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From the Top

A shorter newsletter for this year-end, hope you enjoy.

Stick a fork in 2011; like the proverbial holiday goose, it's done.

How'd you do? Did you get the things accomplished that you set out to do at the beginning of the year? Most of them? Some of them? Any of them?? If so, great. If not, why not? Now - right now - is the best time to answer the following questions:

  1. Regarding those things successful in 2010, what made them so? Was it because of me and my leadership, or in spite of? Is it repeatable, and if so, do I know exactly how I did it in the first place? For those I lead, have I appropriately recognized their successes?

  2. If we failed to accomplish some of our plans, goals, or objectives... why? Was it because we failed to do something we could have done, or were there really - really - circumstances beyond our control (honesty is important on this one)? For those I lead who performed less than satisfactorily, am I addressing that performance appropriately?

Be honest with your answers to these questions; use them to determine directions and realistic expectations for 2011.

While you're asking questions, how have you performed as a leader? Have you asked anyone... like those you lead? If not, now's the perfect time. And I don't mean just "hey, Jane, how am I doing as a leader?" Believe it or not, that might not actually elicit an open, meaningful response.

The ideal solution, of course, is a well-implemented 360-degree feedback effort (I'm happy to help in that regard). If you don't want - or feel you need - some of the detail that comes from such an effort, do something less involved; I'm talking about just using something simple, like Stop, Start, Continue.

Sit down, one on one, with those you lead directly. Tell them you want - need - their feedback to improve, and to make their jobs better (and likely easier). Tell them you'll be asking three questions, and you would like at least one input or response for each question. Then ask...

Ask the questions, then shut up while they answer. No defensive drilling down, no "but what about...?" comments, nothing but head-nodding, note-taking, and a "thank you for that input."

And don't forget to follow up with them in a few months to see how you're doing with their inputs. If you need a worksheet/template to use, you can download one here: Stop/Start/Continue Worksheet.

If you haven't completed budgeting for 2012, or just want some comparative data, we've completed our 2012 payroll outlook: Compensation Trends, Circa 2012 - the new normal is less than the old normal, so live with it. 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. I have some more specific data for manufacturing, industrial services, energy, Houston, Texas, and Baltimore.

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

I'll send the 2012 Survey of Senior Leadership in January for your input.

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 Personality assessment.

My recent client efforts include multiple 360-degree projects, coaching, and assisting with setting and managing to performance expectations, along with the normal course of compensation planning and facilitating leadership development sessions on employee engagement, performance management, change leadership, and trust...

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

CEO Online published my article, Becoming A Purposeful Leader. You can read that here. interviewed me for an article on Compensation planning. You can read that here.

Last year, 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... (apparently I have a message that resonates with some... who knew??).

I was just confirmed to speak at SHRM's 2012 Annual Conference in Atlanta, on June 27th...

Additionally, I'm scheduled to speak to several additional groups in upcoming months, including:

Leading the Business from the Back of the Bus,
to another group of support services staff (this time Finance),
...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 Trends, Circa 2012
the new normal is less than the old normal, so live with it,

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

Leading Strategically...
And NO, this isn't more consultant-speak, and

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

...and don't forget to check out my blog; some interesting (I think) posts, like It's called leadership, not jerkship, and what happens when the talent pool is just ntoo shallow to swim?... please comment, complain, or scream at me if you agree, disagree, or just want your opinion read, seen, and heard.

...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.

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.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

Warm Regards,

D. Kevin Berchelmann

D. Kevin Berchelmann
Triangle Performance, LLC

Strategy & Leadership

My Leaders Aren't Leading...
-- What's up with that??

It's frustrating. We put people in charge of departments, functions, shifts... in charge of people.

Then, nothing.

Of course, I don't really mean "nothing," as that would make the decision a bit easier. What I mean, of course, is nothing much. They may handle some perfunctory management tasks, maybe some rudimentary (and elementary) supervision of people who don't really need much. They probably even take care of most of their own personal performance responsibilities.

But, they just aren't leading.

Why is that??

I've said this before, and I'll say it again... I'm a simple guy. Occam's Razor is my guide for most decisions - simplest is usually the best. If you hear hoof beats, it's probably horses. Not zebras.

In that vein, here goes: When leaders don't lead, there can be only three potential causes:

  1. They don't want to. Maybe we mismatched or misplaced them when we promoted someone who (a) didn't really want it, or (b) doesn't really believe that they are a leader. In the former, we frequently take our best operator (accountant, technician, sales rep, etc.) and "promote" them into leadership, thereby losing our best performer and gaining our - potentially - worst leader. Bad juju.

    If the latter, it can be caused by a leader leading friends, or people they've known and worked with for a long time, and they just can't fully grasp their new leadership responsibilities. It's time to educate them. Spell out specific expectations, then manage to those expectations. Performance management 101.

  2. You won't let them. Maybe you're a micro-manager (see related article), or even worse, a micro meddler, creating drive-by crises then moving along to your next unsuspecting victim.

    Perhaps the organization - intentionally or not - has created a structure that just doesn't allow the freedom for others to lead. Too much oversight with too little accountability can create this situation.

  3. They don't know how. Remember, without formal development, most of us learn leadership like we learn a lot of things - osmosis, watching, listening, and emulating others. Sometimes that's a good thing, other times not so much. Frankly, it's a crap-shoot. A great method for reinforcing, but a lousy way for learning.

    If you really want your leaders to know what they are doing, teach them exactly that. Build their skills on the foundations and competencies that you need in your organization and make sure their leadership values (not necessarily style) are consistent. I can think of no better way to create leaders that succeed in your organization.

This isn't really difficult stuff. I'll say again that leadership practices, concepts and theory - and most applications - haven't changed much in a couple thousand years. Let's not complicate it unnecessarily.

But that's just me...

© 2011 Triangle Performance, LLC