Investing in Your People is Investing in Your Business

5 Tips for Establishing Your Talent Pipeline

 

Download the New Manager Promotion Playbook for FREE!

 

If you’re a small business owner or manager the chances are that you don’t have a clear management talent pipeline. You probably hire and promote solely based on how hard-working and good at their job a team member is. Big mistake! But don’t just take my word for it, Harvard Business Review demonstrates how being an expert in only one area is one of the biggest reasons that managers fail. Managers have to be talented in all areas to be successful in the long-term.

 

Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” –Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great

 

To accomplish this hefty task, your organization must have a talent pipeline. HBR recommends the following 5 Tips for establishing your talent pipeline:

  1. Focus on Development: Invest in management training, use events in the workplace as learning opportunities and don’t fall into the trap of pure succession planning.
  2. Identify Linchpin Positions: Focus your efforts on positions that are vital to the health of your organization. If a manager quits today, would your business still be able to run effectively? Always be ready with a list of qualified individuals to fill vital roles and consistently train them for those roles.
  3. Make it Transparent: Let your team know how your talent pipeline works, what they should expect, what they need to do to successfully navigate the pipeline, and what training programs are available to them. Also, don’t be reluctant to receive feedback from your team; especially if your pipeline is newly established.
  4. Measure Progress Regularly: Monitor your talent pipeline. How many positions are being filled internally? The more qualified internal promotions, the better your pipeline.
  5. Keep it Flexible: Don’t be afraid to change your talent pipeline. Periodically update your procedures based on feedback, observation, and the latest management research.

 

Develop talent for tomorrow, rather than just hire for yesterday.” –Pearl Zhu, Author of IT Innovation: Reinvent for the Digital Age

 

The 5 Tips from HBR outline the general areas to begin developing your talent pipeline but your organization is dynamic. Constant devotion to improvement is the hallmark of a successful business. Read and download the free asset below, and contact me for more specific skills, real-world examples, and tailored content devoted to making your talent pipeline work best for you.

 

Keep it simple, keep it focused, and definitely keep it inspiring.

–Steve

 

Download the New Manager Promotion Playbook for FREE!

Talent Spotting: A Critical Manager Skill

Learn to spot the “Big 5 Talent Behaviors”

 

Sign Up For the FREE Webinar Identifying and Promoting the Right People

 

Promoting a new manager from within is arguably the single most critical strategic decision an organization makes. Consider the economic implications:

 “When companies can increase their number of talented managers and double the rate of engaged employees, they achieve, on average, 147% higher earnings per share than their competition.” -Harvard Business Review

Simply put, competent and engaged managers are a lead indicator of long-term profitability!

 

Building an effective talent management pipeline starts with talent spotting skills. Each organization’s culture and business requires unique capabilities. However, the following “Big 5 Talent Behaviors,” are strong indicators of an individual’s potential to be a next level leader in your organization.

Closely observe team members who consistently demonstrate these “BIG 5 Talent Behaviors” in their current role:

  1. Self-Starter. Effective leaders have a bias for action and self-initiative. These folks embody Nike’s vision statement – Just Do It! Rarely does the boss need to provide direction to this individual.
  2. Strong Team Orientation. Their language is imbedded with the pronoun “we,” rarely “I.” They always accomplish their responsibilities and naturally reach out to help others. Cooperation and collaboration make up their DNA.
  3. Excellence Reflex. In Danny Meyer’s book, Setting the Table, he shares how his team looks for this trait in new hires and potential next level leaders. Simply put, these employees are driven by high performance standards and results, and are repulsed by mediocrity. These folks hate working with slackers.
  4. Always On The Improve. This employee was seemingly born with the core value of continuous improvement. They are always sharing ideas to improve products, services, operations and the customer experience. This team member sees the big picture, understands the value creation process, and is proactive with suggestions for improvement.
  5. Mastery. This individual loves learning and growth, and possesses high expertise and competency in their craft. If this employee gets bored, or burned out, they are ripe for poaching from the competitor. It’s critical this team member is provided rich assignments and leadership projects to keep them engaged.

 

The potential leader in your current ranks might be categorized as a servant- leader:

“The servant-leader is servant first…It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership

Skilled talent spotting managers recognize that individuals who naturally possess the “Big 5 Talent Behaviors” are ultimately humans first and heroes second, never vice-versa.

 

Keep it simple, keep it focused, and definitely keep it inspiring.

–Steve

 

Sign Up For the FREE Webinar Identifying and Promoting the Right People

Bad Managers Cost You Money!

Three Actions for Building a Solid Talent Promotion Program

Promoting the right individual to a management role is, arguably, the single most important business decision. Need evidence? Consider Gallup’s research that those managers who meet the criteria of “high levels of talent…contribute about 48% higher profit to their companies than average managers do.”

And yet, smart people get this critical business decision wrong. In fact, Gallup has found that 82% of management hiring/promotion decisions fall short of optimal. Imagine if your business could make 48% higher profits just by choosing the right managers!

Just because an employee is great at coding, sales, customer service, or has been with the organization for 10 years, there is little correlation that these capabilities will contribute to becoming a great manager.  In fact, your organization will lose a great star performer and inherit a mediocre manager – a lose-lose decision.

 

Avoid the common promotion minefields by investing resources in developing a methodical talent promotion program for your organization. Here are three pragmatic actions to counter your current spaghetti-against-the-wall manager promotion approaches!

Action1: Require all managers to formally identify leadership talent, regularly. The accepted truism applies here – “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Management must be visibly committed to this critical initiative. Senior leadership should expect and inspect each manager to advance potential candidate names quarterly, for example.

Action #2: Assess a candidate’s potential against a balanced scorecard type criteria, such as:

  • Key management and leadership competencies
  • Core business values
  • Long-term business strategies

Action #3: Implement distinct talent development pathways, based on assessment ranking.  For example:

  • A “Ready Now,” top-tier candidate – Initiate new manager onboarding and training program. “Strong onboarding processes improve new-hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent” (SHRM, 5/9/2017).
  • A “Could Be Ready,” candidate – Initiate a 60 day Action Learning Project. Real-time business initiatives enable two constructive events: 1) Candidate is provided opportunity to demonstrate skill level in target “gap areas,” and, 2) Manager is able to observe and coach candidate, while receiving feedback on candidate’s potential from involved team members.
  • A “Not Ready” candidate – Provide individual a kind and candid assessment, along with a general development plan. After 12 months, candidate may re-apply for internal promotion. Thank them graciously!

 

Stop using outdated and ineffective reasoning for manager promotions – your business, customers, and team culture will benefit immensely! A wise manager promotion or hire will make your business a lot of money. It makes business sense to invest in a more objective and disciplined talent promotion process. A transparent process also helps mitigate the politics that often surround next-level promotions.

To learn more about promoting the right people, watch this video.  Stay tuned for a webinar on this topic where we will delve into the details of each step, provide resources for implementing organization processes, have live demonstrations, and be ready to answer all your questions!

 

Keep it simple, keep it focused, and definitely keep it inspiring.

-Steve

Create Compelling Sales Urgency, NOT Sales Pressure!

TWO Sales Skills to Help Build Urgency for Change

A sales cycle that drags on without a solid buying decision greatly lowers the probability that a positive purchase will eventually occur. The long, exhausting hunt often results in returning home with just a goose egg.

How can you create compelling urgency rather than aggressive pressure to positively influence a buying decision? The TWO Sales Skills below will help you create a methodical sales process that mitigates the relentless and cruel march of sales time.

 

The Status Quo is the enemy, not your competitor’s price. It’s not news that most people have a strong aversion to change, especially if there is a perception of risk involved. The thinking goes – my current situation may be undesirable and stressful but at least it’s familiar. Your process should fixate on creating the urgent conditions necessary for buyer behavior change. Behavioral science supports this universal human condition of possessing a strong aversion to loss, as captured by this quote:

“Losses make us hurt more than gains make us feel good.” -D. Kahneman and A. Tversky

 

TWO Core Sales Skills* for Creating Compelling Sales Urgency:

*It is assumed that the rep has built a trusting, credible relationship with the prospect or buyer before attempting to dive too deep and too soon into a customer’s business. If not, your approach is guaranteed to feel pushy, disrespectful, and your sales attempts will be rejected. Your humble intention to help, not sell, must shine through.

#1 – Find painful (e.g. expensive) problems to solve. Every prospect and business owner has lots of problems, just like you and me. However, there is often a singular one that is most costly. Find it. No serious problem = no serious pain. No pain = no urgency. No urgency = no solution, and you return home with yet another goose egg.

This says easy, does hard. You must be patient, persevere and be willing to be comfortable being uncomfortable while the prospect or buyer mulls over and quietly marinates in their current dilemma. Your penetrating questions, however, foster the crucial tension, or compelling urgency, that begins creating cracks in the formidable status quo.

#2 – Help prospect or buyer convincingly answer – “Why Change?”

Your non-aggressive persistence has paid off – the buyer, with quiet introspection, admits how her actions keep leading to the same discouraging business results. You can relate to her, as every business has their share of festering problems.

 

Behavioral change is often preceded by pain; this vital knowledge directs our sales process.

 

Gently, yet assertively (never aggressively) help the customer feel the pain of their key problem. Simple, insightful questions help facilitate the buyer’s thinking about the very real costs associated with the current situation:

  • What is the business cost of your current situation?
  • What are the non-financial costs of having this problem?
  • What benefits would you achieve if this problem were solved?
  • What would happen if you simply chose not to address this problem?
  • How does this situation prevent you from reaching your goals?

Humans’ natural bias for the status quo is a formidable sales foe. The science of human influence and change strongly suggests that our sales approach creates the prime conditions for change: compelling business urgency and pain. These two core sales skills are instrumental in facilitating this change process.

 

“An object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.”  -Newton’s First Law

 

You cannot control time but you can control your focus in each sales conversation! Make a mid-year resolution to invigorate your sales process with a purposeful sense of urgency and disciplined approach that steadily raises alarm bells that the status quo is unsafe and dangerous. The two skills above are fundamental for creating the conditions of buyer behavior change.

It should be noted that these skills remain relevant but are often insufficient for more complex B2B (business to business) sales where products can be expensive or have lengthy implementation steps.

Future sales topics will examine additional skills critical for keeping sales time AND momentum on your side!

As always, check out the resources page for some helpful tools and additional information to further your goals.

 

Keep it simple, keep it focused, and definitely keep it inspiring!  -Steve

How to Leverage Positive Conflict

Five Tips for Conflict Resolution

It’s quite apparent that conflict will happen within any team. The most intrepid manager-coaches know how to distinguish the difference between productive and destructive conflict, and foster the productive while stifling the destructive.  Successful implementation of this fundamental skill is conflict resolution.

The Small Business Chronicle defines constructive conflict as conflict that “generates productive, mutually beneficial, shared decisions.” Anyone who has attended one of my coaching workshops or webinars will recognize right away that difficult conversations which culminate in commitments to improve behavior or performance perfectly fit SBC’s definition. Often, destructive conflict stems from management’s shaping of the company environment and processes as one-size-fits-all. It’s vitally important for manager-coaches to remember that each team member needs personalized coaching styles and for company culture to reflect flexibility. Poor conflict resolution skills stem from poor empathy, lack of understanding, resistance to change, and feeling vulnerable. It’s management’s responsibility to remove these roadblocks.

 

“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” -Margaret Heffernan, former CEO of iCast Corporation and MBA Lecturer

 

Here are 5 Tips to enhance your conflict resolution skills (Forbes):

  1. Define Acceptable Behavior – yelling, cursing, or shutting down is common but not acceptable
  2. Be Proactive – identifying potential sources of destructive conflict before they occur can be the best way to prevent a bad situation in the first place
  3. Walk in Their Shoes – try to understand the other person’s point of view and empathize with them
  4. Pick Your Battles – don’t look for conflict where none exists and know when to confront people (6pm on a Friday isn’t going to produce good results)
  5. View Conflict as Beneficial – an opportunity to improve is always a good thing, frame your conflict resolution in this way

 

It’s clear that conflict is beneficial to organizations when managed properly. And, since conflict is inevitable, the process of turning negative conflict into positive conflict is absolutely crucial for all manager-coaches. One of the best opportunities for positive conflict resolution can be found in difficult conversations about a team member’s work ethic or attitude. By using the above skills, a great manager-coach can pivot the conversation to make it constructive. Take your coaching to the next level by becoming an expert, watch the replay of the Managing Difficult Workplace Conversations webinar today!

Three Performance Sales Coaching Skills to Master

Sales Managers — How do you tell a sales rep they aren’t as good as they think?

Effective sales manager/coaches understand that providing accurate and candid feedback of their sales reps’ abilities is the primary tool for continuous sales improvement. However, what if your sales rep does not agree with your honest assessment? The following is an all too common sales coaching dilemma:

Consider Cindy, a top performer on Matt’s team. She and Matt do some sales role-playing, and Matt offers her a candid assessment about where he feels she could improve. Cindy quickly responds, “I normally do much better in front of a customer—you just make me nervous! Look at my numbers if you want to see how great I’m doing.” Matt must admit that Cindy regularly exceeds quota, and wonders how he can argue with success.

How do performance-driven sales coaches address observed sub-par sales skills, regardless of whether a sales rep has met sales quota, or not? Mastering the following three performance coaching skills provides sales managers the confidence and competence to gently, but directly, address this universal dilemma.

 

Performance Coaching Skill # 1 — Know what great looks like and hold people accountable for exceeding expectations.

Competent tennis coaches know what the body biomechanics standard is for a great tennis serve. They coach and train the athlete to meet and exceed that standard. Just because the athlete might be a current top performer, a coach worth her paycheck would not allow the player to rest on historical performance laurels.

A sales skill, such as handling objections, can be broken down into fundamental elements, repeatedly trained, and provided with real-time feedback. Sales managers must know what it looks like when sales skills miss, meet, or exceed expectations.

 

“Constant, incremental improvement is the mantra of great coaches.”

 

Performance Coaching Skill # 2Coach to lead indicators, not lag. Lag (the “numbers”) is easy to measure but difficult to influence. Lead activities, or inputs, are controllable and predictive of future success. Effective sales coaching should focus on the behavioral change, skill development, and knowledge acquisition that leads to desired results.

Even if your company “only cares about the numbers,” you as an inspiring leader ought to broaden the definition of results with your reps to include professional capabilities such as leadership, collaboration, strategic thinking, building resiliency, and adapting to change.

 

“Under pressure you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.”  —Navy Seals adage, Harvard Business Review

 

Performance Coaching Skill # 3During training role-plays, remain confident that the sales skill ability you observe is the rep’s dominant response under stress.

The above scenario where the rep states, “I normally do much better in front a customer, you just make me nervous,” is wrong according to social facilitation theory. This theory confirms when a person’s performance is being assessed they experience psychological arousal, or stress, and this pressure produces the individual’s dominant response, which is the most authentic and trusted representation of their skill ability.

Respected business leader Max De Pree claimed that “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality,” and social facilitation theory provides managers the confidence to do so.

This theory is so well validated that it guides the rigorous training of fire fighters, martial artists, law enforcement, military personnel, and other professionals who must perform at high levels under dangerous conditions while making split-second decisions. Successful sales managers have internalized the value of training like other elite professions.

Telling sales reps a targeted sales skill is below expectations can be challenging, particularly if they are meeting their sales goals. However, trust that what you see in that moment is the rep’s highest capability under stress. Be sincere, be caring, but insist the rep continually practices under gentle pressure to build up skill levels under stress. Master coaches understand that this is a trusted training pathway for sustained high performance.

Time Is On Your Side…if focused properly

Busy managers can still be great coaches!

According to the Harvard Business Review, great managers “discover what is unique about each person and capitalize on it.”  This is precisely what differentiates mediocre managers from amazing manager-coaches.  But it’s often hard to judge how to best divide your workday between managing a budget, daily operations, and a team.  The answer: Do all of the above!

Forbes suggests that there are 7 qualities that good managers possess:

  1. They Love the Company Culture
  2. Their Positivity is Contagious
  3. They Sustain Focus
  4. They Listen to their Head and Heart
  5. They’re Honest
  6. They Take Accountability
  7. They Make Decisions

Notice that not a single one of these qualities is about managing finances or operations.  Each and every one of these qualities can be categorized into one super-quality: team building and relationship management.  Okay, technically that’s two super-qualities but the point remains the same: these two super-qualities are absolutely necessary for managers, and by association their teams, to excel in any business.  Yet, too often managers are obsessed about their financial goals, budgets, technical operations, and a million other things they have on their plate.  The key is that successful managers must find quality time to coach their team members.

The necessity of effective coaching has been widely established as the route to achieving that managerial excellence so often talked about.  In fact, Purdue University issued a public memo to their supervisors outlining that “coaching is an ongoing, two-way process that involves using constructive, consistent feedback to reinforce positive behavior or to counsel employees, resulting in improved performance.”  And, improved performance always means better business!

Never forget that your team is the lifeblood of your organization; often the people you manage are the only people customers will ever face.  In an ideal world there would never be the need for management intervention with a customer because your team would be fully equipped with all the skills, confidence, and authority they’d need to satisfy every customer need.  Of course, the world isn’t perfect but great manager-coaches strive to achieve perfection and impart that value on their teams!

“But I’m so busy; how can I take the time to consistently provide feedback?” -Manager X

If you’re near the Asheville, NC area on June 1st, 2017 then you’re in luck!  Steve will be conducting Workplace Coaching Skills for the Busy Manager to answer this very question!  This highly engaging workshop will teach managers how to be better coaches and leaders for their teams and their organizations. Effective and inspiring managers are key drivers of employee engagement. Participants will gain clarity on how their capacity to grow and develop their people is central to attracting, engaging, and retaining top industry talent. People rarely quit a great boss, but they often quit mediocre managers. This workshop will help the dedicated manager be a great leader and coach. Steve looks forward to seeing you on June 1st!

Purchase Tickets

 

Watch Trailer Video

 

Keep it simple, keep if focused, and definitely keep it inspiring! – Steve

Managers Should Pay Their Career-Aiding Feedback Forward

Many leaders credit receiving a critical, and often tough, piece of feedback during their developing career as contributing to their current success.

For example, “You know, Kim, I can tell I’m not really getting through to you. I’m going to have to be clearer here. When you say um every third word it makes you sound stupid.” Kim Scott, author of Radical Candor, shares this stinging feedback that she received from her then boss at Google, Sheryl Sandberg.

Scott suggests replacing the word feedback with guidance because who doesn’t resonate with that?

Reverse engineering great feedback, like Sandberg’s, reveals these core elements:

  • Honest
  • Direct and candid
  • Caring
  • Example-driven (usually with facts from past performance and observations)

Like Scott, are you beholden to a mentor or boss who cared enough to shine a bright light on a blind spot or a potentially career defeating behavior? I recently received a radically candid piece of feedback from a VP of sales: “Your self-deprecating humor undermines your credibility and makes you look weak.” Ouch, but thank you.

In those moments, feedback— err, guidance— feels less like a gift and more like a vaccine shot. If the individual internalizes the medicine they build immunity to behaviors that may no longer serve them. Thanks to the guidance this VP shared with me, I have severely cut back on my inward-focused humor and am grateful for the advice.

However, many of these same gifted bosses who have benefited from such feedback report that their biggest management shortcoming is providing the same guidance to their direct reports. It’s perplexing, but reasonable to conclude that receiving career enhancing feedback doesn’t translate to naturally being effective at this key management skill yourself.

We know most managers don’t like giving feedback and most employees complain they receive too little. This counter-productive dynamic becomes self-reinforcing. Managers quickly offer a host of reasons for not providing more consistent and direct feedback. A common justification, burned in most of our memories runs along this theme— I gave candid feedback one time and the employee called HR charging me with creating a hostile work environment. Who wants to touch that hot stove again, right?

My coaching to managers is to stiffen up and pay it forward! Embody the ethos of the person who made a difference for you. While guiding those who report to you may take you out of your comfort zone, and almost feel confrontational and unpleasant, this feedback and discipline could steer that person onto a better path within their career. Consider the cost of not sharing your observations and how overlooking these potentially damaging and negative behaviors will affect your professional relationship, and their ability to self-reflect and move forward.

Potent coaching questions, like radical candor, can also cause useful cognitive dissonance. 

An accomplished and well-respected leader shared with me an early development epiphany. He was asked, “What are you known for?” He confidently blurted, My strategic technical abilities,” quickly summarizing his analytical prowess. The follow up question, What else are you known for?” however, hit him like a ton of bricks because, as he says, “I couldn’t think of one leader I respected known only for analytical skills.” Two simple, direct questions ignited his commitment to be known for many, not one, leadership capability and charted his path for being a widely respected and gifted leader today.

The objective is to candidly address issues or behaviors, not tear people down.

Avoiding tough issues is a management sin. But confronting situations by asking sincere, open questions can foster the psychological safety critical to an honest, respectful dialogue. Begin building your leadership legacy by developing a reputation for growing tomorrow’s leaders. Pay forward the servant leadership that enriched your career and life.

 

Keep it simple, keep if focused, and definitely keep it inspiring! – Steve

 

Download free useful manager/coaching tools:

www.steverudolphcoaching.com/training-resources

Please drop me an email with a question or comment:

Steve@steverudolphcoaching.com

Connect with me on https://www.linkedin.com/organization/3476330

 

Newsletter February 2017

Effective Sales Manager-Coaches

Don’t Add Sales Training, They Embed it!

 


Steve’s Newsletter Promise: Valuable content will be…

  • Driven by real manager challenges and opportunities
  • Pragmatic – offering “how to” solutions
  • Instructional – teaching specific sales leader skills, mindsets, and principles

Most sales managers know they should provide more sales skills training, but don’t. While coaching and training is no motivational silver bullet, strategically deployed it can improve performance up to 19%.

Top expressed sales manager barriers to coaching and training include:

– I’m buried with manager duties and can’t find the time
– My sales reps resist my coaching and training efforts
– I’m not confident in my ability to teach and train sales skills
– There is no budget for training

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”
Peter Drucker

Embedding, not adding on, sales training and coaching into daily workflow overcomes all of the above barriers. The 80/20 principle of results guides the strategic manager’s thinking. She believes that consistent training is a lead indicator – a predictive activity that will lead to increased sales results.

 $ The Money Question $
How much could your sales revenue increase if your sales reps had 20 additional hours of annual, focused, sales skills training and coaching? If your answer is close to “a lot,” then embed the following plan immediately!

 

Winning Sales Leader Mindset: I am responsible for coaching each of my sales reps, however, I am not responsible for training all of my sales reps.

I can’t stress enough that effective sales leaders delegate sales skills training to their team!  Learning and collaborating together is a best practice for ensuring your team develops the capacity to be adaptable and nimble in a fast moving, changing marketplace.

“None of us is as smart as all of us.” – Ken Blanchard

Embed this Sales Training Plan into your weekly team meetings:

Your FBO (Flash of the Blinding Obvious): You must replace 25 minutes of *trivial meeting content and replace with vital training focus. *Sobering Tip: Ask your team what is trivial, they’ll educate you.

Your Delegation Action Plan: 1) Explain to the team the new training plan, 2) Answer “What’s in it for me?”, 3) Gain buy-in (this doesn’t mean 100% agreement!), 4) Delegate the weekly sales skill training plan – who is teaching what (co-partners work best because they need to develop a very strong role play script that targets real customer scenarios).
Teach/Lecture – Top 2-3 best practices of one targeted sales skill (5 min)

Strong Real/Role Play – Use sales reps real customer scenarios (15 min)

Q&A, Feedback, and Plan next week’s sales skill focus (5 min)

PRACTICE = PROFITS! 25 min x 50 work weeks = 20 hours of annual sales skills training!

Embedding sales training into normal workflows is a sure bet to increasing the team’s motivation and engagement. And why not? Elite sales performers understand that perfect practice makes perfect!


Enjoy this month’s Newsletter? Follow Steve on social media for even more great advice! And always feel free to drop Steve a line for any of your questions.

FREE ASSET: Access a free copy of The 4% Championship Sales Coaching and Training Plan.

Coming soon: Free Sales Coaching Webinar titled  Practice = Profits.

2017 Top 10 Coaching Tips for Managers

Reverse engineer a great manager-coach and we might quickly brainstorm hundreds of ideal traits, skills, and capabilities. The following Top 10 Coaching Tips for Managers list, while certainly not exhaustive, contains the DNA of those bosses who don’t just manage people, but instead help make their team members great while achieving significant business results.

  1. View coaching as a strategic priority, not an action to be crossed off a list. Dedicated managers/coaches understand that adapting to tomorrow’s business uncertainties requires building team members’ capacities today.
  1. Treat calendar real estate as the holy ground for business priorities. They prioritize their time and let their team know it. A good practice to follow is scheduling all your coaching 1:1s twelve months out. This loud act signals to the team that coaching and development is a key driver of performance.
  1. Use coaching models as a framework, not a cage. They have a proven coaching process but remain flexible to meet each unique team member’s motivational drivers and goals.
  1. See coaching as a collaborative partnership built on trust. Great coaches think and say “we.” Their actions communicate to team members that they have their best interests at heart. The old adage, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” sounds trite but remains true.
  1. Remember that complacency is the enemy. Effective managers/coaches swarm complacency and eradicate it like the disease it is. Expecting and demanding high performance incubates a culture that attracts and retains top talent.
  1. Model and demand a growth mindset. They reject any team member beliefs that talent alone— or even experience— creates enduring success. High-performing managers are driven and guided by Jack Welch’s management mantra:

“Change before you have to.”

  1. Stretch, not stress, their people. Effective managers/coaches leverage the performance power of good stress, known as The performance curve (Yerkes-Dodson Law) informs how you appropriately challenge each individual.
  1. Sharpen core coaching skill sets. Top managers/coaches ask better questions. They deepen their listening. They behave like a business “thinking partner and trusted advisor.” They provide candid and caring feedback. They co-craft SMART next action steps that emphasize growth and accountability.
  1. Never consider hope a strategy— inspect what you inspect. This is not micro-management! A culture of accountability is built on two fundamental, self-reinforcing processes: 1) Individuals continually making and keeping agreements, and, 2) Management holding themselves, and all team members, accountable to established agreements. At the end of the day trust is built on agreements.
  1. Make work fun but not everyone gets a trophy. Mangers/Coaches know that they must make regular time for relaxed team gatherings and to celebrate effort and results. They ensure that recognition and reward initiatives focus on individual and team performance.

Keep it simple, keep it focused, and definitely keep it inspiring!

-Steve

 

Want to share these ideas with your team to help improve your company’s bottom line? Contact Steve to learn more about his coaching services.