Posts Tagged ‘ Performance Execution ’

Tactical Daily Administration – Taming the Paper Monster!

SERIES: Part Two of a Five-Part Article

There is no way around it. As long as people have computers, they will find their print key. And with that, there will always be an endless flow of paper in the business workplace!

Taming that paper monster to manage the daily work environment and ensure maximum productivity is easy. Consider this four-step process as you contemplate touching any physical papered item today (mail, faxes, documents, letters, notes, proposals, handouts, flyers, etc.):

  1. R – Does the item need to be referred to someone else? If so, immediately discard it into a sub-stack of REFERED items and deal with the items on your own terms during that day as appropriate.

  1. A – Does the item need your immediate ATTENTION? If it does, also temporarily discard it until you have restacked all the items of one mass stack into four sub-known, now-manageable stacks.

  1. F – Does the item need to be kept, maintained, saved and, thus, FILED? If so, place it into a sub-stack and deal with it on your own terms as appropriate. The Wharton School of Business did a study (and it’s probably still valid!) and found that more than 60 percent of these items filed away are never touched again until they are thrown away. So, use a “Rule of Three” to determine whether to trash what you may be getting ready to file or task someone else to file it. Can you easily get a backup should something happen to your copy? Do you know how many other people have copies and who is keeping them? Do you have a legal reason for keeping a copy? These questions may motivate you to save more time and merely discard the item.

  1. T – When there is no value in an item, immediately TRASH that item. Place it into a recycle stack or trashcan.

By tactically using this four-step RAFT Process, managerial leaders can both improve their bottom line daily productivity and model for their team how a peak performer should appear.

With this paper monster that runs loose in many businesses now coming under control, let’s eliminate it completely.

By taking any primary stack that contains unknown items, quickly break it down into four manageable known stacks.  Now, you can set two stacks off to the side for attention later in your day. A third stack is completely removed, and you are left facing only one for your dispensing.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Tactical Daily Administration – Primetime Productivity!

SERIES: Part One of a Five-Part Article

In a business climate of increased performance and profitability expectations with every endeavor, today’s managerial leader must be tactically nimble and effective in everything that is done.

Among the work requirements of every position is daily normalcy. It is these functional norms that require a leader to be tactically wise. Consider whether or not you allocate your energies (and conversely, those of your team) appropriately throughout the day and appropriately to functional tasks. Are you and your team active or productive?

Here are three simple, yet, from a time and motion study standpoint, explosive ideas in tactically allocating your energies daily for maximum productivity (and thus, profitability):

  1. Are you an AM or PM person? Meaning, do you have your normal highest professional energies during the window of the AM hours of your day or the window of the PM hours?

  1. Now, define that window. If you are an AM person and you start at 7:00 AM, the window would be from 7:00 AM to noon. Conversely, if you say you are a PM person, the window would be from noon until when?

  1. Primetime for your peak productivity will fall within this window. To get even more strategic and learn which tactic to engage at the appropriate time, determine which limited hours you are really at peak performance during your window.

By breaking down the work hours into this AM versus PM pattern, you can be more tactical in your behaviors. And continuing breaking down your time into a window range and breaking that down even further will aid you in knowing your greatest productivity comes from:

  1. Scheduling high-yield activities, projects and meetings in your primetimes.

  2. Not scheduling anything during this time that is a time-waster, low-impact task, nonessential event, etc.

As a steward of your time, determine right now when your prime time occurs.

Then, review what you are doing right now. Check your calendar, to-do lists and PALM systems and determine if you can enhance your performance by making some tactical adjustments to your schedule and those of your colleagues.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Diffusing Defensiveness – Healing Emotional Wounds!

SERIES: Part Four of a Four-Part Article

As a tactical leader, a true sign of interactive greatness comes from the aftermath of engaging or referring defensive behaviors. Reflecting upon how individuals internalize the involved issues and personalities at the height of their defensive behavior will weigh greatly on the outcome, how they perceive others in the future and others’ perception of them in the future.

To understand the emotional charge that a defensive situation raises, understand that the workplace brain serves two purposes. While the conscious brain serves as the “processing” center for rationalization and new learning, it is the subconscious brain that serves as both the “memory” and “emotional” centers. When diffusing defensive behavior, it is important to remember the conscious brain is about 17 percent of the brain’s capacity, and the subconscious brain is the remainder.

Thus, the subconscious brain is the bully that, in many instances, overrides the conscious brain. Recall past hostile or defensive situations. You will notice people (as it is never seems to be us in the situation…) saying and doing things that inflame a situation. It takes a lot of focused, committed, conscious brain energy to override the sometimes defensive and destructive subconscious brain!

As a leader, recognize that defensive behavior may arise when a person feels professionally:

  1. Threatened
  2. Alienated
  3. Denigrated
  4. Belittled publicly (meeting dialogues, memos, eCommunications, one-on-ones, etc.)
  5. Unappreciated
  6. Left out of a perceived loop
  7. Used

These intrusions can create scars that may heal quickly with some individuals, but can also create long festering wounds that reveal themselves in future defensive behavior eruptions. These scars reside in that subconscious brain!

As a leader, you will want to tactically engage – in a non-threatening manner when possible – an individual exhibiting defensive behaviors. Consider:

  1. Start with an empathy action or statement, revealing you acknowledge their position.
  2. Do not take an immediate position of agreement or disagreement with the other person – that is what they will be expecting.
  3. Invite them to share plural solutions to the problem that has brought about their defensiveness. Plurality is a powerful tool, as it allows you to engage all parties in civil dialogue. If you solicit for a singular idea, you may merely elevate the level of challenge, and increased defensiveness may (perhaps on your behalf) as a result.
  4. Establish either privately or jointly a follow-up plan to demonstrate you are committed to resolving what raised the defensive behavior in the first place. Continue to ensure the emotional wound heals and the person in question does not digress or attempt to tie in future unrelated issues to this issue.
  5. Make sure you continually avail yourself to them and keep a conscious ear to what is happening in the workplace. This will ensure others don’t antagonize the wound you are attempting to heal.

Healing emotional wounds and ensuring defensive behaviors do not erode an otherwise effective organization is crucial in today’s fast-paced and highly competitive workplace, where people’s emotions are at wit’s end. Your ability to subtly engage individuals when they are defensive to others, allow them to save face and move onward to greater productivity and profitability outcomes is a trait of tactical leadership

Dr Jeff Magee
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Diffusing Defensiveness – Preventing Power Struggles for Oneness!

SERIES: Part Three of a Four-Part Article

It’s all about egos, competitiveness, saving face, and not being seen as the one having to make a concession that leads to a need to win at any cost!

Many times it is this cost of power struggles that, in the final accounting, leads to significant loss of true gains and wins for the greater whole because individuals get caught up in the minutia of petty struggles. And from there, a pattern develops whereby struggles become the norm. Many studies indicate that men experience these struggles due to a need to be above others in a position of power and influence. For women, these struggles are often caused by the need to be the center of influence and acceptance.

Individuals must rise above the need for power struggles and finesse energies and individuals together for a sense of “oneness” that will allow true greatness to be attained and experienced by all!

For leadership success in the home and workplace, here are ten ways to create “oneness” in the face of a “power struggle”:

  1. Enlarge the final solution to incorporate aspects from all players’ desires, versus an either/or option (you versus me’ism).
  2. Invite plurality of suggestions, versus a this-or-that mentality. From these multiple ideas before implementation, one can gain better perspectives and better final resolutions.
  3. Avoid the first person language (I, you, think, but, however) that tends to inflame interactions and induce additional defensive postures among individuals.
  4. Increase the use of inclusion language (we, us, team, feel, other ideas) that brings people together and makes it more difficult for an individual to create a divisive climate.
  5. Share credit and glory liberally. While in the presence of others and success, make sure the credit and rewards are publicly experienced by all appropriate individuals.
  6. Document heavily when you know you are in the presence of those that tend toward power struggles. For example, in the initial stages of a project launch, send an e-mail, letter, voicemail message, etc.) to all participants about the agreed- upon action plan.  Note who specifically owns each piece of that project and send corresponding copies to supervisors and any other influencers that can encourage “oneness” actions.
  7. Disengage and walk away gracefully if you determine your participation, input, or opinion will not have a “significant” influence on the outcome. Many power struggles grow out of individual’s desire for their action plan to be “the” action plan.
  8. Involve a valued and respected elder as the leader of an issue that may lean toward defensive behavior. Let him or her either lead or council you as to exact action plans – and listen!
  9. Break down decision-making responsibility among multiple individuals to avoid any one individual becoming too important or developing an over-inflated view of their net worth to the overall “oneness” of the team.
  10. Limit volatile individuals’ exposure to issues and other individuals that ignite defensive behaviors.

The ability to tactically engage others in the face of impending power implosions and redirect potential negative and destructive energies toward a greater positive outcome is the mark of a true leader in today’s workplace.

These intrusions can create scars that may heal quickly with some individuals, but can also create long festering wounds that reveal themselves in future defensive behavior eruptions. These scars reside in that subconscious brain!

As a leader, you will want to tactically engage – in a non-threatening manner when possible – an individual exhibiting defensive behaviors. Consider:

  1. Start with an empathy action or statement, revealing you acknowledge their position.
  2. Do not take an immediate position of agreement or disagreement with the other person – that is what they will be expecting.
  3. Invite them to share plural solutions to the problem that has brought about their defensiveness. Plurality is a powerful tool, as it allows you to engage all parties in civil dialogue. If you solicit for a singular idea, you may merely elevate the level of challenge, and increased defensiveness may (perhaps on your behalf) as a result.
  4. Establish either privately or jointly a follow-up plan to demonstrate you are committed to resolving what raised the defensive behavior in the first place. Continue to ensure the emotional wound heals and the person in question does not digress or attempt to tie in future unrelated issues to this issue.
  5. Make sure you continually avail yourself to them and keep a conscious ear to what is happening in the workplace. This will ensure others don’t antagonize the wound you are attempting to heal.

Healing emotional wounds and ensuring defensive behaviors do not erode an otherwise effective organization is crucial in today’s fast-paced and highly competitive workplace, where people’s emotions are at wit’s end. Your ability to subtly engage individuals when they are defensive to others, allow them to save face and move onward to greater productivity and profitability outcomes is a trait of tactical leadership.

Dr Jeff Magee
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http://JeffreyMagee.com

Personnel Assessment for Cultivating Performance Greatness – Converting Your Terrorist Into a Transformer!

SERIES: Part Four of a Four-Part Article

So you thought it was unique to you. You never thought anyone else faced this. You stayed up late at night wondering how you ended up with this person.

Well the reality is you are not alone!

Some people have evolved into a behavior and mindset that they are the only person in the universe and they can do whatever they want. Unfortunately, this mindset has evolved due to years of an overconfident economy and protective self-serving entities that have rewarded their behavior by overcompensation and avoidance. But most importantly, it has evolved because no one has ever truly held them accountable for their actions!

That behavior that gets recorded gets measured.

What gets measured gets addressed.

What gets addressed gets fixed!

Like a cancer within an organization, these people erode the mettle that makes an organization great. They serve to bitter those that would have otherwise been great contributors to your team.

So what are possible solutions? Consider:

  1. Employee Assessment Instrument Facilitation – Consider the active use of your performance review instrument with this person and all employees. If the net purpose of a performance instrument is to coach individuals to peak performance, the case is self-made for regular monthly completion.
  1. Employee Assessment Instrument Measurement Categories – Consider the behaviors necessary for an optimal performing business unit and the players within it. Each category of behaviors should be listed on your instrument. The score grid should be fair and allow for positive and brutally honest constructive feedback as well. If someone “fails/stinks” in an area, it should be brutally listed accordingly. Conversely, if someone excels in an area, they should be listed accordingly.
  1. Employee Assessment Instrument Measurement “Problem Behavior” Categories – Recognize that with many problem employees, their implosion-causing behaviors are typically just outside the scope of your standard instrument. Every time a new corrosive behavior appears, let that be your clue to add a new individual entry or entire section for future assessment. Although the instrument will grow over time, it is actually a good thing. Remember: the purpose of the instrument is to improve professional performance, and one individual’s act of poor performance serves as a benchmark for ensuring others not evolve into poor habits and behaviors.
  1. Duality of Signatures – Whichever instrument you use to identify poor behavior performance, it should require a signature by all parties involved in the review process. This should also specifically stipulate when the follow-up session will occur to determine if the identified behaviors and action plans are being addressed.
  1. Resignation of Employment Clause – Consider crating a statement into your assessment instrument, stipulating that if the problematic behavior continues, the next assessment will serve as a 30-day notice.  The notice should confirm that if the said behavior continues, the signed document would serve as a voluntary “Resignation Statement” that can be implemented by that organization’s leadership without further notice. This allows for two entire months for a person to change their behavior and two entire months for the leadership team to be held accountable to work with them from a solution-oriented perspective (for a sample instrument, get a copy of YIELD MANAGEMENT, a leading graduate management text with Appendix Instrument templates, at www.JeffreyMagee.com/library.asp.

The unfortunate situation that has grown out of this terrorist behavior is that it has become so corrosive to the team that the levels of greatness, which everyone could be experiencing, are lost. Also, there is always the concern of litigation after you free up someone’s future. Overwhelming documentation of a poor performer who has not aggressively worked to change that station is hard to legally defend. Conversely, your lack of data upon letting someone go will make for a heavy payday for the ambulance- chancing legal team!

While there is a significant amount of institutional knowledge, training and financial investment that an organization has made into every player in an organization, just “firing someone” should never be a first thought – or a thought at all! Robert Half & Associates, a leading employment search firm, estimates that the cost of transitioning one player out and going through the processes of getting a functioning new player online can cost upwards of two and a half times a person’s annual salary. As a tactical leader, it is necessary to realize the heavy investment you have made and determine every possible mean of salvaging that investment.

The “Personnel Assessment” you use for cultivating performance greatness and converting your terrorists into transformers will serve as a powerful objective instrument and allow for you to hold yourself to fair assessment.

-Dr Jeff Magee
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Personnel Assessment For Cultivating Performance Greatness – Rebuilding & Using Performance Applications!

SERIES: Part Three of a Four-Part Article

Is there a way to build a better mousetrap? Of course there is. If done, would anyone want to buy a better mousetrap or are people so complacent that they don’t really want to improve their performance?

Businesses have evolved into using very similar methods for immersing new players to a team and ensuring that all of the government mandates are met. This has detracted from real performance, however, causing it to become the third or fourth most important factor on the list of priorities.

One simple way to improve the performance of every player in an organization is to rebuild the application that one traditionally fills out when applying for a position. Convert this application that one would fill-out away from the traditional “Position Application” and to a “Performance Application” and share this new insight with everyone vested in these results – everyone should know the performance abilities of every player on a team. Once this knowledge is shared, everyone can be held accountable for drawing upon one another – in an appropriate strategic and tactical manner – for peak performance!

Cultivating performance greatness from the beginning can be drawn from the valuable information that one would give you if asked the right questions. Consider: 

  1. Basic Contact Data – Obvious data collection points on an application, such as name, needed contact data, address, phone, DOB, etc…
  1. Formal Education – Solicit all levels and highest level of formal education attained.
  1. Work – All applicable previous work positions and additional questions as to how any of this data would be an added value to you and the present team. Allow them sell themselves and illustrate how they can impact the team, if allowed to join, by aiding it in increasing revenue, saving revenue and/or increasing productivity.

As a tactical leader, to cultivate peak performance and coach greater performance on a daily basis, you actually will not be drawing upon this information for someone to perform, but rather:

  1. Practical Education – Solicit from individuals the last twenty or forty seminars, symposiums, home study courses completed or workshops they have attended. Ask them to recap how at least five to ten of these can be immediately drawn from for utilization in your environment. Solicit how these ongoing educational exposures can actually have more immediate and lasting positive performance impact upon you and the team than any traditional formal degree!
  1. Certifications – Solicit the totality of any life certifications they have attained and ways others on your team could glean value from them. Inquire how those could be drawn upon and in what ways they could serve as the team’s subject matter expert in those domains, thus leading others’ performances to greatness!
  1. Must Have – Also solicit on this performance application by category prompts all the necessary skill abilities a person must have to even rise to the state of peak performance in any specific functioning area. You know what people must have to be true performers and what the functionality traits are that one must possess to be successful; don’t keep those a secret.  Rather, enter them into this application template.

In essence, consider expanding the traditional second data collection field of education into both the “Formal” and now the “Practical” educational requirements or ideal sought capabilities. Most organizations DO NOT COLLECT this data presently!

Once this data is collected, don’t keep it a secret. Broadcast these performance insights both horizontally within your business area and vertically to leaders to have as strategic access opportunities.

Performance success does not just happen. Success leaves clues, and the purpose of this “Performance Application” is solicit exactly that – performance showcase snapshots from the past that can be extrapolated for the future.

-Dr Jeff Magee
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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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