Triangle Performance
JANUARY 2009
In this issue
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FROM THE TOP
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STRATEGY & LEADERSHIP
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Set Goals, Make Plans, Execute
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MUSINGS
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Talent Management:
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Printable Version
PRINTABLE VERSION
Click here to download an easily printable, PDF version of this newsletter.
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LINKS FOR THE MONTH
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The Missing Leader -- A how-to guide
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Give it to Me Straight -- Protecting the messenger
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Stealth Communications -- I'm just sayin'...
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Berchelmann Blog
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From the Top

Well, you're probably tired of hearing it by now, but "Happy New Year!" nonetheless...

2008 was an interesting year, as we watched a challenging economy, an eventful election, and other rare dynamics (can you say "bail-out?") occur as near-commonplace.

I'm not much into typical New Year's resolutions, but I am big on setting specific, measurable goals then violently pursuing them. Work with your staffs; set realistic (but stretch) goals, help them develop a plan for completion -- a real plan, complete with milestones, measurements and dates -- then let them know clearly that you intend to manage toward that performance in 2009.

Don't let the pundits and nay-sayers make you believe all the hype; check your own environment before buying into the "woe is me" stuff. The reality is (and this is a good conversation to have with your sales folks), if any in your industry are succeeding, thriving, or growing... and you aren't... it's not the economy. It's performance.

In these dynamic times, your managers and leaders have more impact than ever before. Are you making sure they are prepared for such weighty responsibilities? Do they really understand what that accountability means, and how they can best live up to new, higher standards?

If not, then here comes another Star Trek quote... Make it so!

Feel free to read several recent articles that may be of some assistance:

The Missing Leader -- A how-to guide,

Give it to Me Straight -- Protecting the messenger, and

Stealth Communications -- I'm just sayin'...

...and don't forget to check out my blog; please comment, complain, or scream at me if you agree, disagree, or just want your opinion read, seen, and heard. Some interesting posts on pay for performance (vs. breathing) and why getting "pick of the litter" is not necessarily a good thing.

Berchelmann's Blog

As always, I hope this finds you well, personally and professionally; please give me a call if I can ever help in any way, and feel free to forward this to anyone you feel may be interested.

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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return to top
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Set Goals, Make Plans, Execute.
-- Rinse and repeat...

Make no mistake, we either plan for our success or we decide to accept blind, dumb luck. There's little in-between the two.

I'm assuming we've gnashed, argued, hypothesized, and agreed on our overall, corporate strategies, directions, and goals. If not, you lose your turn. Go back to the beginning, and complete that part first. Call me if you need help.

Here, I'm referring more to functional planning -- those events and efforts that make up the tactical and operational side of things.

Why do we set goals?
(1) They are the cornerstone of improvement;
(2) They can act as motivators for our folks to set targets for personal performance and achievement;
(3) They help us focus on a common purpose and direction.
(4) Most importantly, goals translate strategy -- often vague and somewhat conceptual -- into actionable plans and commitments.

Of course, goals aren't simply "wishes." Nor can they succeed without structure; a goal without a deadline, for instance, is just a dream. So, then, what are the components of effective, successful goals? Here's my spin on the "SMART" goals process...

First, they are clear, concise, and actionable. People inside and outside our functional organization can easily understand them, and we can describe them succinctly to others.

Next, they are inextricably tied to one of the levers of the organization. In other words, regardless of functional area (HR, Sales, IT, etc...), each and every functional goal clearly ties in to a specific goal, direction, or strategy of the organization.

No goal, no matter how noble-sounding, should exist without a direct tie-in to the success and strategy of our overall business.

Finally, these goals must be measurable, and the metrics (including milestones) should be clearly identified in advance. Agreed dates, numbers, quantitative results (or specific qualitative measures) must be understandable, "track-able" (new word), and specific. They are not rife with such words as "better," "more," or "improved" without the data to support such adjectives.

Then, throughout the upcoming year, manage to those measurements.

We need specific goals to chart the course for successful execution of strategy, so give them the attention they deserve, now or in the very immediate future.

Remember:

        "A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect
        plan next week."

                 -- General George S. Patton

But that's just me...

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Musings
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return to top
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Talent Management:
-- Hire 'em slow, whack 'em fast

Talent Management is a broad field of interest -- much more than simply recruiting and employment, as it's typically defined today. It includes creating "fit," culture management, employee and leadership development, and succession planning.

It's one big enchilada.

The beginning, however, is always the same. We hire someone, by some method.

The ending, of course, is also always the same. Someone leaves. Either voluntary (simple departure, retirement, transfer), or we whack 'em for one reason or another.

So, hiring and terminating become the bookends to Talent Management. The Yin and the Yang, so to speak. So, then, let's make sure we give them the attention they deserve.

When hiring: Select via (in order) "fit" to the organization, basic skills, knowledge, and abilities, a sufficient intellect to learn your firm's way of doing things (now and in the future), and the potential to grow and improve.

Take your time; realize that simply selecting the "best" out of a pool of otherwise unqualified candidates represents a "pick of the litter" way of thinking. The problem there, of course, is that with pick of the litter, you're still getting a dog.

Take enough time to get a fully qualified candidate (not necessarily "best" qualified) that fits your organization with the snap to do more in the future. Rushing this step is a clear recipe for an unnecessary turnover -- you've seen it countless times before.

Fire violently. Assuming you've tried, coached, cajoled and motivated... when it's clear to you that there is little hope for improvement in an acceptable length of time, don't delay the necessary action for one more minute. Whack 'em immediately.

The employee, believe it or not, will be better for it in the long run, his or her co-workers will understand clearly that "performance matters" around here, and the organization will be better for the decision overall.

Don't delay the inevitable in a quest for "nice."

Talent Management, as I mentioned above, has many components. Hiring & Terminating may not be the most sexy, or even the most impactful for short-term results.

They are, however, the real bookends of Talent Management, and frankly, are the only two over which we are able to exercise almost complete control.

Let's exercise that control to our advantage.

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© 2009 Triangle Performance, LLC
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