Triangle PerformanceAT C-LEVEL - January 2008
In this issue
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FROM THE TOP
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STRATEGY & LEADERSHIP
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Monkey see, Monkey do...
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MUSINGS
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Hey, how much do you make??
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How can I motivate without a budget?
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So, retention is hard, is it?
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Printable Version
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From the Top

Welcome to 2008. A new year, a new beginning. Let's take advantage of that now.

Use this as the impetus to do something bold. Implement real performance management; align your compensation and incentives appropriately, no matter how big the sacred cow; start developing those leaders today, before even more time passes.

To borrow a Texas rodeo term, "Come outta the shoot runnin' " in 2008.

Do something bold.

As always, I welcome your perusal and gratis downloads of the new and relevant material (articles, papers, etc.) on the website, and don't forget to check out my blogs; several recent entries:

On Leadership: includes comments on Managing by Email...

On HR: discusses employment references, and 'automatic crap' (you'll have to read it to understand the phrase!)...

As always, I hope this finds you well, both personally and professionally, and that All is Great in 2008!

Warm Regards,

D. Kevin Berchelmann

D. Kevin Berchelmann
President
Triangle Performance, LLC
www.triangleperformance.com
kevinb@triangleperformance.com
281.257.4442

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Strategy & Leadership
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Monkey see, Monkey do...
-- Leading by example

A funny thing... when speaking with leaders and managers in most companies, you'll hear the same thing: "We should lead by example." Well, yes, but...

You already lead by example. All leaders lead by example, every single waking day. The question is what kind of example, good or bad? Setting some example is merely a function of coming to work.

We create examples in ways not always obvious. For example: in our expectations of others, when we allow abhorrent behavior -- behavior not otherwise condoned or supported -- to go unchecked by a select few, rest assured that others will see and emulate. And don't ask me why (a Psychologist, I'm not), but the worse the behavior, the more widespread the perceived acceptance.

And don't kid yourself; merely because you think everyone knows something is inherently wrong, doesn't mean they won't still do it anyway when they see it's okay for others to do it (and yes, acquiescence is the same as acceptance). Here's a real world example...

I was at the Master's golf championship in Augusta, Georgia earlier this year. Now many of you know this, but the people who run Augusta National (the Club) are fanatic about their rules. Positively loony about 100% enforcement, all the time, no matter what.

So, we were in line to get in, early one morning, for a practice round. One of the rules is "no hard-seated chairs." You can carry in a wide variety of seats, camping chairs, lawn chairs, etc., provided they have soft seats. The reason, of course, is that they don't want you later standing on those seats, blocking the pristine Augusta views from others.

Well, you knew it would happen... just in front of us was a group of 3 guys. They saw the signs, discussed it quietly amongst themselves, then decided they'd give it a shot -- that they wouldn't get caught.

Wrong -- cold-busted.

The gate marshal came up to the guy carrying the chair, and stated flatly, "that can't come inside the grounds." To which this 40-something adult male responded, "Well, why can HE do it, then???" ...all the while pointing to another gentleman's chair about 15 feet in front.

That's right -- his complete rationale for doing what he knew to be wrong was, "someone else is doing it, and you haven't said anything to him." Don't kid yourself; this is not near as much an anomaly as we would like to believe.

The behavior we allow, we promote. No different than if we were modeling the behavior ourselves. Think about that when you feel like it's just too much trouble to correct some seemingly isolated (but negative) behavior in your staff. If it's a non-negotiable -- something that simply cannot occur -- you must address it, and get a commitment to stop the errant actions.

If not, get prepared -- it'll spread like wildfire, and you are largely, personally responsible.

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Musings
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Hey, how much do you make??

WorldatWork (the ridiculous name for the "Association formerly known as the American Compensation Association) conducted a survey in conjunction with Salary.com; the result? The nationwide median for small-business CEOs (<500 employees) is $233,500, while middle-market firm CEOs (500-5,000 employees) make $503,400.

CEOs at the really big boys (>5,000 employees) average around $849,375.

These are base salaries, and exclude other forms of cash and non-cash compensation.

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How can I motivate without a budget?

Simple -- use your leadership skills and lead. Some simple tips to consider...

  • Be honest and become really trustworthy. Do what you say you'll do.
  • Remember always: You are not responsible for a person's happiness.
  • Give praise promptly and specifically when it is due.
  • Root out poor management; it's a huge drain on staff morale, adversely affecting business performance.
  • Address poor/non-performance quickly, fairly and unemotionally.
  • Give your team flexibility, and the room to do their work. Not many people work better with micro-management...
  • Create a compelling, energizing vision of your future.
  • Send handwritten notes. Thank yous, Birthdays, Company Anniversaries, or simply for motivation and/or encouragement.

Remind people that you -- their leader -- are there, and there for them.

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So, retention is hard, is it?

I don't think so. Do you know one of the most powerful questions to ask those employees whose retention is important to your company? How about this, "What can we do -- today -- to keep you with us?"

That's right, don't overcomplicate a simple process.

Ask.

Another great question... "Help me here...if you had my job, what are the first three things you would do?" Fantastic question, but not for the faint-hearted. You may hear some things that reflect directly on your core responsibilities. Better yet, have someone from outside your organization ask a few of these questions. One client of mine did, and received more information than they anticipated.

Good, necessary information. That they otherwise would not have had available to them.

Also, are you performing Exit Interviews at all? If not, you should realize...no matter what you think, feel, or believe...you do not know why people leave your organization.

You can't fix something unless you know what's broken...

Turnover doesn't just happen; it occurs for one or more very real reasons.

Be realistic; if you really knew exactly what was causing your employee turnover, you would already have implemented actions to correct or stop, right? There are dozens of current surveys for this, and I won't quibble about which one is "most" right. Suffice to say that the top 5 reasons employees leave a company include:

  • Their relationship with their immediate supervisor.
  • Compensation and/or benefits that aren't competitive (note: I did NOT say they are leaving for "more money").
  • No connection between their efforts and rewards.
  • Lack of appreciation, recognition, rewards, and leadership motivation.
  • No career developmental opportunities.

Some surveys put money toward the top (non-competitive money, not simply "more"); most put immediate supervisors and the disconnect between performance and rewards in the top 3.

Find out what is really causing your turnover; determine what you can do to increase retention among those you need to retain (wish the others well), and implement some of those things now. 2008 will be nearly a mirror of 2007 in difficulty of recruiting competent talent. You need a process to keep them once we find them...

What does your company look like?

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© 2008 Triangle Performance, LLC
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