Tracking Employee Skills with a “Passport”

Have employees start their careers by completing a “passport” profile that accompanies them as they move between projects and assignments. As each project is finished, a manager signs off on what the employee accomplished and what skills were updated or acquired. Job responsibilities are defined and competencies clearly indicated for each role, making it much easier to determine specific training and education needs. Succession planning … [ Read more ]

Track What Employees Actually Do

We did a simple thing that in retrospect was brilliant: We wrote a program that asks every engineer what they did every week. It sends them e-mail on Monday, and concatenates the e-mails together in a document that everyone can read. And it then sends that out to everyone and shames those who did not answer by putting them on the top of the list. … [ 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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Establish a Regular Review Process

Establish a regular review process for yourself, your team, and your organization to reflect on the reasons for both your failures and successes. This is a fundamental and critical component of learning. Based on the input of everyone involved, some organizations produce substantial documents or booklets on “lessons learned” following a major new product, service, or business launch.

Use Downsizing as a Last Resort: Some Alternatives

  • Rely on attrition to right size.
  • Use redeployment and make layoffs a last resort. Hewlett Packard used this strategy extensively throughout the 1980s as it faced intensified competition. Employees were given three months to find a job in HP and were helped to do so. If they could not find an equivalent level job, they were offered a lower level job. If they preferred

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Use action learning projects to address current policy or strategy issues

What’s the secret for building enduring client relationships? How do you make these relationships the cornerstone of your company’s reputation in the eyes of employees and investors as well as clients? And how do you avoid being overtaken and marginalized by shifting competitive forces to consistently offer superior value to clients? My answer…consists of five precepts or pillars: Surround yourself with good people. Invest in … [ Read more ]

Educating IT Professionals in Business Strategy

A very successful technique for educating IT professionals in business strategy is to assign them to mentor senior corporate executives. In what turns out to be mutual mentoring, the business professionals learn what the company’s IT systems can do, how to evaluate and use different PC software, navigate the Internet, and how to better understand IT as they’re teaching the IT professionals how rational decision-making … [ Read more ]

Putting Your Business Activities on Trial

Here’s some very sound advice Peter Drucker has been giving us for at least three decades now, “every three years or so, the enterprise must put every single product, process, technology, market, distributive channel, not to mention every single staff activity on trial for its life. It must ask: Would we now go into this product, this market, this distributive channel, and this technology today? … [ Read more ]

How Do You Add Value?

Have employees and managers answer these questions and compare the answers:

  • What are the top five things that you do that add value to the company?
  • If you have people reporting to you, what are the top five things your people do that add value?

Enhance Managers’ Ability to Commit Deeply to Projects

In 1984, Michael Hilti, then CEO and now Chairman of the Supervisory Board, launched an initiative designed to enhance his managers’ ability to commit deeply to projects. “I want our managers to take responsibility for what they do”, he said. “One of the central conditions for this is that they love what they do. The second is that they are aware that they have choices. … [ Read more ]

Support your employees by allowing them to support each other

As Jerome Mattern, chairman of the compensation and benefits committee at the Society for Human Resource Management, explains, “A vacation donation policy is a kind way for employees to engage in social camaraderie.” Such a program allows workers to donate vacation hours to a common “bank,” from which employees who are unable to work due to personal illness or crisis may draw. Employees in need … [ Read more ]

Examine Your Control Systems

Control systems are one of the most important, least understood, and least examined aspects of management that we have today. Most companies tend to accrete their control systems, whether on the financial, production, or sales side. So over time you get hundreds of these systems. If you ask companies how many control systems they have, they don’t know. If you ask them how much they’re … [ Read more ]

How to prevent the loss of knowledge when people leave the company

How to prevent the loss of knowledge when people leave the company – “Knowledge bounties.” New hires fill a ‘job workbook’ with job descriptions and answers to major questions:
– What are the key components of your job?
– What does it involve, from a knowledge standpoint?
– What do you think you need to learn?

By asking these questions early on, … [ Read more ]

The Best Performance-Management Technique to Use with Senior Executives

Peter Drucker’s thirty-year-old concept of creating a “manager’s letter” probably remains the best performance-management technique to use with senior executives. Each executive writes an annual letter to her superior, spelling out the objectives of her own job and those of the superior’s job as she sees them. She then sets down the performance standards she believes are being applied to her. She lists the goals … [ Read more ]

Think Counter-cyclically with Customer Accounts

Keep competitors off guard by avoiding the obvious. For instance, the usual reaction in a downturn is to tighten customer payment terms and increase collection efforts in order to boost cash flow. Instead, consider giving your most profitable customers or target accounts more lenient payment terms in order to capture more of their business. Make terms stricter for less attractive accounts. You’ll likely find that … [ Read more ]

Layoff Alternatives

Instead of making wholesale layoffs, more companies should try layoff alternatives, such as:

  • Pay cuts
  • Job sharing
  • Sabbaticals
  • Job furloughs

Seek employee input for thoughts on these altenatives and for suggestions for other alternatives.