Influence: Impact of Behavioral Competencies on Careers

In previous posts the blog discussed the importance of Behavioral Competencies to professionals, their careers, as well as organizations.  Examples of “critical to career” competencies would include Accountability,  Analytics,  Integrity,  Humor, Drive, Persistence, Kindness, Common Sense, Communications,  Flexibility, Dependability,  Adaptability, Professional Presence, Business Acumen, Team Player,  Leadership,  Intellect,  Passion, Humility, Compassion.

And so the list does not become overwhelming, it is important to know that some competencies are scalable over the course of careers.  Said another way, professionals become better equipped, in the area of Business Acumen, as they gain experience in varying assignments, positions, locations, and with peers and bosses. Scalability would also apply to other Competencies such as Leadership, Analytics, and Professional Presence.

A byproduct of building an array of Competencies is the ability to be a significant influence in business (also applies to private life).  This graphic from an IHRCC seminar displays how competencies and influence interrelate.

The graphic suggests that, as a professionals gain experience, skills, knowledge, scope, and discerning professional behaviors, they will differentiate themselves among their peers in performance, influence, and most probably career success.

Referencing the graphic, if you are a believer in bell-shaped curves, then you may agree that as the population distribution moves to the right, talent increases, performance increases, and compensation increases. So the organization’s high potentials, top performers are represented by the right side of the curve and might be 16% to 20% of all professionals.  Obviously, the objective is to increase that number.

So assuming the population is large enough for a bell-shaped curve to be applicable, the above is not much different from what one might find in college classes, about the same distribution of grades (performance) among the students.

***** S&E *****

Talent Management – Creating Space

Creating space in the business for new talent is all about renewal… new professionals, new perspectives, new ideas, and building a bank of future leaders.

“Exporting Talent” (ref: post May 17, 2018)  is one way to “Create Space” and add additional talent to the organization.  Vacancies created by lateral development transfers and promotions create opportunities to fill new vacancies with even more talent.

Yet another very necessary method of creating space is using due process to move along non-performers to appropriate different positions (getting the round peg in the round hole) or out of the organization entirely.

Some comments about due process:  No surprises is the key – this means the professional has had meaningful performance reviews, understands their short-comings with respect to position requirements, has been given coaching and an opportunity to improve, and in the end is not surprised by the organization’s decision to reposition them in a different position or separate them from the business.  This of course assumes the professional has been on the job for sufficient time to perform.

Due process relies on established objectives for the position which are the basis for measuring a professional’s performance.  Accomplishing specific projects, meeting established milestones, having the necessary skills to perform the job, and appropriate ethical and professional behavior are major factors in  performance based, due process driven employment decisions. The post under “Success”, Talent Management – Recruiting and Selection, January 28, 2018, discusses the importance of professional behavior — “Effectiveness Competencies”

Removing non-performers is vital as it offers open positions for promotions and sends a message to other organizations’ professionals that there are standards of performance in the business.  For the manager who makes the decision to remove the employee, it is a vote of confidence in his ability to manage as professional employees usually are aware if employees with whom they interact fall short of the mark of performance excellence.

Failure to change out poor performers can be a morale killer in the department or business.  Poor performance, and other than professional behavior, is almost always visible to peers.  And supervisors and managers who lack the skills to professionally manage their people are usually visible to other professionals as well.

***** S&E *****

Talent Management – Exporting Talent—creating genuine value

We are talking about laterals or promotions from one department or company location to another — “Exporting” people to new positions to further their careers.  For many managers moving talent along to new opportunities is plainly just hard to do.  For skilled leaders, it is not.

Exporting talent strengthens the organization and sends clear, highly visible messages to other onboard professionals.  Moving talent says that the business is interested in and supports career growth.  And for those businesses who do this well and, who take the time to track statistical data associated with career growth, those businesses have a great story to tell and sell as an integral part of the recruiting process. Talent Management metrics are unbeatable when it comes to recruiting and the competition for talent.

Exporting talent broadens experience, presents new challenges,  new perspectives, new work environments, new learning situations, and new managers to test adaptability… all these  are advantages of lateral moves and promotions; that is  far from  an inclusive list. Global assignments are particularly valuable for the company and professionals who are willing and adaptable.  This list is a good example of the additives to career value.  And when compared to compensation it is clear that the latter does little to further a career.

When to export relies on the professional’s grasp of the skills and competencies developed in the present assignment.  It is not uncommon, and I so clearly remember this from my time in global work, to find many professionals having career time lines which had little flexibility.  Timelines that map out new assignments every two years, with no recognition that the learning provided on the current position has provided a strong basis for the next, can lead to failure on the next assignment.  Absent that recognition, inflexible timelines can prove to be a recipe for eventual failure.  It is management’s job to provide the coaching and mentoring to assure the move is appropriate and timely.

Exporting a ready professional is the highest reward for great performance. 

It requires time to sponsor a move, and, great, accurate communications. The process needs to anticipate the timing of the readiness of the professional.  It can take some planning and time to arrange the path.  Absent the appropriate timing and action, unwanted turnover can be the result.

Exporting talent also creates space… “creating space”, a topic dealt with in a later post.

***** S&E *****

Thor’s Flying Cooler

I just had to relate this little piece, a snippet, one of 100’s of incidents, of Thor’s accident prone life.  There will be other log entries on this subject.

Thor lives in the country in a three bedroom home, huge front, side and back yard, each acres in size, mucho amounts of grass to cut, acreage.  It is a pretty place, a quiet country setting, surrounded by woods on two sides with some great, tall hardwoods in the front, side and backyard.  He also owns the woods at the rear of the back yard, where he hunts and fishes.

Thor has a garden tractor that is one size up from a VW bug – lots of power, a 60” mowing deck with the usual rotating, horizontal, high-speed, 3 blade mulching setup. The tractor is hefty enough, a powerful piece of lawn equipment.

Thor is a big camper. He uses his pickup truck to haul all the camping equipment.  His truck has a flexible, vinyl, button down cover which he normally doesn’t remove as it is a pain in the ass to fasten back down, depending on the outside temperature as it affects the flexibility of the vinyl.  So, to retrieve camping gear from the bed of the pickup, from underneath the bed cover, he uses ropes fastened to various camping items like tents, poles, traps, and coolers.  These things have a tendency to slide to the front of the truck bed in route to the campground.  So upon arrival, absent the use of the ropes, Thor has to crawl under the bed cover to unload the gear.  Using his rope “system” he just pulls the stuff to the back of the bed for easy unloading.

So, Thor returns home from camping, unloads the equipment from the truck bed, using his rope system, returning tents, coolers, chairs, etc., to storage areas, mostly the garage or basement.

The garage is detached, with a concrete walkway running parallel to the garage and continuing to the kitchen door in the rear of the house. After emptying his Igloo cooler, he places it beside the garage to drain and air-out.

A couple of days later Thor is on the tractor, cutting the acreage of grass. He’s cutting along the side of the garage, parallel to the garage sidewalk.  The camping cooler is yet leaning against the garage, with the rope, attached to the cooler handle. He sees the rope on the sidewalk leading from the cooler handle, but does not see the reminder of the rope which continues, secretly, into the high grass.  He is cutting along, passes near the cooler, when he finally notices the rope in the grass, in the mower’s cutting path.  His eyes wide open, jaw as well, as the mower deck passed over the Igloo’s rope.

The blade spindles under the deck picked up the rope, instantly consuming it.  The cooler left its resting place, rocketing toward Thor on the Garden Tractor, colliding with the mower deck, missing Thor by not so much, with the momentum launching Thor’s cooler off the deck, into the air and across the yard.

 

Badly shaken, Thor turned off the tractor’s ignition and headed for a beer and the whiskey bottle in the garage frig.

 

***** S&E   *****

 

Talent Management — “Killer Performance Reviews”

In this context, “Killer” is a good thing!

In the last related posting, April 9, 2018, the blog discussed Pay for Performance. That would prompt a specific discussion on the actual “performance Review”.

A simple description of a “Killer Performance Review”:  No surprises, both manager and employee are prepared, and both are satisfied or at least understand the outcome.Jump through hoops

It is very difficult to have a meaningful performance review if objectives were not established forming the basis for measurement over the period covered by the review.  So, the steps in the process might look like:  Establishing Objectives – Interim check points — on the spot recognition or assistance – the performance review itself.

Objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely, commonly known as SMART objectives.  The manager should communicate the department objectives.  The employee should draft the objectives with the manager scheduling a meeting to review the draft and discuss necessary adjustments. Both need to agree on the final set of objectives.

Interim check points: manager assesses if all is well with progress against objectives; as little as 30 minutes.  It is the employee’s responsibility to make sure the work is getting done.

On the spot recognition or assistance: encourage employee when it is clear progress is being made; provide assistance when it is apparent there are issues accomplishing objectives.

Performance Review:  dedicated time for manager and employee to discuss degree of accomplishment of established objectives.

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(Haag receives an all time low performance evaluation)

Manager role:  sponsor the process, communicate schedule for discussing objectives and performance reviews, encouragement, and assist with removing barriers as necessary to get the work done.  Utilize the final review as a basis for compensation and planning of training and development actions to support performance and career path.

It is important that training and development planning and discussion is separate from the performance review.

Employee role:  do the work, recognize barriers and make manager aware, ask questions, obtain clarification as necessary, provide updates, ownership of work, generate drafts of objectives and in the final report of related accomplishments (sets stage for performance review.

It is to the employee’s advantage to issue a quarterly report highlighting progress against objectives.  There are several advantages:  Maintains focus on objectives, updates the boss, provides the boss a basis for reports to superiors which highlights the work of the department and the employee, is an opportunity to highlight exceptions and issues, makes preparation for the annual performance review a breeze !

The greatest barriers to making this process a success:

  • Poor time management (either or both – boss, employee)
  • Not setting objectives
  • Setting objectives that avoid the SMART specifications
  • Poor communications during the period
  • Changes in the management organization
  • Making significant changes in job content or objectives during the period (minor adjustments might be expected)
  • Poor leadership

***** S&E *****