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From the Top

Two months left in 2010. Tick-tock, tick-tock...

Time to ask yourself some questions:

1. Did I/we meet our goals for 2010? Why or why not?

2. Have we prioritized goals and direction for 2011?

3. Are we (globally, all leaders) prepared for the challenges of 2011?

4. Did our compensation plans (particularly bonus/incentive) do what we intended?

5. Do we have operational/functional plans to support our corporate strategy?

Answer these truthfully, and you'll bring some clarity to reasons for 2010 results, and a preview of 2011 challenges and efforts.

As I mentioned last month, our 2010 Survey of Senior Leadership is complete, and the summary results are available for download:

Triangle Performance LLC's 2010 Survey of Senior Leadership

I'll discuss the results in more detail in future newsletters; suffice to say for now that your major concerns include

Revenue /Earnings Enhancement, and
Management Development, Performance, and Motivation.

More surveys... Just completed our (fourth annual) 2011 Survey of Compensation Trends.

Feel free to download, and use as needed in your budgeting and plans. If you'd like to discuss some of the detail, give me a call or drop me an email and I'll do my best.

Further, I have more specific data for the following geographic locations:

Baltimore/Washington D.C.
New England

Again, contact me if you'd like to see the geographic-specific data. To my clients: no need to ask, it's coming your way.

My recent client efforts include full compensation plan, executive compensation analysis, individual executive coaching (multiple), and numerous facilitated sessions on various topics of leadership development

Some newsworthy mentions:

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.

He speaks...

I spoke in June at the 2010 Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) national conference in San Diego. It was billed as a MEGA SESSION - just me and 800 or so of my closest friends; have received tons of positive comments, most around the "No Whining" rule, and my version of Larry, Curly, and Moe: The Three Stupids.

I also spoke recently on the topics of Leadership Integrity: Getting it Right! and Leading Employee Engagement. Both were great, interactive sessions, good time had by all (I hope!).

I'm confirmed to speak to several groups in upcoming months, including:
-- Keynote for HR Chapter in Idaho on Leadership is Easy... until it isn't,
-- Keynote and workshop for Louisville SHRM,
-- Corporate event on Leadership Integrity,
-- Keynote for ASSE's South Texas Expo, and
-- Concurrent session for SAP's annual HR conference.
...and others.

Speaking of speaking... I continue to present two favorite topics:

Sit Down, Shut Up, and Color!
Breaking through employee entitlement...

Leadership is Easy... until it isn't.
Successful leadership in challenging times...

If you have a corporate or association event, I'd certainly enjoy speaking to your group. You can see more information regarding topics and details on my website.

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

Compensation Drives Business Success -- You're going to spend it anyway; may as well get something for your money!,

Change is Inevitable -- But is it all necessary??, and

Executive Compensation... What's up with that??

...and don't forget to check out my blog;some interesting (I think) posts, like wlight attendant nazis, change in control agreements, and talent management... 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.

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
Triangle Performance, LLC

Strategy & Leadership

Leadership is Easy
-- Why do we make it so hard?

People – clients, colleagues, even family – are forever telling me something like, "Kevin, it's just not that simple."

To that, my typical reply is "balderdash." It usually is that simple. A story...

I recently played golf at Champions Golf Club in Houston. No, I won't share my score here. Great course, owned by golfing legend Jackie Burke, winner of 16 PGA events in the 1950's, including the Masters, the PGA, and two very lop-sided Ryder Cup victories. He was Hal Sutton's assistant coach for the 2004 Ryder Cup.

Anyway... I was in the locker room afterward, having a drink with my host, when Jackie comes in. Now, my host has been a member there for over 25 years, so they know each other quite well. Jackie sat down at our table and we had a chat.

During that conversation, Jackie mentioned that he had attended a small, Catholic college in the northeast, and during a business class, his regular professor was out ill, so they had a substitute professor lecturing one day. This guy told the class that he wasn't nearly as smart as the regular professor, and in fact, had only one lesson he could teach them.

There were chalkboards on either side of the classroom; this professor went to one of them and wrote "50." He walked to the other one and wrote "51." Then he asked this class, "Why are these numbers significant to you as business leaders?"

The class dove in. Some said it had to do with market indicators; others that it was the ages of prominent CEOs or other chieftains. They talked, discussed, argued, and haggled for almost an hour.

Finally, this professor stopped them, and said: "It's simple," he explained. Walking over to the chalkboard with the 50, he pointed to it and said, "If you make this..." then walking over to and pointing at the 51, he concluded "...don't spend this."

I asked Jackie, why is that such a hard lesson? He looked at me and said, "Kevin, we complicate things unnecessarily."

If you make this (50), don't spend this (51). Zero-based budgeting before it was a fad.

I don't know how you can make a business leadership lesson any simpler. Whether you like/dislike, agree/disagree with the veracity of the lesson, know that nearly all leadership lessons are this simple. We have to go out of our way to make them hard, and generally when there's no need.

Simple: Treat people right. And no, we don't need a Wikipedia definition of "right."
Simple: Do what you say you'll do. No excuses, no justifications.
Simple: Apologize when wrong. And no lengthy "but" qualifications, either.

The list goes on. This stuff just isn't all that hard.

KISS. "Keep it simple." And I won't even add the "stupid" to the end.

Thanks for the conversation, Jackie. And many thanks, Roy, for the invite.


Organizational Congruence
-- Your shoes and belt gotta match...

I was recently speaking with a prospective client. The guy had it together, and was describing how his philosophy of market identification matched the recent re-organization of their company. And how both of those things were aligned with their compensation practices.

This was a big deal to me, and it turned into a really interesting – almost exciting – conversation (I'm a consultant – strange things excite me...). This executive "gets it," and I explained to him that this is frequently called "Organizational Congruence," and that it was much rarer than he might realize.

He didn't know – or really care – what I "called" it; he just knew it seemed logical, and an awfully simple way to run a company. He was right on both counts. But it is still an incredibly rare event to see.

The term Organizational Congruence was coined some 30 years ago by some consultant or academic, and as a concept, has sort of languished in theoretical obscurity. That's a shame, because the lack of this congruence is the source of frustration at many a company. I'm not a theory kind of guy, so I'll explain this on a level even I can easily understand.

It means simply that all of your practices, processes, actions, even directions are congruent; that they all pull together, toward the same goal. That they don't work in opposition. I can best describe by giving you examples of the lack of organizational congruence. For instance:

We say we want teamwork, and may even include that in our vision or values; yet our incentive plans are heavily skewed toward individual performance.

We talk of cross-functionality, yet allow functional silos.

We espouse safety as our mantra, yet put on blinders when needed for production goals.

We voice the oft-used "Employees are our greatest asset," yet we treat them like a dispensable expense, neither developing for growth nor recognizing superior performance.

We speak of trust, but do not empower employees to do their job.

We talk of empowerment, but allow untrained managers to micromanage.

I could go on, of course, but I'm sure you get the idea. These comparisons reveal a lack of congruence. Put simply, it means we just don't walk our talk. We say one thing, yet do, promote, reward, and espouse something entirely different.

Don't do that.

Organizational Congruence may have had its roots in an academic exercise or some consultant's glossy hardback; its real impact, however, should never be lost on us as leaders. High-performing organizations know this; struggling firms have yet to grasp the concept.

Let's walk our talk.

And thanks, Tom, for an enlightening discussion.

But, that's just me...

© 2010 Triangle Performance, LLC