Triangle Performance
MAY 2009
In this issue
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FROM THE TOP
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STRATEGY & LEADERSHIP
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Free Leadership Development
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MUSINGS
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Performance Management Simplified
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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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New York Times
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The Houston Business Journal
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The Missing Leader
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Creating the Micro-Manager
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Incentive Compensation During Challenging Times
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Recession Proof Leadership
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Berchelmann Blog
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From the Top

Well, it's May. Happy Cinco de Mayo, and all that.

Swine flu. Trillion-dollar deficit bailouts. West Nile virus. Chrysler's bankruptcy. Judge Souter's retirement. 14.5" of rain in April at my house (yes, that's correct). If someone would please prioritize these calamities for us, we could maximize our worries.

I'm worried that I may be worrying inefficiently. That, of course, worries me.

A tongue-in-cheek reminder, of course, to stay focused. You know what you're doing, and likely how to do it. Set objectives, craft a workable plan, follow the plan. Hold appropriate folks accountable, and manage their performance accordingly. Don't get distracted by all the noise.

And there is a lot of noise today. Most of it, of course, is just clutter. Treat it accordingly.

Remember the part about setting expectations, then managing to those expectations. That's how we succeed in achieving those goals mentioned above. Interestingly, many of my most successful clients are accelerating the development of their staffs (particularly leaders and managers) in these times. Seems they are asking them to do more, and they need the skills to do just that.

Give that some thought.

Couple of mentions in the news:


New York Times interviewed me for an article on GM, Chrsyler, and the impact of bankruptcy. Appeared on page B1 of the April 25th print edition of the NYT.


The Houston Business Journal featured me (and a large client) for an article on executive development. Appeared on page 5B of the April 24th print edition of the HBJ.

Further, feel free to download and read a few articles that may be relevant today:

The Missing Leader - A how-to guide...,

Creating the Micro-Manager - If we know what causes it, can we stop it??, and of course,

Incentive Compensation During Challenging Times -- Bonuses: boom or bust?, and one more time...

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

..and don't forget to check out my blog; some interesting (I think) posts on Bob Nardelli and Chrysler's bankruptcy, leadership & decision-making (we make it so hard), and the question: "So, is HR really important?" ...please comment, complain, or scream at me if you agree, disagree, or just want your opinion read, seen, and heard.

Berchelmann's Blog

If you'd like to know how I can assist you, your organization, or a colleague of yours, please fill out this form and I'll send you some specific information, articles, engagement results, and so forth. And they'll be good ol' fashioned hard copies!

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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Free Leadership Development
-- Please, don't tell my wife I'm doing this...

Yes, leadership development can cost money. Most of us believe the returns are well worth it, and I've had the professional pleasure of working with many of you in improving the skills and behaviors in your leadership staffs.

But you know what? Some of the most significant things that leaders can do are free.

That's right. Gratis, free of charge. No sales tax, shipping and handling, or any other spurious expense. I blogged about this, but felt it was important enough to expand on here...

What, then, can we do to take advantage of this FREE leadership development? Nothing more than some simple effort on your part.

Without going into ad nauseum detail, suffice to say that there are three very simple things that a leader can do to set him/herself apart (positively) from the pack:

1. Ask for input. Even when you already think you know the answer. Here's the funny thing, and those I've worked with have heard me say this countless times: ask frequently for others' input.

If you ask all the time, people don't get offended when you don't "take" their suggestions each and every time proffered. If you only ask once per year, that person will fully expect you to use their input in a meaningful way... after all, why would you finally ask if you weren't going to take it?

Besides, keep on asking, even if you don't believe you'll get a meaningful response. Even a blind squirrel gets a nut every now and then, and who knows? Maybe that employee will just get lucky...

2. Say please and thank you. Face it -- no employee with the brains God gave a rock believes when their boss "asks" them to do something, it's really a choice... what does it hurt, then, to always -- ALWAYS -- say "please,' and "thank you?"

At the end of the day, you've got the business card. You can always say "do it my way." Just don't lead with that.

3. Admit mistakes. Freely. And don't water them down with that passive-aggressive crap, like "I probably shouldn't have done that, but..." or "In hindsight..." Call it like it is -- I SCREWED UP! I made a mistake, and I hope to do better. Then LEAVE IT ALONE!

Credibility can skyrocket when leaders accept full (not conditional) responsibility for their actions. Warren Buffet, the Gandhi of all investing, recently apologized to the world for buying a poor-performing stock. He didn't blame the subsequent losses on the market, the mortgage industry, or the government. He said, "...I have been dead wrong. The terrible timing of my purchase cost Berkshire several billion dollars."

Several billion dollars?? If Buffet can fess up to a mistake costing more money than the GDP of 90% of all the world's countries, surely we can own up to some near-trivial misstep during our regular workday?

These three things -- all by themselves -- can help leaders stand out from the mediocre masses. You'd think it was pulling teeth, though, since none are as common as they should be.

Make them common with you.

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Musings
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Performance Management Simplified
-- It's not about the paper

Someone recently asked me why the Performance Management process seems so painful in many organizations. They further questioned how lower-level managers could possibly implement effective performance management if the senior executive(s) are less than fully compliant themselves.

Man, oh man, do I have an opinion on this...

First, lower level leaders in an organization don't get a free pass simply because some senior executive isn't up to par. Leadership accountability is bigger than a simple reporting relationship.

If subordinate managers got an accountability "walk" every time more senior leaders were errant, we'd have but one or two accountable people in every organization, followed by a bunch of well-paid drones.

Sorry, Charlie. You have the position, you cash the check, and you have the personal accountability.

Next, performance management isn't really difficult at all; most reasonably successful leaders/managers do some form of this on a regular basis. Think about it - for those who do not have a real formal process, do you still work on employees to improve their performance? For those who are late turning in those annual reviews to HR, have you been ignoring your employees all this time?

Of course not.

It's the review process that's typically broke all to hell. And frankly, that's a system issue, not (necessarily) a leadership failing. In other words, most performance reviews exist, not for performance management, but for performance management documentation.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, but we too often attempt to have those reviews do so much more than documentation. And if we do that without training all involved (both sides of the review equation) and without fully institutionalizing the process, well, we get what we usually get.

GIGO at its finest.

If an organization is reasonably successful, there's probably a decent amount of effective performance management occurring.

Further, if that reasonably successful organization has a painful performance review process, then we should stop that right now... the review process should aid in performance management, not merely memorialize it for posterity.

What a concept, eh?

But that's just me...

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© 2009 Triangle Performance, LLC
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