Posts Tagged ‘Organization’

Being Invisible

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

What do structural engineers, anesthesiologists, fact-checkers, and interpreters have in common? When they do their jobs poorly, the consequences can be catastrophic. But when they do their jobs perfectly…They’re invisible.

“In fact, Invisibles are found in all walks of life. What binds them is their approach—deriving satisfaction from the value of their work, not the volume of their praise.” – David Zweig

Invisibles are almost counter-culture: performing anonymous work in an age of constant self-promotion.

In the book “The Invisibles”, Zweig takes us into the behind-the-scenes worlds that Invisibles inhabit. He interviews top experts in unusual fields to reveal the quiet workers behind public successes. Combining in-depth profiles with insights from psychology, sociology, and business, Zweig uncovers how these hidden professionals reap deep fulfillment by relishing the challenges their work presents. It is reminiscent of the study of introverts in the workplace, “Work that is purposeful and mission-based fits naturally within an introvert’s professional toolkit.”

For a lot of us, the better we perform the more attention we receive. Yet for many “Invisibles” –  skilled professionals whose role is critical to whatever enterprise they’re a part of – it’s the opposite: the better they do their jobs the more they disappear. In fact, often, it’s only when something goes wrong that they are noticed at all – think the anesthesiologist, instrument technician, and structural engineer.

Millions of these Invisibles are hidden in every industry. You may be one yourself. Surely you know of a few. And despite our culture’s increasing celebration of fame in our era of superstar CEOs and assorted varieties of “genius” – they’re fine with remaining anonymous. Zweig’s criteria for the “invisibles” are threefold: ambivalence toward recognition, meticulousness, and the savoring of responsibility. The people he writes about — a fascinating and varied bunch — are those who measure success not by celebrity or financial return, but by the quality of the work they do. And it’s a persuasive argument that they are happier, more fulfilled human beings as a result. Fame, as Zweig demonstrates, is a hollow, fickle thing. Money can also be a much overrated as a source of happiness.

The reality, as many professionals who tend to fall more on the silent end of the spectrum can attest to, is that many of the best workers—be they at the top of the pyramid or somewhere in the middle—go about their business, achieving great results without fanfare. And while it may feel as though the whole world is beguiled by those who make the most noise in conference rooms and boardrooms, it’s encouraging and, critically, worth noting that that’s not actually the case.

Zweig reveals that “Invisibles” have a lot to teach the rest of society about satisfaction and achievement. What has been lost amid the noise of self-promotion today is that not everyone can, or should, or even wants to be in the spotlight. The book reminds us that recognition isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and invisibility can be viewed as a mark of honor and a source of a truly rich life.

In closing, perhaps you have a few people around you who are Invisibles. People who, though they don’t pursue recognition, would be thrilled to have someone notice them and give them a little praise. It is a little thing – but then the little things make life worth living.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2016. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

A Little Secret to Increase Productivity

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Rewards Can Cost A Lot, But Be Valued Little

“Rewards” generally have a cost, so if you have a strong, rewards-based system of reinforcement, it has the potential to be expensive. In other words, you almost have to “buy” or “bribe people for” the desirable behavior.

Ironically enough, while that may be seen as a bad outcome from your point of view, it is almost invariably seen as a poor arrangement from the point of view of the “bribe” too! Continuing the irony: Bribes can lose their effectiveness (they have to be bigger and bigger to work) while recognition just seems to keep going and going.

Recognition, on the other hand – acknowledgement, praise, gratitude, icons such as trophies and awards – are usually low or no-cost items, and yet uplift and honor both parties.

So, if recognition has a low cost, but a high perceived value, what could you do to apply this principle in your business to uplift and empower people, while shaping their behavior to provide better outcomes?

Three Parts Recognition To One Part Reward Is The Best Glue

Experience has taught us that pure recognition can look a bit thin after a while, and consistent, long-term pure reward systems just “rot” and cease to work. So what is the ideal balance?

Start with providing three parts recognition to tone part reward. Make it different types of recognition also: public praise, an award, promotion, etc., and, where possible, keep the reward non-monetary. You’d be surprised how little value may be placed on a $100 reward, and just how much value may be placed on two Gold First Class Theater Tickets, or a meal for two (of the same or even lesser value).

An example: A winning real estate sales team were “rewarded” with a trip away together for two years and, then in the third year, when the reward was swapped to a cash equivalent, the entire team under-performed. They were demotivated by being offered money in place of a fun holiday together.

So, if you were to design a “recognition-and-reward system” that fitted your operations, what would it consist of?

People Can Learn To Expect A Better Outcome

“Positive people produce more consistent and more positive results.” Not likely to be a surprise for anyone in that statement – but not everyone who joins your team in necessarily going to come in with a positive orientation (though we hope this would be among your selection criteria).

One of the more rewarding tasks of any leader is to lead their team members to dream a better outcome, and to then to move them to achieving that dream.

If you take people to achieve in a team, things that they believed were beyond them individually, they will do practically anything to maintain or repeat the feeling they derive from that achievement.

So what can you do to encourage your team to “dream big,” and then to Coach them to achieve that dream? What is that likely to do for morale (yours and theirs).

Good Feelings Are Rewards

When you make someone feel good about themselves, and about what they are achieving – or even what they are “working towards” – you are already creating a form of reward that we all value. We tend to come back to situations that give us that type of feeling; tend to do the things that will invoke them again.

On the flip side, bad feelings about failure or lack of progress or frustration or lack of appreciation, are “punishment” (or at least “pain”), and we naturally tend to avoid situations, activities and people that give rise to them. Consider the cost to productivity and morale of a toxic workplace.

We can extend this one a little further and look at the fact that consciously creating a warm, nurturing, physically-and-emotionally safe workplace will be seen (by the good folks, at least) as a form of on-going reward that you create for them, and they’ll tend to be uplifted by it.

So, how could you employ this particular insight in your work situation? And what is likely to be the response if you did?

Sometimes, we make things too complicated and forget that in the end what we all want is to be appreciated and feel good about who we are. Apply the KISS principle and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Excellence vs. Excuses – Part 2

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Last week, we covered being the effect of things that happen to you. This week, we are going to be the cause of the things we want in our life.

Cause Side

Those at cause see themselves as creating results – instead of looking for reasons for non-results. When they don’t complete their paperwork on time, they look for those of their acts that produced that result – and how they can change those.

When they don’t meet commitments on time, they accept that it’s because of something that they did or did not do – or something that they attracted to themselves because of what they are projecting in to the world.

When they don’t complete their tasks on time, they recognize that they it’s because “these things happened that I allowed to distract me from doing this”.

When they don’t take the actions that will achieve their goals or KPIs, it’s because “I became distracted or lacked the time management systems or skills to handle these things in a timely fashion”; I allowed other people to put me off instead of making arrangements that would achieve my goals. “Other people” can sense when a person is determined to achieve their ends, and usually step in to assist them or at least to get out of their way.

When they fail to follow established processes and systems they will ask themselves why, or seek counseling, or training or a change of habit that will make it easier to follow process easier next time.

Of failure, they say things like, “I didn’t take into account the type of businesses that are in my area, so I need to do more research before going again; I didn’t take the time to understand the economy here and so I muffed it – I’ll do my research and go again; my clients are different so I need to work out what I need to change in order to take that into account; the systems aren’t working the way they should so we need to determine whether it’s me or the systems and change the bit that needs it”.

I can be a success despite or because of:
• My parents
• My teachers
• My wife
• My ex wife
• My ex partner
• My clients
• My university professor
• The company’s systems
• My health

I am the Cause of all the Effects in my Life. What I Perceive is a Product of What I Project.

Above or Below the Line

People who perceive chaos, challenge and lack of organization, system and process do so because they have yet to create order in their behavior; to accept the opportunity to develop new strength and courage by meeting new challenges; to take responsibility for learning and applying basic processes for taking control of their use of time and their management of the events that impact on them by organizing themselves, creating or using systems and seeking new processes that deliver consistently good results.

It’s never what happens to you; it’s always a matter of how you choose to interpret it (and that will depend on your chosen model).

By the way, your model is a choice.

Living “above the line” is a matter of personal choice – and of personal discipline.

Goal set all the time, and focus your energy

Own everything in your Life

Learn from every action and consequence

Do what you commit to
________________________________________

Despair – and wait to be rescued

Excuse yourself and avoid learning lessons

Blame everyone else for your actions and consequences

Take what you can and don’t worry about repaying

How you approach life – Cause or Effect, Gold or Debt – it’s all up to you.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Excellence vs. Excuses – Part 1

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

As a natural part of personal development every individual constructs their own “model of the world and how it works.” They use that model to make sense of what happens to them and to decide how to react to events and other people in an attempt to get what they want.

Models can vary in their accuracy (the degree to which they reflect the real world) and efficacy (how well and how often they can yield the results that their holder wants).

A “model” is not real – it’s a working hypothesis. Some models are more resourceful and effective than others in achieving what one wants and so it’s worthwhile examining our own and other people’s models to determine whether an adjustment to them would lead to better or more consistent outcomes than we are currently experiencing.

Cause And Effect

Which side of the C and E equation are you on?
• Are you the person who causes the things in your life or
• Are you the effect of things that happen to you?

Which side is more empowering:
To be the Cause or to be the Effect?

You need to come from strength, “I cause all the effects in my world.”

It doesn’t matter whether this is true or not, the RESULT of acting as if it is true, is empowerment.
• Teddy Roosevelt: I wasn’t a very brave man, so I just acted as if I was until I became one.
• Act as if… until it becomes true.
• Fake it until you make it!

Effect Side

People who see themselves in Life, as being at the effect end of the cause-and-effect formula, usually talk about their reasons for lacking results. Those at cause usually talk about the actions they take to get results.

When those at effect don’t complete paperwork on time it’s because “this event or this person prevented me from meeting my commitment”.

When they don’t get their sale, it’s because “this event or these people pushed me around”.

When they don’t complete any assigned task, it’s because “these things happened that prevented me from doing this”.

When they don’t make the calls or contacts that will advance their role and achieve their goals within a business, it’s because “these things had to be done first; this thing wasn’t completely ready; other people did not want to see me” etc. Perhaps the “other people” sensed that this person did not have the power to change themselves, let alone assist others to change and so went to someone else for a solution.

When they fail to follow the processes and systems that have been developed by past experience and proven to produce results, those at effect will say it’s because “you haven’t taken into account the type of circumstances I’m facing; you don’t understand the economy right now; other people won’t see me; my clients/circumstances/challenges/talents are different; the systems don’t work the way they should; etc. etc., etc.”

I would have been a success except for:
• My parents
• My teachers
• My wife
• My ex wife
• My ex partner
• My clients
• My university professor
• The company’s systems
• My health
Your beliefs shape your behavior – if you believe you’re shy (fearing rejection), you’ll act as though you are – which is exactly the same thing as being shy!

In a sales setting, that means you may not make the calls you need to make to grow your business – and you will be right in fearing rejection because you create it! In a family setting that means you may not make the moves to display or affirm affection for fear of not having them reciprocated. So no one will know that you hold those feelings – and everyone will probably react as though you don’t – and you’ll be right: You are rejected!

Not a good place to be – on the Effect side. Next time we’ll focus on the better half.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Multi-tasking – It’s Not the Answer

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

There is strong evidence emerging that multitasking is not all it’s cracked up to be. Surprised? Well in fact Dr. Edward Hallowell, a Massachusetts-based psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, describes it as a “mythical activity in which people believe they can perform two or more tasks simultaneously.” Hallowell titled his book, rather aptly, “Crazy Busy”.

He claims “Attention Deficit Trait” is rampant in the business world as a result of our attempting to use our brain in a way that evolution has not developed it to act. In simple terms, we have evolved to be single-focused in our tasking, and any attempt to multi-focus appears to strike a “response selection bottleneck”.

So What’s the Cost?

The cost of that bottleneck can be frightening: In a 2007 New York Times article Jonathan B. Spira, an analyst at the business research firm Basex, estimated that extreme multitasking (or “information overload”) costs the US economy $650 billion a year in lost productivity.

The sometimes-fatal consequences of attempting to multitask mobile phones with driving have been clearly recognized – and legislated against – but that has not stopped us breeding a generation who exhibit technical and intellectual ability coupled with extreme impatience, dissatisfaction with slowness, and discomfort with silence: “I get bored if it’s not all going at once, because everything has gaps – waiting for a website to come up, commercials on TV, etc.”

Even those who believe we will “evolve out of this” and eventually master our input-overloaded environment, have found that multitasking contributes to the release of stress hormones and adrenaline which, if not controlled, can cause long-term health problems and contribute to a loss of short-term memory. The reason that memory suffers, appears to lie in the fact that, when multitasking, learning is less flexible and more specialized and so information retrieval is more difficult.

Less, Not More Efficient

For those readers over the age of 16, the last word probably goes to Russell Poldrack, a psychology professor at the University of California who said, “We’re really built to focus. And when we sort of force ourselves to multitask, we’re driving ourselves to perhaps be less efficient in the long run, even though it sometimes feels like we’re being more efficient.”

For those who are hiring 16 year olds, however, the future may be a bit brighter: They may be adapting through “acquired inattention” – the habit of ignoring much of what is going on around them to – guess what – focus on the task at hand!

That’s not multi-tasking. That’s single-tasking in a multi-distracting universe.

Call to Action

So, is it time to look at your own work habits and those you influence around you, and see if there is anything that you can do to minimize the temptation or demand to multi-task? Could you trial a “Single Tasking Day” one day a week and measure the effect on everyone?

On output?

On stress levels?

For a real solution to multi-tasking, that will let you get twice as much done, on time, in time, and with half the stress, why not ask me to assist you with a real solution to your Time Management challenge?

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

“No Cost” Productivity Strategies

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

How often have you looked up and realized that you missed lunch? Maybe even missed dinner? Today’s “work…work…work” mentality has taken a toll on employees performance, job satisfaction and health.

Today’s 24/7/365 world of technology and instant gratification has transformed every aspect of modern life – most dramatically how we work. While technology and automation has made many tasks easier, it has also bred a whole host of issues in the workplace.

We need to dispel the myth that more hours spent at work leads to more productivity. I am going to make a case for taking physical and mental breaks throughout the day, and how these breaks will transform teams from upper management to support staff.

The average American worker spends 9.2 hours per day at work – and approximately 30% are skipping lunch or eating at their desk. The vast majority of workers can access their email and desktops on their smartphones. This has now become “normal”. Furthermore, it has become expected in many companies that key team members make themselves available anytime, anywhere. This change in work structure and expectations are linked to increased stress and employee dissatisfaction. This then snowballs into increased absenteeism, increased health insurance costs, loss of productivity, and staff turnover. Not exactly the direction leading to higher productivity and performance.

There are some simple changes that can be made to reverse what ails the modern workplace. The easiest solution is to take breaks throughout the day. Here is a breakdown on how breaks can increase productivity, performance and decrease healthcare costs:

• 15 seconds – decrease mental fatigue and preserve eyesight by looking away from the computer for 15 seconds every ten minutes.
• 30 seconds to 5 minutes – can increase mental acuity by 13%, increase focus and productivity.
• 2 minutes – stand up and stretch for 2 minutes every hour to increase circulation, decrease muscle tension and overall fatigue.
• 5 minutes – away from typing on a keyboard or clicking a mouse can combat hand, wrist and forearm pain.
• 6 minutes – the optimal amount of time spent every 80 minutes, taking a break from all types of work to increase productivity and mental acuity.
• 20 minutes – while not always an option, a 20 minute walk can help to mentally recharge and decrease physically fatigue.

The average manager spends 2 days per week in meetings, many longer than they need to be. In addition to taking breaks, the structure of meetings can also be changed to increase productivity, participation and efficiency. Conducting standing meetings – physically standing – will increase focus on the agenda, garner full attention of the attendees, and perhaps allow for less time in the boardroom, more time implementing what was discussed.

When weather permits, having outdoor meetings with one or two staff members can increase not only focus, but can have benefits that are realized throughout the day. Fresh air and change of surroundings will increase mental acuity and mood. Employee satisfaction and retention can also be positively impacted by taking business outdoors.

The BIG takeaway: take little breaks throughout the day and changing how you conduct meetings to get a dramatic effect on your, as well as your team’s, mental acuity, efficiency, and thus productivity. Lead by example, take a break from the computer and phone, get up and take a walk around the office. While you are stretching, encourage your staff to do the same.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Top Strategies for Developing Your Team – Part 3

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Great businesses, great staff and great teams don’t just “happen” any more than an 100-storey sky-scraper just “happens” – there is vision, planning and skill in achieving either.

Last week we covered Points 7-10, so this week we will outline the remaining strategies for developing your staff:

11. Create An Investment Plan With All Staff

If you’re going to set yourself apart from the crowd and establish a truly brilliant business, you are going to need one essential ingredient, and that is a truly brilliant team!

Truly brilliant teams don’t happen by accident, and they don’t come cheap! Not that they have to cost a lot of money, but they will require a significant investment of time and planning – mixed with a passion for excellence – if they are to form in the first place, and grow thereafter!

You’ll need to give some thought as to what you will need to invest in each of your team members to bring them to a level of competence and commitment that will make them your strongest and most valuable asset. The obvious candidates are “training” and “positive work experience”, but the less obvious candidates can be even more important: “inclusion”, “security”, “recognition”, “belonging”, “personal and professional growth” and more.

Then you’ll need to develop a process for delivering both the invitation to growth and personal investment, and then the actual experiences, agreements, understandings, and culture that will make that growth a highly likely outcome.

You could always start this process with a briefing on your desire for and interest in their personal and professional growth. This would be followed by an outline of the knowledge and skill training that you will provide, support or require them to complete, but it won’t stop there. In fact, the picture won’t be finished until you have created a culture where people learn and grow and support each other as a matter of course.

So, how would you do that?

12. Find Out What Makes Them Tick

We’d hope that you had a fair idea of what makes your new (and old) team members tick before you selected them. This point re-iterates the fact that it’s nearly useless trying to motivate people with your “external goals” – i.e., goals or rewards that you provide as opposed to their own internal, private or personal goals.

Much smarter to align the rewards you place on the behavior you want, to a team member’s achieving their own, personal goals. For example, rather than talking about their hitting a sales or other performance target to qualify for a bonus, you might ask them what they feel they need to be doing to hit the performance goal that is going to put the deposit on their new car/house/boat/toy.

Ask yourself, which one of these approaches is likely to gain the most buy-in from John:
• “Come on John, how can I help you hit your sales goal for the month, and qualify for your bonus?”; or
• “Come on John, how can I help you get that deposit for your new sport car?”

The second point in this step is to be aware that “people’s motives change over time.” You need a process for staying in touch with those changes as they occur in each member of your team. That process could be as simple as a weekly lunch or game of pool, with plenty of opportunity for relaxed chatter about life and goals outside of work; or it could be a formal and dedicated day during which each team member gets to share their personal and professional goals with their team.

Whatever your process, just ask yourself whether by knowing what really matters to each member of your staff, you would be in a better position to help them to achieve their goals, and to grow them personally and professionally.

13. Rate Your Performance as Their Mentor, Coach & Guide

It has been said that “feedback is the breakfast of champions” so does it make sense, if you are really aspiring to have and to lead an excellent team of people, that you seek and welcome feedback on a regular basis?

Give some thought as to how you would measure your own success in your chosen role. A rather scary suggestion: Your score will be equal to the average of the performance of each of your team members!

You could also seek feedback through a “mutual performance review” during which you provide each team member with an assessment of their performance, after which they provide you with their assessment of yours. That is even more scary.

And so we come to the $64,000 question: What would your business look like, function like, perform like, the year after you implemented your own version of these 13 steps? And how big would the suitcase need to be to carry all those extra profits to the bank?

If you know what to do, but are short on how to do it; or, if you know what and how, but also know that you will have a challenge committing to apply your knowledge, it’s probably time to talk to me about how I can get you to where you want to be, more quickly, more surely and more safely than you can get there on your own.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Top Strategies for Developing Your Team – Part 2

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Last week we covered Points 1 – 6, so this week we will outline a few more strategies for developing your staff:

7. Assess Their Commitment To Your Business’ Goals

This is an “imprecise measure,” but what you are looking for at this stage in the assessment process is an indication as to whether this person is a “committed” or a “renegade”.

The committed are “joiners”; they like other people; they like working with others, collaborating and teaming to build projects larger than they can handle alone. They look for causes to join, visions to buy into, and goals to meet.

Renegades are “users”; they intend to use the business, its resources and the position almost solely for their own ends. Sure, they will “do the work” – they may even be highly productive – but they tend to view their work as the product of their efforts alone (or at least see themselves alone as deserving of credit for any results to which they contribute). The often have a poor opinion of the others in their crew, and seldom step out to lift, grow or assist others – unless there is a clear pay-off involved.

A simple test for this factor is to ask questions that explore about how they feel or felt about their last or previous positions. renegades tend to give the game away with comments that display arrogance, ego, negativity and lack of respect for others. Committed generally convey a positive account of their experience.

8. Clearly Convey Your Core Concepts

If you want someone to give more than their physical presence and base labor to your business, you are going to have to sell them your Vision for the business (the “picture of perfection” towards which you are striving; your Mission (the path you are following to achieve that Vision); your Values (the boundaries of behavior along that path); your Goals (the milestones on the path; dated measures of performance); and your Code of Conduct (the way we treat each other, our Customers, and the assets of the business).

When it comes to your Core Concepts, don’t make the mistake that many larger corporations make in spending huge resources on having a expert in semantics design great sounding concepts; having an artist render them under glass and hang them in the boardroom and reception area; and then never looking at or talking about them again – except to quote them in their Annual Report.

Your Vision, Mission, Values, Goals and Code of Conduct should be wound into the daily fabric of your business and the lives of those who make it work.

When you go out into the labor market seeking new team members, you need to carry these Core Concepts with you both as a beacon (to attract those who resonate to them) and as a touchstone (against which to test each candidate’s personal core concepts for alignment with your own).

It’s going to be a lot easier and less costly to incorporate someone into the team whose core concepts already resonate with your own.

9. Craft A Powerful Investment Process

When you bring any new team member on board, you are faced with an inevitable investment of time and resources so as to enable them to come up to speed and meet your performance requirements as quickly as possible. So why not convey this process – explicitly – as the beginnings of your on-going “Investment in Them”?

Their first month or so on the job will set a tone that is likely to persist, so invest the time and thought required to design an excellent process – a system – that provides each new team member with:
• A clear understanding of our “Investing in You” philosophy.
• A detailed Job Description and/or Contract that is framed around results and outcomes, rather than activities and tasks, detailing all performance requirements, assessment processes, and any rewards associated with those.
• A clear statement of your termination process.
• An Organization Chart that clearly depicts the formal lines of communication, support and command and their position, responsibilities and authority within that structure.
• An introduction to and (actual, verbal) discussion about your Vision, Mission, Values, Goals and Code of Conduct – and a written copy to which to refer thereafter.
• A Team Member Guide introducing each member with a self-written thumbnail sketch, to speed the development of relationships and integration into the team.
• Statutory materials – OH&S guidelines, employment matters, etc.
• Position-related information (i.e., for a salesperson, this would include background on key account clients)
• A duplicated sign-off receipt that verifies that all of this material has been received by, and explained to, your new recruit.
Consider your responsibility for, and the benefits of, creating and managing a social process that quickly folds new recruits into the team and promotes the relationship building essential to high productivity and staff longevity.

10. Design A Performance Assessment & Recognition Process

When staff are asked, “Is your boss happy with your performance?”, too often the reply is, “He must be; he hasn’t fired me yet!”

Is this level of feedback likely to promote top performance among team members? Or could it be done better?

There are two key points to any assessment and recognition process: The period of assessment should be agreed and honored (how many bosses do you know who keep putting off periodic performance reviews?); and the assessment criteria must be transparent, mutually-agreed between the parties (at the outset! – no point trying to change the rules mid-game) and as objective as possible.

The best way to achieve transparency is to agree on one or more objective measures of performance; for a sales person, that may be sales revenue or gross profit per period; for administration staff it may be a maximum turn around time for quotations, or the timely filing of tax or other regulatory returns. Whatever the measure, it should be directly related to the results required of the position, and progress towards it should be regularly discernible by all parties (that is, the assessed person should not find out the result during the assessment, but should have been progressively aware of their performance throughout the period of assessment).

One important factor in creating an effective review process is the frame of mind in which it is administered! If, in the understanding of the parties, the assessment is to determine “whether they have failed or not”, the process will be cast in a negative light – and will probably be avoided by all parties as well!

If, on the other hand, the assessment process is seen as part of the team member’s personal and professional development (a sort of periodic look from which their next course of support and development will be planned) it will more likely be viewed in a much more positive light – and be carried out!

So how are you doing so far? Hopefully, you see the merit of the approach. More next time.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

Top Strategies for Developing Your Team – Part 1

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Great businesses and great teams don’t just “happen” any more than a 110-story sky-scraper just “happens” – there is vision, planning and skill in achieving either.

Here’s a little help on the planning side:
1. Build Better Specs
Always start with the end in mind! List the outcomes, the results that you want from anyone filling a position in your team.

Be specific; use numbers and dates where applicable. Specify the periods over which performance will be measured. Wherever possible, work out the value of this level of performance to the business so that you can apply some perspective to the salary package you may have to craft to acquire a person capable of delivering those results.

Use the 3:1 Rule as a test of your final cost/benefit assessment: The new team member should generate around three times their grossed up cost to the business, in gross profits. Their grossed up cost will be something like their pre-tax salary, plus 30% (to cover overhead, holidays, sick leave, etc).

2. Align Personality, Skill and Character with the Role
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that certain personality types are better suited to certain tasks than others. For example, if we simply divide people into “big-picture” and “detail oriented”, which of those two types might be better suited to sales, strategy and marketing? And which would you like doing your bookkeeping or accounting?

There are a number of tried and tested profiling tools that may help you to identify characteristics that will align with the results that you are looking for from your new team member. With a DiSC Analysis, you can save yourself a huge amount of time, money and angst that picking the wrong person can cost you.

3. Write Your Advertisement to Your Ideal Candidate
If you write an average ad, you’ll get an average unemployed (or about-to-be-unemployed) person replying to it. Is that what you want?

Given that, if you attract the wrong people to your position and make a poor selection, you could be weeks or months of salary and hair-pulling down the track before you terminate them and start again. So is it worth spending time (maybe hours) and resources (maybe hundreds of dollars for a skilled copywriter) to end up with an ad powerful enough to pull the perfect candidate for your position, away from their current employment and straight to your door? It would appear so.

Tips for an excellent advertisement for a position:
• Start by writing a rambling letter to the ideal candidate about what you want and what you are offering them. Start with money if you must, but then go all the way through “security”, “belonging”, “recognition and rewards”, and into “autonomy, responsibility, and opportunity for personal growth and expression” territory. The right person is going to join the dream that you so persuasively sell them, rather than selling their soul for the money you offer.
• Boil your rambling personal letter down to an elegant letter and put it on a page of your website, and link to it from your ad.
• Boil your elegant letter down into an ad that describes the ideal person in such a way as they would recognize themselves; and describes the job in terms of what they will gain from owning it.
• Rack your brains, take advice – do whatever it takes – to come up with a headline that will call out to your ideal candidate (and which will probably frighten, or put off any less-than-ideal candidates) by being a challenge to growth and adventure.
• Do your research and find out where your ideal candidate is likely to read this.
• Think about leaving the ad running even after you find your ideal candidate. After all, what’s harder to find: An ideal team member, or work for them to perform?

4. Sell Your Vision For Your Business
Do you want people who work (just) for money? Or do you want people who want to contribute to something fabulous, that’s bigger than themselves, into which they can put a piece of themselves and of which they can feel proud?

If you’re after the second lot, then you had better be very good at selling a crystal-clear vision of your dream for your business to them – otherwise you’re likely to attract drones!

What is your Vision? How will you share this in a way that will cause the right candidate to go, “Wow!”, and walk out of their current job to join you?

Yes, you can save yourself the brain drain and skip this step, but what type of candidate are you then likely to end up with?

5. Tailor A Quick Assessment Process
Sometimes it’s just smart to sit down with a professional recruiter at this point (and not before this point!) and have them take charge of the pre-selection process for you.

It can be a time-consuming task sifting through a number of candidates, and it is likely that a good professional will be able to grade a field of candidates against a clear selection criteria quicker and more efficiently than you can. Besides, it puts someone between you and the candidates until you are ready for that one-on-one meeting.

If you are one of those “hands-on” people who wants to run the selection process from end to end, it may still be a smart move to consult a recruitment specialist to develop a set of questions specific to your needs, that will sort the candidates into “As” (appear to have everything we want, right now); “Bs” (could qualify with a bit of development work on our part); and “Cs” – not for this position.

To these “standard” questions, you’ll then add others to determine any objective or professional qualifications, background, experience, etc, that you require or desire in a candidate, by which time you will then have the basis for a quick, preliminary grading system that should avoid you wasting time on the “Cs”.

6. Discover Their Goals And Aspirations First
Give someone enough rope and they are likely to hang themselves – so turn the traditional job interview process around by letting the candidate do the talking.

Use purposeful, open questions (ie, questions that can’t be answered with a single word); ask follow on questions based on their answers to explore some depth to better understand your candidate; occasionally use extending questions (“Tell me a bit more”) or friendly silence to encourage them to go on.

Ask questions to find out what they know about you and your business. If they are worth their salt they will have researched you before their interview (whether on the web, by walk in, or by talking to people who already work for you, know your business, etc).

Set out to discover what makes them tick, and why they would want to work for and with you. Discover what talents, experience, knowledge and ideas they bring to the table, and explore those a little. It is entirely possible that you could start out interviewing a candidate for one job, but end up targeting them for another particularly suited to their talents or background.

Then invite them to ask questions of you. Form your opinions based on the quality of those questions, and the background knowledge from which they are asked.

Listen for the assumptions in their speech to gain a feel for how well their values and expectations align with your own, even at this very early point in your relationship.

Bottom line: You’ll learn much more by listening to them talk and having them ask questions about the job, than you ever will by telling them about the position.

Will cover more in the next blog – so stay tuned.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Begin here to accelerate your success: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.

How to Give Praise

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

This is a follow-on to the Recognition piece we discussed last time.

We’ve probably all cringed at one time or another as a well-meaning person mangled their attempt to publicly praise someone, usually by directing their praise at the person and their qualities, and thus causing huge embarrassment on the part of their subject and on their audience alike. The intended purpose – to celebrate the result and to have the individual feel elevated and valued – is usually swamped by the huge cringe-factor and is lost entirely.

If the intention of the person issuing the praise was to reinforce the behavior by attaching a pleasant experience to it, they may well have had the exactly opposite effect by motivating their hapless subject to never again perform at a level that will bring them public notice and humiliation.

It pays to be aware of the huge, positive, free energy boost delivered to all parties when recognition is effectively delivered and to invest the small amount of forethought required to ensure that you do an expert job of it each time the occasion arises.

Here is a simple, four-step process that works every time:

Clearly state the precise result for which the person or team are being recognized and put it into the context of the organization’s goals (“Thanks to your work, we’ve just won first place out of more than 250 competitors in this month’s Service Awards Ratings.”).

Give some details of the key behaviors that brought about the result. (“The judges said that our team was the friendliest and most helpful by a significant margin. We go the extra mile for our customers without any hint of frustration or impatience and make everyone feel welcome when they contact us. As a result our customer satisfaction score was one of the highest they have ever seen.”)

Praise the behavior with reference to your values. (“It fills me with enormous pride when I hear of our people breathing life into our Mission ‘To create extraordinary shopping moments with quality products and sincere service.’ Your performance was as ‘extraordinary’ as the experience you created for your customers; and the sincerity of your service was certainly borne out by their feedback. Well done everyone. You deserve the prize this month, and you deserve the respect of every one of us on your team.”)

Ask a relevant question. (“So, is there any one thing that you chose to really focus on that you think played a key part in your results?”)
The last step in the process is intended to short-circuit any embarrassment that may be rising in those being recognized. It does so by deflecting their (and their audience’s) attention away from themselves and towards your question and to reflection on their actions.

If you omit this step, there is the risk that a shy person may be deterred from future excellence, or that a person of low self-esteem may, in the instant of receiving the praise, question their right to be recognized and may subconsciously reject the praise. Thus, they would have negated its effectiveness in endorsing their worth to the team and to themselves, and its effectiveness in motivating them towards further excellence.

Hopefully, you now have a tool to help you next time you give praise.

Combining Vision and Innovation to Create the Future

Start here to gain that competitive edge: http://www.ignition-pathway2growth.com/

© Rich Kohler 2015. All rights reserved. For copies, please contact Rich at rich@rich-kohler.com.