Triangle PerformanceTriangle Performance

APRIL 2011





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From the Top

Q1 2011 is done. How are we doing? 25% complete with all major goals, objectives, or initiatives? If so, great -- if not, why not? Be careful that you don't allow back-loading of objectives so significant that you can't recover.

Do we plan for this? Do we really set our sights on the future, envisioning where we could go, making our own direction, and executing a plan to get us there? Hopefully, yes. If not, we should be. And for those chronic procrastinators (see you at next month's meeting), yes, you can start planning now.

You needn't beat yourself up because you didn't do it last year, or wait for year-end, mid-year, the magical-sounding "start of Qx," or any other logical-yet-poor excuse for deferment.

Plan now. 'Later' is infinitely closer than you think...

Freebie Alert... I'm working on my remaining 2011 pro-bono plan as we speak. This is a major part of my consulting practice, and of my personal life. Please contact me if you know of a worthy, charitable not-for-profit that could use some help with leadership, strategy, coaching, or related challenges. I generally select two organizations for the year. Local to Texas is probably best (to avoid travel hassles and expenses), but not essential. And I really do mean pro bono.

If I can help you with your planning -- strategic or operational -- or you feel your leaders' skills may need improving, or your comp plans need tuning, don't hesitate to call. Or email. Or Skype. Or Tweet. Or... never mind, you get the idea...

Triangle Performance LLC's 2011 Survey of Senior Leadership is still open! You should have also received the survey link in a later email last month. This will be our fifth annual survey; the participant rate continues to grow, as does the validity of the data presented. Click here to take the survey.

Results available in about two weeks.

Many thanks in advance to all have participated so far, and please do take the time to complete it if you haven't. It only takes a few minutes. If you're interested, you can click here to see the results from last year: 2010 Survey of Senior Leadership.

Who are you, really?? Take a complimentary assessment. Find out more about candidates; create a benchmark for skills in your organization, and use as templates for coaching efforts. The final report, 8 to 18 pages long, describes character and talent traits along with what you may expect from the "applicant." The report can help you make the right decisions regarding fit and compatibility, where you will need to offer direction and training. Are they a born leader? A supporter? A networker? With a simple analysis you can discover if they are right for your company (or position) and compatible with their department.

Click here to take the Free Assessment.

My recent client efforts include executive and management coaching, executive and staff compensation planning, and numerous facilitated sessions on various topics of leadership development, team skills, management, employee engagement, trust, and more...

Some newsworthy mentions:

The Houston Chronicle interviewed me for a business-section article on Planning and Goal-Setting (quite apropos given my comments above), and you can read that article here. Wooty "dissed" me about my foreign-language goal, but she was fun to talk to nonetheless... interviewed me for an article on Compensation, specifically asking for expert input on 2011 pay increases, longer term trends, pay-for-performance, and google's ridiculous 10% across-the-board increase. You can read that here.

The Houston Business Journal featured my firm (and a large, multi-year client) for an article on team-centric executive development.

He speaks... (apparently I have a message that resonates with some... who knew??).

I delivered the keynote address to the American Society of Safety Engineer's (ASSE) East Texas Safety Expo (that's a mouthful!).

I also delivered the keynote and a workshop to the Louisville Society for Human Resources Management; a great group, and the participation and inputs from the workshop indicate there are some sharp people in that chapter. Thanks for having me. FYI to other HR groups - my keynote and workshop are both approved through HRCI; the workshop was good for 2.5 hours of strategic credit.

I'll be delivering the keynote at ASSE's South Texas meeting in San Antonio, Texas in early May.

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

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

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

Backseat Driving:
Leading the business without driving the bus

Backseat Driving: (Specific to Human Resources)
Leading the business from HR

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:

Needing Mo' Leaders... The "make" or "buy" decision...

7 Steps to Effective Incentive Compensation -- Here… eat the damned carrot!!

Check me out on Twitter.

Check out my blog -- 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
Triangle Performance, LLC

Strategy & Leadership

Where Did All The Leaders GO??
-- The Dearth of Management Talent

We all are facing the difficulties of talent management today, including recruiting new, proven talent to our organizations. Nowhere is that struggle more apparent than in the ranks of management and succession.

Given the culture and specificity of our organizations, we must get better at "growing our own." Yes, sourcing solid talent is critical. We must hire those employees who have the potential for development; more important, however, is that development.

To succeed in today's talent marketplace, we need to find those with an interest in our business/industry, grow them technically, then allow them -- with our support and developmental systems -- to develop into our future leaders.

We must stop printing a "manager" business card and confusing that act with "training."

It isn't, and we know it. The amazing part is, we seem surprised when our uber-technician turns into a lousy manager... What???

Think about it - we take our best technician, operator, sales rep or accountant and put them in charge. In one fell swoop, we lose our best performer and gain our worst manager. Like the doc says when it hurts... stop doing that.

If you have a great technician with 12 years experience, you don't necessarily have a management candidate. You simply have a tenured technician. Development means "all of it;" job rotation, training, coaching, mentoring, assignment selection, and so on.

Management and leadership acumen are learned skills, not birthrights, and not something picked up via osmosis in the office, or on the factory, machine shop, or foundry floor. If we focus on hiring the right person, identifying those with the potential to lead in our business, and implementing the processes necessary for their professional growth and survival -- before we throw that employee to the "management wolves" -- we'll find out that we've developed a successful management team.

And we can do it at all levels.

The funny part is, if we have the systems in place to develop these potential rising stars, then sourcing, recruitment and hiring become easier and more defined. Then, it becomes just as important to make sure our sourcing systems only allow those inside who will have the potential to succeed in our business.

Those of us who like it, succeed in it and wouldn't trade it for anything. Those who don't... well, there's probably something else wrong with them too.


Do we really know anyone?
-- Why assessments should be in our toolbox

People can certainly surprise us. In fact, we're more often surprised than not when dealing with people new to us. Or even those new to our expectations. It would be nice to know more about folks with whom we're about to employ or make a significant development or promotion decision.

How many times have we asked, "What happened? I just knew s/he was right for that job?" or words to that effect. We use interviews, resumes, and sometimes even gut feel to make determinations and analysis on talent, skills, and potential. Is that really the best approach?

Now many of you know that I'm not historically a huge fan of some of these laborious assessment tools. Most are written by a PhD (which is ok), but that shouldn't mean you must have a PhD just to take the damn things. If the instructions take longer than a page, or it takes a classroom session (webinars are included here) to explain how to take it, that assessment is simply too complicated.

And it doesn't have to be. It can be simple, and shouldn't take tons of specialized expertise, education, or experience to implement.

After all, assessments, for most organizations, really only serve three principle purposes:

  1. To assess an employment candidate's skills. Here, it's actually more of a test than assessment, but we tend to lump them all together when discussing. Mechanical acumen, software ability, mathematics familiarity, sales skills, and so on. Specific skills. Well-defined assessment objectives
  2. To determine a candidate's fit. Here we may use "personality characteristics," intellect (ability to learn what our job, not simply I.Q.), and a host of other qualitative characteristics. Can be subjective, but establishing benchmarks with successful employees paves the way for more objective assessments here.
  3. For developmental needs of existing employees. These assessments may be specific skills, as in #1 above, or more personality, fit, and propensity for development and/or advancement like assessments described in #2. Again, benchmarking existing, successful employees can bring objectivity to a largely subjective measure.

That's it. Any other description or purpose sounds like a lot of mumbo-jumbo to me, and accomplishing those three purposes above just isn't that hard, and doesn't have to be complicated.

In fact, I would argue that the more difficult we make these things, the less real value received. After all, they are simply one tool, and our expectations tend to increase as the complexity grows. They still can't actually do anything for us, except provide one more data point in a decision process.

I have some sample assessments you can take if you'd like to see simple yet effective. PhDs may have developed them, but even I can take them and understand the results without a 1-hour classroom session, a 3-ring binder, or one of those really interactive (read: bored outta my gourd) webinars. See the links above at the beginning of this newsletter.

But, that's just me...

© 2011 Triangle Performance, LLC