Archives for category: Directing

In reference to a prior blog on “The Review”, this process is often challenging and ineffective in terms of generating the desired performance improvement that Managers are seeking.

The traditional performance appraisal reviews past performance, and is often an inaccurate reflection of true performance due to:

  • inadequate preparation or effort,
  • poor documentation or record keeping,
  • any number of biases.

I believe that what really matters to is to provide your employees with input that leads to the development of their skills, which ultimately benefits them personally as well as serving the organization’s future.

There is much discussion in HR circles about eliminating the annual or semi-annual review process altogether. Such a change should foster more frequent conversations and updates about an employee’s performance, which is what most workers want.

ConstantONGOING coaching and feedback is one of the keys toward achieving continuous employee growth and development.

I’m not saying micro-management, but rather taking the time to ensure that every employee:

  • understands the clear expectations surrounding their role and responsibilities,
  • knows where they stand in terms of their performance,
  • and has a vision of how to grow and improve.

feedback

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While watching the World War II classic movie Tora, Tora, Tora about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I noticed another “classic” taking place as well, that of pathetic leadership!

There is a scene where a General is visiting a strategic enemy detection station on Oahu. He gives “instruction” to his subordinate commander to take certain action, and in response to the General’s ill-advised “direction”, the commander reports the issues and concerns that impact their situation.

The General then provides typical “leadership direction” by stating to his commander “take it easy, you’ll figure it out!”  The commander says, tongue-in-cheek, “yeah, I’ll figure it out.” You can vividly see the engagement and morale impact of this dialogue.

Now I’m a proponent of empowerment, but this is not how it should be done!

Fast forward…the same commander then gives “direction” to two soldiers at the location by saying “well don’t just stand there, you guys know how to operate this thing”.

Their response is that “we know the theory sir”, to which their “boss” responds, “well let’s put the theory into practice.”  “You two stay put and keep watching that screen.”

Then comes this classic question…“excuse me sir, but what are we watching for?”

Regrettably, the absurdity of unclear and uncaring communication evident throughout this scene occurs on a daily basis in many workplaces.

Now watch the rest of this stunning dialogue in reply to the soldier’s inquiry:

Colonel: “Anything unusual coming from the sea.”

Soldiers: “Sir, if we do spot something, what do we do?”

Colonel: “Report it to headquarters.”

Soldiers: “How, Sir? We haven’t got a telephone.”

Colonel: “There’s a gas station a mile down the road, they must have a phone.”

I won’t even start to discuss ensuring that your team has the right tools and resources to do their job!

Sadly, we all know how Pearl Harbor turned out, and although I suspect much of this movie dialogue was fictional, it leads me to think that with more caring leadership, the tragic results of that Sunday could have somehow been altered.

pEARL

While watching the World War II classic movie Tora, Tora, Tora about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I noticed another “classic” taking place as well, that of pathetic leadership!

There is a scene where a General is visiting a strategic enemy detection station on Oahu. He gives “instruction” to his subordinate commander to take certain action, and in response to the General’s ill-advised “direction”, the commander reports the issues and concerns that impact their situation.

The General then provides typical “leadership direction” by stating to his commander “take it easy, you’ll figure it out!”  The commander says, tongue-in-cheek, “yeah, I’ll figure it out.” You can vividly see the engagement and morale impact of this dialogue.

Now I’m a proponent of empowerment, but this is not how it should be done!

Fast forward…the same commander then gives “direction” to two soldiers at the location by saying “well don’t just stand there, you guys know how to operate this thing”.

Their response is that “we know the theory sir”, to which their “boss” responds, “well let’s put the theory into practice.”  “You two stay put and keep watching that screen.”

Then comes this classic question…“excuse me sir, but what are we watching for?”

Regrettably, the absurdity of unclear and uncaring communication evident throughout this scene occurs on a daily basis in many workplaces.

Now watch the rest of this stunning dialogue in reply to the soldier’s inquiry:

Colonel: “Anything unusual coming from the sea.”

Soldiers: “Sir, if we do spot something, what do we do?”

Colonel: “Report it to headquarters.”

Soldiers: “How, Sir? We haven’t got a telephone.”

Colonel: “There’s a gas station a mile down the road, they must have a phone.”

I won’t even start to discuss ensuring that your team has the right tools and resources to do their job!

Sadly, we all know how Pearl Harbor turned out, and although I suspect much of this movie dialogue was fictional, it leads me to think that with more caring leadership, the tragic results of that Sunday could have somehow been altered.

pEARL

Simple question: can you get more done by doing it all yourself…or…by enlisting your entire team and giving them the ability to utilize their talents, make decisions and help move your organization toward it’s objectives?

Unbelievably, I’ve seen many managers fall into the trap of thinking they must perform many tasks on their own, believing they can do it quicker or more efficiently.  Perhaps in the short term, but in the long run, this creates constricted and limited performance.

Leaders must understand what each of their people does well, and then DELEGATE to, and EMPOWER, every individual to go EXECUTE.  Not only does this improve operational efficiency, but it provides growth and self-satisfaction opportunities for the employee.

Throughout my career, when subordinates came to me with questions, I wanted to challenge their abilities.  I would often ask them “What do you think you should do?”.  Unless their thought process was completely out of bounds, I would tell them to go do it, and let’s see how it works.

95 % of the time their solution was just fine, and the other 5%, we learned from it!

People will surprise you with their results if you just tell them what to do, and let them figure out how to do it.

Don’t misunderstand.  Leaders must still “inspect what they expect“, monitor progress and course-correct as needed.  However, they don’t have to do it all on their own.

Heck, the results from the empowered person will often turn out better than what the leader would have achieved!

Maxwell empowerment

4 E's

Prior “Boltz” messages have stressed the importance of feedback sessions with your team.  These interactions assure alignment while providing 360 degree candid conversations to occur…IF the leader has created an environment that allows open and honest communication without repercussions!

Such an environment typically promotes the Four E’s noted in the above image.  I believe these are crucial components in achieving the successful leadership of any group, team or organization.

It is well-documented in multiple surveys that employee empowerment and engagement are often key determinants that impact whether a person stays with, or leaves, their employer.

Furthermore, a culture that promotes enhancement of roles and responsibilities while providing the resources and knowledge to enable optimum performance typically achieves results far superior to operations that don’t embrace these strategies.

With these high-level notions in mind, stay tuned for a well-warranted separate discussion on each of these Four E’s in upcoming posts!

 

 

 

Former President Bill Clinton served during Nelson Mandela’s rise to power in South Africa, and maintained a relationship and friendship with him that exceeded 20 years.

Clinton noted that Mandela taught him many lessons, including that “freedom was limited when other people are not also freed and empowered”.  This rule has an application in the business environment as well as society in general, as referenced in an earlier blog on empowerment, “95 % of the time, they’ll do right”.

All indications are that Mandela consistently led with a philosophy of love, caring and reinforcement!

What an improvement for all concerned if every leader was able to demonstrate similar  traits.

Clinton & Mandela

One of the lessons learned early on during my career was that if you didn’t like the way you were being managed by your supervisor, do something constructive about it!

Too many employees complain about their “boss”…how they are treated, the lack of feedback or interaction, no direction, only hearing the negative, etc.  Rather than whining or complaining, or worse yet tolerating the situation in order to “collect that paycheck”, influence change.

Strong performers will complete their required duties and obligations, quickly and efficiently, and then challenge their leader for what’s next?

Instead of waiting on “the person in charge” to give you stimulating assignments, provide direction or deliver performance feedback, take the initiative to manage them by being tenacious in pursuing, and requiring, your job enlargement and enrichment.

Hold that “boss” accountable for doing their job in growing your career, both personally and professionally! That is an obligation of any leader worthy of the title.

Manage Up

Human nature dictates that “people resist change”.  Taking someone out of their comfort zone, and familiar surroundings or processes, makes this seem logical.

Nonetheless, to remain vibrant and competitive, organizations (and individuals for that matter) must not only embrace change, but ensure that it occurs in a timely and effective manner.

Change comes in various forms and sizes, ranging from moving office equipment or modifying routine procedures to major process renovations or reorganizations.

My experience has shown that the following requirements must occur in order to facilitate optimal “change” in an environment:

  • Ensure your employees are aware of “WHY” the change must occur
  • Deliver a clear “VISION” of what this change will do, for them and the company
  • Not only “SUPPORT” the change, but also eliminate obstacles that may interfere
  • “MOTIVATE” your people with focus on the rewards the change will bring
  • Reinforce the change by making it a part of your business “CULTURE”

Following this process coupled with ongoing enthusiasm and commitment during the transition will deliver the best possible outcomes.

Change

Early on in my retail career, managing a “big box” home improvement center with over 100 employees, I quickly learned the importance of empowering your people to make decisions.

In retail or any other fast paced environment, we are faced with seemingly endless rapid fire decisions that need to be made, many resulting from an unplanned or reactionary scenario.

As my team, one after another would come to me with an issue, I had two options…give them the answer I felt was most appropriate or make them think for themselves.

In order for me to focus on what was most important in my role as General Manager, I would have to surround myself with troops who could think, had good common sense, and were not afraid to make a decision.

When approached for help, I would ask the employee “what do you think we should do?”

If they didn’t have an immediate solution in mind, I would have them come back to me when they did.  Once they returned, unless their idea was illegal, unethical or completely off-base, I would suggest they go ahead and do it.  I frequently closed our discussion with this statement:

“95 % of the time, we’ll make the right decision;  the other 5 % we’ll learn from it!”

In short order, I found myself with an empowered team who could make things happen and did not require non-stop direction from their leader.

Patton Empowerment

Talent 4 step

Human capital is arguably the most important asset of any business.

By definition, Human capital (i.e. “Talent“) encompasses a company’s stock of competencies, knowledge, skills, abilities, creativity and experience, combined to ultimately accomplish the achievement of desired organizational goals and objectives.

As indicated by the diagram, an ideal Talent process flow starts with the business plan, followed by sourcing, development and then retention.

This cycle remains an ongoing progression as the business operation utilizes succession planning to realize ongoing, continuous talent development and improvement.

Upcoming blogs will delve into specifics surrounding each of the individual talent four-step components

Regardless, the model is fairly self-explanatory and should be implemented by everyone interested in optimizing their talent management methodology.

Consider how your current routine aligns with this approach?