Management Possible®

You Too Can Get Fivefold Productivity Increases

You Too Can Get Fivefold Productivity Increases

GE is Getting “Fivefold Productivity Increases”

So Can You!

“At its core, the approach depends on continuous dialogue and shared accountability. Rather than a formal, once-a-year review, managers and their direct reports hold regular, informal ‘touchpoints’ where they set or update priorities that are based on customer needs. Development is forward looking and ongoing; managers coach rather than critique; suggestions can come from anyone in an employee’s network.”

Communications skills and coaching skills are at the heart of what is slowing becoming a “ditch the formal performance review” revolution. We all know formal reviews are time consuming and meaningless for the most part; not to mention expensive in terms of time. Large and small companies are gaining more ground in terms of improved performance overall by leveraging management and project relationships and relying less and less on formal, cumbersome process and expensive technologies.

And results of this change are showing up within months not years.

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Get Clear About Coaching. Build Leadership Daily

Get Clear About Coaching. Build Leadership Daily

The coaching marketplace is confusing; and how coaching is defined is varied. This in and of itself can absolutely influence the kind of success you have at implementing a successful coaching strategy and/or standard and, more importantly, it’s overall impact. The impact is critical because excellence in managerial coaching can deliver tomorrow’s prepared and effective leaders.

Let’s make it as simple as possible right out of the gate: Coaching is NOT performance management. While there are some skills that overlap (like analyzing performance and feedback) it is not the same thing. The outcomes are completely different. The conversations are completely different. This skills sets are also very different. It’s the same with “management” and “leadership.” A lot of organizations have taken to calling management staff “leaders” in an effort to promote the thinking that they do lead no matter where they are located in the business. But when you break it down to what the actual work of leading is versus the actual work of management, there are distinct and critical differences. The same goes for “coaching” and “performance management” – distinctive and critical differences.

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Monday Morning MashUp: Why Managers Don’t Coach

Monday Morning MashUp: Why Managers Don’t Coach

Many organizations invest time and effort to train managers in not just managing but how to coach their direct reports. They do so with the expectation that, if given the tools, (coaching models and techniques) managers will effectively use and implement them resulting in stronger teams and, subsequently, more successful units, divisions and companies.

However, many companies become frustrated because – while they’ve done all the right things to position their managers for success – success is not achieved. How can this be? Because a lot of those trained managers don’t coach. Or won’t coach. Why?

It’s Outside the Comfort Zone

Most managers are quite comfortable providing guidance on how to perform the technical aspects of a job better, or talking about process and results. Conversely, many managers are apprehensive when broaching broader and, potentially more candid, conversations regarding someone else’s developmental challenges and goals.

It’s when managers get into the “soft stuff” – giving staff feedback on setting realistic career goals or making suggestions on how to improve interpersonal impact – that’s where the difficulties arise.

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Monday Morning MashUp – Have I Got The Right Person for the Job?

Monday Morning MashUp – Have I Got The Right Person for the Job?

Have I Got the Right Person for the Job?!

How often do you or your management team ponder this question? Sometimes it’s more than you know – especially if your company is growing, expanding or merging. It happens consistently during a leader’s first 90 days in a new role. And then, of course, when you’re looking for new candidates for the company or to transition an existing employee into a new role. It’s a fundamentally nagging question. And it’s costing millions annually for businesses who are getting it wrong.

To answer effectively, correctly even, is akin to alchemy – a “personal blend” of experience, impression, need, connection, bias, maybe a work sample and science.

Some people’s “blends” are better than others; which can only be proven via living through the results of their decisions – taking the leap and making the investment. It’s a lot like high-stakes gambling, where the odds are based on things that are completely personal and subjective with only a tiny bit of reliable science and zero math.

So how about increasing the one reliable element?

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Monday Morning MashUp: Employee Engagement

Monday Morning MashUp: Employee Engagement

The Workplace Courtship

Engagement or Cold Feet?

Having recently attended a three day event about employee engagement, I was excited to learn about what companies were doing to successfully drive, increase and support what we’ve all come to know and appreciate as “employee engagement.” Here’s the takeaway: Engagement is purely a result. It’s not a strategy in and of itself. Most companies who are any good at getting engagement are really just feeling their way through until they realize they’ve got a good mix that’s actually working. It feels a little bit like organizational alchemy. But there are two key ingredients.

Engagement happens when a company can 1) effectively and consistently set and deliver on organizational and job role expectations with a line of sight to personal expectations. 2) Your organization lives up to it’s operational integrity – meaning that your company drives meaning outside the realm of “shareholder value.” For example, you have a philosophy and standards of performance around things like: sustainability, inclusiveness, service, design and innovation etc.  Engagement comes from actionable, discussed, reviewed and rewarded behaviors that bring the website, coffee mug and break room poster platitudes to life. Engagement is about making your organizational purpose “real.” So, when was the last time your top team talked about that?

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Voice of the Millennial – Respect and Engagement

Voice of the Millennial – Respect and Engagement

Respect and Engagement

Why I Do (Or Do Not) Respect My Manager

By William Long
Sometimes when I’m updating a resume or looking back on my employment history, I can’t help but think that I’ve been in high school for a decade, and here’s why: From the summer jobs that stretched from junior year in high school to super-senior in college, and from three years doing what felt like volunteer labor, I’ve changed jobs nearly every year. I’m still looking for the right fit. This is not a bad thing, by any means, but as a result, I have come to work alongside many people in management positions in many different types of work environments.

Fortunately, I can say that I’ve never been saddled by a manager who was overtly cruel, sadistic, psychotic, supremely apathetic or criminally absent from the workplace, but of course we’ve all heard stories to that tune. Some of my managers have certainly been better than others: I’ve worked for people who can and cannot communicate, collaborate, receive or give feedback and criticism, and for people with whom I also developed friendship or else learned to guard my tongue against all casualness. So what are the differences between a manager who can achieve the compliance of his or her subordinates, and someone who not only demands but earns whole-heartedly the respect of everyone in the office?

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Voice of the Millennial – Getting Skilled

Voice of the Millennial – Getting Skilled

Learning the Skills I Need

By William Long

Most of us need to take time to learn new skills, abilities, and even ways to describe the professional tracks that we set ourselves upon. With any field of work, there are going to be specifics that you simply can’t know until you get in there and learn them. To complicate that matter, for every one thing a new employee needs to learn, there seem to be a hundred different ways to teach it, and unfortunately, a learning style that works for one student may be completely disastrous for another. Mass gatherings in a lecture hall will leave people disconnected and may put them to sleep. On the other hand, personalized, one-on-one tutoring sessions will burn down both time and money. So, with regard to the Millennial generation, what seem to be the most effective strategies in teaching new skills to a generation of new professionals just now coming into the spheres of professional influence in the workforce?

As a Millennial myself, and as someone who has had a wide array of work experience, I have been to and participated in my fair share of conferences, webinars, pre-service orientations, lecture series, and workshops. Couple with all my years as a student, I have been exposed to most — if not all — of the methodologies of instruction that exist. I’d like to detail some of the styles of instruction that have worked best for me, but as previously mentioned, what worked best for me might not work for you.

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Monday Morning MashUp: Performance Reviews Still Suck

Monday Morning MashUp: Performance Reviews Still Suck

Performance Reviews Still Suck

Having been working with clients over the last couple months, Performance Reviews are the hot topic as they’ve been in the midst of evaluations and development plans. The fact that this exercise sucks for everyone involved isn’t news. However, I am surprised by the information I’ve seen in a recent study on Performance Management.  It starts out with:

Despite an understanding that talent is a source of competitive advantage — and the fact that performance management programs have been an established business practice for more than 50 years — organizations today still struggle to establish effective programs, according to Mercer’s latest Global Performance Management Survey. Performance management leaders from 1,056 organizations representing 53 countries indicate that their programs share a number of similar design components — and agree that these programs are not as effective as they could be.

Based on the numbers it looks like they might be a complete waste of time. And surely, this sentiment is not new, or sadly, shocking. We’ve become complacent with lousy performance management experiences. They’ve become the dreaded dental visit of management viewed as something we’ve gotta go do that gives us tons of anxiety and maybe some pain but it’ll be over in an hour (or 10 minutes in some cases) and we’ll have the news of how we’re doing with the requisite lecture on “you know, you really need to floss more.”

But really people, look at the numbers….. look how low the capability to effectively deal with performance in a one-on-one engagement is.

Performance Management Skills

It’s staggeringly low. It’s no wonder engagement is poor. I’ll tell you what is is staggering, “most of the essential tools and techniques of modern management were invented by individuals born in the 19th century, not long after the end of the American Civil War.” *WHAT?!

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