Thursday, October 11, 2018

Letting Go of the Big Chief Motif


Guest post from Bishop Joseph Warren Walker, III:

Discipline, focus and drive got you where you are today. You lost count of the sacrifices long ago – free weekends, discretionary purchases, a good night’s sleep – all to achieve your vision. You did it. Now get over it.

We all want to be effective leaders so that we can guide others to contribute to our vision, but we tend to overlook the importance of humility in leadership. By humility, I don’t mean modesty about what you have achieved; I mean being humble enough to abandon the “Big Chief” mentality and embrace the input of others. Forget the CEO or Executive or Senior Whatever title you have and get down in the trenches. Better yet, lift up those around you and empower them to work alongside you. In doing so, you not only effectively lead others, but also guide them to follow suit.

The need for personal recognition can be a powerful, yet blinding, force. I experienced this myself several years ago. I was sitting in a meeting during which we were trying to find a way to overcome the challenge of getting other churches and pastors to come together. The issue, one of my colleagues suggested, was that no one could figure out who should be in charge. The role of the leader had become more important than the work being done.
People get used to operating in this “Big Chief” motif because their egos crave it. But, it’s bad for business. In addition to limiting innovation, it creates smaller chiefs who want to maintain power they assume they have. So, the employee who craves your approval cares little about advancing your vision, and more about advancing his or her own career. This leads to jealousy, insecurity and grandstanding.

After experiencing this among my own team, I made some changes. I abandoned the hierarchical, top down flow chart and shifted to a relational model. I drew a circle and put myself in the middle. All of my managers were placed around the circle. Now, when I share a vision, I share it with all of them and ask for input. In turn, I respect input from anyone in that circle. In fact, I even welcome input from team members outside of the circle. The possibility of a groundbreaking idea is more valuable to me than maintaining this idea of seniority.

Working with others rather than above them does not mean you are minimizing what you have accomplished or demeaning your capabilities. Rather, you are expanding your potential. We have incredible limitations on our time; if all ideas stop with us, very little will ever get done. And, as intelligent as we may be, it takes the ideas of many to spark true brilliance. Collaboration fosters innovation. You cannot be cutting edge if your circle always depends on you to do the thinking. Proverbs 27:17 declares, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

When we let go of the focus on titles, positions and accolades, we set the tone for successful ideation and instill this characteristic in others, cultivating the next wave of leadership. This is humility at its best – productive and positive. It helps everyone in your orbit feel empowered to contribute to a collective vision, driving it forward rather than simply being passengers along for the ride. This is the how to dispense with Chiefs, big and small, and focus instead on building a better team.  



About the author:

Bishop Joseph Warren Walker, III is the pastor of the historic Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Nashville, Tennessee and Presiding Bishop of Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship International. In 1992 at the age of 24, Bishop Walker began his pastorate at Mt. Zion with 175 members, which has grown to over 30,000, and continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. He’s the author of the book called No Opportunity Wasted: The Art of Execution. You can connect with Bishop Walker at: https://www.josephwalker3.org/.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Why Managers Don’t Listen (Poor Listener Syndrome): and the Cures!


One of the most important skills for any manager is listening. Listening demonstrates respect, concern, an openness to new ideas, empathy, compassion, curiosity, trust, loyalty, and receptivity to feedback – all considered to be qualities of an effective leader.

Listening isn’t rocket science. We are born with the ability to listen, yet somehow managers, at some point in their careers, seem to forget how to use this natural born gift. Listening is one of the most consistently lowest rated behaviors in 360 degree feedback assessments for managers. It’s a management disease – Poor Listener Syndrome (PLS)!

Actually, it’s not just managers that don’t listen – it’s also employees, husbands, wives, kids, students, teachers, and just about human being with two ears. However, this is a management and leadership resource, so we’ll stick with listening in the context of a management skill.

So if listening is such an important management skill and it’s an ability we were born with, why do so many managers get feedback that say they are poor listeners?
That’s an issue I’ve explored with several managers when I review their 360 assessment results. Here are the seven most frequent reasons, and a prescription for each cause:

1. They don’t know they are poor listeners – it’s a blind spot. A behavioral blind spot is the gap between our intentions and our behaviors. We see ourselves as a good listener, but others don’t. Given that candid feedback is such a rare commodity, we are clueless about our flaws until they are pointed out by others. And even when they are, we sometimes still deny they exist (fight or flight).

The cure: Get some feedback. Feedback is a gift, and awareness is the key to self-development.

2. They don’t understand the value of listening. I’ll often have to spend time explaining the impact of poor listening to managers, either in a coaching session or in a training class. Sometimes I’ll demonstrate it. At some point, the light goes on, and for the first time in their lives they get it. These are the same managers who are often having issues in their personal lives, with their friends and family, and poor listening is often the culprit.

The cure: Read the research, discuss the importance of listening with others, and experience the positive effects when you focus on improving your listening skills!

3. They don’t know how to listen. Managers often get low scores in listening but insist they understand the importance of listening and that they DO listen. While this may be true (good intentions), others see behaviors that convey a lack of listening.

The cure: Listening skills are relatively easy behaviors to learn, with a little awareness and practice. They include:
·         Making eye contact
·         Head nodding
·         An open posture
·         Leaning forward
·         Arms uncrossed
·         Using encouraging phrases such as “go on”, “tell me more”, “uh uh”, or anything to show that you are paying attention
·         Paraphrasing (repeating back in your own words to check for understanding
Take a short course, read a book, observe others, practice, and get feedback. Like any new skill, it will feel unnatural at first, but with deliberate practice, the skill soon becomes a habit.

4. They are impatient, smart, or easily distracted. OK, these are actually three separate, but sometimes related causes. Highly successful, intelligent,  type A managers often find it difficult to slow down and take the extra time to listen. They jump ahead and want to finish someone’s sentence, use hand gestures to speed someone along, or their minds start racing on to other issues and thoughts. Smartphone checking is a symptom of this impatience and habitual multi-tasking.

The cures: Shut the door, turn off the smartphone, focus, and give the person in front of you 100% of your attention. Think of it as a gift, and observe the difference in how others respond.

5. They listen selectively. This reason is one of the most common, and becomes apparent with 360 degree assessment results. The manager shows high in listening for the boss and superiors, but low with peers or direct reports.

The cure: The skills are there- you just have to apply them consistently!

6. They don’t value people at all. Managers won’t admit this, but when they try to justify their low listening scores, it becomes apparent that they just don’t see value in paying attention to what others have to say. They just may not be interested in people. In the worst cases, it’s extreme arrogance.

The cure: Fake it until you make it. If you can convince a manager that it is in their own selfish self-interest to at least pretend that they are listening, they might be willing to mimic listening behaviors. Yes, it’s not authentic, and some people will see through it, but sometimes if you practice a behavior long enough, you get good at it, and you start to become the behavior.

7. They have poor hearing. I know this from personal experience, when a caring manager told me that others were complaining that I didn’t listen to them. That, and my wife complaining that the TV was too loud.

The cause: get your hearing checked, and if you are told you need hearing aids (and can afford them), get it done. Your family and employees will appreciate it, and you’ll find out what you’ve been missing.

Need an executive coach that can work with you or your leaders to improve their listening skills? Or a half day training program? Please contact me to discuss!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

What if Serving Others Actually Serves You, too?


What if Serving Others Actually Serves You, too?

Guest post from S. Chris Edmonds:

The cashier at the checkout line at our local grocery store was literally singing. “Did you find everything you neeeedd?” was the next line in his obviously many-times-rehearsed “show,” and he smiled and laughed as he finished up. He most likely does not have had a high paying career as a cashier, but he does create a joyful work environment!

On a daily basis, can you say that your job brings you joy? Do you experience the pure pleasure of serving others beautifully, work well done, and cooperative interaction with team members? Do you relish the learning and discovery your work provides?

Or is work a source of consternation for you, with more politics than pleasure, more battles than beauty?

How about in the rest of your life? Do you experience the pure pleasure of serving others beautifully, work well done, and cooperative interaction with family members, friends, and neighbors, every day?

Or, not exactly?

Research on happiness (Happy Planet Index) and engagement (Towers Watson Global Workforce Study) indicates that people around the globe don’t experience well-being consistently at work or in their personal lives.

If you didn’t jump out of bed this particular morning excited about work, that doesn’t mean you should quit. But if you’re not genuinely inspired by your life and your work, you are likely eroding your well-being and life satisfaction.

I do suggest that you choose to refine your daily life to include activities that are aligned with your purpose and values, and that serve others well.

By adding engaging activities – slowly but intentionally – you increase your personal joy, service, and alignment. Even an hour a week will boost your positive well-being.
How shall you start? First, identify activities that meet three criteria: you love doing them, they genuinely serve others, and they’re not against local laws.
Second, identify current and possible avenues that would enable you to engage in those “high impact” activities.

Those activities might include things like:
     If you love learning and love books, create a book club. At work, try a monthly lunch meeting to review business books that might increase knowledge, efficiency, and teamwork.
     Volunteer at a local non-profit. Stock shelves at a food bank or serve meals at a homeless shelter.
     Start up a weekly music showcase at your local coffee house. Seek out musicians who would love to share their passions with a live audience.
     Volunteer at local events that inspire you. For example, every year since 1994 there has been a huge festival/conference called South By Southwest in Austin, TX. That three-week event requires 14,000 volunteers to help it run smoothly!

Third, don’t just think about engaging in these activities. DO them. Add at least an hour per week of your unique “high impact” activities, starting NOW.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to refine your life and work. Take the time to engage in activities you love and that serve others well – it’ll do you GOOD.

S. Chris Edmonds is a sought-after speaker, author, and executive consultant. After a 15-year career leading successful teams, Chris founded his consulting company, The Purposeful Culture Group, in 1990. Chris has also served as a senior consultant with The Ken Blanchard Companies since 1995. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including Amazon best sellers The Culture Engine and Leading at a Higher Level with Ken Blanchard. Learn from his blog posts, podcasts, assessments, research, and videos at http://drivingresultsthroughculture.com. Get free resources plus weekly updates from Chris by subscribing here

Thursday, September 27, 2018

My Friend Ohm (the Elephant)


Guest post from Brent Chapman:

I awoke from a 3 hour ride in the back seat of a Toyota sedan to the driver telling us we had arrived.  We stepped out of the car into the muggy, humid morning of a remote location 200 kilometers outside of Bangkok.  To my amazement, we were the only vehicle in the dirt parking area amongst a compound of small insignificant buildings and…elephants.  Lots and lots of elephants.  Elephants just walking around like they ran the place. (Later to find out, they actually do run the place.)

An Elephant Camp is a unique experience.  It is a collection of elephants either sold or leased to the camp. The camp trains and cares for the elephants, and allows tourists (like us) to come and visit, ride, and swim with them.  They are free to roam.  There aren’t any cages. The only exception were the baby elephants housed in a caged area.  Apparently it’s not a great idea to let a baby elephant run around unsupervised.  Imagine a 400 pound one-year-old that can move fast!?! They explained that one baby had run through the wall of a building on the property and collapsed it.

They led us in to first eat breakfast and then off to meet our elephants.  My elephant was named Ohm.  This was nothing like when you see elephants ridden at the zoo.  There were no baskets or ropes. It was just me and Ohm. They helped us get on the elephant.  They instructed us to hold on to something and advised we grab their ear lobes.  Awesome, I know I love it when a stranger tugs on my earlobes.

Then the real journey began.  They taught us the voice commands needed to control our elephant and told us to meet them down at the river. Huh?  As in, their big plan was to leave us alone with these gigantic adult elephants, and control them with the 5 minute training session we just got. To be fair, Ohm knew the route and I had to do very little but to hold on and pray I didn’t fall 10 feet off the back of my new friend.

Side note: Interesting fact, elephants are hairy.  They have prickly hair all over their neck and back and it’s uncomfortable to sit on.

The first few minutes were very intimidating and then I got comfortable. Ohm walked me around the compound (stopping to get a snack occasionally) and took me down to the river where we swam and played and it was an awesome experience.  I went from pure fear to one of the coolest experiences of my life…and all I did was take a chance.  I had confidence, I held back the fear, and I took a chance on myself (and Ohm).

And so is life…and more appropriately, this is how our day-to-day careers transpire.  We wake up to something we weren’t expecting.  An opportunity of an assignment, or an issue that we have to complete with either very little explanation or none at all.  And we are expected to succeed.  And our jobs depend on it.  And how do we do it?  We do it with confidence.  We trust what we know, we trust ourselves, we grab the task and we make it happen. And those are the moments that help us grow and learn and evolve.  Those accomplishments are the moments that we cherish and that we use to motivate us for the next challenge.

So, when you get to work this week and someone hands you your own version of taking Ohm down to the river for a swim – Don’t be afraid, jump on and enjoy the ride!

Brent Chapman, CIO of RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corp, is co-author, with Kevin Brungardt, of a forthcoming book on leadership and culture. Chapman was named to the Charlotte Business Journal's 2018 40 Under 40 and has also been a finalist for both the 2018 Dallas CIO of the Year and the 2018 Charlotte CIO of the Year. For more information, please visit www.brungardtchapman.com.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

How Effective is Your Communication?


Guest post from David Hiatt:

Lack of effective communication skills has done more to keep good people from being promoted into leadership roles than any other skill deficiency.  I hope I have your attention because in over 30 years of working with managers and organizations, my experience is that a lack of effective communication skills has kept very talented and skilled people from becoming leaders.  They have this great knowledge and skill set for the job requirements but communicating in a manner to get positive outcomes from others was sorely lacking.

Communication is a basic human need.  Interacting with other humans has been the core of human progress throughout the ages.  Isolation and lack of human interaction will emotionally, mentally, and physically debilitate a person; as will ineffective conversations.  On the other end of the spectrum, when you communicate effectively and achieve more positive outcomes you enhance your sense of well-being.  I don’t know about you, but I know that I would prefer to think and feel better.  

Just because two or more people are talking with each other does not necessarily mean they are communicating. Communication requires several key skills and components.  Key components include understanding yourself and others, creating agreements about the conversation, emotional involvement (or lack of), attitude and beliefs, and your comfort zone. Skills include listening, and questioning.  If you want to achieve more positive outcomes with co-workers, or family and friends the above skills and components will improve your communication.

Understanding the other person can be key.  When you can identify the behavioral style or preferences of the other people with whom you communicate you are better able to adapt your message in such a way that the other people have a better chance of understanding you.  An example of this would be communicating with a Dominant Style who prefers, direct, to the point, task-oriented interactions and you want to chit-chat about the weather.  That Dominant person will not be engaged, and the odds of a positive outcome diminish. 

Another way to understand the others with whom you communicate is to determine if they are being emotional, judgmental, or just exchanging information; and then being self-aware enough to make sure that you are nurturing and sharing information without judgement or emotion.  It is okay to care enough to want a positive outcome but if you attempt to communicate when simply reacting to your or the other person’s emotions it is not unusual to find yourself in a shouting match with negative outcomes.

I have found that when you set goals and expectations for the important conversations you tend to get better results. What I mean is that the conversation should have an agreed upon purpose, confirmation of the time allotted, agreed upon agendas and expectations of people engaged in the conversation, and a goal or outcome at the end of the conversation.  When you add the component of a mutual agreement at the beginning of those important conversations you are better able to control the direction and therefore the outcome of the conversation.

Emotional involvement is double-edged.  As I mentioned earlier, you want to care enough to accomplish a positive outcome at the end of the conversation, yet you should not be communicating emotionally.  If you are communicating from your emotional ego-state, you will not be able to think objectively or to listen clearly.  Emotions will always cloud your thinking and cause you to say or to respond in a manner that will result in a less than positive outcome.

Your attitude and beliefs are intertwined with your self-concept and create your view of reality.  The important thing to remember is that the other person or people with whom you are communicating will not have the same view.  According to each person’s view, they are right.  Whatever beliefs you were taught or acquired throughout your life will become your definition of normal.  Your subconscious’ job is to keep you normal, whatever normal means to you.  Do a self-assessment of your attitudes and beliefs and decide which are still appropriate as an adult and which are hurting your efforts to be a more effective communicator.

Listening is a skill that much has been written about.  I urge you to read as much as you can on listening skills.  My experience has taught me that listening is much more than just looking at the other person and nodding my head! I must make sure that I am understanding what they are saying and the intention behind it.  This means the good listening skills should include good questioning skills. When you are unsure of what the other person is asking or saying you must ask them to clarify.  Be careful.  Your belief that it is rude to ask so many questions may prevent you from asking the key questions for real understanding, which, by the way, is what real listening is about.

David Hiatt is author of FROM THE BOARDROOM TO THE LIVING ROOM:  Communicate With Skill For Positive Outcomes. After 10 years of owning and operating a successful Sandler Training center, he was recruited by Sandler corporate to handle the bulk of national and international training through the Global Accounts division. With a BA and Masters in Communications, he is a passionate and energetic program leader who is truly concerned with helping others to grow, develop, and communicate.

Monday, September 17, 2018

How to Address Sticky Workplace Office Etiquette Issues


A Pennsylvania man was allegedly fired for farting too much at work. Seriously. Apparently he had some medical issues, and he’s now suing his former employer.

Given that I write advice for managers, my immediate reaction to this story was to put myself in the manager’s shoes who had to deal with this sensitive breach of office etiquette. How would you like to have that conversation?

According to the lawsuit, it went something like this: "We cannot run an office and have visitors with the odor in the office," and "We are having complaints from people who have problems with the odors." 

Unfortunately, as a manager, chances are, at some point in your career, you will have to deal with some kind of office etiquette issue. While it may not be excessive farting, it may be one of these:

1. Swearing. No, I’m not talking about politically incorrect language, although that seems to be making the headlines too these days. I’m talking about dropping “F-bombs” at work. Some would say that swearing at work depends on the culture. I happen to disagree. In my opinion, the use of the F word has no place in any work environment. A manager’s use of language sets a good or bad example, and overlooking it is the same as condoning it. Just be aware that the swearing may be a medical condition.

2. Too much aftershave or perfume. This one’s pretty common – it’s “that guy” who shows up for work in the morning after dousing himself with his favorite man-spray. This one’s a little more subjective, as some people are more sensitive to strong smells than others. I would tend to overlook it and chalk it up as more of a “pet peeve” (unless another employee is allergic to such odors). After all, the smell does eventually dissipate, and it’s not as bad as …….

3. Body odor and bad breadth. This one depends on type of work environment (outdoors vs. indoors), type of work (physical labor vs. office work) and proximity to co-workers and customers. And again, odor is subjective. While probably more than a pet peeve but perhaps not as serious as excessive farting, it’s something that a manager could at least discuss with the employee. The employee may not even know and again, it could be a medical condition.

4. Talking too loud. We had one of these at a former company I worked at. He was great at his job and a super nice guy. However, employees didn’t want to sit next to him because he was so loud on the phone. While there are some workarounds to this kind of thing, the manager may need to have a discussion about use of “indoor vs. outdoor” voice. It becomes even more of an issue if the loud phone calls are not even work related, i.e., arguing with a spouse or having an argument with the cable company.

5. Dress code violations. Some employees just don’t seem to know the difference between dressing for work and dressing for a night out clubbing. If just an individual employee, the issue can be handled with a little coaching on how to dress appropriately at work. Or, you may have to establish a formal dress code policy.

For any of these sceneries, you first need to decide if the issue is just a “pet peeve” or a legitimate performance issue. See Are You Managing or Just Nagging? to learn more.

Here are two acid test questions:

1. Can I make a clear connection between the behavior (or lack of) and the performance output?

2. If the behavior doesn’t stop (or start), are you willing to take progressive disciplinary action, up to and including termination?

If your answer is “yes” to both, then it’s a performance issue, and needs to be dealt with. See How to Discuss an Employee Performance Problem to learn how.

In any of these scenarios, I would suggest that the manager consults with their human resources representative. They all contain potential landmines (ADA, harassment, discrimination, etc.), so it’s better to be cautious and smart instead of making a mistake that gets you and your company in legal hot water.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Leaders Returning to their First Love

Guest post by Janet Britcher:

Entrepreneurship: Exploring


When professionals demonstrate excellence in their chosen field, they are often promoted to
leadership, leaving behind their foundational expertise and for some, their first love. Some scientists give up the joys of the lab, some physicians the satisfaction of clinical work with patients, some cooks give up the creativity in the kitchen, for leadership or entrepreneurship. Can you have it all? I recently interviewed restaurant co-owner Rob Evans. He and his wife Nancy Pugh own and run the wildly successful Duckfat Restaurant in Portland Maine.

Leadership Learning

Due to the growth of his restaurants, Rob Evans developed leadership skills which enabled him to move out of the kitchen. He was motivated to learn how to be a good leader to keep serving more customers. Working with consultants from GISC, he deepened his commitment to quality workplace by honing his own management skills. In order to delegate more effectively, he arranged for his managers to develop their leadership skills further as well. Despite a natural tension between the front of the house and the kitchen (in other industries, that tension is between operations and sales) his retention rate is unusually high, over 80% of employees have been there over five years.

Entrepreneur: Return to the First Love

Now in addition to Duckfat, Rob has been called by his love of cooking back to the kitchen. Entrepreneurs are creators and risk takers, and by building a strong management team, Rob was able to consider what else he wanted for his role. Prior to opening Duckfat in 2006 with his wife Nancy Pugh, they owned and managed a high-end restaurant, Hugo’s. So he knows a range of restaurant offerings.

This new opportunity provides space for a production kitchen to support the high volume in the small space of Duckfat. In addition, he has a creative new offering: Duckfat Frites. It is located next to a Brewery, Oxbow, where customers can buy a beer and then order Belgian style Frites to go.  The production space is new, the informal partnership with a brewery is new, and the take-out window for Duckfat Frites is new. Entrepreneurs thrive on creativity and all leaders need to find ways to tap into innovation and make time for activities which are energizing.

His motivation?  “I wanted to be back in the kitchen, and developing my managers enabled me to do that. Duckfat serves up to 800 customers a day, in peak season. In order to be able to serve that many people, and coordinate our 40 employees, we need a good management structure and systems. We have worked hard to create that. Now I’m ready for a return to the hands-on work in the kitchen.”

Transplanting Culture

The new location, Duckfat Frites, has its own culture. Initially Rob thought it would be a copy of their successful Duckfat culture, but the nature of the work they do, the location and the space have combined to create something different. Still good, still positive and connected, yet with its own flair. Culture is hard to transplant, as any company which has been through a merger can attest. What did transfer was the positive spirit and collegiality.

Keeping Vibrant

Some leaders find the move into management to be satisfying expansion of skills, and discover a new passion for strategy, developing others, and leveraging impact. Others long for their prior kind of work, where they had expertise and more hands-on satisfaction. Either one can represent career advancement and development. I’m a fan of playing to strengths, and spending time and energy where there is creativity and passion. That plus focus translates into success, on either path. Some fortunate leaders like Rob Evans find a way to combine both.

Some executives ask, how do I know which would be better? As an executive coach, I have seen that self-reflection has a big payoff. It’s important to nourish what is enlivening, whether that’s through growth, expansion, diversification or a return to your first professional love.  For those who invest in reflection and self-awareness, it’s even possible to combine both.

Janet Britcher, MBA, is President of Transformation Management LLC in Boston. She offers executive coaching, leadership workshops, and retreat facilitation. www.transformationmanagement.com.

Monday, September 10, 2018

50 Development Ideas for the 9 Box Performance and Potential Matrix

When using the performance and potential matrix (9 box) to assess leaders, some organizations will assess each employee, then discuss development at a follow-up meeting, or worst case, not at all.

An emerging best practice is to discuss specific development strategies for each employee as a part of the assessment discussion. That way, information concerning strengths and weaknesses is fresh in everyone’s minds and it’s a natural transition to move to strategies to move each employee to the next level of readiness.

While there may not be time to discuss every employee on the 9 box grid, high potential employee development should be discussed. These are the employees that will probably end up on succession planning lists, so it makes sense to involve the entire leadership team in brainstorming development strategies for these employees.

Here are general development guidelines for each of the nine boxes. These are of course just general guidelines, and judgment needs to be applied depending on context and the unique needs of the individual leader.

I would also caution against the temptation to come up with cute labels for each of the nine boxes (i.e., “rising stars”, or “steady performers”), or a list of descriptive characteristics for each of the nine boxes. These labels and/or descriptors will typically just cause confusion and add little value to the discussion.

1A (high potential, high performance):

·         Stretch assignments, things they don’t already know how to do, assignments that take them beyond their current role; high profile, where stakes are high

·         Give them a “start-up” assignment, something no one has done, a new product, process, territory, etc…

·         Give them a “fix-it” assignment, a chance to step in and solve a problem or repair someone else’s mess

·         Job change, rotations, job swaps, - an opportunity to experience a brand new role, short term or long term

·         Help them build cross-functional relationships with other A players

·         Find them a mentor – at least one level up. Provide an internal or external coach
Access to exclusive training opportunities

·         Access to meetings, committees, etc… one level up; exposure to senior managers, VPs; advisory Councils, Board of Directors

·         Watch out for signs of burnout

·         Watch for signs of retention risks; know how to “save” a hi-po

·         Next level up exposure, responsibilities, shadowing

2A (high performance, moderate potential):

·         Development activities similar to 1A

·         Difference is often degree of “readiness” for larger roles. Development is preparation for longer term opportunities

·         Continue to assess for potential

3A (high performance, limited potential):

·         Ask what motivates them and how they want to develop

·         Provide recognition, praise, and rewards

·         Provide opportunities to develop in current role, to grow deeper and broader capabilities and knowledge

·         Provide honest feedback about their opportunities for advancement if asked

·         Watch for signs of retention risks; know how to “save” a “hi-pro” (high professional)

·         Ask them to mentor, teach, and coach others

·         Allow them to share what they know, presentations at company meetings, external conferences, to be “the highly valued expert”

1B (good/average performance, high potential):

·         Development activities similar to 1A

·         Difference is current performance level

·         Focus more on competency gaps that will move them from B to A performance; good to great performance

·         Provide candid feedback and express your confidence

2B: (good/average performance, moderate potential):

·         May not be eager or able to advance; don’t push them, allow them to stay where they are

·         Continuously check-in regarding willingness to advance, relocate

·         Provide occasional opportunities to “test” them

·         Provide stretch assignments

·         Provide coaching and training

·         Help them move from “good to great”

·         Tell them they are valued

·         Listen to their ideas

·         Praise their accomplishments

·         Trust them

3B (good/average performance, limited potential):

·         Combination of performance management, training, and coaching to help them move from “OK to good”

·         Provide honest feedback about their opportunities for advancement if asked

1C (poor performance, high potential):

·         Find out the root cause of poor performance and together develop an action plan to improve

·         Consider moving the high potential to a different role (may have been a poor fit)
Provide additional support, resources

·         Look for ways to “attach” to 1As, 1Bs, or 2As

·         After a “reasonable” period of time, if performance does not improve, then re-examine your potential assessment

2C (often used for leaders too new to rate):

·         Focus is on onboarding, orientation, relationship building

·         Provide a peer mentor

·         Provide formal new leader training
 
3C (poor performance, limited potential):

·         Use a performance management approach, not a developmental approach
Improvement action plan vs. an IDP

·         Clarify expectations

·         Identify and remove “blockers”, poor performers that are standing in the way of high potentials

·         Provide clearly defined goals

·         Be explicit about the ways in which they must improve

·         Provide remedial coaching and feedback

·         After trying all of the above, after a ”reasonable” amount of time, move the person out of the role. Dismiss or move to individual contributor role

Need help with your own talent review meeting and creating robust leadership development plans? I’ve run hundreds of them. Contact me to discuss.