With all the great posts hitting the Blogosphere this past week on the topics of leadership development, talent management, and human resource management, I would like to point you to five blog posts that I consider to be the best of the best for the week of September 21st through September 27th.
Towers Perrin Thought Leadership: Closing the Engagement Gap: A Road Map for Driving Superior Business Performance- It's no secret that engaged employees are happier, produce more, and stick around longer than those with lower levels of engagement. In this recently released white paper, Towers Perrin examines what organizations can do to close the "employee engagement gap" and backs up its recommendations with the caliber of top notch research that Towers Perrin is known for.
HR Transformer Blog: How to Lead Change by Example - 5 Tips for HR Professionals - Being an agent of change can be a real challenge - especially in tough economic times where every dollar spent and effort exerted is closely scrutinized. If you want to lead a change initiative within your organization, this is a must read post that shares five tips for leading change by example.
John Agno, The Leadership Blog: Five Barriers to Change - As a follow up to my previously recommended post on organizational change I recommend you read John Agno's post where he explores five common barriers to accomplishing meaningful change. Included: how to plan a time line for change and how to maintain your accomplishments after the fact.
Tim Sanders, Sanders Says: Leverage the Law of Reciprocity - We've all heard that we get what we give. Tim reminds us of this in an excellent post imploring us to use the law of reciprocity to our advantage at work and in our personal lives.
Mike Vandervort, The Human Race Horses: This is Your Brain on HR - It's time for an honest self-assessment of where you stand in the HR industry and how you view the human resources profession. Mike shares the seven common types of HR practitioners and their characteristics. Where do you stand in the HR world and what do you need to do to improve?
Bonus Pick: Dan Bobinski shares an excellent story of "WOW" medical customer service made possible by a doctor who stepped back and asked himself a fundamental question about how he approaches his work. Check it out here
Every Friday I like to feature an online resource that will help you to Maximize Possibility in your organization and your life at work. Today I would like to feature an online newsletter that I have found to be very valuable and am confident you will enjoy too.
The Resource: Jeffrey Gitomer's Sales Caffeine Newsletter
What it Covers: Jeffrey writes insightful articles on timely and relevant sales topics including product branding, personal branding, prospecting, public speaking and sales presentations, closing the sale, and just about anything else you can think of when it comes to sales and selling.
Why You Should Check it Out: Jeffrey is a seasoned sales expert and shares his knowledge and experience in his free email newsletter. He has seen boom times, as well as bust, and does an excellent job of providing sales advice that is useful in any economic climate.
Jeffrey's newsletter also features a Q&A section where he offers his readers answers to their sales related questions. He also regularly features a guest columnist which greatly adds to the breadth and diversity of this resource.
Jeffrey's energy level in his newsletters is almost contagious and always leaves me feeling energized, motivated, and ready to conquer the day. Tuesdays are one of my favorite days of the week because I know I can look forward to starting the day off by reading Jeff's newsletter that will be waiting in my inbox when I arrive to work!
Whether you are a rookie sales representative, an HR professional, or a line manager you are sure to find great value in Jeffrey Gitomer's newsletter. Regardless of profession everyone has a product to sell, and that product is YOU!
Sign up for Jeffrey Gitomer's Sales Caffeine Newsletter today!
I like to start each week off by pointing you to my choices for the top five talent management, leadership development, and human resource management blog posts from the past week. Below are my top five picks for the week of September 14th to September 20th, 2009:
Steve Roesler, All Things Workplace: Better Meetings: Decide How to Decide- For many there is nothing more frustrating than attending a meeting where all the important issues to consider in making a decision have been thoroughly fleshed out, but a decision still cannot be arrived upon. Steve suggests leaders need to decide how decisions will be made prior to the meeting and goes on to offer his thoughts on decision making by consensus.
Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership: Leadership Without Position- Wally draws a distinct line between leading as a result of position and leading without position through influence. He suggests that those in a position of leadership can be more effective by leading less and allowing competent individuals without positionpto influence their teams.
Gautam Ghosh on Human Resources: Trainers Need to Build Their Skills Too - Gautam examines the need for better training of those who conduct training professionally for their employers.
Ann Bares, Compensation Force: Sales Compensation Forecast: Optimism Tempered with a Sharp Focus on Performance - Ann reports on a recent study from Wyatt Watson on the outlook for sales compensation in 2010. A positive trend is emerging out of the economic turmoil of the past two years: organizations are becoming more and more focused on using performance as the driving force of compensation.
Center for Creative Leadership: Listen to Lead - Want to be a better leader? Start by being a better listener, the Center for Creative Leadership suggests. Included are five simple, but effective, suggestions for being a better listener.
Every week I like to feature an online resource that I feel will help you in your quest to Maximize Possibility in your organization and your life at work. This week I would like to feature the sequel to one of my favorite books on one of my favorite topics: Personal Accountability.
The Resource: John Miller's Flipping the Switch
What it is About: Putnam Publishing offers a nice recap of what to expect in John's sequel to QBQ! The Question Behind the Question:
In his bestselling book QBQ! The Question Behind the Question, John G. Miller revealed how personal accountability helps to create opportunity, overcome obstacles, and achieve goals by eliminating blame, complaining, and procrastination. The result? Stronger organizations, more dynamic teams, and healthier relationships.
Now Miller takes readers to the next level to show how they can use the power of the QBQ! and personal accountability every day.
When a light switch is flipped the flow of energy that is released reaches the lightbulb in an instant, bringing it to life. Similarly, asking the right kind of question-a QBQ-is the first step to empowering what Miller calls the Advantage Principles-five essential practices that will lead to a richer experience in every aspect of life:
- LEARNING: live an engaged and energized life through positive personal growth and change
- OWNERSHIP: attain goals by becoming a solution-oriented person who solves problems
- CREATIVITY: find new ways to achieve by succeeding "within the box"
- SERVICE: build a legacy by helping others succeed
- TRUST: develop deep and rewarding relationships
With compelling real-life stories and keen insights, Miller demonstrates how anyone can find success and satisfaction by "flipping the switch."
Why You Should Check it Out:If you read John Miller's first book on Personal Accountability - QBQ! - you will be pleased to find that his sequel stay true to the central tenets of QBQ! by focusing on achieving better results by asking better questions of oneself. However, in Flipping the Switch, John takes us outside of the organizational workplace and demonstrates the power that Personal Accountability can play in our personal lives through a series of short but illustrative anecdotes demonstrating the power of asking the Question Behind the Question.
Whether we like to admit it or not, our lives at work and our lives at home are closely tied. Meaning... One cannot expect to have a successful career rooted in the principle of Personal Accountability without first discovering and implementing the power of the QBQ in their personal lives. You can't have one without the other.
John's book helps us to be more accountable for our actions and teaches us how to ask better questions of ourselves in all aspects of our lives. The benefits of this naturally carry over into the workplace and positively impact performance.
If you enjoyed QBQ! and are looking to take John Miller's message of Personal Accountability even further, you definitely want to check out Flipping the Switch. It is a quick read - just over an hour - and the message will help you spread the power of Personal Accountability into all areas of your life!
Personal Accountability Resources You May Enjoy:
QBQ! The Question Behind the Question
My dedicated website on personal accountability in the workplace
Blog post: Personal Accountability - It's Time to End Corporate Welfare
Blog Post: Cultural Change Begins with Personal Accountability
Blog Post: Five Signs that Personal Accountability Isn't a Core Cultural Value
For years we have heard countless reports and read numerous articles about the challenges organizations are facing in retaining their employees. Now that the economic tide has turned and jobs are scarce, a new employee retention crisis has popped up: companies are retaining too many low performers.
Few organization have taken notice that the real employee retention / talent management problem is one of the wrong employees being retained over the long-run. The reality is not all employees should be retained.
In years of working with organizations large and small, I have observed organizations at both ends of the employee retention / talent management spectrum.
At one end of the spectrum, I find companies that hang on to their talent for the long-term regardless of value added (or not added). I call these organizations "till death or retirement do us part" companies.
Privately held and publicly traded companies are not alone in this strategy. State and federal governments generally adhere to a "till death or retirement do us part" employee retention strategy as well.
This strategy may be formally articulated or just silently understood. If one is "fortunate" enough to get a job with such an organization, one is "in" for life - regardless of whether or not value is actually added.
In such an organization, one may literally oppose change, create knowledge silos, and allow office politics to flourish. Most "till death or retirement do us part" companies are unaware of the production or value created by each employee team member. Surprisingly, some of the organizations are actually successful and manage to consistently turn a profit (albeit significantly diminished in terms of what is possible). I sometimes call these companies - "successful in spite of themselves".
Yes, these companies do exist today. They are actually everywhere. Companies with this strategy quite often have a unique differentiation of their products/services that provides them the market power necessary to retain low-performing employees over the long-run, or they are family or closely-held where shareholders are not aware of the opportunity costs of the job mismatch problem and retaining low performers.
The biggest danger with this talent management strategy is that market forces inevitably change and the company will be forced to pay the consequences of years of corporate welfare and ultimately must let people go. When this happens, the "till death or retirement do us part" organization typically lets the most recent hires go first. This strategy is often the beginning of the end as higher performers are inadvertently let go in the process of saving the "most loyal".
Conversely, on the other end of the employee retention spectrum is the "Rainmaker Company". A "Rainmaker Company" is one that requires high performance accountability on a consistent basis. Employee team members know what is expected of them and their performance reflects this. These companies often provide strong returns to shareholders and typically are at the top of their game. I call these organizations "Rainmaker Companies" for a reason. "Rainmaker Companies" make the impossible happen and get results consistently. Compared to the "till death or retirement do us part" companies, "Rainmaker Companies" are few and far between.
"Rainmaker Companies" utilize a measured-value-add employee retention program. In these companies, if one is not adding measured value, one is a direct cost and it is only a matter of time until they are removed from the organization.
An excellent example would be GE when it was under Jack Welch's leadership. At GE, if one were a recognized bottom ten percent sales performer, one could be expected to be looking for a job within 12 months. This may sound like a harsh strategy, however, an employee always knows where they stand in a "Rainmaker Company" and understands that such decisions are made objectively based on performance.
Harsh reality. In today's (and tomorrow's) economy, companies will be forced toward the "value-add talent management strategy" due to economic conditions and uncertainty. Not all companies will make the complete transition to the "Rainmaker Company" status, but competitive economic forces will push the low-performing companies to reassess their overall talent strategy.
Which strategy is best? You tell me. If one is a low performer, one clearly desires the "till death or retirement do us part" perspective. If one is a high performer, one would likely want to work for the "Rainmaker Company".
If you want results, the best strategy is to be a true "Rainmaker Company". If you want mediocrity - then protect the status quo by retaining low performers for life.
A company or organization cannot have it both ways. If low performers are allowed to stay on board, the business model and bottom line will suffer directly. Customer Experiences will diminish. High performers will leave for "greener pastures".
The bottom line - is the bottom line. If a company is in a "profit maximization game", the best employee retention strategy is one where each employee team member fits the job and is adding as much value as possible. It sounds absurd, does it not? Ask any non-government, profit-seeking company if they are in the business to add value to their shareholders, and many will say, "of course."
Yet I get the call just about every day... "Can you help us improve?" My response is always... "Are you truly interested in improving - even if it means that some of your talent is re-aligned in the workforce?"
The real problem many of these organizations have is that they love their employees far more than they should and performance suffers as a result. Some of these companies can be saved. Others refuse to change the way they manage their talent and cannot be helped. Harsh but true.
Rainmaker Companies understand the importance of...
What side of the employee retention spectrum does your organization fall? If you lead or own an organization that falls on the "till death or retirement do we part" end of the spectrum are you prepared to make the diffucult, yet rewarding changes necessary to become a "Rainmaker company"?
Now go Maximize Possibility!
Other blog posts you may be interested in:
It was another great week in the HR, leadership, and talent management blogging world. To help you start your week off on the right foot, I've selected five blog posts that I consider to be the best of the best for the week of September 7th to September 13th. Enjoy!
Jim Stroud, The Recruiters Lounge: The History of Sourcing (version 2.0)- Ever wonder how the wacky world of online talent sourcing and recruiting got to where it is today? Jim Stroud has been so kind to compile the necessary volumes of research, data, and anecdotal evidence to make sense of the interesting history of online recruiting and has made his finding available through a free white paper download. Check it out for a better understanding of how we got where we are in the electronic sourcing world.
Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) Trendwatcher: The Leadership Competencies that Matter Most in Today's Trying Economic Times - My friends at the i4cp have put out another excellent piece of leadership research for your reading and learning enjoyment. This time they identify and examine the three leadership competencies that are most important to organizational success in these difficult economic times and go on to offer their advice to organizations looking for leadership during uncertain times.
Adam Toren, Young Entrepreneur: Eight Steps to Recovering an Unhappy Customer - Smart organizations recognize that an unhappy customer offers an opportunity to address a valid complaint, improve on organizational systems, and create a raving fan by making things right. Adem Toren offers eight suggestions for reversing the potential damage caused by an unhappy customer.
Alison Green, Ask a Manager: Why New Hires Fail - There is nothing more frustrating to a manager than spending considerable time and effort selecting a new employee team member and then watching them struggle or fail within months or even weeks of joining their team. Alison reports and comments on recent research from Leadership IQ on why new hires fail in their new roles.
Lisa Haneberg, Management Craft: 20 Great Coaching Questions that can Catalyze Breakthroughs - Lisa reminds us that the best coaches often have more questions than answers. With this in mind she poses 20 coaching questions that you should ask yourself as you face your biggest challenges this week.
Every week I like to share a blog, publication, website, forum, or other resource that I feel will add value to your life at work. This week I'd like to feature the industry's premier association for workplace training and development: The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).
The Resource: The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)
What it is: The ASTD is a non-profit association for the advancement of workplace training and development. With tens of thousands of members in over 100 countries, the ASTD is the global voice and premier industry association for workplace training and development professionals.
The ASTD provides a wide variety of learning materials and resources for its members to improve their effectiveness as workplace training and development professionals. These resources include surveys, performance benchmarks, topical research, online publications, T + D Magazine, and industry research, just to name a few.
ASTD even offers its membership numerous opportunities for professional career development including the industry's only recognized credential: Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP).
If you are looking for combined networking and learning opportunities, the ASTD also puts on a number of topical training conferences and expos that are well worth their investment in time and money.
Why You Should Check it Out: On some level or another, all leaders, managers, and talent management professionals are involved in the training and development of employee team members.
While some organizations are staffed with dedicated training professionals, most are not, and I can speak from experience that employee learning and development is an area that many managers and leaders struggle with every day. Most struggle not because of lack of intelligence or desire to improve their employees' skills, but rather because they feel at a loss of where to start, what is effective, and what best practices they should seek to emulate.
The ASTD helps to provide a platform for almost any business professional to improve their effectiveness in developing those around them. It is also a highly reputable source of research and information that today's talent management practitioners can draw off of for knowledge and inspiration for improving the performance of their organizations.
If you are a dedicated training and development professional, the ASTD is a must-join organization that will greatly progress your career development and your job performance. If you are a business owner, team leader, supervisor, or even a human resource generalist you will also find great value in this industry association. Start by checking out the ASTD website and browsing some of its many free resources; if you like what you see, you can always become a full fledged member at any time!
Important ASTD Resources:
ASTD Knowledge Center
T + D Magazine
ASTD Collection of Newsletters
After a month on the road, the Carnival of Leadership Development is back at Dan McCarthy's Great Leadership Blog! Head over to Dan's blog for an excellent Labor Day edition of the Carnival of Leadership Development chocked full of great posts from today's top leadership and talent management bloggers!
I like to start every week by pointing you to my choices for the top five talent management, leadership development, and human resource management blog posts from the past week. Below are my top five picks for the week of August 31 to September 6, 2009.
Jessica Lee, Fistful of Talent: What the Future of HR is not Learning... But Should be - Jessica takes us into the college classroom and provides some insight into the current growth opportunities of tomorrow's HR professionals. Surprisingly, Jessica finds that the skills today's HR students are most lacking in are HR technology skills.
Lance Huan, Your HR Guy: Is Human Resources Fatally Flawed? - Lance comes back from a "near HR death experience" and re-examines the human resources function with an eye for long term survival based on providing sustained value to the organizations it serves. Be sure to check out the lively discussion that follows Lance's post!
Michael McKinney, Leadership Now: How to Have More Productive Performance Appraisals- Aaah, employee performance appraisals - the bane of many a manager's existence. Michael McKinney at the Leadership Now blog takes a look at Paul Falcone and Randi Sach's book "Productive Performance Appraisals" and highlights several tips for conducting more productive and useful employee performance reviews.
Michelle Malay Carter, Mission Minded Management: It's Not About FINDING Talent, It's About IDENTIFYING and TAPPING What You Already Have- Michelle reports on recent PeopleFit research that suggests at least 20% of our employees are underutilized in their current role and wants us to shift our mindset from finding new talent to better understanding the talent we currently have and tapping into our employees' unused skills and talents to improve organizational performance.
Carmine Coyote, Slow Leadership: GOODBYE - I unfortunately have to end this week's 'Fab Five' on a sad note. One of my long-time favorite bloggers, Carmine Coyote of Slow Leadership, has announced the retirement of his blog. Head over and check out his final thoughts, and if you haven't browsed Carmine's blog, be sure to check out the great stuff he's put out over the course of several years of leadership blogging. Your blog will be greatly missed, Carmine.
Every week I like to feature a resource that will help you to Maximize Possibility in your organization and your life at work. This week I'd like to highlight the website of one of my favorite authors and one of the most respected business gurus of our time: Tom Peters.
The Resource: Tom Peters! Website
What it Covers: Tom Peters is probably best known for his ground breaking work on the concept of Personal Branding. While there is certainly a lot of great content on his website on this important topic, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Tom has an unrivaled eye for business and this is quickly evident through his writing on a number of talent management topics including leadership, development, motivation, and performance management just to name a few.
Tom's site has a great collection of free articles, white papers, blog posts, Ebooks, and interviews that will keep you coming back regularly for more great content and information. He also has gathered an excellent collection of regularly contributing bloggers that greatly expands the breadth and knowledge base of his site and creates an excellent collaborative learning environment.
Why You Should Check it Out: Tom Peters is one of the most respected and influential management gurus of our time. Peters has be touted as the "father of the post-modern corporation" by the Los Angeles Times and Fortune Magazine has declared that "We live in a Tom Peters world."
Peters has authored numerous books, many of which have become best-sellers, including one of my personal favorites, The Brand You 50, which has helped and influenced countless numbers of individuals to maximize their personal brand potential - myself included.
Tom's site offers a wealth of great content, advice and information for today's aspiring professional. I love that I always seem to find some new and exciting resource - be it a free Ebook download, an intriguing blog post, or an interview with one of Tom' "Cool Friends" - every time I visit his site.
If you haven't checked out Tom's blog, his website, or read one of his books, I can't recommend enough that you do so immediately as Tom's work is truly eye opening. Head over and check it out today!
Features Worth Checking Out:
News Column Archives
Free Resources (PDFs, Ebooks, White Papers, etc)
Media Sighting and Interviews