Communications and Messaging Guidance for Your Managers

I’m a big believer in teaching leaders to fish. That’s why we’ve rolled out a weekly(ish) email for leaders … that summarizes all the things they need to be thinking about in terms of managing and messaging to their team. We break it down into a few sections: things to know, things to do, things to share. It sounds simple, but let’s be real, leaders … [ Read more ]

New Leader Tip: Learn What Is and Isn’t Working

One of the first things I did when I joined [Philips], in late 2010, was to write an open letter to about 700 people—basically, the group we call the Consumer Lifestyle leadership and a layer below them. I invited them to tell me what they thought was working well in the business and what wasn’t. This gave me a pretty good idea of what was … [ Read more ]

Develop Your “Talking Points”

Develop your “stump speech” or “talking points” among your management team before any of you heads out to give your version to the rest of the organization. This generally includes messages around your Change Drivers, Focus and Context (vision, values, and purpose), key goals and priorities, change/improvement plans, and such.

Sharing Strategic Measurements

Share all core strategic measurements (including “confidential” financial, and operating data) with everyone in your organization. Treat people like full-fledged business partners and they’ll act that way. But don’t snow them under with a blizzard of meaningless reports and numbers. Train everyone how to read these data. Show them how to relate the measurements to their daily operations and improvement activities.

Understanding Your Employees’ Goals

Leaders can reduce the risk of losing good people for the wrong reasons by working with them to understand their passions and career goals and serving up challenging assignments that help them grow from where they are to where they would like to go.

Customizing opportunities to each employee requires understanding that person’s goals, motivations, and values. It’s a simple process, but very few … [ Read more ]

Gaining Clarity of Purpose for Leadership Teams

Accenture ran a workshop on how to improve decision-making for the CEO of a global manufacturing company and 10 of his direct reports. At the very beginning of the session, attendees were asked, “What do you do that no one else in the company has the responsibility to do?” After 30 minutes of vigorous debate failed to produce any consensus, the CEO intervened and gave … [ Read more ]

Encouraging Promotion and Prevention Behavior

E. Tory Higgins, the Stanley Schachter Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, argues that one of two states tends to dominate the way we think: a promotion focus or a prevention focus. The basic distinction is really to do with when you’re pursuing goals or making decisions. The promotion state is when you think of your goal as something to accomplish, something to aspire to; … [ Read more ]

Two-Tier Performance Appraisals

Some innovative organizations are using a two-tier performance appraisal. One appraisal assesses how a person “manages”–did they get work accomplished in a timely manner and achieve their performance goals? This assessment determines the leader’s bonus. The second appraisal assesses the individuals leadership ability–how well did they develop, motivate and engage their people? This determines whether they get promoted. So someone may be … [ Read more ]

Measuring Change Implementation Effectiveness

Metrics are as important for change initiatives as for any other aspect of running a business. If you are embarking on a change initiative, it is important to monitor how well it is going. One useful item to track is employee engagement and understanding. Do your employees understand the reasons for the change, the goal of the change and what their role in the change … [ Read more ]

First Month in a New Leadership Role

When Chip Bergh was made President and CEO of Levi Strauss, he spent the first month mostly listening. He came up with a set of standard questions: What three things must we preserve? What three things must we change? What do you most hope I will do? What are you most concerned I might do? What advice do you have for me? He sent the … [ Read more ]

Encouraging Mentoring

At McKinsey mentoring is regarded as a vital part of the development culture but is still not as common as it should be. To encourage it, several McKinsey offices now ask all associates at regular intervals which partners they view as mentors. Although a small number of partners were named by as many as a dozen associates, most partners were surprised to find that fewer … [ Read more ]

Using an Internal Stock Market of Ideas

New employees at Rite-Solutions get issued $10,000 worth of “opinion money” and are invited to become part of the company’s internal stock market for ideas. The stock market, named Mutual Fun, “is a mechanism to take the employee relationship beyond the transaction level—I pay you, you do a job—to an emotional level where people are entrusted with the future direction of the company, asked for … [ Read more ]

Honor the Room

In a discussion with one person, a team, a class, an off-site meeting, before you get off-stage, take a moment to tell the people you are with — those who may be ready to follow you — that you know who they are, that you respect what they’re doing and that you’re extremely grateful for their hard work upon which you’re going to get your … [ Read more ]

Make Your Employees’ Dreams Come True

One easy, fun and impactful system you can put in place is called the “101 Dream Goals.” Give each employee thirty minutes and have them write as many things they can think of that:

* They’d like to buy
* They’d like to do
* They want to learn
* They want to try for the first time
* Personal goals they want to … [ Read more ]

Improving Personal Contact with Top Staff

The CEO of a luxury goods company identified personal contact with his top staff as an important lever that would help move the business if he invested his discretionary time in it. “I always carry two documents with me,” he said. The first is a set of pictures of his direct reports and “every day I mentally ask myself, ‘Have I talked to these guys’? … [ Read more ]

How to Manage People in 15 Minutes a Day

It’s how you lead, not how much, that counts. Want to have maximum impact in minimum time? Use what I call the 3.1% Coach method. Limit your people-development activities to no more than 15 incremental minutes per day (that’s 75 minutes a week, or 3.1% of a hypothetical 40-hour workweek). Then employ the “smart coach approach” to leverage that tiny slice of time for results.
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