I asked top leaders to respond to three questions: What three words describe a great team? What three problems hinder great teamwork? What three things do great teams habitually do? They wrote about trust, communication, ego, alignment, and more. Successful teams are the result of leadership, not luck. You’ve felt the pain of teams that … … Continue reading →

Read more: leadershipfreak.blog

This is the time of year when a lot of the leaders I work
with are buckling down to write up annual performance reviews for the people on
their team. This is a process that almost no one enjoys – neither the reviewer
or the reviewee.  Seriously, do you know
anyone in any role who looks forward to an annual performance review?

There are a lot of reasons why annual performance review processes
usually suck. Here are three.

First, they’re annual. Is there any other aspect of life
where you expect great results from checking in for a half hour once a year?
Marriage? Parenting? Working out? Nah, I didn’t think so. It doesn’t work at
work either. If you want feedback and coaching to be effective it needs to be
in the moment and ongoing. The annual review conversation should be a recap of
coaching conversations you’ve had throughout the year.

Second, performance reviews are usually more monologues than
dialogues. The reviewer comes in with a list of objectives the reviewee needed
to achieve and then proceeds to move through the list. Quite often, the
reviewer doesn’t have all the information needed to do a full assessment and
the reviewee feels frustrated or dejected because they don’t get acknowledged
for the range of things they’ve accomplished.

Third, in many organizations, the annual review process is
directly tied to the compensation process. Everyone views the performance
rating primarily as a mechanism to trigger the distribution of a bonus pool or
eligibility for an increase to base salary. When the review process comes down
to a rating or a number, nobody pays a lot of attention to the content of the
review conversation. It’s more like, “Let’s just cut to the chase. Am I getting
a raise or a bonus or not?”

If you’re a leader in an organization that puts a lot of
effort into the annual performance review process, a lot of this probably
sounds familiar. You may also feel like there’s not a lot you can do to change
it. That may be true in terms of the process that you have to work within. It’s
not true, however, in terms of how you can use the annual review process to set
you and your team up for success.

Here are three ideas on how you can do that and, in the
process, make your performance review process suck less.

First, make the process more prospective and less
retrospective. If you’ve done a good job of staying engaged with your people
throughout the year, you shouldn’t have to use the annual review to deliver a
surprise message or drop the hammer about something that didn’t get done.
Consider using the review to recap the year’s accomplishments and remaining
opportunities and then pivot to the future. Use the one on one to talk about
next year’s agenda and how the work that the reviewee has done this year aligns
with and sets the foundation for what’s coming up next. Talk about their work
and personal goals and connect them with the goals and the work of your group
as a whole.

Second, separate the conversation from the compensation. You
don’t need 30 or 45 minutes to tell them whether or not they’re going to get a
raise or a bonus. Use the review conversations for developmental not evaluative
purposes. Schedule another separate round of shorter conversations later to
deliver any compensation-related news you need to share.

Third, remember that review conversations have a huge impact
on your personal leadership effectiveness and establishing the perception of
how you lead. What are you trying to accomplish with the review conversation?
How do you want your team member to feel at the end of it? Motivated?
Challenged? Excited? Appreciated? Get a clear picture in your mind about how
you need to show up in the conversation to make it likely that your team member
leaves the meeting feeling the way you hope they’ll feel. There are short-term
and long-term effects of performance conversations on engagement and
commitment. Be aware of what you’re trying to do and intentional about how you
do it.

Interested in more on how to make the most of performance reviews? Check out this post I wrote back in 2013.

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Read more: eblingroup.com


twitter Here are a selection of tweets from September 2019 that you don’t want to miss:

This one document may have just changed Corporate America forever by @JohnPKotter “The mission of the corporation was to maximize shareholder gain were out of date, irrelevant, not true, or all of the above.”
Has Your Leadership Reached The Point of No Return? by @WScottCochrane “To build and maintain momentum, you must recognize these points and bravely step across them.”
Andrew Davis on Leading with Curiosity via @DDIworld
4 C Vitamins for Better Leadership from @wallybock
5 Things You Need to Know about Building a People-First Economy via @bkpub
The 4 Mindsets of High Performance Teams by @RandyConley
Avoid these classic leadership mistakes by ⁦@JanePerdue via ⁦@SBLeaders
How To Become The Best In The World At What You Do by @LaRaeQuy
How to Lead in a Caustic Culture by David Dye @LetsGrowLeaders Grow Leaders
19 Leadership Trend Reports for 2019 from @leadingincontxt Linda Fisher Thornton
How to Maximize Your Greatest Point of Influence by @Leadershipfreak Dan Rockwell
Tech Founders Predict the Next Wave of Startup Growth via @VisualCap
VIDEO: “Thank you Lt. Dan!” In a world of negativity, it’s refreshing to see a celebrity focused on serving others. @GarySinise via @donhornsby
Coaching Challenges by @kenbyler Here’s a few things I have learned about the challenges of coaching.
Prepare the Way for Your Gemba Walk by @wallybock
Impossible Is Always Possible by @FSonnenberg
Leadership: 5 Essentials to Team Building 21st Century Teams by @KateNasser For great teamwork, leaders must define team in a new way and build them in ways that match the team, the goals, and the changing dynamics of business.
Redefining Success: Adopt the Journey Mindset to Move Forward via @StanfordGSB To sustain the behaviors that helped you reach a goal, think about the achievement as a journey rather than a destination.
Podcast: Michael Moritz: Look for Unexpected Opportunities via @StanfordGSB The top two challenges facing the tech industry: identifying promising companies and promoting diversity.
10 Sayings That Reveal The Heart of Courage in a Leader by @WScottCochrane
Business Lessons from the Top 0.01% @JohnFoleyInc
Why It’s Important For Leaders To Let People Know What They Are Thinking from @JohnBaldoni
The Liabilities of Being a Perfectionist by @shawnlovejoy
Aim Higher: Why Servant Leaders Create a Culture of Trust by @SkipPrichard
How To Develop The Heart Of Courageous Leadership by @WScottCochrane Every leader faces defining moments when the difference between success or failure comes down to the courage to make the tough decision.
Learning is Never Wasted by @LeadToday Steve Keating
Things Every Courageous Leader Knows (That Most Ignore) by @LollyDaskal
5 Reasons Why New Executives Fail via @DDIworld
Be Careful with Multi-Person Feedback—It’s Easy to Get it Wrong by @artpetty
How to Immediately Spot a Bad Leader by @LollyDaskal
Great Leaders Build Great Next-Gen Leaders by @DanitaBye
The Greatest Test of Character You’ll Ever Face as a Leader by @brandonacox
James Mattis: “The Duty Of Silence” from @JohnBaldoni

See more on twitter Twitter.

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That Will Never Work Hard Times for Leaders

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Beat the Churn with Context

One of the stories I tell in The Next Level is about the CEO of a very well-known company who, in speaking to a meeting of the top 200 executives there, spontaneously riffed out loud about how “We could use more employees with the skill set and approach that Competitor X has.” Over the next six months, the CEO’s company had hired scores of employees from Competitor X and, as they did, unintentionally changed the culture of their own company. The CEO started to notice what was going on and asked why the company was suddenly hiring so many people from Competitor X. The answer was, “You told us to at the top executive conference.” The CEO’s response was that he was just thinking out loud that they could use people like that and he didn’t mean that anyone should go out and poach them away.

Chalk one up for needless churn. Based on a random comment rooted in a fragment of a thought people sprang into action, spun things up and changed the culture of a major company in the process.

Another way to spark churn in your organization (which both I and a number of my executive coaching clients have been guilty of) is to send your team members an email with a report or article attached with a cryptic cover note like, “Please take a look at this.” I was reminded of this one lately in a senior leadership team meeting where some of the executives were talking about how they had been acting on an article their CEO sent with a “Read this” message. The boss was surprised when they told him that and said that he had only sent it because he had found it interesting. In the meantime, hours were burned and churned by people guessing and then acting on what they thought he wanted.

So, if you’re the designated leader how do you avoid sending your people into a cycle of churn?

It’s pretty simple really. Slow yourself down and take a few more moments to provide some context about what you’re saying or sending and why you’re saying or sending it. For instance, the Competitor X example that I started this post with could have been avoided if the CEO had first said, “I’m just thinking out loud here and putting this on the table as food for thought, not action.” Or, in the case of sending an article around, expand on “Take a look at this,” with a sentence or two more about why it resonates with you and how you think it could be useful to others.

You may think that advice is beyond basic and that it should be obvious that you don’t expect people to take action on the things you say and the stuff you share unless you explicitly ask for action. Yeah, it may be obvious to you, but it’s likely not obvious to them. Experience shows again and again that even senior executives are so motivated to please their boss that they will often spring into action at the slightest prompt. As a result, there’s a lot of needless churn in a lot of organizations.

Beat the churn. Provide some context.

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Read more: eblingroup.com