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Featured Blog Topics

 

Are you set up to succeed? Is technology devaluing people?
  Getting people to follow process? Changing someone's beliefs?
About Blogger Bruce Nagy View 2 min DEMO

 

 

 

How do you ensure employees are set up to succeed and should this factor be made visible on a business dashboard?

 

 
Setup to Succeed   Being "set up to succeed" is dependant on whether the person is being assigned new tasks or doing the same old tasks.

For new tasks, if you don't check whether a person believes they are set up to succeed, expect issues and don't blame the employee when you get them. As for old tasks, past results should have course corrected the employee to ensure they are set up to succeed. If you didn't course correct, don't blame the employee for being a poor worker.

Do managers know how to course correct? The answer to that question is based on how often an employee gets blamed for poor performance. Was the employee ever set up to succeed?

What I just defined was two types of measurements to ensure people were set up to succeed. The 1st is based on the employee's perception. The 2nd was based on results. If the 1st doesn't match the 2nd, this becomes vital information for a manager to use to support individual and team growth, making better performing, more accountable employees.

I agree that focusing on defining what is success is vital. Yet, what you need to ask is, "Does your efforts to define success also include the objective measurement of success." In my experience of measuring whether employees believe they are set up to succeed, if success is not measurably defined, then employees will not be able to determine if they are set up to succeed. As in Deming's philosophy, stop the process and fix it before you create defects in the product. Knowing is key! This will prevent financial loss simply because if you wait for a defect and then react, you can never recover the time or money wasted that created the defect.

Bottom-line, don't assign a task, whether it's new or has been done before, without knowing that the person/team is set up to succeed. That means that the employee must know too. There are instances where success cannot be assured before starting a task. That's risk and it needs to be identified and managed as risk. If risk is present, proactively do what you can to course correct. Course correction should measurably improve performance and accountability, or what's the point? So, the success definition of the assigned task must also include performance and accountability as measurable results.

This website is focused on describing approaches to ensure success, improve productivity, promote accountability, mitigate risk and efficiently spend money.

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Are project management tools teaching managers to devalue people?

 

 
PM Tools devaluing people   I  do have an issue with the current trends in project management tools and you may have one too after reading this blog. Let me express my thoughts for your consideration:

Tools change behavior - historical fact. Current project management tools promote a behavior to devalue people. It's just promotes this behavior, it doesn't cause it.

Yet, if you want to be on a diet, don't hang around a bakery - it promotes eating! If people are important in your organization, use tools that promote the importance of people instead of tools that promote keeping a careful eye on "something" (called a resource) that might overspend or take too long.

Consider using templates with your project management software that allow for a people-focused approach that value the current and potential contributions of your employees. Use templates that allows you to focus on utilizing a team's experience and drive to excel. People excel - I'm not sure what "resources" do. Use tools that allow you to manage people's excellence. I suggest using people-focused templates that provide a complete range of support, from planning to tracking, and all the analysis and reporting in-between - with the focus on the importance of people. Then, you have allowed a technology tool to help a manager keep a careful eye on supporting people to be excellent, proactively. This type of technology is the differentiator in providing guidance to both experienced and inexperienced managers. See some of the "smart template" solutions listed within this website as examples.

Old tools train managers to react, where people-focused templates train managers to be proactive - focused on excellence. That's a dramatic change that needs to be well received given the current success rate for IT projects.

People need to see that something is broken before things can be "fixed." Project management tools using 40 year old algorithms are quite broken.

As you might guess, I'm a advocate for people-focused technology. I hope you are too!

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How can we get people to follow processes?

 

 
Following Process   This is a question that was posted in LinkedIn. The responses were intelligent and well thought out.

Many answers focused on making sure management followed the process as well. Some comments recommended teaching the process more effectively. Others made comments about ensuring the process owners were competent. I found the question itself to assume an inaccurate understanding regarding some basic concepts.

Here is my response to this LinkedIn question with some added explanation:

I'm going to be nitpicky about the question "How can we get people to follow processes?" It's not to be overcritical, but instead it allows me to state the obvious.

You cannot "get" people to do anything. It's an inaccurate but common phrase. You can use negative motivation or use positive motivation, the former is closer to the term "force," and the latter is more like "inspire." And example of negative motivation is, "following the process allows me to keep my job." A positive motivation example is, "following the process allows me to grow with the company."

Using either positive or negative motivation are your only two options. Most know how to negatively "get" people to do something: Fear, intimidation, threats. Most need to learn how to positively motivate people. Most organizations never directly address that answer their solutions to whether they are positively or negatively motivating people. In business, getting fired for not doing your job is always present. In other words, negative motivation is always part of the culture. That's neither good nor bad, it's just part of business. But it does state that there is a need to support positive motivation practices by management if the goal is to create a healthy cultural balance, and get people to be positively motivated to follow the process.

There are lots of literature on the subject that overcomplicates some simple truths about motivation. The simplest truth is the answer to the obvious question: What positive motivation factors influence you to follow process?

The Publications page within this website offers several articles, research papers and videos that reveals specific ingredients that allow you to answer that question with greater accuracy.

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What is required if you want to change someone's belief?

 

 
Changing Belief   This is a question about integrity, sincerity and making sure you are supporting the individual and not just yourself.

I listed three questions that I recommend you answer before supporting anyone in altering his or her belief system. These are homework questions and this is not about making a sale, but about ensuring you are supporting the person in getting more out of what they want for themselves.

In essence, when changing someone's belief, you are altering their perception of reality. It is a serious act that requires you to be accountable for your actions. Here are the three questions:

Question 1: What goals are important to that person? Discussion: If you are going to change that person's belief system, makes sure it supports his or her goal(s). That's applying integrity in the process. If you do not support their goal(s), then that becomes the discussion, which may lead to a belief system that is harming the person you want to support. Then, the discussion is about more basic motivational goals and those beliefs that support those goals. A list of basic motivational goals can be found in this research paper: Motivation, Childhood and Business Change. If you believe the person you're supporting doesn't have any goals, then take a more fundamental perspective. For example, staying alive is a basic goal that most of us take for granted. I know I do. Again, the paper describes fundamental motivational goals we developed during childhood. Of the five goals listed in the paper, at least one of those will take precedence in someone's life. Know which one for the person you are supporting, when more specific goals are not present, before moving on to Question 2.

Question 2:  How are his or her beliefs (that you want to change) supporting that person in achieving those goals? Discussion: Understanding a person's point of view is vital and possibly means that your belief system may need to change. Understanding is not about agreeing, but accepting that someone believes in something different. It may not be okay with you, but it is necessary that you understand why it is okay with them.

Question 3: Can you convince that person that if he or she alters those beliefs, they can better achieve those goals? Discussion: When convincing, it's important to use clear evidence. I tend to like measurements - and much of the SOUL approach is about measurements using workforce alignment to meet business expectations.

This is my recommended homework when attempting to alter someone's belief system. Failure to do this homework causes issues/complications, without exception. This homework ensures you are supporting a person in altering their belief system with integrity, sincerity and keeping their best interest as the focus.

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