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Friday, June 15, 2007

Developing the team to excel

Once you have passed the break even point and the monkey is off your back for a little while something you need to look at is developing the team you have around you, to build a successful company you need to develop the team, stretch them in areas of good performance and help bolster the areas of weakness, everyone can't be good at everything, and it is up to the senior leadership in the team to build up a full set of competences in the company. There needs to be succession planning, I have a good friend who worked for AMAT, Gerry Kelly, and he always said that was a strength in that organization was planning your replacement, how else will you be able to grow and develop and the organization. Have a thing if you need to grow the business by 100% this year do you have the team in place to grow into the roles that will open up, it could be the one thing that stops the growth curve.

These are some notes on developing a good performance management system, with these things I would suggest you keep the KISS principle in the midst of it all, you want this to be painless and quick.

You need to develop competencies that test their development and allow staff to achieve corporate and personal goals. So people can see where they are headed and what can be done to achieve the next level.
What comprises performance management?
In essence it's a managerial process that consists of:
Planning Performance (Establishing Goals and Objectives)
Managing Performance (Assessing and Reviews)
Appraising Performance (Through Annual regular Appraisals)
Improving Performance (Through Coaching and Development)
Measuring Performance (Against Goals Peers and Workgroups)
Rewarding Performance (Through Compensation)

Performance Management Occurs Everywhere:
Every manager
Every Executive
Every Project Manager
Every High Performing Individual

Performance Management Involves:
Goal Management
Cascading Goals
Self Assessments
Manager Assessments
360 degree Assessments
Development Plans
Skills and Competency Management
Using basic tools such as performance assessments, and capabilities assessments.
Leading to

Performance Appraisal
Development Plans
Succession Plans
Performance Rating
Competency Rating
Forced Ranking

With all of the actions involved building competencies into the whole program are the answer...
· Competencies give managers a common currency for assessing performance and potential for promotion
· Competencies give employees a set of clear objectives for self- improvement and development
· Competencies enable the whole organization to select high potential leaders consistently and effectively
· Competencies provide benchmarks and provide criteria for hiring the right people for particular jobs
· Competencies enable the Learning & Development team to create focused performance improvement programs
· Competencies create alignment and clear understanding of corporate cultures and values

What research has shown that performance-driven organizations develop competencies which are specific and proven for their business. They take time to figure them out with employees and management. It's a process of development and the more engaging it is the better it works. Like any change program
When these organizations want to improve poor performance of a business area or division they first focus on identifying the proven competencies and seeing how they re being utilized and if they are even still valid. In a fast changing world things may change rapidly and old competencies may become obsolete!
The question is which competencies form the right "currency" for your organization? Your organization needs to determine it's own way forward. Just like Key Performance Indicators (KPI), the more specific they are the better.
There are a few caveats and we've noticed that there are typically Hygiene vs. Performance Competencies. Hygiene Competencies are those which define the "minimum requirements" of the job. People should be hired, trained and on the job (i.e. technicians must be seen to have technical ability, customer care reps must have customer care focus, service reps have powerful service focus, etc)

Then there are Performance or Critical Competencies, by contrast, create outstanding, highly competitive performance. They are capabilities which help you beat the competition, grow market share and transform your organization. They are your "secret sauce." It may appear obvious but high-performing organizations focus much more heavily on performance competencies and far less on the hygiene competencies. Hygiene competencies are window dressing and the group you're trying to engage will figure this out in a heartbeat. With or without cheat codes.

Some important themes and ideas come to mind:
Focus on "organizational capabilities" vs. individual capabilities". This drives higher growth as it's not a personal thing rather a corporate extension.

Clearly differentiate between "hygiene" competencies and "performance" competencies. Really understand the difference between the two.

Leadership drives the organization; organizations with a more solid focus on leadership show higher profitability. Their staff also know where they are going and what it takes to get there.
Competencies drive values messages; effective organizations reward what the company wants to be. Not just what the job demands. Again hygiene vs. performance!
Keep competencies simple, effective organizations focus on a few key competencies.

Final thoughts and recommendations.
Work closely with managers and executives to identify the competencies critical to your organization. Understand their business perspective and refine the knowledge with the teams involved. Off the shelf competencies are only a start not an end. It's your business, these are a guide only. It takes time to figure them out, so the sooner you start the better. However, if your competencies are vastly different than these make sure you know why, and can explain them.
Remember you are using competencies to drive higher level behaviors, it's not just job performance, nor should it just be about job performance. They need to propel employees to want to maintain the next level and stay logged on until they do. If done right they will improve retention and even recruitment. This will reduce costs substantially and improve your place in your market.
Finally revisit and update your competencies every few years as your organization changes. Business changes rapidly, as I mentioned before so to do the competencies required for your success.

Thanks for the input from Graeme Nichol who is a principal consultant in Arcturus Advisers Please visit their website at www.arcturusadvisors.com. Arcturus Advisers works with
businesses to implement their strategies

Hope you all have a great weekend



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