In my close to three decades as a corporate executive, I learned that, no matter the reason for letting go an employee, one should be direct AND human. This article touches on both, especially the latter.
Is there an opportunity in your organization to improve the performance review process? Even if you don’t overhaul the entire process, you may still find qualitative improvements within your reach. For example, instead of focusing on “what happened”, you can look for “why” it happened and “what can be done differently in the future”.
Good advice on how to manage tough conversations such as laying off an employee. In particular, I endorse the idea of both being direct and human during this process.
I want to complement the author’s suggestions with a good practice I learned in my early days as a people manager: Set up a 90-day probation plan with the employee. Let them know that:
- Their performance is below expectations,
- You agree with them on the specific performance indicators needed to remain on this job, and
- You will discuss their progress every 30 days.
I have to admit I didn’t always follow this good practice, which led to some difficult discussions.
Any good (or not so good) experiences you would like to share?
Short but effective tip offered in the attached article: Find the root cause behind the negative behaviors of an employee before trying to help them. Don’t stereotype or look for a one-size-fits-all fix.
Three good suggestions on how to get to know yourself better. I want to add a fourth one: Seek feedback. In my coaching engagements, one of the most appreciated elements of the process is to receive what is called “360 feedback”. Asking the manager, peers and direct reports of the executive for their strengths and development opportunities usually brings two major benefits: realizing how others value the executive’s many strengths, and uncovering blind spots. What has been your experience with 360 feedback?
Please find attached 10 good productivity reminders. I want to highlight the fourth one: Learn to say “no”. Beware that every time you say yes to requests from others (which may not necessarily be important to you) you are saying no to activities which are important to you.
I want to share two good onboarding experiences I had during my 27 years in the corporate world. You may find some elements applicable to future onboarding processes in your team:
- My onboarding in P&G (first job after graduate school): My manager prepared a detailed 3-day schedule of people I should connect with. However, the best element of it was that he met with me for one to two hours at the end of each day, to debrief on the activities of the day, and to work together on a budget proposal he was preparing.
- My onboarding in Microsoft (at a more senior level): My manager assigned one of my new colleagues (who had been in the company for several years) to accompany me on a 2-week onboarding process. They had set up a series of meetings with the people I would be interacting with on a more regular basis in my new job.
The common factor I found in these and other good onboarding processes is the ownership, engagement and good planning by the onboarding manager.
If you want to attract people to you and your ideas, there are two broad ways to accomplish this: by force and by persuasion.
In this newsletter I will focus on improving your skills in the latter area, as I assume you’ve seen enough evidence of the long-term challenges using the former.
There are five principles of Ultimate Influence™ outlined in the book Adversaries into Allies by Bob Burg, the author of the sales classic, Endless Referrals and coauthor of the Go-Giver series. These five principles resonated with the challenges I’ve observed in my personal experience and with corporate clients as well:
- Control your emotions. Aim to make “calm” your default setting, even when others aren’t. I know this is easier said than done but make a commitment to yourself that your new default setting will be calm. Visualize yourself staying calm and try it in your next meeting. Even if you fail, keep trying. Celebrate your victories.
- Understand the clash of belief systems. Don’t assume that the person you are trying to influence thinks in a way that is similar to yours. When in doubt, ask for clarification. And as outlined by Stephen Covey three decades ago, seek first to understand, then to be understood.
- Acknowledge their ego. Avoid unnecessary criticism and embarrassment. Highlight the positives in others. Look first for areas where you agree with the other person so they don’t get defensive. Then, and only then, try to persuade.
- Set the proper frame. This is where I found the biggest growth opportunity and perhaps you will too. Take the initiative and ensure the most productive frame for your interactions is set (or reset). For example, if the other person is framing the discussion as a choice between two alternatives, neither of which you find attractive, you can reframe it by adding a third option to choose from.
- Communicate with tact and empathy. Listen more, talk less. To inspire trust and likeability, find similarities with the person(s) you are trying to influence.
Follow these five principles to become an Ultimate Influencer and avoid resorting to force to attract people to you and your ideas. Persuade by focusing on what’s in it for the person you are trying to influence, instead of “what’s in it for me.”
Percy M. Cannon
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Three good tips in the attached article to be more open-minded, to which I would add a fourth one: become a good listener. Listen before speaking. Aim for at least a 2x ratio of listening to speaking. Ask clarification questions. Truly seek to understand what the other person is trying to communicate.
According to the Gallop Global Study quoted in the attached article, only 15% of worldwide employees claim to be engaged at work (30% for the US). Concerning!
At the end of the article, the author recommends three strategies aimed at increasing your motivation and engagement level. The bottom-line: you have to find the intrinsic motivators that work best for you.
I would suggest to leverage these strategies with those employees who report to you. No silver bullet, though….. but at least a starting point.