Triangle Performance
OCTOBER 2009
In this issue
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FROM THE TOP
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STRATEGY & LEADERSHIP
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Change is Cumulative...
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MUSINGS
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HR2
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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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Compensation Trends, Circa 2010
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About.com
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Boston Business Journal
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The Houston Business Journal
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Compensation Trends
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Coaching the Uncoachable
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Monkey see, Monkey do
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Incentive Compensation During Challenging Times
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But that's just me...
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Request Additional Information
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View Kevin Berchelmann's profile on LinkedIn

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From the Top

Welcome to the first day of the last quarter of 2009. Whew! I don't know about you, but it's been an intense year in many ways. Global economy issues, changes in political landscapes, weird weather... (hey, it was hotter'n blue-blazes in Houston this summer!).

Much of that intensity, though, is/was uncontrollable. At least the events causing the intensity were uncontrollable. So, have we let uncontrollable events control our direction...? Our leadership vision?

We've got 92 days left in this year. It's a foot-race to the end, and now is the last chance you'll have to evaluate objectives and change courses toward success (if you haven't already). Do it now - this very minute.

Don't cling to a dead plan simply because it's "a plan," or worse, simply because it's yours. Creating a bad plan is poor planning. Executing to a bad plan is poor leadership. Don't be afraid to change course, drastically if necessary, and violently execute toward a new goal in the three remaining months of this year. Boldness counts.

To do nothing is simply the absence of leadership.

October is typically the ideal month for planning and budgeting. I can always help with your planning, just give me a call, and for your budgeting, here's my annual review of compensation increases as promised last month: Compensation Trends, Circa 2010.

This edition of At C-Level speaks to perceptions of change (and how they effect us), and some reality behind value-driven human resources. Both articles are for "thinkin'," so read closely and make the connections where necessary.

Current efforts in my world include new and ongoing leadership & executive development, end-of-year compensation planning, and continued efforts around strategic and operational planning. Strategy gets all the press, operational planning gets the work done.

We're mentioned in the news:


About.com reprinted an article of mine, 5 Laws of Leadership You Must Never Forget, sort of a survival kit for new and developing leaders.


Boston Business Journal, June 12 print edition, Companies Look to Teambuilding to Offset Challenges. I was mentioned prominently in this feature on how teambuilding skills are more necessary today than ever before. A repeat here since it's important.


This is a repeat, just because I like it, and because the link last month was broken... The Houston Business Journal featured my firm (and a large, multi-year client) for an article on team-centric executive development. Appeared on page 5B of the April 24th print edition of the HBJ.

For some trivia, I was recently elected to the Board of Directors for Houston's Institute of Management Consultants (IMC), and signed on again as a major sponsor for the Cypress Creek Foundation for the Arts and Cultural Enrichment (FACE). You can see them here.

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

New! Compensation Trends, Circa 2010,

New! Coaching the Uncoachable - What if they just don't get it?,

New! Monkey see, Monkey do - Leading by example, and

Incentive Compensation During Challenging Times - Bonuses... boom or bust??

...and don't forget to check out my blog; some interesting (I think) posts on skim-listening, cost-cutting's impat on morale, and leadership shirts (not what you think)... please comment, complain, or scream at me if you agree, disagree, or just want your opinion read, seen, and heard.

But that's just me...

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.

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!) I appreciate your referrals.

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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Change is Cumulative...
-- Don't give up when you're winning...

Organizational change is a process, not an event.

Too frequently, we give up or decrease our efforts and focus after an initial burst of successful change. We overcome the hardest part of any change - inertia - then don't follow through after we make those initial gains.

Why is that?? Surprisingly, and since this is my newsletter, I have an opinion...

We forget that change is ongoing, that it is a cumulative process. After we plow through those initial, successful movements toward our change goal, we believe that we can expect that same level or pace of change in the future. We then become somewhat disappointed when our next "snapshot" or measurement of change doesn't seem to measure up to the first.

"What the hell happened?" we ask...

This negative thinking after our initial gains is common, and a mistake. Big mistake.

All organizational change efforts are cumulative, and our expectations - and those participating in the change - must be adjusted to match those cumulative measures.

I can best describe with a visual:

If we define our entire change goal in percentage terms, then you'll notice in the graphic above that after the first year, we had achieved about 75% of our total objective.

Not too shabby, eh? Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back just yet...

Those initial, big results are not surprising, actually. Once we dig in and really get behind a change process - and defeat the near-omnipotent inertia - the first weeks/months/year(s) tend to show the greatest movement toward our objective.

Think low-hanging fruit. Think "united against a common enemy."

We overcame the more obvious obstacles, changing the most egregious (but changeable) offending behaviors. Because, of course, we all knew what/who those were anyway. Making immediate change was more a matter of resolve than effort.

Not so for later efforts to continue that change.

In the visual above, you'll notice that Year 2 resulted in "only" 5-7% of our total change effort. Quite a downer from Year 1, right?

We usually think so, but we shouldn't.

If we changed 75% the first year, and only had 25% of the total change remaining, we actually accomplished about 25% of the remaining change in Year 2. Again, not too shabby, but we tend to view it more as the 5-7% instead. And that depresses us.

Disappointment, disillusionment, and frequently, lack of continued focus often sets in.

Don't let that happen. Realize, again:

  1. That organizational change is an ongoing, cumulative process,
  2. That we usually beat up on all the easy stuff first, so it looks like we've made big, honkin' progress at the beginning,
  3. That lasting change comes from long-term efforts, not short-term programs, and
  4. That if we allow ourselves to "backslide," reclaiming that same ground again is a helluva lot harder than the first time.

Stay the course. Measure efforts "from start," not from "last measurement." Remember that, like in golf, the goal is consistent forward progress, not always consecutive home runs.

And my sincerest apologies for mixing my sports metaphors. Just making sure you're paying attention...

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Musings
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HR2
-- Human Resources Returns...

Is value-added HR an oxymoron?

No.

To be sure, much of Human Resources activities are tactical, task-oriented efforts. Blocking and tackling, so to speak. Keeping the administrative and compliance machines humming along without too much consternation.

But done correctly, HR can lead real returns that are simply unobtainable by any other means. To do this, however, both HR leaders and senior business chiefs need to both "want it," and be willing to make the decisions necessary to "get it."

A company needs human resources (people, talent, etc.) to survive. It does not, necessarily, need Human Resources (the department). The challenge for HR, then, is to become the real expert and leader in those things positively impacting the organization's human capital -- creating value, improving productivity, increasing returns, etc.

If HR's sole claim to fame is compliance, they'll generally be seen as a barrier, and can be replaced by a $50 CD. Equally, if the task-oriented administrivia mentioned above is their key value, they likely are just expensive clerks.

The real value that real HR leaders can provide is melding human resource efforts of the organization with that organization's plans, goals, and objectives.

Things like:
Real talent management. Do your hiring practices match your business needs? Are your current talents and competencies adequate for future growth and plans?

Leadership development (all levels). The biggest single initiative to create bigger success in any organization is to leverage your leadership team. Has yours got that bandwidth?

Culture maintenance/exploitation. Oh, here he goes, that soft and fluffy "culture" stuff... No folks, this is serious business. Is your culture congruent with your process, and aligned with your goals? If not, you can't get there from here in any significant organizational effort. Doesn't sound all soft and fluffy to me...

Successful change leadership & implementation. Change efforts live or die based on your people. You know that. Whom better to connect, create, and lead the necessary buy-in than your HR executive?

Not all of these are applicable, all the time, with all organizations. Some, however, are applicable all the time to all companies. Not all HR leadership roles require these specific, personal skills, either. Some require being aware of the need for the skills, and leading the implementation via other means.

The key, of course, is providing value that others can see; not simply doing what some may think is the "HR thing to do..."

Now, business chiefs, listen up: If you aren't getting solid, demonstrable results from your HR grand poobah today, don't blame "HR." I've heard lots of senior executives speak of HR as if it's this big, departmental black box; that it operates almost independently from the rest of the organization.

Consequently, HR ends up sequestered in some back room, adding dollars to payroll but doing little more than benefits enrollments and pot-luck sign-ups.

Like the doc tells you when you say "It hurts when I do that..."

Stop doing that.

Human Resources is a business function. It's not a permanent ombudsman, it's not the keeper of the crying towel, and it certainly isn't the designated party planner. It's actually a kick-butt area for return on investment, if managed - and led - correctly.

As such, your degree of accountability there should be as significant as it is for any other function. In fact, I could argue that, given their broad impact and ability to reach out to all levels, you might want to consider holding your HR folks even more accountable than some others on your org chart.

But that's just me...

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© 2009 Triangle Performance, LLC
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