Is Your Talent At-Risk? Talent Scorecard – Part 2

I asked the roomful of HR Leaders this question:  Why  do over 50% of your CEO’s have lists of key people/key positions, and yet <20% are doing anything to follow-up on those lists? 

The room was very silent, then one lone voice offered an answer:  Talking with them would mean we are making some guarantees – and nobody wants to break a promise.  This is one of those things that make me go hmmmm . . .  statements.  I wonder what a high performer in an organization thinks of the silence?

Here are the results after I asked HR leaders to fill out the Talent Scorecard as if their CEO was doing the survey.  The only two measures are 100% and <100%, because those are they only two measures that matter.  100% means you are doing the right things.  <100% means that there is a person out there with a name, friends, bills to pay, skills/talents, and goals . . .  that is not getting their needs met.  These are basic needs.  Here are the numbers.

Key Habits for Managing Most Valuable People and Roles

  100% <100%  
1. I have a list of key people whom we cannot afford to lose AND: 56.7  % 43.3 %
  •   I have checked in with them within the last month to see how they’re doing.
40.0 % 60.0 %
  • I have written development plans for them.
20.7 % 79.3 %
2. I have a list of the key roles in my company AND: 51.7 % 48.3 %
  •  I have a performance/potential chart for people currently in each role.
17.2 % 82.8 %
  •  I have list of candidates in case of openings in these roles.
20.7 % 79.3 %
3. I have a list of high potentials for promotion and we have spoken with each person on the list within the last six months about his/her future. 14.3 % 85.7 %

 

Development programs are not a promise, they are a map.  A map that provides an individual with key places they need to visit/experience over the next 12 months in their career journey.  It gives an individual ownership of their development and puts the leader in the position of support.  So what is the ROI of this conversation?  The cost is about 2-4 hours of work on the part of the leader.  Their might be some training costs, but they should be minimal given that 90% of learning happens outside a classroom.  An effective development plan leverages real experiences and great mentors.  What is the benefit of someone being 5% more excited about their work?

For a quick look at a performance conversation tool/development plan that works see trUTips #13

Do we need a Talent Management Initiative? No . . . Part I

I created a Talent Scorecard to help leaders think through what they have been doing around connecting with their people to make sure they are focused, understanding their challenges, getting their needs met, and receiving feedback on their progress.  In the human resources world we call this talent management.  To most of the rest of the world this is called leadership, management, or friendship.

The first set of numbers shocked me.  Here they are and remember that I asked HR leaders to fill these out as if their CEO was doing this survey.  The only two measures are 100% and <100%, because those are they only two measures that matter.  100% means you are doing the right things.  <100% means that there is a person out there with a name, friends, bills to pay, skills/talents, and goals . . .  that is not getting their needs met.  These are basic needs.  Here are the numbers.

 Key Habits for Managing Talent

  100% <100%
I delivered all of the evaluations on time. 36.7 % 63.3 %
I have one-on-one discussions with each member of my staff at least once a month. 63.3 % 36.7%
I have reviewed all the evaluations of my team’s staff. 51.7 % 48.3 %
Each person on my team has a development plan. 27.6 % 72.4 %

Too many people are getting late evaluations and do not have any sort of development plans. 

Remember the Gallup Q12?  The first two questions are:  I know what is expected of me at work and I have the tools I need to do my job.  On-time performance conversations and frequent one on ones to hear progress, identify needs, and solve problems make these questions a reality.  The development plan is critical in getting people thinking about the future and helping them grow.

Based on these numbers, it is not happening enough.

For a quick look at a performance conversation tool/development plan that works see trUTips #13.

Words that make me go Hmmmm – Hold accountable

I read a letter to the editor in our local paper this morning that included the sentence . .

I urge parents of all children in the district to be activist parents and hold their public schools accountable for the quality of services their children are receiving.

Too often I see the word accountable held up as an initiative that is, in itself, the way to fix a business.  I then look for what words appear around it to suggest what else needs to be happening to build this accountability.  In this sentence you will see the words activist / hold / quality.  So what do you think will be the next step in the minds of the people reading this sentence?

Accountability is important in business, performance, and life – but the words around it are probably more important.

I will do more for you if I respect you and feel your commitment to helping me be successful.  I will perform better for you if I get a chance to share my thoughts or if I am invited to a team to solve a problem together.  Great teams have accountability, but they also have trust, a shared sense of commitment, and the willingness to listen, to forgive, and to fix. 

As a coach, clients will often express the accountability they feel knowing that I will ask the question “What has happened with your commitments since the last time we talked?”, which is good.  What I remind them is that there is lots of learning to happen in commitments that do not get done, and rather than feel guilty and view a coach as the accountability police, see me as a partner to explore, understand, and to solve.  Great accountability also has a element of safety.

Feel free to use the word accountability as a leader, but I challenge you to examine the words around it first.

I can’t afford leadership training right now . . . what does that mean?

I see a great trend happening, organizations starting to get back to the routine of developing leaders – both current and future.  It is good for people and for leaders.  It is a nice trend.

My only concern is the mindset that focus = money in the minds of many leaders.  I know real priorities receive budget and headcount, but let me offer some competing thoughts.

  • Importance = time
  • Importance = presence

Let me explain.

Your best people are not looking for more compensation or awards, they just want new challenges, engaged teammates, and a chance to do what they love.  Uncertain of my compensation claim?  Read Drive by Daniel Pink or chapter 7 in Sway by Ori/Rom Brafman. Not buying into what high potentials need?  Read trU Tips #2 that I published.

Instead of starting with a pay per use leadership program or hiring a Director of Talent Management, step back and ask yourself “Are we doing the basic things that will drive the right development conversations regardless of the economy?”  Here is a guide for your self assessment. 

Developing your leaders for today and tomorrow is not about spending money, it is about investing time into:

  • Conversations that let people know they matter
  • Conversations that help you understand what people want /need
  • Conversations that help create a target for people to strive for
  • Conversations that let people know that you are watching, willing to help, AND that you care about their success

Great talent management is about investing time. 

Budget does not replace time.  If you can only do one – – – start with time.

My Lessons from the The Go-Giver – and why Millenials are way ahead . . .

I do not do a lot of book reviews in this blog, but I just completed The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann.  First, let me say that I resisted reading this book until three different people that I highly respect recommended it.  The following entry was inspired by the thoughts this book generated.

Why did I start a business?  How do I measure my success?  

When hearing a story of success we often focus on the opportunity presented to make money.  Sometimes a genius (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs) or sometimes an ordinary person (look at the people around your town) see an opportunity to fill a need in the market and turn it into successful business.  We call them entrepreneurs.  In our history as a country, many of our super wealthy focused solely on building their wealth, and became socially concious later in their lives when the “What is my legacy?” question started swirling in their mind.  We should celebrate their conversion, but recognize that they did not start their business with that as a priority.  The Go-Giver fundamentally challenges the notion that giving comes after success.

The Go-Giver generated two questions for me that have been rolling around in my head. 

  • Who (or whom) do you serve?
  • How do you/will you measure success?

I think of some young entrepreneurs I have met recently and they don’t necessarily think of these questions because their answers are already woven into the fabric of their life and business.

For anyone over 35ish, remember there is a generation behind us that has these questions as part of their fabric.  They have experienced  the fragile nature of life (9/11), the uncertainty of employment (2 major economic downturns in 10 years), and the ability to build meaningful relationships with a keyboard (internet).    I wonder how a millenial would view this book?

Worth the read, but don’t do it alone.  Find a partner, with the goal of writing two question that it generates for you.  Then spend your time together trying to answer them.

Leadership and Followership: A simple habit around Building Trust

I teach a class that brings leaders and followers into a room and they learn about great leadership and followership together.  During a class a couple of weeks ago, when we were talking about Building Trust, I asked the following questions:

Followers:  What do you think the leaders need from you to Build Trust?

Leaders:  What do you need from your followers in the area of Build Trust?

The general answers from the followers (on what leaders needed from them to Build Trust) leaned towards work getting done.  Statements were made like “Doing what you say you will do” and “Following through on your work”.

When I asked the leaders a similar question, the first answer was from someone new to leadership.  He raised his hand and said “Telling me that I am doing things well, along with letting me know what I am doing wrong.”

It is in moments like these that both sides of the performance equation realize they do not always understand each other. 

It is in these moments that just a little sharing helps us understand what we need to provide to others to help them be successful.

Followers:  What if you committed once a week to seek out your leader and ask them “What do you need from me this week?

Leaders:  What if you did the same, and said thank you when you saw your people looking out for you.

Initiatives become necessary because we forget about simple habits that help create success for people and teams.  Commit to this simple habit.

4 Habits to Build, 1 Initiative to Avoid (#Retention)

In organizations, initiaves around people and talent happen because we allow good habits to go away.  Keep the key habits and you avoid most initiatives.  Let me give an example:

I am hearing lots about the latest Initiative —>  EMPLOYEE RETENTION

Big initiative: Employee Engagement

Great focus, but did anyone ever ask Why are we refocusing on this? Layoffs?  Maybe.  But let me offer you another perspective.

Have any of these HABITS left your organization in the last few years?

  1. Performance evaluations (if we can’t give raises why do them?)
  2. One on ones with staff (too busy?)
  3. Monthly check-ins with your most valuable people – how are they doing? what do they need? what do they want to be doing next year? (they know they are valuable – they still have a job don’t they?)
  4. Development plans for people – investing time in their areas of interest and preparing them for the future. (we cannot afford development right now

One more conversation that has stuck with me.  A CEO shared that they cannot afford leadership development right now, but it is in the list for next year.  Sounds like a great initiative.  

Of course there are some free habits laying around . .

A few more blogs around this:

Engagement – The One Question to Ask

I have been around the development of people for over a decade, and one thing still surprises me – the reaction of people when asked “What do you NEED?”

In leadership transitions – it is the key question after defining the immediate goals for the role and how success over the first 6 months will be measured.

The Birkman Method assessment measures it, and people are often surprised to see their NEEDs named in the results and how accurate the stress behaviors are defined when those NEEDs are not being met.  Minimizing stress opens up a whole new world of performance and engagement.

Leaders seem relieved when they have the opportunity to tell their teams what they NEED from them to be successful – after hearing the NEEDs of their team.

It is a cornerstone of great Followership.  When we know the needs of our leaders we can help them be successful. 

What is leadership?  is a big question and many resources are poured into helping people be successful at this difficult role.  Remember that it is in the conversations where leadership happens, not in the powerpoint slides or emails. 

Ask the NEED question and agree on one thing that you can make happen.  Are you surprised at what you hear and see in their reaction?  I still like good surprises . . . . . .

The 5 Levels of Followership

A recent blog posting from Kate Nasser got me thinking.  She made the case that the opposite of leader is not follower.  Here is her post.

I agree with her, but struggle with a word that captures how people work AND facilitates a discussion that allows a leader and follower to share their perception of performance.  I propose the 5 levels, with Kate’s term being level 5.  Yes, I did borrow the concept from Jim Collins, but these are my words.  So here are the Five levels of Followership.

  1. Minimizer   – An individual that consumes oxygen in the workplace.  They are present, but getting things done is not a priority.  They measure their contribution by getting just enough done to stay employed.
  2. Doer – Do what they are asked consistently and with very little negative emotion.  Solid and very dependable.  Measure their contribution by getting done what is asked by when it was asked.
  3. Attractor – Do their job with joy, attracting customers both inside and outside of their organization.  Measure their contribution by the smiles they receive back and the work they get done.
  4. Improver – Does the work presented and looks for ways to improve the efficiency.  Measure their contribution by the dollars/time that they save or the improvements they make in the lives of their customers.
  5. Influencer – Someone who sees opportunities to alter strategies or activities that will have a big impact on the direction of the organization and the work that is being done.  Measure their contribution by the big things they get started and the opportunities they have to engage in work they consider to be significant.

It is always a great conversation to ask people how they perceive their contribution, then compare that with what you see.  Gaps drive more conversations.  Perpetual gaps indicate outcomes of conversations need to be written down.  Words and labels do matter, but great conversations matter more.

Want to Keep Your Best People? Learn to Grow Garlic! Let Me Explain . . .

Have you ever lost a good person because they did not see a future at your company or they did not feel valued?  Then did you wonder “How could they think that?”  Maybe you even went so far as to tell them after they announced they were leaving, but it was too late.

Keeping people is a big and often complicated topic.  To simplify it I often share a rule given me by a  manufacturing supervisor from Tennessee almost ten years ago.  His wisdom?  “Intentions without actions equals SQUAT.”  My rule for making sure people know they are valued – invest in them through your actions.  Let me share an analogy.

I like to grow vegetables.  My new experiment is garlic.  It takes time to grow a full head of garlic from a single clove when you live in Michigan.  The process starts in the fall, when you plant a single clove so it can put down some roots before winter.  If everything works, next June I will have 20-30 full heads of garlic.  My investment in the process is pretty simple:  a little money, time, and patience.

So how does growing garlic relate to developing people?  As a leader you are likely busy with the urgent issues of today.  If you want people to feel valued and show commitment to what needs to be done, they need your time, patience, and support.

Here are five steps to cultivate your people garden:

  1. Evaluate where the person is today (current performance, talents, experience)
  2. Define where they want to be / the organization needs them to be in the future
  3. Make a plan to get them ready(new skills, experiences, mentoring, etc) for what they want/what the organization needs
  4. Revisit the plan every quarter to see how they are doing
  5. Get to work

I believe most leaders care about their people.  I also see lots of situations where these same leaders do not show in their actions what they feel.    Taking time to help your people think about and plan for their future shows a real commitment to their success.  What is the cost of such an activity?  A good development discussion takes about 5-7 total hours (2-3 for the leader / 3-4 for the individual).  If you add in three one hour(quarterly) follow-up meetings, the yearly time investment for a single person is approximately 13 hours.  The ROI?  What would it cost your business to replace a good employee?  What would the lost productivity or stalled projects cost your team if you were short a person for 3-4 months?

Spend 5 minutes making a list of the actions you do daily, monthly, and quarterly to show your people you value them?  If this is not on it – add it!