to can recall the specific point in their career when one of their bosses took a chance on them.  The leader will typically credit this boss/mentor for having launched their career and greatly appreciated the chance to demonstrate their abilities.

It’s flabbergasting how many of these same leaders today are reluctant to take similar risks with their direct reports.  In all likelihood the boss who took a chance on you had some trepidations but realized you and the organization will be more successful by giving you a chance to grow.  Sure some of these risks don’t payoff, but the learning experience will still pay dividends.

You don’t have to blindly empower your direct reports and hope they deliver.  Establish borders and boundaries for the empowering task.  Be clear about what success looks like and specify the available resources, restrictions, and timeframes.

Remember you might not be where you are today had a leader not taken a risk on you; empower your direct reports, set borders and boundaries, and you’ll both be successful (and someday your direct report will credit you for launching their career).

Embrace Mistakes For Enduring Success

March 1, 2012
In a recent interview two candidates were asked to describe a time they made a mistake; here are their responses:

Candidate #1 – “I thoroughly prepare and plan for situations.  I then meticulously and consciously execute the plans to eliminate mistakes; I rarely fail.  Measure twice, cut once is always my mantra.”
Candidate #2: – “Though I never enter a situation intending to fail, I do make mistakes.  For instance, last month I missed my sales goal because I overestimated how strong my relationship with a key buyer was.  I learned I needed to not take the orders for granted and to work hard at post-sale activities even when I think the sale is a done deal.”
Which candidate would you hire – one who over prepares and rarely makes mistakes or the one who is willing to make mistakes but learns from them?
Not only is it important to hire people who are willing to make mistakes, it’s important to foster an environment where making mistakes is embraced.  Jeff Stibel, a neuroscientist and currently the Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp., has gone as far as to create a “failure wall” whereby everyone in the company is encouraged to post their mistakes.  The wall, initiated with Stibel’s own failures,  quickly filled up with many failures and the organization grew rapidly as employees embraced new and creative approaches knowing that failure was okay.
Empower your organization to make mistakes and you experience long term success.