Triangle PerformanceTriangle Performance






Printable Version


Click here to download an easily printable, PDF version of this newsletter.


View Kevin Berchelmann's profile on LinkedIn

From the Top

We are knee-deep into Q4 of 2011. It's time to (a) focus intently and specifically on those few things that simply must be accomplished this year (that aren't yet), and (b) jettison outright those things with priorities that have weakened over the year. Make those calls now; don't make them die a death of a thousand cuts.

Start looking back at 2011. Want to know what you really viewed as priorities (no matter what you'd said were priorities)? Peruse your calendar, and see where you spent scheduled time. You see, calendars don't lie. Particularly with senior leadership.

If it was important to you, it's on your calendar. If it wasn't... it isn't. And don't for one nanosecond believe your staffs don't know what those things are...

I'm just sayin'...

In preparing for 2012, don't forget:

Planning: strategic and tactical/functional. How'd you do this year? Why? What needs to happen next year? If different expectations, what are you going to do differently? For more information on planning:

Strategic Planning
-- Organizational necessity or consulting bunk??

Applied Strategic Planning
-- The Corporate Reality Show

Compensation: both sales and incentive. Not to sound mercenary, but you don't get what you wish for, hope for, ask for, or even beg for. You do, however, get what you pay for. For more information on compensation:

Money Matters
-- Fair compensation in turbulent times

Pay Raises: I'm Thinking of a Number...
-- ...between 0 and 10. Yours may be "0"

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

Leadership: development and effective performance management. Make sure your leaders have the skills necessary to the job you expect. If they don't have them, develop them. If they can't or won't learn, replace them. For more information on leadership:

Purposeful Leadership
-- It's not a technicality

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

Team-Based Leadership Development
-- Why together is better

We won!! Thanks to clients, friends, and colleagues... Triangle Performance, LLC was again recognized (second year) as one of Houston's Fast 100, fastest-growing privately held companies in the Houston metro area. I'd like to thank the Academy, my agent... wait, that's the wrong award...

Our 2011 Survey of Senior Leadership is still available; you can download the summary results for your perusal.

Speaking of surveys... if you haven't responded yet to our 2012 Compensation Trends survey, please do so here. This is the 5th year for the survey, and the results have demonstrated to be quite credible. For comparison, here is the article from last year: Compensation Trends, circa 2011.

My recent client efforts include 360-degree assessments for senior-most leadership, executive and management, and facilitated sessions on various topics of leadership effectiveness, performance management, employee engagement, and "dealing with difficult employees" (a perennial favorite!)

If you feel your leaders' skills may need improving, your leadership teams could be more effective, or your performance-based comp plans need tuning, don't hesitate to call. Or email. Or Skype. Or Tweet. Or smoke signal. Or... never mind, you get the idea...

I'm in the news (in a good way!)...

Pat Gray, personal friend, consultant, and author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology, took my "automatic crap" story and improved the hell out of it for CNN's TechRepublic.

Living Magazine interviewed me for a piece on Working Smarter, not Harder. My advice included Go Ugly Early, Making Lists, and just Git 'r Done!

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...

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 spoke recently to a small group of manufacturing managers on Dealing with Problem/Difficult Employees.

FYI to HR groups - my keynote and workshop are both approved through HRCI; the workshop 2.5 hours of strategic credit.

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

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

Backseat Driving:
Leading the business when not driving the bus

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.

Feel free to download and read a few complimentary articles that may be relevant to your world today.

...and don't forget to
check out my blog:

But that's just me...

Check me out on Twitter.

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.

On Stage...

New video: Compromise has no place here
Why compromise is a bad basis for business decisions.

Brief video that describes my general emphasis and the values I provide clients. Enjoy...

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. Click here to go to my assessments page; then click on the link to take and receive a complimentary Candidate/Personality assessment.

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 Laws: #2

In this and now-3 subsequent articles, I'm expanding on the "5 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" I outlined in a recent article.

Last month, we covered...

Law #1: Never delay or abrogate a decision that must be made. Make it and move on. You may have to immediately make another decision; this doesn't mean your first one was wrong, merely that your second one had the benefit of additional knowledge.

Now, moving on...

Law #2: If you want something specific done, say so specifically, using clear, plain language. Employees, generally, have some difficulty doing their basic jobs; adding "mind-reading" to their description is just plain unfair. No hints, implications, or innuendos. Say what you want, and use English. Directness counts.

This means setting clear expectations, then managing to those expectations.

Both are necessary, and I can give you tons of examples. For instance...

I've got this client (surprisingly, many of my stories start this way), a heavy industry firm with a lot of technical-types employed. Historically, when they had more business than they could say grace over, expectations were sort of "loose" (I'm being kind). They had formal job descriptions, but heck, everyone knewwhat they were supposed to be doing.

No one really managed to performance expectations; they simply went along with the flow - no harm, no foul, right? As is typical, it just didn't matter... until it did.

Fast-forward to recent times. Productivity became important, as did consistency/repeatability of processes. We needed those same employees to do what they were supposed to have been doing for years earlier. Only, we never managed to those expectations. In other words, those earlier job descriptions and performance expectations... weren't.

It seemed simple to many of those in leadership; no problem, we'll just insist now that "they do their job." Problem, of course, was that they were doing their job. The job that was expected of them and that we used to manage their performance for several prior years. In other words, before those employees could change, leadership needed to do so first. The formula is simple enough; we simply had to:

a. Set expectations. We had front-line leadership sit down with each employee and describe their new responsibilities (remember, since we hadn't managed to them, they were new). These supervisors listened to concerns, and identified some potential areas for additional training and oversight.

b. Determine nonnegotiables. Leadership had to first determine which issues were, in fact, nonnegotiable. Not that we would summarily whack each employee if they failed in that regard, but we would have to specifically address it. Each and every time. No exceptions. Of course, everything can't be that way, so we better know which ones are.

c. Manage to those expectations. This is where it matters most. More important than expectations are those things we actually manage to; it's an amalgam of job responsibilities, workload, and a company's culture. It doesn't matter, long-term, what we sayour expectations are; it matters what/how we manage to those expectations (or not).

An "I can't hear your words because your actions are screaming at me" sort of thing.

Now, we've made big progress, and things are running along better than they were; but it wasn't without pain, and the pain was of our own doing. If the pain is our own doing, then it's hard to generate much sympathy, don't you think?

After all, it's kind of stupid to cause ourselves pain unnecessarily, and as Ron White likes to say, "stupid is supposed to hurt..."


Where's the love?
-- Most senior-level employees aren't getting much...

I work frequently with a company's senior-level managers and executives, and frankly, they are an overlooked, neglected, and oft-maligned group when it comes to retention efforts.

First, we must remember two things: one, most employees, regardless of rank, pay, title, or business card, want fundamentally the same things from a working environment (albeit the scopes may change); and two, senior-level executives are, in fact, employees.

Now, connect the dots with those two.

My advice is glaringly simple: realize that senior-level employees are still employees, have unmet personal and professional needs, and are not nearly as good at do-it-yourself job contentment as many believe. Some suggestions for those leaders interested in their retention:

1. Get personal. You know the issues and challenges facing your lower-level "key" employees... do you know the same of the senior-staff?  You should. Get in there, mix it up, talk to them, watch them, and get in a position where you can notice changes in behavior. Subtle changes, since senior managers and executives seldom loudly broadcast their disappointments. Senior leader retention should be a top 3 activity for Human Resources leadership, and requires personal involvement.

2. Make it a family affair.  Senior executives don't change jobs for 10-20% more money, and most discuss these things with their spouse/SO.  Want to make it a bit more difficult for them to leave? Enlist and engage that spouse/SO. Dinner, events, recognizing anniversaries (with personal gifts), children's weddings/birthdays/births (with personal gifts)... all of this creates some buy-in to counteract the daily complaining that many may do at home. Make the spouse/SO a company supporter.

3. Ask Them!  To quote Tom Peters, "This company had a unique way of communicating; they talked to each other!"  Want to know what those C-levels really need?  Do something really whacko and ask them.  That's right, plain, simple English.

"Say, Carole, I've been wondering.  You add so much value around here, I wanted to make sure we were taking care of you properly.  What can we/I/the boss do so you will continue to stick around?" These folks are generally reasonable; you won't hear "double my salary," or "give me 10 weeks of vacation."

You may hear, "Well, I'm about tired of managing Purchasing by myself," or "I'd like to spend some time on R&D;" or "I was hoping to spend more time watching my son's ball games, but I'm not sure if the schedule will work..."

Then, to coin a line from Picard, "Make it so."

With all the negative attention these executives get these days, we can easily forget that we need these guys/gals around to be successful. And that they are employees, with similar needs and dissatisfactions.

But that's just me...

© 2011 Triangle Performance, LLC