Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beyond Performance - Leaders Get Results!

I really encourage everyone in a leadership role to read, "Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage" by Colin Price, Scott Keller. Their book focuses on organizational health, which they define as the ability of any organization to align, execute, and renew itself faster than your competitors can. According to the authors, as we work more and socialize less, our sense of meaning and identity is increasingly derived from the workplace. More and more people are looking for that sense of “belonging, which was originally defined by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need.

Job satisfaction in the US has dropped from 61% in 1987 to less than 45% in 2009. Productivity during the same period has increased more slowly than in any fifteen year period since 1950.

As our economies emerge from the recession, the ability to lead and manage organizations in a way that motivates employees to be more productive than ever is extremely important. In other words, the health of any organization must encompass all the human elements required to achieve sustainable success.

The process for organizational health is defined by the authors as the Five A’s;
• Aspire – Where do we want to go?
• Assess – How ready are we to go there?
• Architect – What do we need to do to get there?
• Act – How do we manage the journey?
• Advance – How do we keep moving forward?

These five stages should be translated into a specific challenge for performance and organizational health. The authors continue to break down the process into nine key elements that must be implemented to achieve sustained growth and success. The integration of a strong vision and a well-defined business strategy that is meaningful to the employee and supported by the culture and climate of the organization is a must. To be able to execute this process, the organization must have high capabilities, effective management processes, and high employee motivation. The organization’s ability to be adaptable to both situation and the external environment will also fortify the relationship with the customer, vendor and community.

The real key to organizational health appears to be the alignment of personal goals with those of the organization. This alignment produces a highly self-motivated workforce that will demonstrate engagement and productivity improvement. We build this alignment by shifting an employee’s mindset – their attitude. It is well documented that leaders are the catalysts for performance and leadership must be present at every organizational level and not just at the top.

Our Leadership and Management Development Programs are all based on the philosophy or belief that to improve the health of your organization, you must start improving the health of your workforce, one employee at a time. I believe that the “real” performance model starts with attitude and ends with the desired results

Real Performance Model Attitude Activity Skills and Competencies Results
We teach employees and managers to be better leaders and to get results. Please call 609.390.2830 or contact us here to find out more about the Total Leadership Model®, the only development plan designed for today’s leaders and the development of future leaders.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to Plan for the Future of Your Business with the Help of Employees

The opportunity to change the structure of the company toward a more versatile or bureaucratic structure can now be determined by your management team. The importance of the way your employees perceive your company and the way they think it should be, cannot be denied. These gaps between the actual and the ideal should be given special attention, and can provide your management team with ideas that can be developed and expanded in strategic planning sessions. Assessments can provide a most valuable tool that puts the management team on notice and causes them to consider change within the organization. These changes may never be apparent without this assessment, because it is unbiased, confidential, and provides a comprehensive diagnosis of an organization.

This is certainly needed in our highly competitive environment.
Isn't it about time you got your camera out and took a snapshot of your company?

Organizational Assessment Tools are one of the instruments available to provide any management team with a real photograph of their company today, and it also allows them to let the employees paint the picture of the company that they would like to see in the future. These assessment tools are relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of employee turnover, especially on the management level.

The Organizational Needs Inventory (ONI) is an example of such an assessment tool that provides a comprehensive analysis of an organization from the perspective of its employees with regard to the three areas which management experts regard as critical: Predominant Leadership Style, Organizational Culture, and Structure. These assessments provide a comprehensive diagnosis of the organization today through the eyes and ears of the employees. Any management team worth its salt will welcome a snapshot of their company today so they can properly determine the appropriately plan for the future with a clearer sense of direction and purpose.

This assessment tool will allow the management team to establish training and development programs that will not only produce the skills required, but the attitudes and work habits needed to move the company in the direction they desire relative to its mission and vision. It is not an easy task to change an organization and its people swiftly so please commit your organization to a time investment. The most important factor to remember is that this change is being planned, rather than just randomly happening.

It is also very important to learn the dominant leadership style present within your company. Once your predominant leadership style is acknowledged, the velocity of change will be proportionate to the support and direction offered by the management team of the company. The first step is to establish goal - setting measures with appropriate target dates to insure the proper direction of this change and to increase motivation internally.

The determination of your organization's culture should provide management with a better picture of the organization's effectiveness and allow them to develop an implementation plan that can be achieved in a reasonable time frame, while promoting teamwork at the same time.

The organization's culture today may reflect a low trust level. The results of this assessment will help you work on the cause and develop methods and plans to improve results, enabling the company to succeed in its overall goals and objectives.To see a free sample of an assessment your company would be using please contact us

(Painting by Jennifer Sandquist)

Monday, October 17, 2011

How to Properly Use Performance Appraisals

I was reading an article titled, “Bias Found in Employee Appraisals” on It elaborated on the fact that new research shows vast discrepancies in employee appraisals by workers who report to two bosses.

Performance Appraisals have always shown bias from one manager to another. Many consulting firms even recommend that companies not spend money on the training and development of their managers regarding the delivery of an employee appraisal by a manager. If we don’t train to develop consistency in delivery, then how can we ever have a Performance Appraisal System without bias?

Small business owners and managers, listen up, it’s time to realize that the Performance Appraisal Process is the best means to communicate workplace expectations with the employee and that employee engagement is key to retention moving forward.

  • Managers must utilize a system for monitoring performance on a day to day, month to month basis and not just wait for the annual performance appraisal process for the data to appear. A Performance Log or file must be maintained throughout the year to note successes, learning opportunities, behavioral tendencies, etc. The Performance Appraisal Process must be more objective than subjective and certainly results-oriented. It must be based on the job description or role assigned to the employee as the role is defined today, not five years ago. It must reflect technical skills as well as performance skills that demonstrate an above average performance in that position.

  • Clear expectations must be defined. Clarity and good communication are key management skills for this to succeed. We must communicate workplace expectations in a clear, decisive, and definitive manner with the creation of a development plan for the employee. All managers must be willing to coach and mentor the employee to high performance through the use of a solid Developmental Plan of Action. I have always believed that the formulation of a developmental plan for a high achiever is one of the most difficult tasks a manager can undertake. And it certainly shouldn’t be….it should be the opposite.

Both bias and the dreaded “Performance Appraisal” mentality must be eliminated from the equation…discuss expectations, monitor performance daily, and make employee engagement a priority. If you do that, the bias and subjectivity will be removed.

We need to tell people that we are interested in their performance and career direction. We must focus on their performance in respect to the competencies needed to do an above average job in their current role but help them develop a plan of action that will enhance their performance skills to reflect the achievement of a higher position in the future. What competencies will we need from our employees five years from now? That is what we should be focusing on with our people development processes. Isn’t it time to put the “whip” away and start moving people forward by providing the opportunity to succeed with their career objectives…all through the proper use of the Performance Appraisal Process. Don’t make it an event…it is a process.