Should I Be S.M.A.R.T?

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With the first quarter of 2017 coming to an end, I’m beginning to focus on goals for Q2.

Setting professional objectives can be a daunting task. It’s not easy to come up with objectives that go hand-in-hand with your role and personal development. I’ve been in this position many times in my career and have never found it (and still don’t find it) easy.

Although it can be tough to come up with objectives, it’s probably best not to spend three days scratching your head wondering what on Earth you want to achieve.

Let’s dive in!

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What makes a great boss? Successful UK managers reveal their secrets

Great managers are crucial to business success; they help employees maximize their potential, engage their teams and create workplaces that are productive and profitable. That’s why we’ve traveled the globe to learn more about how to help managers go from good to great. From San Francisco to New York, Berlin to London, we had the pleasure of speaking with some of the most forward-thinking HR and management professionals to get their insights.

At our London panel discussion in December, we sat down with:

  • Neil Morrison, Director of Strategy, Culture and Innovation at Penguin Random House UK
  • Jess Critchlow, Learning & Development Manager at Salmon
  • John Catterfeld, Head of Software Engineering at OpenTable UK

We’ve attached a video of the event below, but here’s a quick recap of the highlights:

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6 Expert Tips On How To Help Your Managers Succeed

Choosing the right managers is one of the most critical decisions an organization makes. But what makes someone a great manager? While a lot of research have identified qualitative traits of great managers and the different ways they contribute to business success – there is still a lack in understanding of what great managers actually do on a daily basis.

Our most recent panel in the Helping Managers Become Better Managers series was held in Berlin. We welcomed expert speakers from TAM Trainer Akademie (Lorenz Illing, MD), Marley Spoon (Cindy Rubbens, Head of Culture & People Operations) and SoundCloud (Jennifer Beecher, Learning & Development) to discuss the importance of managers in organizations. Below we’ve summarized a few key takeaways:

What behaviors do great managers exhibit?

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Webinar “Human-Friendly Performance Management: Goal Setting and Performance Reviews without the Pain”

Everyone agrees that the traditional annual performance appraisal is ineffective. It produces unreliable performance documentation at best and the humans involved hate the process – employees, managers, and HR alike. There is a better way.

shipit_week_august_2016_img_6179Jason Lauritsen is challenging traditional performance management. “Most employees want to like their jobs. And, most organizations want their employees to be happy with their experience at work. Where is the disconnect?”

Join Jason on his exploratory journey into how to make goal setting and performance reviews an experience that is both effective and feels productive to everyone involved. His fun “relationship test” will highlight how poorly some of our processes and systems are designed and guides us to a more “Human-Friendly” approach.

 

Register for our 30-minute webinar
December 15th 2016 – 10am PST / 1pm EST / 6pm GMT 


jasonheadshotPresenter: Jason Lauritsen is an employee engagement and workplace culture expert who will challenge you to think differently. A former corporate Human Resources executive, Jason has dedicated his career to helping leaders build organizations that are good for both people and profits. http://www.JasonLauritsen.com

Managing Your Career Without Managing People

One of the most important decisions an organization can make is who to put in leadership, and research conducted by Gallup reveals that we fail to select the right candidate with the right talent 82% of the time.

What many organizations fail to realize is that structuring a culture whereby individual contributors must move into management to get ahead, particularly financially, is simply a broken process. We owe it to our team members to provide an alternative, and to recognize and reward those individuals who excel at what they do.

A culture dilemma that needs to be solved

Let’s walk through a familiar scenario. Joe Programmer is a Senior Software Engineer with a small e-commerce company, and he is incredibly proficient at writing code. Joe has been with same company for 3 years now. A management position opens up, and Joe’s VP approaches him for the job. The idea of overseeing a mobile development team interests Joe, but the compensation that comes with it makes his decision a no-brainer.

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Performance Pain Points – The Prescription

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Previously, I played the part of PM-D…Performance Management Doctor (The Diagnosis). I talked about the symptoms of an unhealthy performance management process based on feedback from the Impact99 HR Summit Toronto. I had a closer look at the pain points that people described and realized that they, and the remedies, followed a path from start to finish.

Traditionally, most organizations fail to communicate the true purpose and expectations of the performance review process. Therefore, most employees consider it to be a negative experience; waiting to hear about how they have not achieved the expected level of performance. By default, most people see the process as merely a means to an end…that end being salary increases or promotions. What do you consider to be the purpose of the process? What are your expectations? Have you clearly communicated those expectations to your entire organization? If your people expect one thing but receive another, there is a disconnect that undermines the process.

So, let’s ask ourselves what connects people to the process? Is your process one that is typically pushed from the top down?  Even if it isn’t, is there a perception that it is?  For example, what  would your employees say if you asked them “who owns the performance process, who benefits from it and how?”  Would they see themselves in the process?  Would they see themselves as the owners, the drivers, the ultimate beneficiaries? If everyone takes ownership of the process – exec’s, HR, managers & employees – then it will cease to be a process that people “have to do” and will become something that people are motivated to do because it’s their own! It becomes part of the culture.

Transparency, reciprocal trust, collaboration and alignment result from ongoing discussions and will also draw people into the process. Discussions about the organizational vision results in productivity and pride in one’s work.  Communicating expectations assists in setting reasonable objectives. Someone who is enrolled in the business, who has clear objectives, and understands their contribution is someone who is eager to set their goals and measure their results in a performance review.  If the performance process relies on open discussions so that nobody is left in the dark, and there are no surprises at review meetings.

As I mentioned in Feedback: The Guidance System for Performancemore frequent performance check-ins are a much better use of time and effort than the traditional “year-end review” meeting. People perform on a daily basis, so why wait until the end of the year to discuss accomplishments and challenges. There’s no better time for improvement than the present. Organizations and individuals can become more agile by making small adjustments in their performance as they go along…not 10 months from now!

OK…you’ve just had your performance check-in with your manager. You’ve discussed your accomplishments, areas for improvement and set your objectives going forward. Now what? You have to keep them connected to the process; you need to follow-up. This shows integrity – aligning one’s actions with their words – and reinforces the trust you created through ongoing dialogue. If a need for more training was requested by the employee or manager, it would be a colossal fail if nothing was provided. If an employee has set an objective and doesn’t formalize it and provide updates…#fail again.

Expectations, ownership, discussions, check-ins and follow-up. Combine all these things and you have a process that is productive and meaningful. People within an organization want to know that their performance process actually means something, individually and for the bigger picture. Especially the younger generation. Organizations need to realize that this generation will expect meaningful work, which includes ongoing feedback and discussions. They will want to know how they are performing and how they can continue to perform at their highest level.

Wrap all this up in a simple process where individuals and teams are aligned with organizational goals, and people will be confident that they are part of something bigger. Best of all, you can elevate the level of overall engagement. A great performance process shows that the organization’s leaders actually care about their people. Recent studies (like the 2013 Spring report from Globoforce) have shown that leaders recognize engagement as one of the top challenges within their organization.

We are constantly looking for ways to improve the way we manage our performance. We look for new and innovative tools and methods to increase engagement and productivity. Sometimes the best thing for our organization is right under our noses. Try writing your own prescription.

Performance Pain Points – The diagnosis

11588728936_b627b5ec7a_cAlthough not recognized by any medical association, I’ll play the part of the PM-Dr… Performance Management Doctor.

A sampling of “patients” at Impact99 HR Summit 2013 Toronto described several symptoms of an ailing performance management process. There appears to be a deficiency of several important elements for a healthy process, such as results, expectations, meaning and consistency.

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