Archive for the 'Performance Management' Category

Who needs a teambuilding away day?

I’ve had a number of meeting where team managers have suggested an “away day” as part of a team building strategy.

When asked “What’s the objective” I’ve sometimes been told “So that they’ll be motivated”
Further discussion around the outcomes can sometimes generate a confused response from the manager.
On one occasion I was told “I don’t know what outcomes but I want them motivated”

I was tempted to ask “Motivated to leave?” but persevered to a conclusion which resulted in the team’s manager attending one of my 1:1 strategy planning seminars. The result was even more positive than the team attending an awayday.
The lesson is to focus on the who as well as the outcome when planning team development.

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The “Loop Of Paralysis”

I was talking to a friend and business owner over the weekend about his team productivity and the process that allows team productivity to fall when times are uncertain.

It’s most often observed during the early stages of change or during an M&A when rules are about to change and become unclear. It’s made more noticeable when management reduce communication because there’s “nothing to say”. The problem is that everyone else, team members that is, ate having their say. Around the coffee machine, in corridor meetings and outside of work. The result is that productivity falls, sales reduce and projects are put on hold until the uncertainty is removed.

It’s NOT an option
I told my friend that to “Say nothing because there wasn’t anything to say” is NOT an option. This increases the sense of uncertainty at a time when people are looking for direction. It is possible to point out to team members that the way ahead is unclear EXCEPT for the fact that sales are still required, increased efficiency needed and that meeting targets will still be expected.

This afternoon he telephoned to say that after briefing his team, corridor meetings had significantly reduces and one team member said “Even though things aren’t clear thanks for reminding us what’s important”

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A spring in my step all day today

Found this feedback on a conference keynote I give and it’s put a spring in my step all day

“I have seen Stephen speaking on more than one occasion and I’m a strong advocate of his material.
The talk is fun and engaging with a deft touch. Mainly though I think the content is vital.
It has a demonstrable ROI and is hugely relevant in this time of constant change.
I would recommend it to anyone serious about the long term success of their business”
Caspar Berry

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When does a product comes to life?

I’ve recently answered a question on what brings a product to life.

I disagreed with some people who thought that the answer was when the “money owing for the product clears in the bank account and exceeds the
liabilities that were created in the process of production”

I thought these answers were too simplistic and actually don’t describe “coming to life”. It could mean that a £1 profit meant the product had come to life and for me that’s not a good description. What I think describes a product coming to life is when it starts to “excite” the producers and purchasers. It’s only through an emotional state can a product actually have an “exciting life”.

Let me give you some examples.

a) In her recent Royal engagements The Duchess of Cambridge has worn coats from last years fashions and the shops have been inundated by people wanting to buy the same coats and shoes and have gone into new production to fulfil demand.

b) Apple creates a loyalty for its products and makes visiting the store exciting, energetic

c) Abercrombie and Fitch have an opposite product to the rest of the high street. The stores are dark, you can’t see the product clearly, it’s unbelievably expensive (in UK if not in USA) and yet kids crowd in, desperate to have a photo taken with half naked models where their muscles are highlighted by clever downward lighting and spray tanning to accentuate the bumps. The products are bought because it’s “Cool fashion”. It’s an exciting product.

The other thing about the examples above is that the product isn’t just what’s bought!
It’s the experience, the emotion of ownership and belonging to a group of other owners.

Products that don’t build this into the product mix may have a “Birth” but they’re likely to have a short life 

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Do qualifications mean employability?

Have you noticed there’s a lot of discussion from employers on how eduction is failing to provide people with the skills and knowledge needed. IT companies complain that graduates can’t understand background programmes, Senior executives despair that new hires don’t know how to communicate, employers shake their heads at qualifications that don’t provide the skills for work that employers are seeking.

Mission Critical opportunities being lost
Yesterday I was contacted by a CEO who told me that a “new hire” he had employed last year “wasn’t working out”. It seemed that the qualification and some experience hadn’t given the new hire the skills the job required and mission critical opportunities were being lost. 

What to do?
Larger companies are sponsoring education programmes to ensure they are
able to hire the skills they need but smaller businesses can’t afford to
do that. So what to do?
When recruiting it’s worth investigating the content and syllabus of qualifications if they are critical to the job skills. Then test them. If computer skills are required test them as part of the interview process. If communication or management skills are required for the job then these too can be tested at the interview stage.

Where skills are being recruited it’s a matter of “Employer be aware”

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The gap between expectation and delivery

I read with interest in People Management that
of the changes that leaders and managers think are most important for
success are currently not being delivered by their organisations.

In a survey by the Centre for Educational Leadership
at the University of Manchester delegates at the latest CIPD Conference were asked their opinions on the importance of
various aspects of business performance. They were then asked which
aspects their organisations were currently delivering effectively. The
gaps between expectation and delivery were marked.

  • Effective
    HR business partnering was identified by 65 per cent as important to
    achieve, yet only 33 per cent said they had it in place
  • Harnessing the
    ideas of employees was cited as a priority for 69 per cent, but only 35
    per cent said they already did it well
  • Performance management processes
    were seen as important by 62 per cent, but just 21 per cent were
    confident with what they had in place.
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