Archive for April, 2017

Personnel Assessment For Cultivating Performance Greatness – Building Peak Performance With Benjamin Franklin’s Secret Decision Tools!

SERIES: Part Two of a Four-Part Article

Businesses have evolved into many inefficient habit patterns that actually hold back their own individuals and teams from peak performance.

Consider the tasks that you and others may be assigned, may assume or work on daily. If you were to evaluate the depth of skill, knowledge, experience and overall ability one has in connection with the tasks, in many instances there would be a radical adjustment to be made.

Think of it this way. If you started your own business and built a team from scratch, you would evaluate all of the tasks needing to be functionally addressed. With that data clearly defined, and maybe even written out, you would begin finding, interviewing and appropriately assigning the tasks that play to each player’s strength index!

The reality in the work place today is that people enter an organization, are led to their assigned workspaces and associated tasks and told to GO!

I see this every day with my Fortune 500 clients, major associations and government agency clients. Managers inherit personnel and never see beyond the surface level of the players’ abilities. Colleagues sit side-by-side for years – decades – and, in some cases, never learn of the true talent depth of the person next to them. Without that talent base being made public, no one benefits from its richness!

Right player, right task, right time, right development, right success, right performance!

 Cultivating performance greatness from within oneself and from others starts with an introspective look at one’s base talent pool. A quick way of determining this depth is by using the decision model alleged to have been used by the great Benjamin Franklin in pursuit of making decisions. For yourself and for each player on your team, take a simple piece of paper, write the person’s name at the top center of the page and draw a vertical line down the middle of the page from top to bottom. Now:

  1. In the left side, enter descriptors for the said person: Positives, Attributes, Strengths, Skills, Educational Attainments, Certifications, Accomplishments and Things They are Good at Doing!
  2. In the right side, enter all of the descriptors for the said person: Negatives, Detriments, Weaknesses, Specific Lack of Educational Attainments and Things They Stink at Doing!

As a leader, you cannot lead others to greatness if you cannot innately tap into a positive side depth. By weighing the two sides against one another, you should determine the number of entries on a person’s weakness side, and your goal should be to know three to five times more about them on the positive side

To determine the richness of each player that you lead, do this drill for each player on a separate piece of paper or electronic word document. Challenge yourself to greatness by recognizing what others’ greatnesses are. If you are unimpressed with what you know or do not know, let that become the motivator by which you engage each player and ask for their feedback to complete this model.

Individual  success = increased self-esteem = increased motivation = increased passion = increased commitment = increased winners!

To enhance an organization’s performance, routinely list all of the core functions of your organization or business area on separate pieces of paper. Then set those to the side and do the same for each person on your team. With the players’ names and Strength/Weakness Index (Ben Franklin +/- Model) detailed, lay the names on a chart or table, take the stack of functions and place them like your playing cards adjacent to the person best suited for that task, regardless of current positions. When you are done, you will notice where people are overloaded, who needs to be trained for greater performance participation and whether or not you have someone on your team that is a non-performer with no tasks assigned to them. This becomes either a training and development opportunity for the both of your or a termination identifier for that person!

Cultivating performance greatness from all players on a team is the critical factor in the business place today. As the tactical leader, this tool will aid you in determining how best to grow and deploy your people’s assets.

-Dr Jeff Magee
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Personnel Assessment For Cultivating Performance Greatness – Building a Performance Template for the Right Stuff?

SERIES: Part One of a Four-Part Article

We have ascended into a strange point in time in the history of the planet in respect to organizational effectiveness.

While most organizations boast they seek greatness in what they produce and from their employees, we have actually arrived at a point in time where minimum effort for maximum paycheck and minimum skill asset for maximum rewards has become the condoned norm!

“Great people ascend to a position to which they are functionally incapable of fulfilling, and they, the organization they represent and the individuals they serve and who serve them all become failed.” Known in management as the ‘Peter Principle,’ this is becoming too often an evolution reality in American businesses.

As a performance advocate, you can build systems that will guide both you and those around you to greatness. By crafting a “Profile” assessment for every function within an organization, for every position one seeks and for every credential differentiator, an organization creates in the marketplace.

To create an objective and thorough assessment instrument or “Profile” of performance greatness in an endeavor, consider these EIGHT Models:

1. The “Player Capability Index©” Makes It Very Clear!

A model or formula that can take the subjectivity out of assessing one’s abilities and capabilities, thus allowing an objective, thoughtful and thorough analysis, can be attained through the “Player Capability Index.” This model serves as a guidepost to questions and observations necessary to see the totality of an individual to be hired, transferred, promoted or trained. Consider:

C (T2+A+P) = R


The ‘R’ represents the ‘Results” necessary or desired from any position/function/candidate. In order to get the desired ‘R,’ it is critical that one understand the depth of the ‘C’ (‘Capabilities’) either a position requires or a candidate possesses. To thoroughly understand from where the ‘C’ comes, look into the parenthesis portion of the formula. For example, if you seek a new job or are unemployed and seeking a position, ‘R’ becomes that new position. By thoroughly analyzing these other letters and the totality of what they mean for you on a piece of paper, you will arrive at what you have to offer, and it will become obvious as to whom in your marketplace would see value in that!

The ‘T’ represents ‘Training,’ and the number two represents two interpretations of the ‘T.’ The first interpretation is for exploring the depth of the historical or past tense training one possesses. If the answer indicates one does not have the ‘Capabilities’ to deliver the ‘Results’ needed, there would be a need for ‘addition training,’ which is the second interpretation of the ‘T’ to be fulfilled. The ‘T’ will be matched by the ‘A’ of one’s ‘Attitude,’ which will greatly influence how the ‘T’ is used. To further explore the ‘Capability’ level of a candidate, also look at the ‘P,’ which demonstrates the ‘Performance’ of a candidate. All of this insight will be weighted by two interpretations of the ‘E,’ which represents ‘Expectations.’ The ‘E’ represents both the candidate and the organization or position.

In assessing an individual, there are some areas to consider from within each category of this formula. You can examine personal credentials, resumes, job applications, citations, etc. to objectively measure the depth of training, seminars, symposiums, classes, courses, degrees and certifications represented by the ‘T!’ Consider one’s body language, posture, tone of voice, face inflections, etc. in measuring the degree of the ‘A’ they possess or may possess! Review one’s credentials, past employee reviews, letters of reference, citations, etc. to gauge the level of validated ‘P’ they have experienced; this will aid in benchmarking future expectations. Of course, all of this will be weighed by both parties’ ‘E’ factors, so make sure you ask very candid and direct questions to solicit their level of ‘E’ about you, the team and the organization before entering into a potential relationship!

To further enhance the development of an individual or team, management could use this model as an overlay to present positions and forecasted positions. The model would be used to determine (absent of personalities) what the necessary answers would be for each category within the model for a position itself. ‘R’ would be the net task to be handled by any position and, thus, what the critical ingredients would be for a successful candidate within a position.

2. Industry Certification

Benchmark any existing industry certification for your desired performance application. If there are any certifications offered within your organization or industry, get them and craft your actions around those perimeters. If your are building a “Profile” for performance greatness for your organization, use these preexisting criteria as consideration benchmarks in designing your template.

3. HR Assessment Instrument

If your organization has a preexisting human resource-designed and administered assessment instrument for a given position, use that as a benchmark of minimum “Profile” criteria. Performance enthusiasts will use such instruments – and hybrids of them – on a regular basis (weekly or monthly) to continue performance coaching opportunities, regardless if the organization encourages annual or biannual use – which is indicative of nonperformance-oriented managers that have ascended into would-be leadership positions!

4. Success Assessment Bio

Consider the most successful person you “actually” know in the position or endeavor that you seek. From that person, develop an inverted “L-grid.” Write their name across the top, and within the grid start drafting every descriptive characteristic you know of that lead to their perceived greatness. If you can actually interview them, dig deeper and ask questions to determine what they feel are the characteristics, traits, abilities, skills, etc. that have lead to their greatness. Once you have done a brain dump, return to this comprehensive list. On the outside left of the “L-grid,” for each entry you have written, identify an appropriate identifying label or category for that entry. Now, with these entry categories, you have additional data to consider using in your master “Profile” for performance greatness!

5. Core Competencies Assessment

Based upon what you know are the minimum skills necessary to perform in a position and the expected competencies that the end user expects from someone in a position, draft a list to serve as an additional reference point when crafting a powerful performance “Profile” for greatness within a business or for a sought-after position.

6. Competition Assessment

If there is a means to determine the behaviors and competencies that are used by the number one and number two organizations in the industry you seek, use that gained data as a benchmark in crafting your performance “Profile!”

7. Personal Performance Goal Assessment

Focus on your endpoint. Where do you want to go with this performance measurement? Ensure that from the above insight, if any measurement for greatness is omitted, you will need to build that into your “Profile” for sustained greatness.

8. YIELD MANAGEMENT Performance Review©

In YIELD MANAGEMENT: The Leadership Alternative to Performance and Net Profit Improvement© (by Jeffrey Magee and Published by CRC/St. Lucie Press), a leading graduate management text, a powerful template was crafted from the most consistent performance measurement categories from the leading Fortune 500 organizations’ appraisal instruments. The most common descriptions for sub-section measurement categories were General Performance, Job Applications, Adaptability, Interpersonal Skills, Leadership, Supervisory, Other.

As you can see, the applications of these performance assessment models are explosive, whether being deployed as an introspective of oneself or in assessing others around you. These may serve as a genesis to other assessment considerations in sustaining your performance greatness throughout your professional life. You can use these as guide posts in the interview process, then performance improvement coaching process on an on-going basis, and as a benchmark for exit strategies with non performing players in an organization.

-Dr Jeff Magee
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Communication Effectiveness – Dealing With Known Problem Players, CYA!

SERIES: Part Five of a Five-Part Article

Sometimes as a leader, you will need to communicate with a person who you know to be difficult or who has a reputation of being difficult. In those instances, for an effective engagement and an intended positive outcome, there are some safeguards to consider.

Dealing With Known Problem Players
Means “Covering Your Actions” (CYA)

In Non-Confrontational Ways

There are clues that you have a possible problem ahead of you and that a person is branded as “bad luggage” (although management has not or is unwilling to free up their future for other career opportunities at the health benefit to an organization):

  1. If the employees of an individual turn over faster than they do
  2. If colleagues leave, quit or take a lateral transfer faster than the individual in question gets promoted
  3. If peers to an individual limit their exposure to them, don’t go out of their way to engage them and are reluctant to give you insight to how best to engage them when you ask for coaching guidance
  4. If you have ever witnessed individuals having communication implosions with a person
  5. If vendors have more critical than constructive comments about an individual
  6. If a long-standing, positively contributing event, program, initiative or service is attacked by an individual for the sake of drawing attention to him or herself
  7. If you have ever been mislead or used by an individual
  8. If you know a person is a political animal and they use people – at the expense of the organization – for their own goals
  9. If a person uses their position (tenure with the organization, age, gender, race, personal connections, etc.) as their insurance policy for not being “terminated”
Many times, problem and difficult players are a cancer
with which leadership refuses to deal.
In that wake, many times more contributing forces

to organizational success are lost!

Forecasting problematic players to communicate with is easy if one pays attention to the numerous clues. The question then evolves to how best to engage them for solution-oriented, organization-benefiting outcomes. If you have someone like this in your organization, consider these strategies:

  1. Pre E-mail or Correspondence – Look for an opportunity for an upcoming initiative on which the two of you will work together. After your initial dialogue, e-mail them an after-action review, recapping your understanding of the essential 5-Ws and 1-H (Who, What, When, Where, Why, How). In essence, make sure you specifically speak to – in a non-confrontational manner – any item that the person has previously demonstrated to be a point of contention. Then send a copy to all appropriate supervisors, vendors, clients, etc. This will be a positive intention e-mail, and the copy provides for initial documentation that will motivate the other party to constructively participate when they see others have received copies. You can preface the reason of sending copies to others under the pretense, “If anyone has suggestions as to how any of us can attain a higher level of success with our individual responsibilities, please share immediately.”
  1. Backup Documentation – In heightened situations where you know someone to be difficult and you really need to cover your actions, keep appropriate documentation off site. When push comes to shove, documentation always wins if you have the facts. Then, and only then, will a habitual problem player be held accountable and possibly purged from an organization!
  1. Assume Follow Up – Between when you initially talk about doing anything and when it is actually done, determine consistent and regular interval update times to ensure they are on track.  By doing this, you will avoid deadline implosions. This may mean setting check points in your PDA, calendars, tickler-systems or day planners. At each of these check points (again in a non-confrontational manner), document and send a follow-up correspondence to them with copies to all appropriate parties in the universe – otherwise it is your word versus theirs!
  1. Involve Neutral Parties – As appropriate, identify neutral third parties, whom the other person appears to respect and that you can accept as well. Engage them early and often to enhance one another’s actions plans for greater efficiency. By doing so, you are not focusing energies or attention on one another as personalities, but rather on the mutual gains. Thus, interactions will also begin to condition the perceived difficult player to be less difficult in your presence.
  1. Stay Focused on Big Picture – Another way to avoid the personal involvement with problem players in communication is to ensure your goal is always the end game of the organization. Tie your communications to that of the organization’s Mission Statement, and it will become increasingly more difficult for the traditional problem player to challenge you or attempt to undermine your initiatives!
  1. Alliance Communications – Associate your communication subject matter to others that have bought into it or are supporting it. Problem players are more inclined to come after you when it appears to be a “You versus Them” format. Likewise, they tend to be less confrontational when you seem to be a part of a bigger grouping. It could sound like this, “In talking with Susan, Tom and Chris, they thought it would be in our best interest if we…” Now, whatever you present appears to be part of a larger energy force.

It is a fact of organizational reality that many times that which holds an organization back from peak performance is not an outside force, but rather an internal one. And yes, it is also true that far too often these people are just clever enough (not actually smart enough) to play the system to their advantage that management is intimidated to do their leadership job and intervene with them, coach them, council them or terminate them. They become an actual passive-aggressive cancer to an organization.

As a managerial-leader you don’t have to become a victim of them. You need merely become a better communicator in the presence of them.

-Dr Jeff Magee
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