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From the Top

The year has begun, and incredibly, we're almost 15% of the way through.

Scary, eh?

It shouldn't be. We should be prepared... a good analysis of 2011, what worked, what didn't work, and a post-mortem for reasons why should set our foundation. A solid vision and future strategy should set course directions for 2012.

But, are we really ready?

Are our plans in place? Do we have the talent available to implement/execute? Sufficient, competent leadership to guide the way, motivate, and make things happen? Compensation and incentives that are actually congruent with our objectives, without too much drift into "unintended consequences?"

Answer these questions now. Right now. Another month, and well, your plans better need only 75% of a year...

I asked this last month, I'll do so again right now: 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. See last month's newsletter for more guidance there, including a relevant worksheet

If you need some comparative data for 2012 payroll adjustments, download 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.

Triangle Performance LLC's 2012 Survey of Senior Leadership begins now! You should also receive the survey link in a later email, later this month. This will be our sixth annual survey; the participant rate continues to grow, as does the validity of the data presented. Click here to take the survey.

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

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, new coaching clients, creating/implementing performance-based compensation plans, and facilitating leadership development sessions on performance management, change leadership, and giving & receiving feedback...

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

360 Solutions used a segment of one of my facilitated sessions in their blog. See the video with my smiling mug here: Empowering Leaders Are...

Leader Values published a couple of my articles recently; Leadership: How to Go From Peer to Manager in 5 Easy Steps, and Leadership: 5 Irrefutable, Non-Negotiable Laws of Leadership

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'm 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,

Purposeful Leadership
It's not a technicality

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

...and don't forget to check out my blog; some interesting (I think) posts, like Why we make leadership so hard, and why across the board pay raises are just plain stupid... 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.

Warm Regards,

D. Kevin Berchelmann

D. Kevin Berchelmann
Triangle Performance, LLC

Strategy & Leadership

Leadership & The Dead Horse...
-- Pony Express in bizarro world

High performers. Key Employees. High Potentials (HiPos). Whatever the moniker de jour, you know of whom I speak. Those who carry their own weight with ease, and generally go far beyond the basic requirements of their position, role, or responsibilities.

They routinely deliver to us that elusive Holy Grail: discretionary effort.

In short, they are great. We need them. They're "keepers."

Why, then, don't we take exceptional efforts in making sure we keep them? We spend countless hours - days, weeks, months - on Pareto's 80% that only produce 20%, why on earth don't we focus as intently on that 20% doing all the work (or at least significantly more than their proportionate share)??

We should be, and if all indications in the employment arena hold true, we damn sure better be, and soon.

And it isn't really all that hard. Here are three suggestions; none are "rocket surgery," and none are so new and cutting edge thinking that you've never heard or thought of them yourselves. For example:

1. Recognize them. High performers know who they are, and they really do know that they contribute substantially more than most others. They may not broadcast it, or promote themselves incessantly like some of your mediocre performers do, but they are very self-aware, and recognize their abilities and subsequent impact.

What they don't know is, "do you know?"

So, stop whatever you're doing right now - meaning, of course, after you finish reading this value-packed newsletter - and go recognize one or more of those key employees.

And, yes... there's a trick to it. Or at least a "better way" to accomplish the effort. No vague generalities here, like "Good job lately, Bill," or "Thanks for all you do, Stephanie." No, remember, these folks already know they do good work. They neither want nor need your affirmation, just some simple, specific recognition.

"So, John, I noticed how smoothly you managed the Widget Group's recent transaction; made my life easier, and I appreciate it," or "Wow, Alyssa, if you can keep those old conveyors running like you do, we'll really bust through this years' numbers!"

Specificity matters with these folks. They want - need - to know that you really know.

2. Deal with those lesser beings. Now, in all fairness, most of your employees fit the "lesser" category when compared to these hard-chargers (speaking solely on performance), so no, I don't mean "whack everyone else." Though truthfully... no, never mind, scratch that...

I do mean that you should promptly and violently deal with substandard performers. Nothing irks a high-performer more than seeing someone else being tolerated - and paid - for doing work that everyone knows (wink, wink) is substandard or less than required.

Deal with those bottom-dwellers quickly and with gusto. It matters.

3. Don't beat them to death. The high performers I mean. The substandard folks, go ahead. We have this terrible habit in organizations today - the reward for really good, hard work is.. more work. Why doesn't that sound like found money to me? Those who do less... we ultimately seem to require less.

Whaaa...?? Folks, that's seriously upside down. Stop it.

For those doing substantially less, see #2 above. Define expectations (clearly), give 'em a yardstick with which to measure, then manage the heck out of their performance. Up or out, no hanger-on-'ers.

As importantly, find some way to reward those über-worthy performers with something other than added workload. I must admit, it feels strange needing to remind anyone of that... Amp up the challenges. Stretch their thinking. Take 'em a bit out of their comfort zone, developing them further. They'll appreciate it, and you will ultimately continue receiving that discretionary effort we hold so dear.

Just stop riding 'em to death.

My best friend calls this "riding high-performers to death" phenomenon "The Reverse Pony Express Syndrome."

That's where we keep riding the same old tired horse, changing out with fresh riders at each stop.

If that sounds a bit dumb, it's because, well, it is.

But that's just me...

© 2012 Triangle Performance, LLC