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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tom Brady and Lessons for Port Leaders


Whether you’re a fan of Tom Brady or not, you’ve got to agree he’s a winner. In fact, if he and the Patriots win this week’s Super Bowl, he will break the tie with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana of winning four Super Bowls. Tom Brady will have five, and he will be the best of the best.

There are lots of articles written about both Tom and coach Belichick, and the Patriots, and I read one last week that, yet again, provides a big lesson for all of us in sales.

The article talks about how, after a good practice, coach Belichick came down hard on Tom and admonished him to stop throwing so many times to his best receiver. Tom didn’t agree and pointed out that he was simply polishing his timing, but Belichick was adamant.

“Throw the ball to somebody else!” he said, in not so polite terms.

Just when Tom was about to object and let his ego take over, he stopped and took it in. “I’m the player and he is the coach,” was his attitude. And this is what makes Tom so great: He is willing to keep learning and keep growing.

The article said it best: “The Patriots’ best player likes to be coached the hardest.”

The reason this is such a good lesson for business is that I coach and work with “players” – leaders – all the time. And what I find is that the ones who grow the most  are the ones who are open to being coaching.

This contrasts sharply with those who insist on doing it their own way; those who remain stubborn and think they have it all figured out. While many of these leaders are talented, smart, intuitive, and even motivated, what they lack is a willingness to take a step back and consider possibly better way.

Unfortunately, many professional football teams and elite athletes are resistant to coaching as well. In the article, coach Eric Mangini points this out by saying: “There is almost this stigma to being coached.” And:

“The head coach of another AFC club tried a similar tactic with his team this season, showing the entire team clips of mistakes by a handful of his best players. One recently paid veteran responded by standing up in front of the room and screaming at the coach.”

I used to be resistant to coaching as well. Years ago, I thought I knew it all and was resentful when my manager – who wasn’t at the sharp end of the shovel tried to teach me a better way. It wasn’t until I became committed to performing better that I became willing to be coached.

But when I did, my leadership ability improved markedly.

The lesson I hope you all take from this is that you can and will benefit from advice, suggestions, and coaching from other people who have been there and done that. It’s when you think you know it all that you stop growing.

Just like when Tony Robbins was starting out, he read and listened to and absorbed everyone else’s ideas in his field. He said that if he got just one good idea from them (and he got a lot more), that would help make his motivational training and career better.

And it worked out for Tony.  And for countless other business people and leaders.

So my suggestion for you is: Who can you learn from today? What piece of advice or which technique, or which suggestion can you try to make yourself better? How open are you to being coached?

The moment you become willing, that is the moment you will begin improving.

Read the whole article by clicking on the link below:

The Tale of Tom Brady and Johnny Foxborough 

To your greater success,

Peter C. Mclees, Principal
Leadership Trainer and Coach

We help organizations and leaders accelerate their results. 

Tom Brady and Lessons for Sales













Whether you’re a fan of Tom Brady or not, you’ve got to agree he’s a winner. In fact, if he and the Patriots win this week’s Super Bowl, he will break the tie with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana of winning four Super Bowls. Tom Brady will have five, and he will be the best of the best.

There are lots of articles written about both Tom and coach Belichick, and the Patriots, and I read one last week that, yet again, provides a big lesson for all of us in sales.

The article talks about how, after a good practice, coach Belichick came down hard on Tom and admonished him to stop throwing so many times to his best receiver. Tom didn’t agree and pointed out that he was simply polishing his timing, but Belichick was adamant.

“Throw the ball to somebody else!” he said, in not so polite terms.

Just when Tom was about to object and let his ego take over, he stopped and took it in. “I’m the player and he is the coach,” was his attitude. And this is what makes Tom so great: He is willing to keep learning and keep growing.

The article said it best: “The Patriots’ best player likes to be coached the hardest.”

The reason this is such a good lesson for sales is that I coach and work with “players” – sales reps – all the time. And what I find is that the ones who make the most growth (and the most money) are the ones who are open to being coaching.

This contrasts sharply with those who insist on doing it their own way; those who remain stubborn and think they have it all figured out. While many of these sales reps are talented, smart, intuitive, and even motivated, what they lack is a willingness to take a step back and consider possibly better way.

Unfortunately, many professional football teams and elite athletes are resistant to coaching as well. In the article, coach Eric Mangini points this out by saying: “There is almost this stigma to being coached.” And:

“The head coach of another AFC club tried a similar tactic with his team this season, showing the entire team clips of mistakes by a handful of his best players. One recently paid veteran responded by standing up in front of the room and screaming at the coach.”

I used to be resistant to coaching as well. Years ago, I thought I knew it all and was resentful when my manager – who wasn’t on the phones and didn’t have to make the calls – tried to teach me a better way. It wasn’t until I became committed to performing better that I became willing to be coached.

But when I did, my sales and my career took off.

The lesson I hope you all take from this is that you can and will benefit from advice, suggestions, and coaching from other people who have been there and done that. It’s when you think you know it all that you stop growing.

Just like when Tony Robbins was starting out, he read and listened to and absorbed everyone else’s ideas in his field. He said that if he got just one good idea from them (and he got a lot more), that would help make his motivational training and career better.

And it worked out for Tony.  And for countless other top professionals.

So my suggestion for you is: Who can you learn from today? What piece of advice or which technique, or which suggestion can you try to make yourself better? How open are you to being coached?

The moment you become willing, that is the moment you will begin improving.

Read the whole article by clicking on the link below:

The Tale of Tom Brady and Johnny Foxborough

To your greater success,

Peter C Mclees, Principal
Mobile: 323-854-1713



We help reps and sales organizations accelerate their sales. 

Tom Brady and Lessons for Store Leaders













Whether you’re a fan of Tom Brady or not, you’ve got to agree he’s a winner. In fact, if he and the Patriots win this week’s Super Bowl, he will break the tie with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana of winning four Super Bowls. Tom Brady will have five, and he will be the best of the best.

There are lots of articles written about both Tom and coach Belichick, and the Patriots, and I read one last week that, yet again, provides a big lesson for all of us in sales.

The article talks about how, after a good practice, coach Belichick came down hard on Tom and admonished him to stop throwing so many times to his best receiver. Tom didn’t agree and pointed out that he was simply polishing his timing, but Belichick was adamant.

“Throw the ball to somebody else!” he said, in not so polite terms.

Just when Tom was about to object and let his ego take over, he stopped and took it in. “I’m the player and he is the coach,” was his attitude. And this is what makes Tom so great: He is willing to keep learning and keep growing.

The article said it best: “The Patriots’ best player likes to be coached the hardest.”

The reason this is such a good lesson for sales is that I coach and work with “players” – sales reps – all the time. And what I find is that the ones who make the most growth (and the most money) are the ones who are open to being coaching.

This contrasts sharply with those who insist on doing it their own way; those who remain stubborn and think they have it all figured out. While many of these sales reps are talented, smart, intuitive, and even motivated, what they lack is a willingness to take a step back and consider possibly better way.

Unfortunately, many professional football teams and elite athletes are resistant to coaching as well. In the article, coach Eric Mangini points this out by saying: “There is almost this stigma to being coached.” And:

“The head coach of another AFC club tried a similar tactic with his team this season, showing the entire team clips of mistakes by a handful of his best players. One recently paid veteran responded by standing up in front of the room and screaming at the coach.”

I used to be resistant to coaching as well. Years ago, I thought I knew it all and was resentful when my manager – who wasn’t at the sharp end of the shovel tried to teach me a better way. It wasn’t until I became committed to performing better that I became willing to be coached.

But when I did, my leadership ability improved markedly.

The lesson I hope you all take from this is that you can and will benefit from advice, suggestions, and coaching from other people who have been there and done that. It’s when you think you know it all that you stop growing.

Just like when Tony Robbins was starting out, he read and listened to and absorbed everyone else’s ideas in his field. He said that if he got just one good idea from them (and he got a lot more), that would help make his motivational training and career better.

And it worked out for Tony.  And for countless other business people.

So my suggestion for you is: Who can you learn from today? What piece of advice or which technique, or which suggestion can you try to make yourself better? How open are you to being coached?

The moment you become willing, that is the moment you will begin improving.

Read the whole article by clicking on the link below:

The Tale of Tom Brady and Johnny Foxborough

To your greater success,

Peter C Mclees, Principal
Leadership Trainer and Coach

We help leaders accelerate their results. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Surrounded By Negativity At Work? Do This And Soar Above It

















“When you point your finger ‘cos your plan fell through, you got three more fingers pointing back at you…” -Dire Straits song “Solid Rock”

What if every organizational problem was a leadership problem? That’s right, you know what’s coming. We’re not going to play the blame game. Not today, not ever.

Too often when silo mentality is happening, teams or people aren’t getting along, political maneuvers are happening, or just general friction is happening (what I call the “critter state”), we participate instead of leading.

Participating feels so good, so safe. It’s not us, it’s them. The human brain is wired up to belong and, in general, belonging is a good and positive thing. Except when it’s not. The urge to belong is primal. For our ancestors belonging to a tribe meant survival. Humans have a long gestation period and remain under the protection of adults longer than most other species. So, for our infant selves, belonging with the family meant survival. That’s why ostracism feels so painful—like a physical injury that could cause death.

So to avoid that feeling, we participate in negative cultures. We gossip—better them on the outs than us. We take sides with one group and damn another, be that one team towards another or one hierarchical level towards another. And we criticize the politicians, not realizing that by noticing but not resolving, we are actually participating.

Truth Is The Antidote

Leaders who want their teams to move toward a positive state need to be willing to risk possible social pain. They need to care enough about a higher value or purpose to tell the truth. This can come from any level, but it means telling the truth directly to the person who can change their behavior and not to anyone else.

Your boss is being a jerk? Have you told him/her? Or do you mutter to your colleagues about how rotten the culture is? If you do, you’re participating. Could you get fired for speaking up? Possibly. Could you create a better relationship with your boss? If you do it right, that’s far more likely.

Does your counterpart on the other team slow your process down and act in generally uncooperative ways? Do you follow up repeatedly like a broken record, by phone or in person? Do you ask, sincerely, what the issue is and how you can help? Or are you participating by hiding your anger and resentment and possibly sending anger bomb emails (wrong format for conflict).

Shifting a culture means holding your higher values clearly in your mind and speaking up directly to the person who’s responsible for any boundaries that are crossed. As cultural leaders we must take a stand and risk the feeling of not belonging with a tribe that’s in critter state.

Remember Safety, Belonging And Mattering

There are three things that people crave: safety, belonging and mattering. These are primal and vital cravings and almost every problem behavior can be linked to times when people don’t feel safe, don’t feel they belong or don’t feel that they and/or their work matter. When someone feels that way they work to get their needs met in other ways—possibly dysfunctional or even toxic ways.

Are you resolved to reduce friction in your workplace? Telling the truth about where you and where your culture stands in terms of safety, belonging and mattering is a great place to start.

Here are three sample questions from the “Safety Belonging and Mattering Index” to get you started. Rate yourself from 0-10 where 0=never, 2.5=rarely, 5=somewhat consistently, 7.5=consistently and 10=always.

Before you solve a problem you need to assess it. Answer the questions first from your personal point of view:

1. When I make a mistake I am corrected with respect and the desire to help me improve.

2. I trust my team members and colleagues to support my and the company’s success.

3. I receive acknowledgement and appreciation at work.

Great. Now that you have a sense of whether you personally feel like you have safety, belonging and mattering, go back and answer the same questions from the point of view of your team.

Done? Notice if and where there are any differences.

No Pain – No Gain

Change is stressful for people even when we logically know it’s for the good. Keeping people aligned is not only crucial for success, but it’s way more engaging and fun.

So remember, even if it feels like telling the truth will be painful, it’s short-term pain for long-term positive results.

Smart Development Inc. specializes in helping leaders engage team members so they are able to contribute in greater ways to key business outcomes.

Call or email us today for more information on how we’ve helped other businesses build positive work cultures in their companies and teams.

Tel: 323-854-1713
Email: petercmclees@gmail.com

The Value of Sales Coaching Versus Management













Sales Managers Manage Numbers. Sales Coaches Develop Teams that Produce Numbers

Too often front line managers (and a lot of senior managers) try to “manage” sales professionals to improved performance, or try to “manage” reps out of dry spells instead of coaching them.

They mistakenly believe that all sales performance problems are solvable by focusing on the mechanics, the process and the metrics of what sales professionals are doing. Instead they should engage with a sales rep as an individual and understand her specific situation and come to a mutual understanding of the obstacles that are standing the way of her achieving her goals and her objectives.

Effective coaching is similar in many respects to selling. 

You have to build a relationship with the person you’re coaching that transcends the “manager/rep” relationship.

You need to demonstrate empathy just as you would with a prospect. This means that as a coach you have to learn how to really listen to the person you’re helping. You have to eliminate your biases and listen without filters or judgment. Only then can you put yourself in their shoes and really understand them as a person and how they view the challenges they are facing.

You have to do discovery with the rep. You have to use insightful questions to uncover their perceptions of the obstacles they are facing. You have learn to ask the extra question, the “that’s interesting; tell me more” question that really uncovers their true challenges and their real goals and aspirations.

You have to take what you learn and synthesize that into a solution and a plan that will help the rep achieve their goals. As a part of this you need to work with the rep to jointly create a vision of what they can achieve if they keep an open mind, accept your coaching and follow the plan you develop.

Perhaps most importantly, the person you're coaching, needs to see the value in it. Coaching is not a pro forma, scripted exercise. It’s an individualized, personalized success path for each individual.

To help them see the value in your coaching, make sure to create opportunities for the rep to experience frequent success with it. Define short-term objectives for the rep to achieve success using the advice and strategies defined in your coaching. For the rep this breeds self-confidence and confidence in the value of the coaching you’re providing.

Where management fails, coaching can succeed.

If you'd like to become a better sales coach (or help your managers to be effective coaches) call me at 323-854-1713 or email me at petercmclees@gmail.com

To your greater success,

Peter C Mclees, Principal

We help sales reps and sales organizations accelerate their sales. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Proven ways to manage email overload


The emails you want (or need) are clogging your inbox and sapping your time. Try these techniques for taming the monster.
No matter if you're a manager, small business owner or salesperson, as technology expands email will continue to be an overwhelming presence in your day to day routine. In fact, when I conduct workshop for managers and salespeople, email overload seems to be an all too common thread.
Here are some ways to manage your inbox, save time, and conquer email overload.
·        Two-minute rule
It basically states that, if an email will take two minutes or less to answer, answer it and get it out of your inbox. If an email will take more than two minutes to answer, file it in your follow-up folder. Just be sure to follow up.
·        Email organization
One reason our inboxes become inundated with emails is that we don't have the proper organizational system in place. I have more than 20 folders for keeping track of messages. Start by creating a follow-up folder, a hold folder, and an archive folder. Having these three folders in place will help you to clear out your inbox and manage your messages more effectively. You can create a variety of folders to meet your needs.
·        Brevity
Don't worry about crafting the perfect reply; just keep your emails concise. Along with this, remember to craft a descriptive subject line that will help the individual determine what your email is about. (This will help with getting quicker replies, too.)
Example: "Question — About Advertising Prices." If you need to explain something in detail, where there could easily be a miscommunication, pick up the phone and give the individual a call. Sometimes email isn't the best tool for the job. 
·        Templates
No matter what your business, there will most likely be questions that you get asked over and over again. There are a couple of ways to solve this problem. You can create a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section on your website. You can also craft a template of responses that can be easily copied and pasted into the body if an email. By taking some time on the front end, you can save yourself loads of time on the back end.
·        Slowing down to read
Often we are in such a hurry that we end up skimming emails and missing important details. Slow down, and read the email in its entirety. Many times just by taking a few extra minutes to read thoroughly, we can clear up misunderstandings, reply with a more focused answer, and save time by following directions.
·        Creating an email schedule
If you keep your email open all day long, every time you get a new email, you'll be distracted from what you're doing at the time. Letting email distract you all day long is a huge time waster, not to mention that it is controlling how you work.
·        Unsubscribing
How much time do you spend deleting unwanted emails from subscriptions that you've outgrown, no longer need, or have been automatically been signed up for? Take a minute (or 15), go through your newsletter subscriptions, and unsubscribe yourself. Most companies have made the process easy, and it takes just a few seconds. If you must keep the subscription, set up email filters so the email is placed in a reading folder for later.
With any good plan, it will take a few weeks to make these changes a habit. Once you start taking control of your email, you will notice an increase in your productivity.
To your greater success!

Peter Mclees, Principal
email: petercmclees@gmail.com
Mobile: 323-854-1713

P. S. We have an exceptional track record helping ports, route sales branches, restaurants, stores, operations, distribution centers, food production facilities, nonprofits, government agencies and other organizations create a strong culture, leadership bench strength, sales skills and the teamwork necessary for growth. 

Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

How Companies Can Leverage Their Sales Managers to Boost Sales Part 1














Help Your Sales Managers Become Effective Coaches

Effective sales coaching can potentially increase top-line revenue by up to 20 percent. With such potential benefits it is no wonder that many sales organizations recommend that their front-line sales managers spend 25 - 45 percent of their time sales coaching. 

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of sales coaching for sales managers is conducting the coaching conversation after the manager has observed the sales rep on a sales call. During the coaching conversation, the sales manager must act as a teacher and help his or her sales professional learn or improve specific selling skills. That, however, can be exceedingly challenging for sales managers. Remember, many sales managers were formerly successful sales professionals before being promoted into sales management. For them selling came naturally and they often cannot understand why one of their team members isn’t “getting it.” 

Fortunately, sales coaching is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and perfected. For example, the coaching conversation should follow a structured four-step process. 

1. Reinforce positive behavior 

2. Lead sales professional in self-discovery 

3. Provide opportunity to practice 

4. Gain commitment to use new methods 

One of the critical elements in the coaching session is to start by using positive reinforcement to strengthen a skill that the sales professional did well. Many managers make the mistake of only focusing on poorly performed skills. 

Next, the sales manager should lead the sales professional in a process of self-discovery. This subtle process begins by having the sales professional analyze the call. In many cases, the sales professionals will be far more critical of his or her own performance than the sales manager. 

Also, a sales professional is likely to take action to solve a problem that he or she uncovered on his or her own. Sometimes the sales professional’s self- analysis misses the mark, and in those cases the sales manager should use leading questions to help the sales professional “discover” his or her strengths and weaknesses. For example, a manager could ask, “Do you remember the customer’s reaction when you stalled before answering her question?” 

If at this point the sales professional is unable or unwilling to recognize a skill issue, the sales manager should make suggestions to the sales professional about how he or she can improve. Then they should ask for feedback  (click on the word feedback for a great article) to make sure the sales professional understands the suggestions, and provides an immediate opportunity for practice including conducting role plays and/or mock sales calls. And finally, the sales manager needs to obtain the sales professional’s commitment to use the new methods. 


To your greater success,

Peter Mclees, Principal
Email: petercmclees@gmail.com
Telephone: 323-854-1713

PS Email me to request a one-page description of our program entitled "Turing Sales Managers Into Effective Coaches"

PPS Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping route sales branches, restaurants, stores, distribution centers, food production facilities, and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength, sales skills, sales coaching skills and the teamwork necessary for growth. 

Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

http://smartdevelopmentinc.com/

Replace Performance Management with Performance Motivation








How’s your team performing?

Before you start the process of performance evaluations, take 10 minutes and discover why performance management (in it's the annual performance appraisal form_ is dying and performance motivation is here to stay.

As we know, performance management is the term used to refer to activities, tools, processes, and programs that companies create or apply to manage the performance of individual employees, teams, departments, and other organizational units within their organizational influence. Performance management are standards, scoring, offering feedback with the leader in the position of evaluating the team member. It’s impersonal, painful, costly, not motivating, defeating and ineffective – and it has been for a very long time.

Peter Cappelli and Anna Travis created a timeline that shows how historical and economic context played a large part in the evolution of performance management in an article recently published on Harvard Business Review. This timeline shows the continuous struggle between accountability and development since World War I.
Standard old-fashioned annual performance reviews are unpleasant for both the leader and the team member. No one wants to be thought of as a number on a range of poor to great. The time invested into reporting and the ineffectiveness of annual or semi-annual reviews doesn’t serve the team member, it doesn’t boost their performance and it doesn’t positively impact the company’s bottom line. Simply put, it isn’t effective.

The key to inspiring maximum performance from your team is not scoring them and offering standardized feedback based on their score. Instead, use a process that creates intrinsic motivation and benefits both the team member and the company.

Here are four factors all leaders must have in place to motivate–not manage–team performance















1. Impact Descriptions—Not Just Job Descriptions
Motivating performance begins before the job interview.
For organizations, using “impact descriptions” vs. “job descriptions” makes a big difference.

Impact descriptions help both your team and your candidates to understand that every role exists to impact the organization in some specific way. Our roles make a difference, move the needle, and change the game.
Here are some of the items we recommend including in an impact (formerly known as job) description.

• Who We Are (company mission, vision, values)
• Who You Are (describe who a successful fit is)
• Why This Role Matters (how the role impacts others—both internally and externally)
• Who Your Internal Customers Are And How This Role Delivers Value To Them
• Responsibilities
• Requirements
• Performance Metrics/KPIs/Needle Movers For This Role
• Potential Career Path (possible roles this role could evolve into, job skills and leadership skills)
• Leadership Level of Role (see Leadership Levels graphic)
• Learning and Development Opportunities
• Compensation

Once you have the right person in the right role, they need to understand and agree with what is expected of them. Needle movers take the guessing game out of how high the bar is set.








2. Stay On Track With Clear Needle Movers
Performance motivation does not mean that we throw accountability and goal setting out the window. Goals need to be set, measured and tracked This is how team members, and their leaders, determine if they are on track or if course correction is needed. Instead of using the term “goals,” I like the term “Needle Movers.”

A Needle Mover is a given result that will have a significant impact on the success of your business. What are the three results that will make the greatest difference for you this year? Usually these are people, money, or business model-oriented. You’ll set a target (what you want), minimum (worst case scenario) and mind blower (what will rock your world) for each Needle Mover. Once you set your Needle Movers and follow a plan to achieve them you’ll see daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual results.

Tangible results will increase your momentum. You will have overall annual Needle Movers and then monthly and quarterly ones to support them. Company needle movers are set first. Once you have them you’ll want to enroll your department heads to lay out their Needle Movers to support the company’s Needle Movers. Each individual then creates their Needle Movers to support their departments. We start at the annual needle movers, drill down to quarterly and then on to monthly.

Here’s a template to use to identify and track your needle moving results. Grab a piece of paper and place it lengthwise (or in “landscape” mode if you’re on a PC) and create 4 columns. The first column is labeled results (this is one of your needle movers), the second column is labeled actions (these are the actions to take to achieve the specific needle moving result), the third column is labeled owner(this is the person who is accountable for a given action) and the fourth column is resources (these are the resources such as websites, software, and other tools or people to help an owner complete a given action.)

So, left to right the columns are:

A given result will have usually 3-10 actions, which may have different owners for each action. There may or may not be resources for a given action.
When the Needle Movers are clear, each team member will be motivated to achieve their mind blower because their work and effort is in alignment with the company’s mission, vision and values and they feel that they are important to the success of the company… because they are.













3. Drive Commitment Through Individual Development Plans (IDPs)
An IDP is not simply a potential career path. An IDP is a commitment from the company to the individual to help them grow, to provide them with new opportunities and challenges. An IDP is also a statement—it tells a person:

• that they are safe here (we are planning their future),
• that they belong here (we are envisioning where they can increase their impact for the tribe),
• that they matter here (we are co-creating a way for them to shine even more brightly)

This is why an IDP is essential, and also why it’s key for it to be co-created with an employee’s leader, and driven forward by the employee themselves. An IDP is an intrinsic motivator—only a person that wants to grow will want an IDP, and they’ll then take it seriously and move it forward to enjoy the many benefits of personal and professional growth. Make sure you let people opt into IDPs. Never make them mandatory—that’ll defeat the purpose.











4. Reflect And Celebrate With Performance Self-Evaluations
Instead of having annual performance reviews (where the leader rates/scores and offers feedback on the team member’s performance), research has found that performance self-evaluations are more effective.

Here is a template, resulting in their team members reflecting honestly on their own performance, taking ownership of their role and rising up to perform better.

Ask the team member to reflect and evaluate their performance in the areas listed below. The scoring system I’ve used is 0-4: 0-Unsatisfactory, 1-Needs Improvement, 2-Satisfactory, 3-Above Average, 4-Exceptional. Remember, they are scoring themselves, so even though we are still using a score to evaluate performance, it’s intrinsic. The leader is there to listen, reflect, offer feedback and help the team member to refine their IDP to help them grow between self-evals. The leader receives the self-eval 1 week before the meeting so they have time to prepare their thoughts.

The team member will evaluate their performance in the last 12-months based on the scale above. They will also provide an example to explain their score and they are encouraged to add additional comments as necessary.

• Customer Service
• Resource Management
• Program Monitoring and Reporting
• Business Development
• Project Management
• Professional Development
• Quality of work accomplished
• Communication (internal/external)
• Leadership/Management
• Initiative/Self-Starter
• Team Work
• Attendance/Punctuality 

Open Ended Questions:
• Please copy/paste last year’s Individual Development Plan Goals. Have you met all of your goals? If not, please comment.

• Proposed Individual Development Plan Goals for upcoming year (Productivity/Quality, Lifelong Learning/Professional Education, Relations/Professionalism)

• Please copy/paste your current Impact Description & Responsibilities. Have you met all of your responsibilities? If not, please comment.

Then the team member will total their score and use this legend to see their self-evaluated results.

It’s empowering to score yourself and see where you need to rise up and celebrate the areas where you excel. The leader’s role throughout this process is to provide feedback, especially if a team member has scored themselves in a manner that isn’t reflected in their Needle Mover attainment.

Needless to say, this is a huge topic. And we’re just getting started on it. All of these tools create an environment of internal and external motivation. This environment allows team members to understand their role, believe they are making a difference in their company and desire to bring their A-Game every single day.

To your greater success,

Peter Mclees, Principal
Mobile: 323-854-1713
Email: petercmclees@gmail.com

For the past twenty-two years, we've helped organizations and companies create high performance cultures with training and coaching programs that support performance systems.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Why Feedback Is Essential for Life and Performance






Two Facts About Feedback

1) Feedback is essential for life. Feedback from other people regulates and controls much more than the ebb and flow of face-face communication; it is responsible for our vital body rhythms, our emotional balance, our health, and our sanity. We cannot survive without feedback from other people.

Did you see the movie Cast Away, with Tom Hanks? The only way he survived psychologically and emotionally while he was alone on that desert Island was to invent someone he could talk to and get feedback from. He made a volleyball into a person's head (called Wilson) and then projected a personality onto it. It became his best friend. He talked to it, shared his feelings with it, and asked it for advice. Tom and Wilson shared a deep emotional relationship. Wilson kept him sane. If you haven't seen the movie, this might sound a bit crazy, but the fact is that without feedback from other people, our body rhythms become chaotic and we become ill at ease.

2) All behavior is a feedback loop. You want something, you try for it. If you fail, you can try the same thing again; or you can figure out what the first try taught you (feedback), redesign your strategy, and then try again. Get more feedback from your second try, and keep changing and refining until you get what you want. Try and refine, try and refine. There is not failure, only feedback.











“Hey, do you have a minute to talk?”

Separately, these words are harmless. But when strung together by a boss or manager, they’re frightening. Our minds race wondering whether we’re in trouble, and we jump to conclusions about what we did wrong. But why? Why does such a simple question inspire fear in people?

In many organizations feedback has adopted a negative connotation. If a manager wants to talk for a minute, we immediately assume it’s because we messed up and that there’s an awkward conversation ahead. After all, feedback and mistakes go hand in hand, right?

Wrong. Feedback and growth do.

Consider this: 98% of employees will fail to be engaged in their work when managers give them little or no feedback (OfficeVibe, 2015). No engagement means no results, no productivity, and ultimately, no growth. So even if we’re sometimes nervous or afraid to receive feedback, we’re stuck without it.

Theory Y management asserts that most employees have the potential to contribute in greater ways to the success of the organization  But without a healthy dose of feedback from the people around them every now and then, they'll never realize it. 

So, if feedback is still the breakfast of champions, then why do we still dread it? In some cases, the only time feedback is given to an employee was with the purpose of poking holes in one another’s performance, nitpicking on bad habits, or a performance review filled with “you need to do [x] more”. Also, let's be honest, giving and getting feedback is hard; it’s tricky to approach a personal conversation professionally. 











Giving Feedback: A Balancing Act

We all want to be good at our jobs. But how can we get there if we don’t know what good looks like? It's important to strike a balance between positive and corrective feedback. Show me a workplace where everyone is only told what they are doing wrong, and I’ll show you a workplace that’s unmotivated and unproductive. On the flip side, over-praising can be just as ineffective. How will we ever improve if we’re always told we’re doing a good job? Steering clear of constructive criticism altogether might feel easier at first, but it does your colleagues a disservice. Not to mention, constant praise can quickly go from motivating to insincere.

That’s why it’s crucial to find a balance. Luckily, we’re not totally in the dark on figuring out what that balance looks like. A study on the impact of employee feedback found that the ideal ratio of positive to constructive feedback is 5.6:1. While getting that ratio down pat may be unrealistic (and impractical), the essential takeaway is that praise is just as important in helping someone grow as corrective feedback is. The conversation is not only more comfortable for you when you can compliment your colleagues, but it’s also more valuable for them. It’s a win-win.













Getting Feedback: Keep It Cool

With the balance of good and not-so-good feedback, there will inevitably be times we hear constructive criticism that’s hard to stomach. But it’s important not to get defensive. While it’s up to our manager or colleague to read the room and broach the topic tactfully, we’re responsible for taking feedback professionally.

This used to be (and honestly, sometimes still is) really hard for me to do. One way to take feedback is with humility by remembering that it’s a conversation, not a lecture.

When you’re told of instances where you could improve or of a missed opportunity, instead of shutting down, handle it gracefully: Ask questions if you need more tactical advice, make it clear that you understand the feedback, and above all, say “thank you”.

This doesn’t always come easy, and it doesn’t mean you’ll always leave the conversation feeling like a million bucks, but it helps put the feedback in perspective. It’s a two-way road and collaborative effort in your growth. So instead of thinking of yourself as in the hot seat, remember that you’re part of driving the conversation.

The next time you hear the words, “Hey, have a minute to chat?” don’t flinch; jump right in. Feedback is not only important to motivate and grow a team, but also to build and grow your own career and skill set. Whether you’re on the receiving or the giving end, embrace feedback, don’t fear it. It may prove to be one of the best tools you have to develop in your role and to help others do the same in their own careers.












Three Reasons Why It Isn't Easy to Receive Feedback

You can improve the way you receive feedback by understanding the three major reasons people resist feedback.

1) Our Ego.

Ego has gotten a bad rep. But the truth is everyone has an ego, big or small. Having an ego doesn’t mean you have a big head. Simply defined, an ego is a person’s sense of self-esteem or self- importance.

Consider these stats from executive coach and author, Marshall Goldsmith:

• 70% of us believe we’re in the top 10% of our peer group.
• 82% of us believe we’re in the top 20%.
• 98.5% of us believe we’re in the top half.

You see the problem with these numbers? The fact is that we can’t all be in the top 50 percent — it’s basic math.

Feedback can threaten our self-perception, our ego. As Goldsmith states in his interview with Talent Quarterly, “It is very hard to face the reality of our own existence.” He goes on to include “the reality of our performance.”

Rather than examine our shortcomings, it is easier to play the role of a victim and blame the feedback giver. It is easier for us to be angry instead of depressed. We avoid feedback because it inflicts pain on our ego.

If we seek positive feedback only to boost our ego, then we miss the opportunity to receive valuable, corrective feedback that can help us grow.

“…the more we focus on maintaining our self-esteem, the more meaningless and less adaptive self-esteem becomes…Success is not about thinking highly of yourself, but persuading others to think highly of you. Conversely, people who ignore what others think of them and who try ‘just to be themselves’ will only be winners in their own imagination.”
Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Robert Hogan, Ph.D. The Psychology of Negative Feedback: Personality, Coachability and Career Success



2) Our Brain.

Let’s dig deeper and examine the neuroscience behind why feedback makes us feel threatened. When we encounter something new, our brain seeks to minimize danger and maximize reward. If the new information or situation is perceived as dangerous, the brain goes into threat response mode, also known as “fight or flight.” This is our body’s primitive, automatic, stress response that prepares us to fight or flee from attack, harm, or threat to our survival.

Leading research on the social nature of the brain, presented by David Rock in “Managing With the Brain in Mind,” has found that social situations can also trigger the threat response. Specifically, our perception of five qualities (status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness) can activate either a threat or reward response. This is well known as the SCARF model.

By becoming more self-aware and understanding our reactions, we can proactively prevent, control, and shift our threat response to a reward response.

Our SMART training module on "Giving and Receiving Feedback" equips participants to understand and take advantage of the five qualities in the SCARF model.

3) Our Fear.
When you hear the words, “Can I give you some feedback?” where does your mind go? Do you expect receiving feedback to be a positive experience? Or do you anticipate the interaction will be negative? Despite the fact that feedback can be positive or negative (and that even negative feedback can have positive ends), our minds typically expect that receiving feedback will be a negative experience.

So when we hear those words, “Can I give you some feedback?” we tend to operate from a position of fear.

In “Feedback: The Leadership Conundrum,” Zenger and Folkman studied which factors can increase a person’s willingness to receive corrective feedback. They found that reducing individual fear has nearly 3 times more the impact than improving the skills of the feedback giver.











Five Reasons Why Isn't Easy To Give Feedback

With 1,600 people Googling “how to give feedback” each month, it’s clear: Many struggle with giving feedback.  But why should the feedback giver feel uncomfortable? Why can giving feedback be just as painful as receiving it? In this section, we’ll examine why giving feedback is difficult and often avoided.

You can improve the way you receive feedback by understanding the five reasons why giving feedback can be just as uncomfortable as receiving it.

1. Our Ego.

As we learned with the SCARF model earlier, in every interaction, our brain works to assess whether our sense of status is being threatened or rewarded. We’re programmed to care about our status.

When we give positive feedback and please the feedback receiver, our sense of status is rewarded. Alternately, when we give corrective or negative feedback, we risk displeasing the receiver. In short, most of us want to be liked, and being disliked is a blow to our ego.

2. Our Fear.

In any feedback interaction, the giver walks in with a degree of uncertainty. How will the receiver react? Will my feedback improve or worsen the behavior or situation? Will my feedback be taken the wrong way? Will it motivate or demotivate the receiver?

Giving feedback requires courage to overcome these fears.

3. Our Personality.

Ph.D. and executive coach, Marcia Ruben discusses the relationship between personality and feedback in her article, “5 Reasons It’s So Hard to Give Tough Performance Feedback.” Using the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, Ruben points out that how we process information (thinking or feeling) plays a role in how we give feedback.

Thinking Style

If you exhibit the thinking style, you make decisions based on logic and analysis. You consider the problem first, while the people come in second. This process is rational and impartial. Feedback givers who prefer the thinking style are typically good at identifying flaws, while being oblivious to emotional cues. The result? The thinking feedback giver can leave the receiver feeling hurt without realizing it.

Feeling Style

If you exhibit the feeling style, you consider people first, deprioritizing the problem. You are more likely to provide positive feedback and appreciation and avoid giving a critique or corrective feedback. The result? The feeling feedback giver can over-empathize with the receiver or give them a false sense of accomplishment.

4. Our Lack of Know-How.

Giving feedback is a skill, and an important one at that. However, it’s a skill that’s rarely developed. We don’t know how to give feedback. We forget to give positive feedback. We avoid giving negative feedback. And it’s not one-size-fits-all. What works changes from receiver to receiver and situation to situation.

Our SMART training module on "Giving and Receiving Feedback" equips participants to improve the way they give feedback.

5. The Receiver's Ego

Perhaps our biggest source of fear, and the main reason giving feedback is difficult, is that we don’t want to hurt the receiver’s feelings. In giving feedback, we know we can potentially make the receiver feel threatened by triggering the fight-or-flight response.

In a feedback interaction, the giver’s every word and action is interpreted, magnified, and scrutinized for meaning the giver may have never intended. The SCARF model outlined in the previous section defines qualities that can activate a threat or reward response. 

Understanding the model can alert the feedback giver to the receiver’s core concerns. With understanding, you can attempt to minimize the receiver’s threat response and maximize the reward response. Let’s examine how the feedback giver can minimize the threat of each quality.











Creating a Culture of Feedback

Creating a culture that supports feedback can increase the effectiveness of your feedback givers and receivers.

Here are four keys to creating a feedback culture:

1. Provide Training to Givers and Receivers

Both giving and receiving feedback are skills. What’s more, they’re skills that are rarely developed. To support feedback in your organization, provide training and resources to your employees.

For all employees:

• Train them on asking questions, seeking examples, and clarifying meaning and intent.
• Help them understand their resistance to feedback.

For effective managers and supervisors:

• Encourage them to openly seek feedback.
• Train them on how to communicate feedback effectively.
• Develop their skills in setting goals for employees and helping them achieve those goals.
• Build their expertise and credibility to give useful feedback.

2. Set the Tone From the Top

Like any element that you want to make part of your organizational culture, it starts at the top. Receiving and giving feedback well must be modeled. Your leaders must hone these skills and set the example. They must ask for feedback (up and down the hierarchy and sideways) and visibly show that they receive feedback well. And they must do it, and do it again and again.

3. Communicate Expectations Around Feedback

If giving and receiving feedback well is a quality leadership seeks, it must be made clear. Communicate, and communicate often. Set organizational expectations around what feedback looks like in your organization: Who gives it? Who receives it? How often does it occur? How do we do it? What is the goal of feedback? Make feedback part of your processes and traditions, from onboarding and appraisals to everyday conversations.

4. Empower Your Team With Feedback Tools

The right tools can make all the difference. You can facilitate feedback processes by giving employees an easy way to record notes from feedback sessions, conduct two-way feedback conversations, request 360 feedback, and give positive feedback via recognition.

To your greater success,

Peter Mclees, Principal
Mobile: 323-854-1713
Email: petercmclees@gmail.com

For the past twenty two years, we've helped organizations create a culture of feedback and successfully trained managers and employees to improve the way they give and receive feedback.