Archive for November 2012

Establish Success Factors For Your Direct Reports

November 30, 2012

Success: (noun) the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, – The New Oxford American Dictionary

How do we know success when we see it?  In athletics we look at the scoreboard or standings.  In school we look at the report card.  Businesses use the balance sheet or income statement to determine success.  The pursuit of success inspires hard work, sacrifice, and a commitment to improve.  How do your direct reports measure success?

We suggest using a job accountability matrix to define a job’s accountabilities and corresponding success factors.  Without measurable success factors, how do your direct reports know if they have accomplished their aim or purpose?  How can they be driven to work hard, sacrifice, and improve, if they don’t have a means by which to determine their successes?

Some common success factors are:

  • Zero voluntary turnover of ‘A’ players
  • Continued reduction of processing errors
  • Attend meetings on-time, prepared, and contribute
  • On-going increase in add-on sales
  • Weekly status reports submitted on-time and accurate
  • Positive (lack of negative) customer feedback

Empower you direct reports by establishing and updating success factors, and the accomplishments will soon follow.

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Act Now For Your First Quarter Hires

November 23, 2012

The first week in January has historically been considered the best time to post recruiting advertisements if they are ever likely to attract somewhat passive candidates.  The idea is there are a lot of people who make the New Year’s resolution to improve their lot in life, work for a better boss, or find an organization whose culture matches their core values.

These people begin to look online or in print right after New Years – perhaps even before they have updated their resume.

Of course, not much actual hiring gets done in December because people are waiting for, or perhaps hoping for, a holiday bonus and don’t want to leave until that’s in the bank.  That makes December the perfect month to prepare for hiring in January or February.

If you anticipate the possibility of hiring in the first quarter of the year, prepare now!  Get some clarity around the needs in the open position and what the ideal candidate looks like so you are ready to post the position on January 1st or 2nd.  Creating clarity around the role now also allows you and your team to spread the word during holiday gatherings for the best type of sourcing: referrals.

Empower your direct reports to build a superstar team by encouraging them to spend time now in defining their future hiring needs.

Lessen The Impact Health Care Reform Will Have On Your Employees

November 16, 2012

In all likelihood your employees will be impacted in some way in the next year by all the new health care reforms being rolled out.  Your employees may be surprised their take home pay will be affected.  After feeling the hit, your superstars may be inclined to see how your competitors are handling their employee’s health care and you risk losing them.

It has been proven over and over again employees leave because they are unhappy with their boss or the organization.  Rarely do employees begin looking because of compensation or benefits.  Ultimately, they may leave for a job with better pay but that’s not what caused them to look in the first place.  However, the major changes to health care may prompt the more marketable superstars to look for other opportunities who may not have otherwise considered looking.

The best approach to keeping your stars is by taking care of them now.  High performers seek defined accountabilities, meaningful feedback, development opportunities, and insight to the organization’s goals.  If you don’t have these easy practices in place now, begin implementing them before the impact of the health care laws prompt superstars to consider other opportunities.

Empower your team with healthy leadership practices and you’ll experience more success regardless of health care reform.

360 Degree Tools Are A Great Way To Learn More About Your Direct Reports

November 10, 2012

The United States Navel Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) is an elite team of Navy SEALs that hunted and killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011. Navy SEALs represent the best of the Navy and DEVGRU represents the best of the SEALs.  To graduate to DEVGRU the SEALs must pass a nine month long grueling training and testing program called Green Team. Only the best of the best survive Green Team and are challenged constantly by the Navy’s best leaders.

Mark Owen author of “No Easy Day: The First Hand Account Of The Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden,” recounts his Green Team experience where he and other team members were asked regularly to make an anonymous list of the five best and worst performers in the class. The instructors compared these lists to their own lists when evaluating talent and deciding who would be promoted or removed.  The instructors know to create high-performing teams capable of accomplishing difficult feats, all aspects of the team members’ performance must be considered including how they are viewed by their teammates.

Though you may not be developing a team capable of hunting and killing al Qaeda fighters, receiving feedback from team members about each other can help you make better decisions.  The common approach in business to getting this feedback is from 360 degree tools.  A well designed 360 degree questionnaire, one that does NOT use Likert scale questions, is a great way for you to learn more about your direct reports and for them to create personal development plans.

Empower your direct reports with 360 degree tools and your organization will experience much success.

Make Personal Development A Group Effort

November 2, 2012

If you’ve ever embarked on an exercise program, you know how difficult it is to stay committed.  Unless you have health issues, it’s one of those “important, not urgent” activities that frequently doesn’t get the proper attention.  Personal and professional development is another “important, not urgent” activity.  Like exercise, you know you are supposed to do personal development, but often don’t get around to it.  Similar to exercise, some are better at it than others and everyone feels better when they have finished.

Most regular exercisers will tell you that having workout buddies is what keeps them going and that is the key to effective personal development. Encourage your team to commit to working on similar developmental opportunities.  Group accountability is a great motivator.

One of the easiest development approaches is for the group to all read the same book.  The synergies and sharing coming out of the group as they recount parts of the book are amazing.  One leader we work with had his whole team read/reread Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” then as a group talked how to apply the principles to their business.  The individuals benefited from personal growth, the team developed a greater bond, and the organization became more efficient – win-win-win.

Empower your team to grow together and you, your direct reports, and the organization will all experience more success.