Triangle Performance
MARCH 2009
In this issue
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FROM THE TOP
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STRATEGY & LEADERSHIP
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Leadership Can Hurt
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MUSINGS
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She's Gotta Be a 10!
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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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2009 Survey of Senior Executives
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The 5 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
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Leadership Shake-up
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Recession Proof Leadership
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Berchelmann Blog
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From the Top

Stay focused... again.

That single line from last month's newsletter elicited almost a dozen responses. It's true, in times of constant distraction, it's sometimes hard to keep our eye on the ball.

Don't bury your head in the sand, but don't become a self-fulfilling prophecy, either.

We recently finished our 2009 Survey of Senior Executives. We had a great response to it, with a ton of narrative comments to go with the quantitative results, and I'll be sharing many of those comments over the coming months.

Interesting, to me anyway, is the continued concern that you all seem to have on talent management & development, even in the face of today's dynamic economy.

Yes, in today's funky environment, Revenue/Expense Management moved up 3 places to take the number one spot. But Finding, Developing, and Retaining Talent dropped only one position, to number two, in both the short-term and long-term.

I've found, through current clients and those potential clients I'm speaking with today, that developing people -- particularly leadership -- is probably more important now than ever. We expect more with less; to even think that may work means we have to have people -- especially leaders of all levels -- with the appropriate skills in the appropriate place.

But, quite obviously, you knew that already, didn't you?

Again, that link for Survey of Senior Executives.

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

The 5 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership -- and they're non-negotiable, folks!,

Leadership Shake-up -- 4 ways to "make things happen", and back by popular demand...

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 GM (an easy target), challenging times, and Nuts!

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. (Really!)

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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Leadership Can Hurt
-- But not nearly as much as the lack thereof...

Leadership is inherently fraught with risks; we can no more avoid them than we can the decisions that cause the concerns. Wringing our hands won't fix it, neither will running around the figurative circle waving our arms about.

I will say, I bet we get into more trouble by not making decisions than by making the wrong ones.

Years ago, I worked for a USAF Colonel named Scott Atkins. He would tell me frequently that, "If 25% of your decisions aren't wrong, you simply aren't making enough decisions."

I believe he was probably right (took me more than a "few" years to really realize it, though...).

Action -- well thought, purposeful action -- must always be rewarded over inaction.

Regarding action and failure, I always remember a couple of things:

1. Good people working for a strong, decisive leader can make a mediocre or near-poor decision into a rousing success.

I'm certainly not condoning mediocrity, but promoting action, and reminding us to surround ourselves with good people. They make the difference. They are the ones who make us look good.

Or not.

2. Sometimes, when we make a decision, we must immediately make another. It doesn't necessarily mean our first decision was dumber than dirt, it's just that the second one was made with additional information -- one more thing we now know that "didn't" work.

Think about it...

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Musings
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return to top
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She's Gotta Be a 10!
-- Ratings don't matter -- really!

I've talked about this, blogged about it, even written an article or two, but it comes up so frequently, I thought I'd mention it again.

I frequently -- FREQUENTLY -- am asked about performance reviews and their associated rating systems; how many, how defined, what descriptors to use, what if they don't fit some cosmically unique situation... you get the idea.

I always find this topic fascinating.

Write this down (or, since I'm so darned helpful, just cut and paste): In reality, there are only three performance results:

    (a) Doesn't meet expectations,
    (b) Meets expectations, or
    (c) Exceeds expectations.

All other ratings, numbers, descriptions, phrases, and such are simply subterfuge. They are provided for comfort and conflict mitigation, not accuracy. More rating choices just enable poor performance management (which is what we're trying to do here, right?), in my mind.

Help managers learn how to manage performance first; reviews, then, merely memorialize performance conversations. Reviews, and all their glorious, tied-in-a-bow ratings and narratives, are the end of the performance management process, not the beginning. They simply serve as documentation.

The bigger issue is that many -- dare I say most -- managers are really poor at setting and managing to real, objective expectations. Hence the desire to always want "more" rating categories.

Without a plethora of numbers and adjectives, how can I possibly do justice to an employee who is...

"Pretty good" versus "Real good?"

"Good," but not "great?"

"Almost satisfactory" versus "Really bad?"

The answer? You don't do justice with the performance review; you do it with the process. And with your treatment (promotions, empowerment, authority, etc) with that employee. Compensation comes in here also.

Most of my clients have 3-point scales (see descriptions above). A couple have 5 points. I've worked with and for companies that had 10-point scales, and one -- no kidding -- had a 100-point scale.

100 points. How, in heaven's name, can you distinguish between a 92 and a 93??

Frankly, the ratings aren't the key to this process, so don't spend an inordinate amount of time here. Performance management, conversations, dialog, and setting expectations are keys, so there's the real focus.

Performance management is a relatively simple process. We tend to complicate it unnecessarily with sometimes-unwieldy performance reviews, so minimize those complications as much as possible.

Simple is always better.

But that's just me...

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© 2009 Triangle Performance, LLC
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