Posts Tagged ‘direction’

The last blog focused on pushing through the Peter Principle by building interdependence. The power to move the project forward radiates from this interdependence, which includes power being shared by key stakeholders.

That interdependence has a very short half-life. So, the obvious question is, “How is it kept alive and encouraged to grow?” The answer lies within the story. The story is what binds people together to work as a team and move the project forward. There are a few things to consider when generating and disseminating the story.

  • Honesty. This is foremost. The moment the team senses they are being played the project fragments. Honesty requires being open and vulnerable regarding the consequences associated with the project including big payoffs that some might get. Not that they have to have every detail. They just need to be included as to the consequences. If the team is put on a “need-to-know” basis the members can feel diminished and it puts the interdependent bond at risk.
  • Discipline. Emerging from the Peter Principle typically has a lot of positive energy but there also are few rules present that work. New rules need generated or the old ones need modified.  You must be able to deal with the ambiguities of the situation and rely on core principles in pushing through to create a new gestalt as to how the team will work and the project will move forward.
  • Energy. With the old rules sitting in a jumbled mess the team instinctively will look for leadership as to what to do next. Here is where a big challenge is present. You must substitute yourself for the policies and procedures that fell apart in order to hold the team together. This can be sustained only so long. A plan is needed.
  • Delegate.  You can’t do it alone. Having key people willing to pick of some piece of the power and hammer out new rules/guidelines/etc. will go a long way towards re-establishing order, building the plan, and lowering the demands on your personal energy. It’s impossible to stress too much the need for a critical mass of people who can commit to something bigger than themselves. Falling short of this critical mass by even one person can cause the situation to implode.
  • Clean House. This is a corollary to delegation. Those who are creating difficulties need to either turn around or be removed from the team. This may seem a bit harsh. It simply is the reality of the situation. I’ve worked on projects and organizational changes where inability to get rid of a key gossipmonger torpedoed the changes.
  • Know where you are going. All of the above comes together to support your moving towards the end goal. Know what it is and state it clearly.

By doing the above the story will unfold from within you. You’ll find it spontaneously arises and you will instinctively know when to pause and reflect, talk with others, or push forward. This may sounds crazy but you will become the story. Think of El Cid. The myth, the story overtook him to the extent it was bigger than his own death. (Not that you want to have your career die!) What works best is having the aura of the project’s story radiate from you. This sounds corny but it isn’t. You know it is happening when people take your lead, when they listen to you in meetings and suggest ways to achieve goals, when the team looks forward to the meeting, when the milestones begin to be met.

Who knows? Maybe someone will write an epic poem about you, too!

A strong workplace culture that’s focused on employee high-performance can be an important contributor to organizational success. But it’s not easy to know how to build such a culture; in many ways, organizational culture can be intangible and it’s affected by many factors.

One of the powerful ways an organization can build a culture of high performance is by leveraging their talent management processes and practices.

At its core, talent management is really about management best practices. It’s about

  • hiring the right people
  • cultivating key competencies
  • giving employees the ongoing feedback, direction and context they need to succeed
  • rewarding and encouraging high performance

As an organization, you need to ensure you have sound processes in place that support your managers in effectively managing and leveraging your most important strategic resource – your employees. While the management practices listed above may seem basic, many organizations still struggle to implement them broadly and effectively.

Hire the Right People

When hiring, it’s important to start by thoroughly defining the job and its requirements. When doing so, make sure you identify the competencies that are critical to the role and to the organization. Then look for these in the candidates you interview. It’s vitally important to ensure the people you hire, especially those in management roles, have the soft skills you need to support your organizational culture. It’s easier to develop technical skills through training than it is to develop soft skills.

Cultivate Key Competencies

Competencies are about “how” you do what you do. They are one of the chief ways your organization differentiate itself from the competition. Ideally, they should underlie all your talent management processes.

While it’s important to identify required competencies when hiring, it’s even more important to do this for the organization overall, and for every employee. Start by identifying the key organizational, individual and leadership competencies you need to succeed. Then cultivate them in all your employees. You need to regularly assess employees’ performance of key competencies, and put training plans in place to develop them. In this way, you reinforce corporate values and culture.

Give Employees Feedback, Coaching, Direction and Context

Research tells us that to excel, employees need ongoing feedback and coaching, clear goals and a larger context for their work. So it’s important to incorporate all these elements in your performance appraisal process. But you also need to train your managers to both use the process/tool and effectively manage their employees’ performance. Few of us know instinctively how to do these things well. By providing managers with training, coaching and support in managing employee high-performance, you ingrain these practices in your organizational culture and foster high performance.

Reward High Performance

Another way to build a culture of high performance is to reward it. To do this, you need to make sure that performance is at the root of all your compensation, reward and promotion programs. You also need to make this direction visible to the entire organization. But be clear – performance means not only “what” is accomplished, but also “how” it is done. You need to recognize, reward and promote the high-performance attitudes and behaviors you want to foster in your workforce, and discourage the destructive ones. Don’t forget that rewarding high performance goes hand in hand with dealing with low performance.

Conclusion

Ensuring your organization has solid talent management processes in place helps communicate the organizational value and priority of employee performance. By training managers at all levels of the organization in effective people management practices and providing them with the tools they need to do the job effectively, you help build a culture of high-performance.

Can we avert failures in our life?

by Vijay Peduru on May 3, 2010

All of us want to start a business or change a career and we keep postponing it.
If we analyze deeply, we postpone because we need to learn new habits and skills and accumulating these habits and skills seems harder. We keep saying to ourselves that we will learn these skills once we achieve the position or once we start the business.  Days, months and years pass by and we still do not reach where we want to reach. What can we do to stop this drift? We can start in baby steps right this moment ( ok,.you can wait till you finish reading this post!)  and keep growing gradually..
The following quotes from Jim Rohn summarize this very well.
Quote #1

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight”
All too often, we are worried why we are not reaching our goals (our destinations), it is just because we are travelling on the wrong road (habits). To reach our destinations, we need to change the direction and we will almost surely reach our destinations.
Quote #2

“Failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgment repeated every day”.
For example, drinking an “obesity causing High fructose corn syrup filled” cola daily will cause health problems in later part of our lives. We won’t know it now, but it will haunt us in the later part of our lives. The same is true with starting a business – Not reading books or actively finding a mentor now will haunt us later on because the consequences of not reading books or actively finding a mentor NOW, will show up LATER; perhaps in the form of us being unable in starting the business.
Fortunately we can reverse our direction now to reach our destinations.
Quote #3

“Success is a few simple disciplines practiced every day”.
For example: Learning to enjoy Orange juice instead of cola daily, actively learning from successful entrepreneurs daily are all examples of being directed with discipline.

So, if we take any area(health, money, joy)  in our life, we need to start accumulating new habits and skills now. We can start with baby steps and keep moving. A few baby steps are:

  • Health: We can start doing yoga or exercise joyfully ten minutes a day starting today
  • Money : We can start reading books for thirty minutes every day by entrepreneurs on how to serve people and make money starting today.
  • Joy:  We can read spiritual or books on the wisdom of leading a joyful life for 10 minutes a day to learn how to be joyful starting today.

Averting failures, however unattainable and insurmountable it might sounds, is a simple art of going in the right direction, in a disciplined manner.

Quality #7: Productivity and Quality

by Tanmay Vora on November 17, 2009

speed_velocityWelcome to the seventh post in this 12-part series on QUALITY, titled #QUALITYtweet – 12 Ideas to Build a Quality Culture.

Here are the first six posts, in case you would like to go back and take a look:

  1. Quality #1: Quality is a long term differentiator
  2. Quality #2: Cure Precedes Prevention
  3. Quality #3: Great People + Good Processes = Great Quality
  4. Quality #4: Simplifying Processes
  5. Quality #5: Customers are your “Quality Partners”
  6. Quality #6: Knowing what needs improvement

#QUALITYtweet Tracking productivity without

tracking the quality of output is like tracking

the speed of a train without validating the direction

In F1 racing, one of the primary challenges for a driver is to keep a close eye on speed and direction. One wrong move at a high speed and car bumps with the edge of the track.  “Speed” when combined with direction is termed as “velocity”.

One of the rules of management is, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” But an obsessive focus on metrics can prove harmful for organization’s health because:

  • You may be measuring wrong things that do not directly relate to organization goals
  • You may only be measuring outcomes without focusing on qualitative aspects.
  • You may be using measurement as a sole base for decision making without considering the variable/unknowing aspects of your business.

A lot of resource managers in technology and business area narrow their focus on hardcore metrics that reveal volume but not quality. Examples could be number of hours logged during a day (versus tasks achieved in those hours), number of modules completed in a day (versus quality of those modules), number of cold calls made during the day (versus quality of research and depth of communication in each call). This list can go on, but you get the point. More, in this case, is not always better.

Metrics are important to evaluate process efficiency, but not sufficient. Quality system of an organization should have processes to assess both qualitative and quantitative aspects of work. How can this be achieved? Here are three most important pointers:

  1. Hybrid approach with focus on good management: Measuring productivity solely by units produced could be a great way to manage in manufacturing world. In knowledge world, where the raw material for products or services is a human brain, qualitative approach combined with common-sense metrics is a great way to ensure balance between quality and productivity. Key to higher productivity in knowledge based industry is ‘good management’.
  2. Quality as a part of process, rather than an afterthought: Quality is not an afterthought. Quality has to be built through process by people. Process should have necessary activities defined at each stage of product to ensure that a quality product is being built. These activities can then be measured and improved upon. Process also shapes up culture of an organization and hence due care must be taken to ensure that quality system does not form a wrong culture. Process has to take care of softer aspects of work including trust, commitment and motivation levels of people.
  3. Measure to help, not to destroy: Metrics are like a compass that shows direction. In order to move forward, you have to walk the direction. Metrics can give you important trends, but these trends need to be analyzed and worked upon. Key challenge of any process manager is to ensure that metrics are used to evaluate process and not people. If you start using metrics as a base for rewards, you are not allowing people to make mistakes. When people don’t make mistakes, they don’t grow. As an organization, you don’t grow either.

Process can be used to gain “speed” or to gain “velocity”. The choice is yours.