Posts tagged ‘Role’
Ask any manager about their least favorite tasks, and more than likely they’ll put ‘performance evaluations’ at or near the top of the list. Why? Lots of reasons - not the least of which is the “Gotcha!”: an assumption that you need to find something deficient in each staff member, and come up with a prescription to fix it, thereby improving performance. All too often, you’re going to find something that the person thinks they are doing very well (and they may be right), or something they have no interest in doing better. At worst, you’re expected to assign tasks or reassign job responsibilities to develop one person’s undesired ‘something’, which may well be a task or a job that someone else on your team really enjoys (or would enjoy) doing!
Here’s an better approach. Just ask these three questions:
- Are you doing enough of what you like?
- Are you doing too much of what you don’t like?
- What can we do to change these things and make them better?
If someone isn’t doing enough of what they really like, they are probably:
(a) in the wrong job,
(b) looking for another job,
(c) not very productive, or
(d) all of the above!
If someone on your team is doing too much of what they don’t like, the problem may not reside in the individual, but rather, in the team. The causes: a team that is missing people with key needed Roles; the team’s Vision, mission, or goals have not been communicated clearly enough; or, there is a less-than-optimal Coherence Ratio on the team.
The good news is that you can change these conditions and make the team work better for everyone.
Start with Role-Based Assessments* for the whole team, yourself included. Then compare who you have (the Roles) with what you need (the right Roles for the team’s mission). Finally, look at what needs to be done, figure out who the right person is to achieve each need, and confirm with people that they have the right tools – and teammates – to do their job better.
The whole point of performance evaluation is to improve performance. Try this approach and the improvement will be obvious to management, to your staff, and to you!
* Don’t know what Role-Based Assessment is? Do you want a RBA Business Solution at No Charge? Just request one from firstname.lastname@example.org!
I hit the trail the end of last month – The Montana Trail, that is. It was part of the State of Montana’s annual HR conference. Actually, it was just part of the workshop I did on Role-Based Assessment and the CHI Indicators. The Montana Trail is a group experience designed to help a large group of people quantify the value of a Role-diverse, coherent team.
The most exciting part, for me, was finally meeting the team that’s been using Role-Based Assessment to drive change through their state. Now keep in mind that not only does this state have a visionary Governor but they are also one of the very few states that is gaining in jobs, not losing them. So you know they’re doing something right and they have the stamina to keep driving till they get everyone home safe from the trail drive.
With very little preparation from me, the Sheriffs – AKA the HR team - jumped right in and made the game theirs. They got their ten gallon hats, found a cowbell for me to call the rounds with, made sure I had pictures to show at the office (and here!), and, in general, made me feel as if I’d known them forever. (That means a lot to this former New Yorker.)
But I shouldn’t be surprised. That’s what coherent teams do.
What a week! All six interns are now Certified Role-Based Assessment Consultants! Week six and they are more than just onboarded – they’re integrated into our life, as a team and as the individuals that they are.
There was an article in the paper this morning advising workers to ‘brand’ themselves to make themselves layoff-proof. Not a bad idea but it happens naturally when you, the management, (a) know people’s Role, (b) recognize and respect them for it, and (c) don’t force them into tasks they aren’t suited for and, therefore, dislike.
So herewith are their brands, at least as I see it:
Tristan is the techno-suit. All the nerd stuff and he still dresses for success!
Rebecca is the journalista. Give her an idea and she turns it into a piece of writing that fits the column width!
Kyle is the ‘give-it-to-me-I’ll-get-it-done’ guy. I need it, I get it – does it get any better?
Crystal is the campaign planner. Her favorite place is the conference room, favorite tool is the conference room whiteboard!
Kartik is the organizer. And re-organizer. If there is an efficiency to be had, he advocates for it!
And Lindsay is the deal broker. She knows what’s going on and she knows where we want it to go, so she figures out how to make the contact happen!
Maybe I should have titled this ‘Six Weeks, Six Brands’. I didn’t know how long it would actually take, given that they are new to the business environment, but this is just about average for Coherent hires who are given Role-appropriate work scopes.
I’ve said it before: hire for Role and Coherence and you’ll get productuvity and teamwork.
Around the fourth day after Mr. Sperm meets Miss Egg, differentiation begins. (If you slept through high school biology, differentiation is when cells start to get specialized.)
Ok, biology lesson is over. I was just mulling over how week four of the Interns could be subtitled, The Week of Differentiation. It isn’t that they weren’t fully formed individuals when they arrived. It’s how we see them and assign work to them that’s undergone some subtle changes.
Lindsay is continuing to work on social marketing optimization because she’s a star Communicator. Not surprising. This line from her Role-Based Assessment pretty well covers why I wanted her for this project:
She will quickly make contacts throughout the organization and get to know almost everyone. She is especially cooperative and will also try to do almost anything she is asked to do. Her focus is on interpersonal interaction and trying to get everyone to work together harmoniously. She won’t do this by direct means but by attempting to broker the arrangements that bring people together in a positive manner. As a result, she is likely to be respected by those she has contact with.
But we needed to get the database cleaned up so despite the fact that she also had this in her report: “She will not want to do organizational tasks…”, there she was in the conference room with some others, working on exactly that task, with music emanating from someone’s laptop, a pile of snacks, and the sunniest of good natures.
Meanwhile, Kartik, the Action Former, whose report included the following, managed to reorganize, clean up, and optimize my consultant certification files. Here’s Kartik in a nutshell:
This candidate is the type of employee who can be found in the front of the group with marker in hand, developing a list of things that need to be done or important points or assignments. He is the consummate organizer. The key is that he does not organize for the present but as a way of getting things ready for the future. His style is one of handling many things simultaneously. He believes that multi-tasking in a rapidly evolving environment is essential to keep on top of everything.
The others too have their unique qualities and it’s amazing how much more productive they are when we recognize them, give them work they enjoy, and celebrate the results.
It just makes good business sense.
Happy ending: Lindsay has a project beginning Monday that is totally about communicating with people, while Kartik will get a great new organization project!
Another amazing week with the Super Six. Watching them become a subculture is fascinating. They work intensely on their own, then pair off, then they cluster. They draw each other in and something wonderful happens. You can see the attachments as if they were drawn in the air above their heads. And because they are all so very Coherent (such a special quality, we have begun to capitalize it,) this crazy entrepreneurial world we inhabit doesn’t faze them, even when we are approaching warp speed.
After only two weeks, during which the first five were oriented, given assignments, put through our standard four hour consultant/agent training, and let loose, we asked them to present their projects at our weekly management meeting. (Our sixth, only being with us for two days operated the technology – they integrated her into their subculture right away!) And present they did, PowerPoints and all.
So what did I learn from them this week?
Most of the time, Role trumps age and experience.
In plain English, who you are is more important than what you’ve done. Yes, I did know that in the intellectual sense. But it never ceases to amaze me, and amazement is the substrate within which you get new appreciation. You no longer just know. You *know*.
Week two and all our five interns are hard at work doing their thing while I marvel at how unique each one is, just as predicted by their Role-Based Assessment. And today we agreed to bring on a sixth starting next week. Another strong Action Former, the perfect addition to our Intern Action Team!
These Action Formers are the organizers on the team, the detail people, those who revel in the chance to learn to do everyone’s job. What better for our Vision-oriented exec team than those who want to carry out our dreams?
This newest intern started another internship, but instead of giving her a project to manage, they sent her outside to meet people. Now there are some Action Formers who might like that but not this one – she is strictly an ‘inside’ person. No wonder she’s asked for a chance with us.
I’m sure they interviewed her at length and certainly read her resume. (I don’t bother with either.) People who are of each Role will tend to have certain things as typical in their career history and behavior, but the only way to tell for sure what Role someone is, what style they truly have mastered and are comfortable with, is to use Role-Based Assessment. People can go into jobs and do things because of necessity or outside pressure. They can make mistakes and be unhappy. They will vary in their level of coherency. The ONLY way to cut through all the distractions and find out what the person is really like is to assess them using Role-Based Assessment and save yourself the grief of finding out too late that what they seemed to be in an interview or on a resume is not what they are really like where the rubber meets the road.
Rubber meets road on Monday and new intern will join her peers. She’ll fit in well and maybe even make some friends in the process. Most important, she, like the others, will get to play on a team where the coach doesnt tell you what you’re doing wrong, but what you’re doing right.
And I’ll have that market research I’ve been wanting.
The simplest definition of corporate culture I’ve ever seen was “the way we do things around here.” But corporate culture is anything but simple. It actually derives from the human infrastructure, the energy of the organization as determined by the predominating Roles and coherency of the people who get the work of the organization done.
So I was particularly interested in Daniel Rubin‘s column in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer in which he mentions the predominant newspaper culture as “crabby, but effective.” This is the setup to compare it to the culture at the US Census Bureau which, while it sounds less crabby, is also likely much less effective. (If you want to know more, you really want to read the My Two Census blog – nonpartisan and written by presumably crabby political journalists, this is a gem.)
I bet they have a lot of Conductors in print journalism. Dedicated to getting things ‘right’, using the power of the pen to do the work of the sword and, in general, teaching us the truth as they see it, of course they get crabby at times. They don’t get nearly the respect they deserve, no matter what type of organization they work in. But show me a bunch of coherent Conductors, with maybe a coherent Vision Former, a couple of Action Formers and a few Communicators and Curators and you’ve got a team that’s going to follow the Vision and truly give you the news that’s fit to print.
And it will be worth reading.
Jason Zweig (aka WSJ’s Intelligent Investor) had a great article in the weekend Wall Street Journal. After giving examples of bad group decision making (as they say on Law & Order, ‘ripped from the headlines’) he concludes that the ‘wisdom of crowds’ is an illusion, that it depends on the competency of the group.
I’d like to add here that what he’s talking about is entirely measurable.
Ineffective groups (aka committees) start out designing a horse and give you a camel. Let’s just refer to that as being two humps off. (This measure, of course, assumes they have designed a bactrian rather than a dromedary.) You can quantify that in pounds of weight the horse would find burdensome, or the extra expense of feeding the resultant lumpy-backed horse or the lessened productivity caused by the extra weight.
It’s all entrely preventable if you select members of the group for their teaming characteristics and leave off those who are either rigid or diffuse. It also helps to have Role diversity to avoid the tendency to jump in with agreement too early.
Moral of the story: If you always see things my way, you probably aren’t needed on my team.
My mother passed from this world last week at age 85, having suffered from Parkinson’s and dementia for too many years. This was my eulogy, which I called Lessons From My Mother.
When I think of who my mother was, I think of her as a woman much younger than I am now. I think of the time when I was on my late teens and she was around 40, when it was her mission to teach me everything she knew about being a good woman.
She was an excellent manager of money, as many who survived the Great Depression were, but she was never stingy, neither with her money nor her time, even when there wasn’t much of either. She could figure out how to spend the same dollar twice and how to make you feel there was all the time in the world, even when she had to get ready to go to work. She could turn what she had into what you needed, whether that was a bargain basement dress she made special by changing the buttons or the time she found – or made – to play Scrabble with me. Like most valuable lessons, that is something you teach by being an example and letting your protégée see how you do it, step by step.
Her second lesson was about accomplishing. That was her word. Whatever it was we set out to do, whether a trip to S. Klein’s On The Square to shop for my trousseau or spending the morning with a can of Johnson’s Glass Wax cleaning the windows of our apartment on Walton Avenue, when we were done, she would get a satisfied look on her face and say to me, “We accomplished.” I realize that was the beginning of my understanding that things that have meaning, the big and the small, are done by teams. It is an illusion that we are so powerful that we accomplish things in a vacuum by ourselves. It was not my strong point but interdependency – what we call teamwork – came naturally to her and she was my model for how I do it now.
Her third lesson was to respect everyone, no matter who they were or what they did. By this, she meant not to forget them, not to assume that they were taken care of. Again, the Great Depression was probably an influence on her, but she also had such a good example in her sister Jeanette, may she rest in peace.
So to honor her memory, I ask that you do three things today.
First, be pleased with what you have been granted and make it into what you need. Try spending it twice, whether it is in money that you use to create more value to the world or time that you not waste on trivial things.
Second, accomplish something with someone else. It doesn’t matter what it is, only that it’s something you’re both proud of.
Third, remember people you would not ordinarily think of and find a way to make their lives easier in some way.
And as you leave today, remember, as I will, that she was not a weeper and wailer, but rather a rememberer of good times. Even as her own memory failed her, she could speak of the past, always of family and friendships, of trips and adventures. Remember her at in the most wonderful times you had with her – the birthday parties of our childhood, the hot dogs at Coney Island, whenever it was that you were with her. And wish her well on her newest journey, the one we will all someday join her on.
She was a Watchdog. (If you are unfamiliar with the Roles, you can find out about them by listening to the webcasts on The Ten People You Really Want on Your Team!) She enjoyed it and she was good at it, both at home and at work, where she was in senior management and patiently taught her reports how to do things right.
She taught me all the favorite tasks of the Watchdog – budgeting, accounting, repairing and making do with what you had – but I never really enjoyed doing them. She didn’t understand why I did the things I loved – starting businesses, speaking, writing, networking. She was just happy that she had done her job right and I could do something to make a living. We respected, trusted and had faith in each other. She is on my team, and in my heart, forever.