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Aligning vision, people
and performance

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Posts Tagged ‘Pat Dolen’

Who does your culture attract?

A paraphrased excerpt from a client letter received by the CEO:

“…Yesterday I attended the event at your facility. During my visit, I was fortunate enough to meet many of the wonderful employees and owners. Your VP and I had a very lengthy discussion about the culture and growth plans and suggested I send you my resume.

I really was not looking for new opportunities, but after experiencing the warm, friendly family environment, I was bowled over. This is the culture I have been searching for in America…a company who values camaraderie, respect and company loyalty, all of which I found abundant at your organization.”

Would your culture produce the same results?

Take the Leader’s Challenge

4 wings
While celebrating with my CEO coachee her recognition into the 2011 “40 under 40”  class, the keynote speaker introduced some reflective questions and character-building actions for all leaders. Consider these words of wisdom Jeff Sandefer of ACTON School of Business shared with the top young professionals recognized this year by the Houston Business Journal. 
 
  1) Ask 5 people, ” What do I do best in the whole wide world?”

2) Make a list of  your ” I absolutely will not ___________”.  Store in a desk drawer that is handy to reach, so in times of ethical crossroads you can review your core principles.

3) Who is a someone you have never thanked, that has had a significant impact on your life?  Write a letter to that person.  Then, go to that person and read it to them.  You will be transformed for the several months to come.

These suggestions, if acted upon, (1) will create change, (2) build character and (3) instill gratitude.  Which of these 3 areas in your life are you seeing others lacking?   Now, work the question with the associated number to complete earnestly and sincerely.  Begin to see others changing around you!

Unravelling Performance Appraisals…does one size fit all?

Externsteine - place of power
The subject line of the manager’s email reads: Annual Reviews Due!!  At that moment an audible groan is muffled behind every manager’s computer.  Why?

“Review time! We just finished forecasting and budgets!  Now, I’m going to pull more late nights and Saturdays!  There are just too many *%!@*  things to do around here!”

Reviews, appraisals, salary performance reviews or whatever you call the process…tend to sneak up on a manager’s horizon.  Following employee terminations, it could probably be ranked as a manager’s least favorite activity. Conversely, it is one of the most anticipated events of the year for an employee and can have a strong influence on whether a top performer stays or goes.

Why anticipated?  Well, an employee may receive infrequent feedback and wonder how their performance has been perceived. Or, they work remotely and it’s the time of year set to review how they’ve met their goals and to set goals for the new year.  Maybe, they’re waiting to hear if they get a salary increase or not.  But first, you, as the manager, have to get past the “manager dread”.

Manager Dread

Why do managers dread performance appraisals so much?

  • Not enough time has been set aside during the year to document performance and whether expectations were exceeded or just average
  • There are not regular performance talks (informal or formal) throughout the year, so it feels awkward to address “deep” issues
  • There are areas that need improvement with no clear goals, job descriptions or job duties so it appears that the manager is just  “adding more to their job, as needed”
  • The employee might ask specific questions about goals that are not measurable, and your review seems  contingent on how you feel about someone 

How can we make performance appraisals better experiences?

  • Professionally written job descriptions or guidelines
  • Know the traits that it takes to be successful in the position
  • Frequent informal communcation with the employee, including talks about performance 

Companies often will be able to tell you what it takes to make them successful, such as their core values and mission statement.  Yet, when it comes to breaking down the values, mission statement and strategies into bite-size parts for the employees to handle, it resembles a jigsaw puzzle fresh from the box.  How can that be avoided?

Next time: “One Employee’s Story” and How to Avoid Turnover

Lesson from Frank Maguire: Treat everyone like a rock star!

When I received the sad news that Frank Maguire, my lifelong friend, mentor and FEDEX founding senior executive had passed away on a business flight, my immediate reaction was one of grief.   What would I miss the most?  The stories of Colonel Sanders and Kentucky Fried Chicken in the early days?  His experience in the White House when JFK was in office?  How he took the time from his international speaking circuit to speak about his cherished memories of my father at his funeral?  

Anyone who knew Frank would say, “how he made me feel”.  My mind flitted back to when he was the keynote speaker at a conference in Houston many years ago. His charismatic persuasiveness made the least touchy feel-y of executives break through their defenses, hold hands and bellow, “this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!” with Frank leading the chorus. It was amazing to witness his impact on others. 

Moving through the crowd toward his hotel, he cut a swath of smiles and satisfied nods as we crossed the conference center floor.  Why each hotel staffer was told how they personally made a positive difference to his stay!  Even  Carmela, the housekeeper.  Frank exclaimed, “why, my wife’s name is Carmel. I’m on my way home to see her…let me kiss you on the cheek for that,” with that Irish twinkle in his eye. Carmela  and her co-workers beamed as he was whisked away in his limousine.    

Did it take any extra time or effort for Frank to be observant of those lives he touched? Maybe, a little.  Yet, every time he found the “light” in us, his grew brighter.  And Frank, I, for one, am going to miss that “little light of yours” that still burns very brightly in my heart.

Recognition: Hey, Boss, I’m starving!

Talking in LanguagesStep into the middle of this board room conversation …”I learned my wife doesn’t care about getting gifts or flowers, she wants me to help out around the house. Oh, not my girlfriend, if I don’t tell her how special she is to me all the time, she thinks something is wrong!” After several female board members piped in about what their beliefs were about their husbands and partners preferences, someone suggesting reading   The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.

Being a consultant who works with companies with people conflict, I pondered on the “appreciation languages” of my consulting client’s employees…were they hearing the right language?  

How many times had I interviewed employees who were starved for recognition from their manager? Research had reported countless times that money was not a motivator, so what could an employer do?  Most look to books for an idea list of recognition methods, without any idea of what would speak to the individual. 

If Dr. Chapman’s ideas work for love, how about for business?

With my apologies to Dr. Chapman, how about a quiz which flags the primary way our employees want to be recognized at work? 

APPRECIATION LANGUAGE QUIZ

Select your number 1 and number 2 preferred method of appreciation from the choices below.

I feel most valued when a person/manager/co-worker:

  1.  ______Tells me how grateful they are for me and the things I do for them or the company
  2.  ______ Gives me their focused attention without any interruptions
  3.  ______Brings me a gift or other tangible item of appreciation
  4.  ______Pitches in to help me, perhaps taking over something that I’m behind on or find routine or boring
  5.  ______Expresses positive feelings through acceptable physical contact- like a pat on the back, high-5 or knuckle bump

According to Dr. Gary Chapman’s work, there are 5 Languages.  Learn which top 2 languages make you feel the most valued.

1 = Words of Affirmation

2 = Quality Time

3 = Receiving Gifts

4 = Acts of Service

5 = Physical Touch

This week observe how others are expressing appreciation toward you and others.  Which “language” makes you feel most valued and what happens when someone uses your least preferred language?

Try giving this simple quiz to your employees.  Start speaking their language, feed them with the right kind of appreciation and you’ll notice  productivity soar!

Finding my Inner Comedienne

Suze Orman“The best ideas come as jokes.  Make your thinking as funny as possible.”  David Ogilvy

How did Suze Orman’s picture become the focal point of my blog?  A joke.  A throw-away line to lighten up the September ’09 planning meeting of the speakers for the Texas Women Who Rock.  The Theme was “You and Your Money”.  So, off the cuff I suggested, “wouldn’t it be funny if someone played Suze Orman?” Four pairs of eyes simultaneously drilled into mine, and…a new “Suze” was born.  

Those lost days when my brother, Thom Tydeman and I, played in our living room giving life to imaginary comic book characters, rock stars and the latest Saturday Night Live actors, came back to me.  My creativity and imagination soared!

So, as I take the stage at Texas Children’s Hospital tomorrow as my “Suze Orman” character, I step out of my customary role of  business adviser, executive coach and consultant to companies  looking for communication harmony and productivity. Instead, you’ll meet my” inner comedienne” where I share some  “funnies” from life with  my family and my own imagination on what it must be like to be an icon, like Suze. 

And if you miss the corporate twist to this blog, check out “The Levity Effect: Why it Pays to Lighten Up” by Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher where they share in their first two chapters, …”If They’re Busting Their Gut. They’ll Bust Their Butts” and …”If They’re Laughing, They’re Listening. “

Inspiration leads to aspiration!

 

 

A trumpet´s flareWhen I was a young child in the ’50s in New Orleans, I’d watch TV every night just to get a glimpse of our friend, Frank Maguire, reporting the news and weather. I’m told I was quite “mad” at Frank that he didn’t wave back. Frank still laughs about that one.  He’s gone on to accomplish some pretty impressive public things, from serving in the White House with JFK to being the VP of PR for Colonel Sander’s when he was a regular on the Johnny Carson show.  Even as an international speaker inspiring leaders all over the world, Frank’s ease of jumping on a platform to share his story as a founding exec of FEDEX  is conducted with grace and encouragement.  Frank has inspired me in a big way.

What occurred to me today, as the Texas Women Who Rock event  (See Texas Women Who Rock Breakfast Promo) quickly approaches, is how many women and men, who have inspired me, became role models for my aspirations.  Two of my co-presenters have touched my life in an inspirational way and now I am rocking with them!

Donna Fisher, my co-presenter and speaker, author and entrepreneur is going to share how she’s transformed personally and professionally over her career.  My first memory of Donna is when I was in the corporate world almost 20 years ago and recommended her to my company President.   It takes guts to get up there and expose yourself to a group of people who may not “get” you.  Thinking back, I still remember how the President marveled at how quickly she made a connection.   

Karen McCullough and I have fun memories of meeting when she first started her speaking business.  We discussed networking and building referral business…a hot topic of the day.  Not knowing it at the time, I referred her to the first speaking client she ever had!   Attending one of her events a few years later, I appreciated why my client liked her so much…she was great and I was inspired…still am.  

We have enjoyed telling many friends that eight years later I walked into the National Speaker’s Association’s Pro-Track Class and guess who was the Leader? Karen!!  So, yes, your inspiration can become your aspiration. 

Come join us Friday, September 25th by REGISTERING HERE.   

Who has been your inspiration?

"Pat brings her charm, wit and insight into her advisory relationships and shares the same with her audiences. She's got the systems to back up her concepts."

- Frank Maguire FEDEX Senior Founding Executive

John Maxwell

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