Triangle Performance
JULY 2008
In this issue
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FROM THE TOP
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STRATEGY & LEADERSHIP
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Plug & Play
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MUSINGS
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The times, they are a'changin'
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Printable Version
PRINTABLE VERSION
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From the Top

July -- in my Houston world -- is the middle of "dog days of summer." My car thermometer read 108 degrees yesterday, yet I had coffee on my patio that same morning and was reasonably comfortable. Seems the days are running, as much as possible in Houston, "hot and cold."

Do we have leaders in our organizations like that? Running hot and cold? One day (or minute) they set the world on fire, doing all the right things and kicking butt. The next, it's like some alien has taken over their body and they can't find that aforementioned butt with both hands...

What's up with that?

It's simple performance management, mixed in with effective leadership development. Consistency in leadership is an amalgam of skills, ability, and motivation. We can effectively impact at least two of those with our purposeful efforts. Maybe then we'll get more of the "hot" and less of the "cold?"

As always, I welcome your perusal and gratis downloads of the new and relevant material (articles, papers, etc.) on the website, including Coming Together: The people side of merger integration.

...and don't forget to check out my blog; feel free to comment, complain, or scream at me if you agree, disagree, or just want your opinion read, seen, and heard.

Berchelmann's Blog

A Sampling of Current Projects:
** Leadership development, in construction and manufacturing environments,
** Succession planning, for multiple levels of management,
** Leading several workshops in "Strategic Thinking" and "Effective Coaching,"
Search and recruitment for multiple management positions in technology, manufacturing, and construction industries, and
** Executive-level compensation plan design, and working on a gainsharing effort with a manufacturing firm.

As always, I hope this finds you well, personally and professionally; please give me a call if I can ever help in any way.

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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Plug & Play
-- "Fire and forget" leadership is a wonderful thing...

Good leaders are like "found money."

Really. Always remember that the key to successful leadership in any role -- yes, in any role -- is the "leadership" part. Technical skills are a dime-a-dozen.

I don't mean that technical skills are bad, or that they aren't valuable. But think about it... if you need an engineer, you have hundreds to pick from. A marketing gal, a thousand. A solid accountant or even CFO, just as many as the others. Heck, as much as it pains me to say this, even the "technical" side of my consulting skills isn't that difficult to find. {...insert Jedi mind trick here: you did not read that last sentence...!}

Leadership skills, however, are much more difficult to develop, measure, and to find. Think about how many times we've promoted some super-dooper professional or technical wizard into a management role and been disappointed. Did he/she forget their technical skills after the promotion? Check 'em at the door?

Hence my title for this piece. Plug-n-play leaders, those you can insert into almost ANY situation and get positive results, are more valuable to us than a half-dozen poor managers with mediocre or better technical skills.

Find them, develop them, and retain them. They are worth any effort.

"Fire and forget" is a military term, used mostly with internally-guided missiles. The pilot (or ground commander, depending) can "fire" this missile, then "forget" it. In other words, it doesn't take any additional guidance or direction en route to be successful. It has what it needs inside to hit its target.

In leadership parlance, this means we can point this manager to a problem, issue, or challenge, then go focus on something else worthy of our attention -- this particular challenge will be "handled," and with little-to-no additional guidance or direction on our part. He or she has what it needs inside to hit the target.

Think these sorts of managers are valuable? Are you kidding me?? We all hope to be blessed with just one; to have multiples of this sort is an anomaly akin to snow in Houston (I would say "in July," but it's just as unlikely to snow here in January...).

Look around. Assess your staff managers and leaders. Do any of them have management and leadership skills of this magnitude? I mean really? If they do, make sure you do whatever you must to keep them present, engaged, and motivated.

You can't replace 'em with a $300 posting on monster.com.

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Musings
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The times, they are a'changin'

Change is simple; just close your eyes, hold your breath, and wait. It happens.

Effective change management, on the other hand, takes some skill. From my view of the world, 3 things are necessary for senior executives to successfully drive positive change:

1. Belief and commitment. You gotta believe -- really believe -- that what you are doing is right and appropriate, using a variety of litmus tests. Mid-management, supervisors, and/or line employees will quickly detect if your commitment is anything but resolute.

Change management isn't for the weak at heart, so strap in, point the way, and hold the course (I always wanted to use that line).

2. Provide direction. Even if people can believe in your resolve, and even if they understand the basic need, they need real direction, from YOU, to know where to head. Don't expect overnight adjustment and buy-in to your newfound commitment for change; until that real buy-in occurs, they need a really good map -- a compass is probably a better word -- to help them start off in the right direction.

Point the way. With credibility.

If you don't have the credibility... well, I have some bad news. Your change efforts will not succeed.

3. Unqualified support for the cause. Pay attention here, this one's really, really important. Not only can you not afford to lose your focus (see "commitment" above), but you must insist others join in the quest.

You must insist.

Help them work through their issues, convince -- as best as possible -- for the need to change. At the end, though, the change must occur, and you must be prepared to make all those decisions necessary, some good, some tough, to make it happen.

Naysayers can be a fatal distraction. Disbelievers can poison an effective team. Misdirected managers can ruin the entire effort. Make sure you stay aware, and be prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure the focus is maintained by all.

The enemy (market, economy, industry, whatever) is upon us; we have work to do, and some unique challenges facing us.

Time to charge that hill... and like the real generals of old, organizations charge best and most successful when their leaders are out front.

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© 2008 Triangle Performance, LLC
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