Triangle Performance
FEBRUARY 2009
In this issue
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FROM THE TOP
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STRATEGY & LEADERSHIP
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See & Be Seen
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MUSINGS
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Your Own Economic Stimulus Plan
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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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Our Cheese has Wheels!
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Executive Teamwork
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Recesson Proof Leadership
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Berchelmann Blog
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From the Top

Stay focused.

In our currently challenging times, it's real easy to get distracted with things that mean little to our business, but can mean everything to our credibility as a leader.

There's a ton of change going on around us, and that can be disconcerting. As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, only two people really like change: those who control it, and those who benefit from it.

Most of us are accustomed to, at a minimum, controlling much of the change in our organizations. Now, there's a decent amount of change occurring around us, effecting our organization, that we likely don't completely control. I'm not touting "victim mentality" at all; merely that we may have a new degree of discomfort in not having a high degree of control over some of these changes and challenges.

Be cognizant of it -- your staff is watching. Your folks look to you for calm, direction, and demonstrated leadership. They can panic and worry without your help... they need you to be the positive example of leadership, setting the stage and direction for their efforts. Regardless of environmental challenges.

To make an obvious point, leading is easy until it isn't. These times require a special kind of leadership. One that commands attention, respect, and followership.

Be that kind of leader. And make sure those other leaders in the organization are equipped to do the same (see today's article on Stimulus).

Feel free to read a couple of articles that may be relevant:

Executive Teamwork - Why senior staffs must play well together, and

Recession Proof Leadership - 5 keys to managing through challenging times.

...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 "hottie factor" (maybe not what you think!), culture, bad attitudes, and pay for performance (vs. breathing).

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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See & Be Seen
-- Leading is about "people," like it or not...

Leadership is 100% about people. No matter your title, office size, paycheck or perks, you can't "lead" a building, a budget, a computer, a fleet, or a specific corporate "entity."

It's all about people.

Why, then, do we struggle so? I'll tell you why... comfort.

We're comfortable with those closest to us. In fact, they are closest to us because we're most comfortable with them. The circular reasoning here hurts my head.. stop that. Get out of your comfort circle, and go meet and speak with people in your organization with whom you may not currently feel so comfortable.

"Unapproachable." The one adjective I hear used most often with senior leaders, when speaking more than one reporting level below them. So, are you really unapproachable, or are you simply more comfortable with those closest to you and not making the effort to reach out?

Many senior leaders fail to do this because they feel they would be "getting into" their subordinate's business, and/or they just "don't know them." The former is a crock, and you know it; they are all "your people," so act accordingly. The latter -- well, you can take steps to correct that.

For instance... a client executive of mine has about 300+ people in his organization. No small feat when trying to "be approachable," right? Well, he created a photo organizational chart, complete with individual photographs for each person (instead of those highly personalized square powerpoint boxes).

Simply brilliant. Now, before he goes out to another office to "be approachable" and meet with many of those NOT in his "comfort circle," he bones up on each person's name, position, tenure and responsibilities. Not only does he have something to talk about when he meets them, but he actually shows real concern by knowing more than "hey, you!"

So, not only does this senior executive get points for personalization, think of the unfiltered information he has access to among those he meets? Things you don't typically hear about in your "updates" or staff meetings, I can assure you.

Again, simply brilliant. And, when you think about it, brilliantly simple.

I've said it a kazillion times (given the way we toss around "Billion" nowadays, I thought we needed a bigger reference number), leadership isn't difficult, unless we make it so.

But that's just me...

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Musings
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Your Own Economic Stimulus Plan
-- Change you can believe in...

We hear lots of talk about bailing out these people, bailing out those... now it's the "Economic Stimulus Plan."

Politics aside, let's get really personal about this, from your side of the business table. What can we do to implement an economic stimulus plan -- not for some esoteric, far-away industry, or for someone's too-rich bonus, but for you?

Just so happens, I have a couple of thoughts on the matter. Whouldathunkit, eh?

First, you can whack the low and sub-mediocre performers. You shouldn't have had them anyway, you shouldn't have kept them, and they certainly shouldn't be there now, given current conditions. Give 'em a chance, set the expectations, then show 'em the door.

I recently spoke with a close friend of mine, a senior military officer at the Pentagon. He referred to people like those mentioned above as, "A powerful anchor to an otherwise steaming vessel." That's a brilliant metaphor.

The organization -- be it department, function, or even shift, would move faster without this person. Employees like this aren't just a walking mass of low-productivity, they reduce productivity in others.

Every minute someone spends wondering why this slug is still here... why they must again pick up their slack... why you cannot see the lack of performance yourself... is likely TEN minutes (or more) of unproductive time.

Face it: you'd prefer they be gone, your staff would prefer they be gone, and they aren't productive enough to make a difference otherwise. If there's any advantage to our current economic environment, it's that these decisions should be easy. Save your emotional capital for someone who delivers value.

Next, develop your people. Especially anyone in a leadership capacity. Our expectations for this group are increasing exponentially; let's make sure their skills don't disappoint.

Leadership development -- effective leadership development -- is more important in times like this than ever before. Here's why:

We want them productive. See "slug" comment above. We want these people capable and demonstrating more results for the effort. Wishing won't make it so. Hope is a lousy management strategy.

Behavior change resulting from successful development represents tangible results.

Also, we want their subordinates to be productive. Productivity comes from several directions:

Knowledge -- our leaders need to make sure that employees are capable enough, continue to learn, and can broaden their base of available skills.

Motivation -- employees will (most of the time) certainly do enough to meet "satisfactory" requirements and expectations. Past that "minimum" is something I call discretionary effort. It's added efforts/results that the employee could do if properly motivated. Well-developed leaders see this, know it, and can drive it.

Empowerment -- not a catchy buzz-word, but really effective delegation. It's difficult even for those of us in senior roles; it's sometime completely out of reach for some of our undeveloped leaders. Empowered employees do more on their own, take initiative, and are less demanding to managers, freeing up their time for additional value.

So, be careful that we focus on the right things in these challenging times. Taking care of our leaders of all levels -- by developing and setting positive examples -- isn't just "nice," it's good for your business.

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© 2009 Triangle Performance, LLC
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