Triangle Performance
DECEMBER 2009
In this issue
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FROM THE TOP
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STRATEGY & LEADERSHIP
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Physician, Heal Thyself...
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MUSINGS
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Remind Me Again...
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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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Boston Business Journal
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The Houston Business Journal
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Compensation Trends
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The Dearth of Management Talent
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Training vs. Performance Management
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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

Well, depending on your view of life, it's either the beginning of the end of 2009, or an early beginning to 2010. Either way, we're less than a month away from closing the chapter on this year, and the new excitement that a new year always brings.

Sorta depends on your perspective, doesn't it? May also depend somewhat on how things are shaping up for you right now, and that's a logical variable for the mix.

What isn't always logical is keeping underperforming plans, processes, and people; if something - or someone - didn't cut it in 2009, that performance (or lack thereof) is mostly on their shoulders. If that same thing or person again underperforms in 2010 (pay attention, this part's important), that responsibility falls squarely on leadership's shoulders.

Kinda stings, doesn't it? But let's face it, when we continue down the path with a failing plan, or with an inadequate process, or with an underperforming employee, we can't blame it on others. We may manage performance on a regular basis, involving others for much of the execution, but we in senior leadership own longer term results.

As I mentioned last month, to do nothing is simply the absence of leadership.

Now is the time for planning, both for organizational strategies, goals, and directions, and for people - make sure we have the right ones, in the right places, with the right skills.

If I can help with your planning, just give me a call, and for your budgeting "pleasure," here's my annual review of compensation increases again: Compensation Trends, Circa 2010.

This edition of At C-Level is a bit unique in that I've included an email from a dear friend regarding a conversation he and I had recently on developing leaders. It's worth the read.

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. Remember: a strategic plan, no matter how well thought and crafted, is useless without the operational planning to make it work.

We're mentioned in the news:


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... 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.

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

Compensation Trends, Circa 2010,

The Dearth of Management Talent - Wherefore art thou, leader??,

Training vs. Performance Management - Just push the damn button!, 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 "everybody'd doing it," and the fallacy of multi-tasking... 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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Physician, Heal Thyself...
-- Leadership development has gotta start at the top...

Ok, I don't often allow for "guest columnists" here, what with me having an opinion on everything already... but I received the following missive from my best friend in the world, Colonel Kevin Ross, who recently retired from the Deputy Directorate for Special Operations in the Pentagon's Joint Staff. It seems quite relevant here, and as much as it may kill me to admit it, I couldn't have said it any better. It's unedited, exactly as he sent it. Enjoy...


Kev,

And so I was sitting here reading your November "At C-level" and I finally have time post-retirement to think about leadership styles I've seen over my 26+ year career in the Department of Defense. As I read your blog "But That's Just Me...," I think "now I'm also a reasonably intelligent person" (I held my tongue; you can hold yours) and wonder why resistance to leadership training is so prevalent across both military and civilian cultures.

Maybe you're right. It could be a case of "I got here without any training (that I felt I needed), so can everyone else." Truth is, from my perspective anyway, that unless a leader understands the difference between when he/she needs to manage and when he/she needs to lead, they may be a great manager, but will never be better than a "good" leader.

I've worked for no more than a couple of great leaders...maybe only one, and he's a friend of mine twenty years later. I suspect he's collected a lot of friends along the way. I'm also close to a number of good leaders, most of whom I didn't work for, who recognized that their influence on people went far beyond day-to-day corporate affairs.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not a leadership groupie. Most of my defense industry friends have proven themselves to be great managers who can motivate their people to do much more than they thought they were capable of doing... and they were promoted accordingly. But few of them could inspire their people to be more than they came to the organization being.

If your clients have ever asked themselves, "why won't they do what I told them to do", they are likely the ones most in need of leadership training... and subsequently the most resistant to it. Good managers understand how to use the company's reward system to "incentivize" performance. Most often the performance - reward tradeoff is limited, and it takes a real leader to understand the employee's intrinsic reward system that motivates performance beyond fiscal or other perquisite rewards.

So often it takes a huge culture change to recognize and train leaders who can motivate disparate groups of employees to perform their best in support of the company's goals. It takes a personal touch... and chief executives and other senior leaders who dismiss it as touchy-feely BS are either captains of a sinking ship or will hopefully (for the organization's sake) find themselves "between jobs" before too long.

Leadership training? It's essential for mid-level and above company managers, leader, executives. Too many organizations have relied on informal mentorship programs to teach or model leadership, and the style of leadership taught or modeled hasn't produced desired results. Learning via osmosis just doesn't work. I suspect that's why they turn to you.

While it was the last thing I ever wanted to add to my calendar, I believe the best approach is to make leadership training mandatory... especially for the most senior executives (which obviously requires their buy-in). Their presence will insure subordinate attendance, and they'll get a first-hand look at their junior leaders' performance in a laboratory environment where participation - or lack thereof - speaks volumes.

So, you got my vote. And while I doubt my two cents would sway a single executive to actually listen to what I have to say about the subject, they fail to listen to you at their own peril. Thanks for the effort you put into your newsletter, and thanks for your insights.

Best regards,

KEVIN D. ROSS, Colonel, USAF (ret)


Spot on. Thanks, Kev.

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Musings
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Remind Me Again...
-- Why do I pay you??

A recent Deloitte survey revealed - shockingly, of course - that more than two-thirds of companies and/or compensation design specialists out there believe they are ineffective in assessing the link between their rewards program and those programs' impact on the business.

Does this bother you?? It should, and it sure does bother me. Think of the manpower, thought, effort, and just plain "teeth-gnashing" that goes into many of our compensation and incentive plans (ignoring the other rewards for the time being). To know now that many don't even know if it works??

This same survey found that only 21% of the respondents' rewards strategies were closely aligned with corporate business strategy...!

What???

There's only ONE strategy, folks. And everything we do should align to that. If it's not - don't do it. There may be sales plans to achieve those strategies, or HR plans to support those strategies, but it's still THE strategy that we are chasing.

This shouldn't be rocket science, but sometimes we let these things develop a life of their own. Let's not lose sight of what should be obvious: The only reason we have incentive plans is to successfully drive our business strategies. Anything else is just base pay, disguised in a separate check. Entitlement run amuck, and enabled by leadership.

Is that really what we want?

We should be determining exactly what we expect from our incentive & performance-based pay efforts, then measuring to those results judiciously. It most certainly can, and must, be done.

Payroll costs are always increasing - we know that. We must ensure that those ever-growing dollars are doing what they are supposed to, and delivering a return for the investment. And yes, incentive or performance-based compensation plans are an investment. Let's make it a good one...

But that's just me...

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© 2009 Triangle Performance, LLC
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