Category Archives: Leadership

Human Performance Deserves More Than a Review

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”.

Human Performance Deserves More Than a Review

4 Things to Do Before a Tough Conversation

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:

  1. Their performance is below expectations,
  2. You agree with them on the specific performance indicators needed to remain on this job, and
  3. 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?

Employee Retention Starts with Onboarding

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Do You Want to Become an Ultimate Influencer?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
Corporate Coach

PS: Use this link to subscribe to future newsletter issues.

Want to Be More Open-Minded?

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.

How to Get Motivated to Go to Work Every Single Day

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.

Helping Unemployed/Underemployed People Is Part of Your Job…

The attached article made me recall the different people who helped me find a job when I lost mine more than two decades ago. Besides the actual help I received from them, for which I am eternally grateful, they also raised my awareness to how much I could do for those seeking employment and career advice. Perhaps you can also help when asked, or even volunteer your help to those in need.

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

From the 13 tips offered in the attached article, I want to highlight the fifth: Focus on your priorities. They suggest to use a 2-by-2 matrix of Urgent & Not-Urgent versus Important & Not-Important, which you may have seen before from Covey’s “7 Habits” model. What I particularly like of this matrix is the specific suggestions of what to do depending on which quadrant the task on hand falls into. Check it out.