Monthly Archives: November 2010

How to Catch a Liar

Sometimes people don’t even know their lying, especially when it comes to emotionally volatile topics. Help them answer truthfully by redirecting their misdirection.

 

Staying Organized Made Simple

This article on “Staying Ahead This Semester” is aimed at students, obviously, but it’s a good summary of how to do weekly reviews. My favourite (re)learning is the use of trigger lists, which are simple lists that remind us what our potential outstanding commitments might be. Kind of like a checklist for the week.

No Points for Difficulty

I had to ask one of my clients once why they wanted a particular solution to a staffing problem we’d been trying to resolve to be hard. They told me that the conclusion they’d come to and the plan they’d created seemed too easy. I actually kind of got a little irritated with them. They’re high-performers, and very competitive, but making things easy for themselves seemed to feel like cheating to them.

I wished I’d had this analogy at hand at the time: Business is not like Olympic diving. There are no points for difficulty. Keeping things simple and focused is what drives growth. Making things arduous or complicated might satisfy our need to solve hard problems, but it doesn’t grow our business.

Forgive and Remember

I was skimming more HBR articles when I came across this gem:

A vital difference between good and bad bosses is that the former consider it their responsibility to surface and learn from past setbacks, errors, and failure. They apply their management skills and dedication to building trust and an atmosphere of psychological safety. These are the kinds of bosses we need more of if we want fewer preventable deaths in hospitals, fewer plane crashes, fewer oil spills. Not bosses that demand no mistakes, but bosses who help their organizations stop making the same ones.

The entire article is here: “Forgive & Remember – How Good Bosses Respond to Mistakes

Learn to Deal With Conflict

. . . and other things you need to learn to develop your leadership cojones

One Page Talent Management

I’m a big fan of the one-page strategic plan, but this looks really interesting: the one-page talent management plan. Definitely going on my reading list

Why You Shouldn’t Be the Boss

Not everybody should be the  boss.

Being a good welder does not mean you will be a good manager or leader of welders. Knowing something about welding (or software development, or accounting) will help you understand the jargon and contribute positively to solving problem or improving processes. It also helps to have credibility with those you’re leading.

Being good at your job means you will be a good manager of people doing your job. That’s because being a good welder and being a good foreman (supervisor, manager, or executive) are two different skills. One melts metal to build things, the other uses people to work together to melt metal to build things.

When you got promoted the tools changed. The tools change every time you get promoted. Your “tools” are now people. Except people don’t like being called “tools” (or “resources” for that matter). Now you have to learn to work with people (and get people to work together) to get things done.

If you don’t like people or working through people you probably shouldn’t be the boss.

The Four Skills You Need To Be an Effective Manager

Good advice from Ian Beacon on “4 Steps to Effective Performance Management“:

  • Effective performance management including setting goals, giving and receiving feedback, writing performance appraisals, and providing motivation
  • Identify and reward top performers – and no, the difference between a 3% and a 4.5% raise doesn’t cut it.
  • Address and resolve poor performance – yes, this is hard. If you can’t learn how to do this then stop fooling yourself and stop being a manager. You’re certainly not fooling anybody else.
  • Encourage continual feedback – also known as open and honest (but not derogatory) communication. See the previous bullet.

Bernie works with small, medium (and sometimes) large companies, start-ups, and volunteer organizations to help them set a vision that is executable, to be effective, and to surround themselves with people who will help them succeed. I believe the workplace is a place to thrive, not just survive. Call me if you want help transforming your business. 

The Most Honest Part of Your Body

Former counterintelligence agent Joe Navarro describes body language cues that really work. Careful though. That arm crossing your think is defensiveness is probably somebody just being cold

What You Should Look For When Hiring From the Outside: Look Inside

Interesting article from Inc.com, most of which is fluff, but has one good piece of advice:

5. For behavioral traits you want, look at existing employees.