Triangle PerformanceAt C-Level

From the Top

So, the year's just started, has it? Still coasting along, getting ready to "get ready?" I hope not... by the time you read this, over 10% of 2013 is already gone.

That's right. While you were "getting ready," over 10% of 2013 just whipped past you. At warp speed.

What?? How the heck did that happen? Time flies, folks, whether you're having fun or slugging through the mud, rain, and snow... and the minutiae that oft-times engrosses our leadership beings.

Get it in gear, and do it now. If you are in gear, shift upward. Next newsletter, we'll be rapidly approaching Q1's demise, so you're forewarned...

And if I can help with the coaching, leadership development, compensation planning, or strategy parts of your now-high-speed efforts, you know how to reach me.

New and Improved website! Like a bad infomercial (But wait...there's more!), I'm hawking my new website; go see it here. Don't forget to refresh your browser if you've visited the website before.

The website is a new look, a cleaner presentation of what I can do to help, and I'll be updating with articles and such several times each week, since this website replaces my blog as well. Check back often. If you would like me to address a specific topic or content, email and tell me. I'll see what I can do (your chances are good; surprisingly, I have opinions on most everything--that's a shocker).

Triangle Performance LLC's 2013 Survey of Senior Leadership is complete! If you participated, you know this, since you recently received an advance copy via email. For those who didn't participate, you can download the Executive Summary here. I discuss the findings in the first article below, and will elaborate more in future editions of At C-Level.

In the News!

CEO People Management, CEO Online's information website, republished my article Incentive Compensation During Challenging Times--Boom or Bust?

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

On Stage...! This month's video: Developing Leaders. It's a simple process...

Who are you, really?? Take a complimentary assessment. Click here to go to my assessments page; then click on the link to take and receive a complimentary Personality Assessment.

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

You can't get there without a plan--HR Planning meets business success. I'm scheduled to present this as a preconference afternoon workshop at SHRM 2013 in Chicago on June 15.

I continue to present on various topic, one in particular:

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:

Talent Management Strategy Must Match Business Goals,

Motivation without Money: Leadership, Leadership, Leadership, and

Middle Managers: We Didn’t Miss Them Until They Were Gone

Are you social? Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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






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Strategy & Leadership

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Real Leaders Lead
-- That’s right, folks, and you read it here first...

Real leaders “lead.” No, I’m not just stating a simpleton observation. I mean they truly lead. You know, from the front... not the rear, and especially not the middle. They get "out there," taking risks, making decisions, clearing hurdles, and slaying sacred animals of every ilk.

Leadership doth not sprout from a business card. It comes from acting purposefully, creating trust, driving toward an understandable vision.

Mediocre employees must be led to be even marginally successful. Good employees want to be led to get better. Great employees need to be led to deliver that stellar, discretionary performance we crave. All need a leader in front to follow, not to be drug along as if a lead weight, nor pushed and prodded like a reluctant mule. (some call a mule an "ass;" though likely applicable, I won't use it here)

To lead, there’s no option -- you must be out front.

I once worked with a CEO who appeared, for all intents and purposes, to be a collaborative and participative leader with his senior staff. He always took--demanded--input, and was not at all shy to ask for specific inputs and clarifications if he did not understand. He would get that executive team together frequently, solicit and facilitate their ideas, then act only on their consensus.

That’s not leading, and it’s barely managing. Worse, it’s managing by committee, and we all know the perils there.

Let’s be clear; soliciting input, direction, and advice is critical for successful leaders to make decisions. If you're doing that, keep it up; if not, start now. But when all is said and done, the leader needs to make the decision, and then hold him or herself accountable for the results.

I'll say something here that some may disagree with (to them, I say prove me wrong). Shared accountability--accountability distributed over many--is tantamount to no accountability at all. Sorry folks, but like leadership, accountability is singular. Personal. Lonely. It must be yours; it cannot be ours.

We regularly and religiously hold other managers and professionals accountable for their pieces of the decision’s outcome, but “group” accountability is tantamount to no accountability.

Don’t forget to really lead. Your folks need you.


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Keep The Best, Churn the Rest:
-- Retention comes back in vogue...

The times, they are a-changin'...

It seems just yesterday that recruitment and retention were afterthoughts; we've enjoyed something of a buyer's market in many industries for at least a few years. Not all industries, of course, and certainly not all positions in any industry. But by and large, recruiting--and retention--has been a bit easier since, say, 2008 or 2009, compared to times prior.

For many of us, though, that fun has passed; the tides have changed; that train has left the station. Now, we're thinking, how can we find folks who can substantially change our business (you know, the really good ones), and when we get 'em, how do we keep 'em??

Most executives hear “retention plan,” they immediately think “stay" bonus. And to be sure, those bonuses could very well be a real part of most retention plans.

A well-thought retention plan, however, is much more than simply “money.”

During the sorts of times mentioned above -- the times that drive the thinking behind retention plans -- it’s easy to look to those who have done so much up to now, and convince yourself that a reward is in order. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t, but a retention plan isn’t the way to go about it.

A retention plan should never be used to reward prior performance, no matter how good, great, or even sheer genius the performance in question. The singular purpose of a retention plan should be to ensure retention of those employees critical for the future success of the organization, both during and after the retention period.

So, what exactly is a retention plan? Think 3 things:

  1. Communications,
  2. Employee Development, and
  3. Bonus Compensation.

For communications, think open, relevant, and frequent. Err on over-communicating, and frankly answer all relevant questions;

Employee Development is part of the future promise of “things to come,” that will provide future leverage; and

Bonus Compensation is just that--a cash “carrot” paid out in such a manner as to be worthwhile to both the employee and the organization.

Retention plans can be critical for future success--but they aren’t simply a promise of payment to a large group of people. Think through carefully what you need, and implement a plan accordingly.

Over 80% of your employees will be looking for other employment in a good market. You're not going to stop them from looking--well-executed retention plans can prevent some of them from leaving. It stands to reason, then, that even with the most well-intentioned efforts, you won’t be able to keep them all.

So, would you rather keep the key employees, the high-potentials and “A” players, or would you prefer to hold on to those mediocre walking zombies who always manage to do just enough at work to keep from losing their job??

No, that’s not a trick question. Think about it... with whom do you spend the most time today? Mentoring, coaching, and motivating your “A” team, or fixing, scolding, prompting and wondering about your lower “B” and “C” players?

Two words: STOP IT. Six more words: Keep the best, churn the rest. I know, it sounds like blasphemy today to even suggest that we aren't diligently trying to keep everyone. But in reality, you aren't, so Stop It! See Bob Newhart video, for clarification. Watch it, it's worth the six minutes. Sometimes, the very best advice I can give my clients is Stop It!

In today’s environment, few of us have the time, resources and wherewithal to coach and mentor a staff of professionals “from scratch;” they need to bring something to the table to begin with. It’s like living on an island and looking for something... to quote a movie line, "it’s an island, baby; if you didn’t bring it here, you won’t find it here."

Work on--spend the time, effort and money--those things that could otherwise cause high-potential, key employees to leave. In the process, you’ll also be keeping the upper fringes of those “B” and “C” players who may be demonstrating some future value.

What about the “rest?” God bless ‘em and good luck. The positive part about mediocre or subpar performers, is they just aren’t that hard to replace. Let them stay, if their work continues to be at least minimally satisfactory, but don’t spend money, time, and undue efforts to keep them, and don’t regret their departure. Keep “churning” those semi-performers, and continue improving your quality of replacement hires.

In other words, when given the opportunity, upgrade. Do it constantly and consistently. Spend your effort and money where it matters.

But that's just me...

© 2013 Triangle Performance, LLC