Archive for September 2015

Start On The Succession Plan Right From The Beginning

September 25, 2015

It may seem strange to think about succession on the direct report’s first day, but there may be no better time.  This is particularly true about the part of succession that makes certain the critical aspects of the direct report’s job functions are documented sufficiently enough for someone else to be able to know HOW to do that aspect of the job.

As a matter of survival from the first day, the new hire will be carefully documenting how to perform their job duties for their own use so that steps are not missed and repetitive questions can be avoided.  After the direct report has successfully completed these functions based on their own notes, they can simply take those notes and formalize them into a succession plan for the job.

This documentation can then be used for cross-training and development purposes of co-workers who may be groomed for performing those very tasks at a later date.  The leader also communicates to the new direct report they anticipate their continued growth in the organization; preparing for someone at a later date to perform those tasks will allow for time and opportunity to learn new tasks of their own.

If the leader waits until someone is well ensconced in a role, the detail with which they document tasks may not be of sufficient detail to allow others to complete the tasks without personal observation or some trial and error.

Direct reports empowered for their own development by documenting critical tasks that may be done by others in (or outside of) the organization will be more successful.

The Importance Of The Onboarding Process

September 18, 2015

Recruiting does not end when a new employee starts. It is important to cement retention during the first 90 days of employment. Hiring managers must make sure the employee’s desk is prepared for their first day.  Do they have a computer? Are their phones ready?  Is their work area ready?  Is there a plan for their first few days, including lunch?  And most important of all: do they understand their accountabilities?

Hiring managers should meet with the new direct report on their first day, and on a regular basis during the first 90 days to provide feedback and review the new hire’s accountabilities. It’s best for the hiring manager to formally check in with the new direct report at 30, 60, and 90 days to see if their expectations match reality, whether they have all of the resources they need, and to provide mutual feedback.

Hiring managers need a plan to provide adequate training and resources for the new direct report so that they can be successful. This doesn’t mean just providing them with manuals to read.  Hiring managers should have the new hire shadow people in different areas or have some of the most experienced people share war stories.  If they must read manuals, schedule breaks at various sections of the manual to discuss application of what they read to the work they will be doing.

Considering all of the hiring manager’s resources it took to recruit a new hire, it’s important for them to cement the relationship with the new hire and empower them for success right from the beginning.

Conducting Regular One-On-One Meetings Will Save Time

September 11, 2015

Regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings between a leader and direct report are by far the most effective way to accelerate performance.  So, why is this effective performance acceleration technique ignored?

The biggest reason leaders give for not conducting regular one-on-one meetings is they don’t have enough time.  Leaders should conduct weekly 30-minute meetings with each of their direct reports.  A leader with six direct reports would need to allocate three hours per week.

How does investing in regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings save time for leaders?

  • Both the direct report and leader save minor discussion topics for this meeting rather than interrupting each other continuously throughout the week.
  • Minor issues are addressed before they become full-fledged, time-consuming problems.
  • Leader’s tasks can be delegated in a venue allowing much easier follow-up.

Skeptical leaders should try conducting one-on-ones with one of their direct reports for six weeks; they’ll find they have more time, a better relationship, and a very disappointed direct report should they stop the meetings.

Leaders who use one-on-one meetings to empower direct reports experience more success and have more time.