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Backwards and Forwards

Pocketblog comes out on Tuesdays, which means that this year, it coincides with both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Which means that there will be a short hiatus before the next edition.

But never fear – I shall be busy.  I will be preparing for next year’s exciting new project.  More about that later.  But first…

The Best of 2012

As before, here is a selection of my own favourite Pocketblogs from 2012.

Early in the year, we did two blogs about Emotional Intelligence: ‘There’s more to Emotional Intelligence than Daniel Goleman’ and then offered practical tips to ‘Boost your EQ’.

Emotional Intelligence

In this Jubilee year, we let you into The Management Secrets of Queen Elizabeth II.  Sadly, advance orders for the Modern Monarch’s Pocketbook have been disappointing (we just received our third, with the same address as the last) and we are holding back on publication until orders pick up.

The Modern Monarch's Pocketbook

Another big event for us was the launch of our Management Pocketblog 100 Day Challenge.  We know (from orders) that some of you took it up.  Please do tell us (on the blog page comments) about your experiences.  If you have not yet, it is not too late to take up the challenge.

The Management Pocketblog 100 Day Challenge

We were able to offer readers insightful business and management tips from to impeccable sources this year.  In ‘What matters today, in Business and Management?’ we extracted tips from Time Magazine’s 2012 100 Most Influential People in the World.  In ‘The Oracle of Omaha’, we took guidance from some of Warren Buffet’s top CEOs.

Our three-part series: ‘The New Manager’s Guide to Interviewing’ will be a helpful resource if you are new to this role.  It covered:

  1. Preparing the Ground
    Increase your chances of success well before the interview
  2. Getting it Right
    Hints and advice for conducting and effective interviews
  3. Polishing your Process
    Tips and tricks of the trade

And, for people on the receiving end, we wrote ‘Seven Ways to Interview Well’ just for you.  If you want to stick with your current job, but spice it up a little bit and renew your motivation, try ‘Same Job: New Job’.

Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats

Closest to my own heart were:

Our three-part series about dealing with poor performance in staff, ‘Let’s sort out poor performance’, parts:

          1. Infrastructure
          2. Turnaround
          3. The Alternative

These followed on from two blogs, ‘What is Performance Management?’, and ‘The Root of the Issue: Dealing with Poor Performance’.

Bruce Tuckman: Group Development model...  forming - storming - norming - performing - adjourningOur blogs about Bruce Tuckman’s model of Group Development (Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing) continue to be the most heavily read.  In February, we provided a link to all four of them.

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And finally…  Pocketblog honoured two sad losses this year: Neil Armstrong, the astonishingly humble all-American/all-global hero; and Stephen Covey, who wrote one of the very best of the best personal effectiveness book: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Neil ArmstrongStephen Covey


Coming Next Year

Pocketblog is nearly 3 years old (we started on 23 February 2010) and has chalked up over 150 posts to date.  It’s time for a little refresh.  So 2013 will see a new style of Pocketblog.  Not a radical departure: more of a shift in emphasis.

Next year, we’ll be presenting our Management Pocket-Correspondence Course.  Over the course of the year, we’ll be blogging about the full range of management skills in a structured way.  Why not Subscribe to the Blog by email (towards the top of the column to the right of this) to receive them all in your inbox.

Until then…

From everyone at Management Pocketbooks…

Have a very merry Christmas,
and a happy and healthy New Year.

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Let’s sort out poor performance, Part 2: Turnaround

Last week, we introduced the three components of managing poor performance and dealt with the first one:

  1. The infrastructure you will need
  2. The techniques to turn poor performance around
  3. What to do if you cannot turn the poor performance around

This week, it’s the turn of techniques to turn poor performance around.

Poor Performance

Performance Turnaround Toolbox

The toolbox analogy that Pam Jones describes in The Performance Management Pocketbook is a good one and some of the tools she details in her book are particularly relevant here: feedback, coaching and motivating, in particular.

Let’s list some of the tools in your performance turnaround toolbox.

Feedback

First and foremost, we need to provide open, honest, clear, and factual feedback to the under-performer, about the nature and level of their performance.  Do it early and the problem will be smaller.  Often an early intervention here can bring about swift changes or a genuine request for help, alerting you to causal conditions that you may be able to help with, or at least take account of.

Coaching

For my money, coaching is one of the most powerful ways to support poor performers – as it is to support average, good and excellent performers.  If you don’t have the skills, there are lots of sources of help – not least, the Coaching Pocketbook.  On a recent training course about Performance Coaching, the feedback I had was that this is, itself, a very powerful tool set for managers at all levels.

Goal-setting

Clearly a part of any coaching process, whether you coach or not, you must agree performance goals with the under-performer that are attainable and acceptable to the organisation.  I recommend tiered goals, incrementing in performance level month-by-month, until basic performance standards are achieved.  Why stop there?  If the process works, continue it until the performer reaches their maximum performance capacity.

Resource review

Look at the resources available to the under-performer in their workplace and ensure that they represent all that the performer needs, to succeed.  If not, take rapid remedial action.

Support

What support can you, other managers, and the performer’s colleagues offer them, to help them to tackle their poor performance?

Training/Re-training

Evaluate whether the poor performer needs further training or re-training to address their performance issues.  But do not accept a training course as a panacea: you must place it in the context of goals, support and a regular performance evaluation process, to help them to embed their learning into new practices.

Incentives

You may want to consider incentives – or even their flip-side, penalties.  You should not need to and, if you do, ensure that these will fall wholly within your organisation’s policies.

Job re-structuring

One option is always to re-structure the under-performer’s job either temporarily or permanently, to allow them to perform more effectively.

Re-deployment

Even more radical is the possibility of re-deploying the poor performer into a new role that they can thrive at.  Be careful though: don’t use this as a means to off-load trouble on other managers.  Also be aware that you cannot lawfully change someone’s contract without their consent in most jurisdictions (all?), so only do this after careful consultation with your HR experts and maybe even an HR lawyer.

Options Review

As a last resort, you need to work towards reviewing your poor performer’s wider options with them.  This is, of course, a euphemistic way of alluding to next week’s post about what to do if you cannot create a turnaround.

Management Pocketbooks you might enjoy

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