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Lessons from the Great American Leaders & How They Apply Now

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The Four Building Blocks of Intelligent Decision-Making

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smallgroup8

Decision-making is a cognitive process leading to the selection of a course of action among alternatives. Whether an action or opinion, every decision making process produces a final choice.

The decision making process begins when an action needs to be taken, but one doesn’t know exactly what to do or where to begin. The reasoning process can be rational or irrational, with most decisions based on explicit or implied assumptions.

Building Block One: Applying The Principles of Decision Making

Judiciously applying specific decision making principles will more often than not make the difference between taking effective or ineffective action. These principles help ensure that all involved stay focused on their specific work-related duties as well as the overall objective the company is pursuing.

When it comes to effective decision making, paying close attention to the organizational universe is not optional, but critical. The attributes contributing to good decisions can translate directly into tangible benefits when applied to the broader framework of business-related operations. Each decision made should serve as a learning experience, whether or not it proves wise.

How is an effective decision made? Maintaining an understanding of the basic role of one’s organization can support thoughtful planning and processes for decision making objectives, which tend to justify the future course of the company.

There are 10 basic steps to follow when a decision has to be made. These include:

  1. Identify the purpose of the decision. What exactly is the problem to be addressed and why does it need to be solved?
  2. Gather information. What factors does the problem involve?
  3. Identify principles with which to judge the alternatives. What standards and judgment criteria should the solution meet?
  4. Brainstorm and list a wide variety of possible choices.
  5. Generate as many likely solutions as possible.
  6. Evaluate each choice in terms of its consequences, using predetermined standards and judgment criteria to determine the pros and cons of each alternative.
  7. Settle upon the best alternative. This becomes much easier once the above steps have been undertaken.
  8. Translate the decision into a specific action or plan of action steps.
  9. Carefully execute the plan.
  10. Evaluate the outcome of the decision and subsequent action steps. Within this process it is important to identify the lessons learned. This is an important step for further development of more effective decision making skills and judgment.

Building Block Two: Creating an Objectives Hierarchy

The first step in the process is to identify the purpose of the decision making effort: What is the problem and why does it need to be solved?

In order to achieve this end it is important to generate, record and display an objectives hierarchy by creating a list in outline format. (Software applications are also available that allow individuals or groups to create organizational charts that work well in generating visually appealing objectives hierarchies.)

In establishing an objectives hierarchy it is essential to gather as much information as possible to identify the factors involved in the problem. Objectives should flow from “Why?” at higher levels to “How?” at lower levels. Higher-level objectives tend to be broad, inclusive, and even ambiguous, lower-level objectives more specific, which are mapped to real or actual organizational and workplace attributes or characteristics.

The objectives hierarchy should be inclusive, representing a mix of stakeholder views, and not make value judgments in respect to one objective over another.

Building Block Three: Designing Alternatives

For each objective or group of objectives within the hierarchy, it is important to identify the types of actions that would yield the optimal effect.

When designing alternatives, various objectives should have been detailed and considered within the hierarchy. With enough specificity, some may be flagged for specific action or categorized as activity-driven.

Designing alternatives tends to occur in two phases: identifying the principles by which to judge the alternatives—i.e. the standards solutions should meet—and brainstorming, or listing actual potential solutions.

Nine Steps for Identifying Alternatives:

  1. For each objective or group of objectives in the hierarchy, individuals identify the types of actions that would have the desired effect.
  2. Causal pathways among identified variables are reviewed. How might favorable interventions occur in any of these pathways?
  3. Two or more options for addressing each objective are defined. These may be different types of activities, different levels, strategies, or approaches for the same activity type, or modifications to ongoing related activities. If there is already a proposed action, the activities that comprise it are detailed in terms of how they align with the measured criteria in the objectives.
  4. Specific actions are grouped into alternatives. If there are competing objectives (perhaps reflecting different stakeholder values), alternatives can be developed that favor different groupings of objectives. In other words, different balances are sought among objectives in each alternative.
  5. Conversely, the same balance of objectives by different groupings of actions can be striven for.
  6. If based on the effects analysis a revision of alternatives is needed, it is wise to look for simple adjustments first. If major revisions are needed, the objectives hierarchy and decision making model should be revisited to determine whether erroneous or inconsistent logic led to problems.
  7. An open mind should be maintained, with preconceptions about what is the “best choice” not allowed to limit any or all solution options.
  8. For each alternative, specifics as to how, where, what, and when actions will occur should be outlined. Here it is important to make detailed assumptions about each modeled action early and explicitly in order to minimize confusion when placing this information into a structured decision making model.
  9. Results are recorded and activities plotted on a decision making map where appropriate.

Building Block Four: Evaluating Each Choice

For each alternative, it is best to be as specific as possible in terms of how, where, what, and when actions will occur. An analysis of effects may suggest modification of one or more alternatives or the creation of additional alternatives. If the latter is the case it will be prudent to return to the first stage of the process.

It is important to apply standards and judgment criteria (a set of indicators) to determine the pros and cons of each alternative. When the best alternative is identified, a process overview of the selected option is conducted.

During this decision making and planning arena, it is important to make certain that an action or set of actions is specifically geared toward achieving the objectives identified.

Within the evaluation or overview stage, further details can come to light that can either be added to particular action steps or grouped into a different set of alternatives.

Excerpt: Intelligent Decision Making: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 18.95 USD

Related:

How Personal Agendas Can Destroy a Team

The Use of Teams Requires Self-Discipline

Overcoming and Preventing Groupthink

Seven Negative Roles & Behaviors Which Undermine Team Performance

For Additional Information the Author Recommends the Following Books:

A Team’s Purpose, Function & Use: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Building Strong Teams: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series

Building Team Roles & Direction: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Developing a Team Approach: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Developing & Planning for Team Results: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

//

Decision-Making Begins When an Action Needs to Be Taken

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smallgroup6

Decision-making is a cognitive process leading to the selection of a course of action among alternatives. Whether an action or opinion, every decision making process produces a final choice.

The decision making process begins when an action needs to be taken, but one doesn’t know exactly what to do or where to begin. The reasoning process can be rational or irrational, with most decisions based on explicit or implied assumptions.

Building Block One: Applying The Principles of Decision Making

Judiciously applying specific decision making principles will more often than not make the difference between taking effective or ineffective action. These principles help ensure that all involved stay focused on their specific work-related duties as well as the overall objective the company is pursuing.

When it comes to effective decision making, paying close attention to the organizational universe is not optional, but critical. The attributes contributing to good decisions can translate directly into tangible benefits when applied to the broader framework of business-related operations. Each decision made should serve as a learning experience, whether or not it proves wise.

How is an effective decision made? Maintaining an understanding of the basic role of one’s organization can support thoughtful planning and processes for decision making objectives, which tend to justify the future course of the company.

There are 10 basic steps to follow when a decision has to be made. These include:

  1. Identify principles with which to judge the alternatives. What standards and judgment criteria should the solution meet?
  2. Gather information. What factors does the problem involve?
  3. Identify the purpose of the decision. What exactly is the problem to be addressed and why does it need to be solved?
  4. Brainstorm and list a wide variety of possible choices.
  5. Generate as many likely solutions as possible.
  6. Evaluate each choice in terms of its consequences, using predetermined standards and judgment criteria to determine the pros and cons of each alternative.
  7. Settle upon the best alternative. This becomes much easier once the above steps have been undertaken.
  8. Translate the decision into a specific action or plan of action steps.
  9. Carefully execute the plan.
  10. Evaluate the outcome of the decision and subsequent action steps. Within this process it is important to identify the lessons learned. This is an important step for further development of more effective decision making skills and judgment.

Building Block Two: Creating an Objectives Hierarchy

The first step in the process is to identify the purpose of the decision making effort: What is the problem and why does it need to be solved?

In order to achieve this end it is important to generate, record and display an objectives hierarchy by creating a list in outline format. (Software applications are also available that allow individuals or groups to create organizational charts that work well in generating visually appealing objectives hierarchies.)

In establishing an objectives hierarchy it is essential to gather as much information as possible to identify the factors involved in the problem.

Objectives should flow from “Why?” at higher levels to “How?” at lower levels. Higher-level objectives tend to be broad, inclusive, and even ambiguous, lower-level objectives more specific, which are mapped to real or actual organizational and workplace attributes or characteristics.

The objectives hierarchy should be inclusive, representing a mix of stakeholder views, and not make value judgments in respect to one objective over another.

Building Block Three: Designing Alternatives

For each objective or group of objectives within the hierarchy, it is important to identify the types of actions that would yield the optimal effect.

When designing alternatives, various objectives should have been detailed and considered within the hierarchy. With enough specificity, some may be flagged for specific action or categorized as activity-driven.

Designing alternatives tends to occur in two phases: identifying the principles by which to judge the alternatives—i.e. the standards solutions should meet—and brainstorming, or listing actual potential solutions.

Nine Steps for Identifying Alternatives:

  1. For each objective or group of objectives in the hierarchy, individuals identify the types of actions that would have the desired effect.
  2. Causal pathways among identified variables are reviewed. How might favorable interventions occur in any of these pathways?
  3. Two or more options for addressing each objective are defined. These may be different types of activities, different levels, strategies, or approaches for the same activity type, or modifications to ongoing related activities. If there is already a proposed action, the activities that comprise it are detailed in terms of how they align with the measured criteria in the objectives.
  4. Specific actions are grouped into alternatives. If there are competing objectives (perhaps reflecting different stakeholder values), alternatives can be developed that favor different groupings of objectives. In other words, different balances are sought among objectives in each alternative.
  5. Conversely, the same balance of objectives by different groupings of actions can be striven for.
  6. If based on the effects analysis a revision of alternatives is needed, it is wise to look for simple adjustments first. If major revisions are needed, the objectives hierarchy and decision making model should be revisited to determine whether erroneous or inconsistent logic led to problems.
  7. An open mind should be maintained, with preconceptions about what is the “best choice” not allowed to limit any or all solution options.
  8. For each alternative, specifics as to how, where, what, and when actions will occur should be outlined. Here it is important to make detailed assumptions about each modeled action early and explicitly in order to minimize confusion when placing this information into a structured decision making model.
  9. Results are recorded and activities plotted on a decision making map where appropriate.

Building Block Four: Evaluating Each Choice

For each alternative, it is best to be as specific as possible in terms of how, where, what, and when actions will occur.

An analysis of effects may suggest modification of one or more alternatives or the creation of additional alternatives. If the latter is the case it will be prudent to return to the first stage of the process.

It is important to apply standards and judgment criteria (a set of indicators) to determine the pros and cons of each alternative. When the best alternative is identified, a process overview of the selected option is conducted.

During this decision making and planning arena, it is important to make certain that an action or set of actions is specifically geared toward achieving the objectives identified.

Within the evaluation or overview stage, further details can come to light that can either be added to particular action steps or grouped into a different set of alternatives.

Excerpt: Intelligent Decision Making: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, 2011) $ 18.95 USD

Related:

Correctly Framing Problems Pinpoints the Right Solution

Seven Components of Critical Thinking

Six Critical Issues To Consider When Solving Problems

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Performance Management Must Begin With the Manager

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The concept of performance management allows managers to align the actions and activities of their employees with the goals and objectives of senior management in order to achieve the stated outcomes of the company.

It is this linkage that allows each individual employee to work toward the accomplishment of mutual goals and objectives.

Many managers make the common mistake of assuming that because they understand the goals and objectives assigned to them, everyone else does as well. This is often where many performance problems occur, as in terms of thinking and action there is a gap between what was planned as an overall company goal and what the unit or department is actually doing. The company might have established a specific goal while employees are working in a fashion wholly unrelated to that goal, which will assure that it is not met.

Managers are the liaison between senior leadership and their people. Often there is no sense of connection between a company’s goals and the actions of individual employees. They continue to perform in their usual fashion without achieving the desired outcomes stated by upper management. The role of the manager is to align the actions of his or her employees with the goals and objectives of the company.

Effective performance management must begin with the manager. Before they can communicate the goals and objectives of management, he or she must clearly understand both what is desired and the means to achieve it. Unless this information is clearly communicated to the manager and he or she comprehends and understands what is desired, there will be a gap in the system that will result in deficient results.

The problem is that in many organizations there is too great a disparity between plans and results. Many employees and managers develop annual plans and then ignore them during the course of the year; there is no actual implementation. They are instead an exercise that management requires, without any real utility or connection to day-to-day work.

Before managers can manage the performance of their people, they must personally commit to it and the results they wish to achieve. Once they have done so, they can then focus their efforts in the following areas:

Clarifying Goals

Managers must take the time to create a two-way dialogue with their people and clearly communicate the company’s goals to them. Employees should be encouraged to question, challenge, interpret and clarify these goals in their minds. This process gives them ownership of the goals, which makes them more concrete and meaningful and increases the likelihood they will be accomplished.

Discussing Ways to Meet Goals

Once employees understand the individual company goals and objectives, managers should discuss the specific ways they can meet them.

These discussions should be detailed and explicit in order to align employees’ strategies and plans with the company goals. Managers should specify the precise changes employees have to make to align their individual behaviors and activities with the company goals.

Employees should be informed of what is now expected of them and how they are expected to meet those expectations. As goals were clarified through encouraging questioning, challenging and interpreting, similar brainstorming should be encouraged to determine the best ways to achieve company goals and objectives.

Following Through to Align Behaviors with Outcomes

The critical link in performance management is the manager’s commitment to follow through with each individual employee to ensure that their work is aligned with the stated outcomes outlined in the company’s goals and objectives. This is where many performance management programs fall short: goals and methodologies are discussed with the unit or department, but individual employees are allowed to backslide into old habits that hinder achieving the company’s goals.

Managers follow through by first observing each individual employee’s professional behavior, discussing the results he or she is achieving, and supporting their efforts with additional training and coaching to keep them on focus.

Excerpt: Performance Management: The Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 18.95 USD

Related:

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Performance

Focusing Employees on Common Goals

Plans Must Be Rooted in Past Performance

Focusing Your Employees on Future Performance

For Additional Information the Author Recommends the Following Books:

Strengthening Performance: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series

Planning to Maximize Performance: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series

Maximizing Financial Performance: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Performance Plans Create Results and Maximizes Performance

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planning

A performance plan differs from a conventional plan in that it is a proactive document. It is designed for continuous use throughout the year as a guide and reference tool to direct the leader and his or her unit’s activities. The primary purpose of a performance plan is to create results and maximize performance.

Managers often produce an annual performance plan only to give senior management what they want to see. Leaders view performance planning as an opportunity to review and analyze actual past performance. It gives them the means to identify ways to improve their personal and organizational unit’s overall performance and productivity.

Managers as leaders actively use their performance plan to drive the unit’s as well as their own performance. They continually reference their performance plan as a roadmap throughout the year to guide and direct their activities and courses of action as well as those of their subordinates.

Leaders work and plan under the direction of senior management. They define overall strategic company goals and plans. Senior management also forms operational and tactical strategies directing the company’s activities during the year. Typically leaders are responsible for specific aspects of the operational and tactical plans. Their performance plans are directly linked to their assigned goals and objectives. How leaders accomplish these goals and objectives is self-defined. This is where they are given an opportunity to shine.

As was discussed in the previous lesson, leaders are driven by a vision of what is possible, not expected. In formulating a performance plan, leaders begin with an initial preparation before it is formally written and executed. This preliminary process includes:

Collecting and Correlating Data

Leaders collect and correlate the information and data they developed during a review of their organizational unit’s prior performance. This provides a complete picture of the unit’s successes and weaknesses. It helps pinpoint how successes can be capitalized on, and identifies the problems and issues that must be resolved to maximize the unit’s performance.

Leaders ensure their plans coincide with their vision. This is necessary if their vision is to be attained. They analyze and make sure plans can be incorporated into their overall goals and objectives.

The information collected from these two planning activities provides reliable insight and direction. It shapes how performance plans are to be formulated and becomes the foundation for all future performance plans.

Brainstorming

Leaders obtain input and feedback from all members of their unit. This strategy works to bring individual members “on board.” It greatly increases the probability they will accept the plan and implement the necessary strategies to make it successful.

Leaders use brainstorming to get reliable feedback. They use this feedback to creatively approach the development of their performance plan. They need to “think outside of the box” to view their goals and objectives creatively and without bias. Brainstorming accomplishes this by encouraging entrepreneurial thinking. Then leaders can easily define the issues concerning maximizing unit performance from various perspectives.

The purpose of brainstorming is not only to identify ways to achieve goals and complete tasks. It is used as a method to seek out information and ideas for exceeding normal expectations. Leaders always look for ways to optimize performance and results. Effective brainstorming also helps them improve budgetary performance as it maximizes the use of assigned resources.

Formulating Plans

Throughout the preparation and brainstorming phases of planning, the performance plan begins to take shape. Senior management has assigned the overall goals and objectives. The feedback and the analysis of the organizational unit details what needs to be accomplished. From this information, assumptions can be made that will form the basis of the plan.

Leaders clarify the specific direction the organizational unit will take. The steps needed to achieve this direction are carefully outlined and detailed. Each step is then formulated into specific objectives along with the activities required to attain the chosen course of direction.

From this information, leaders assign specific tasks and responsibilities to each individual unit member. These assignments become part of the performance plan, assuring that all objectives will be accomplished.

Leaders make sure each subordinate assigned to a task or responsibility has the necessary resources to be successful. Additionally, each task and responsibility includes established milestones so subordinates understand exactly what they need to do, by when. Milestones provide leaders with performance standards to ensure assigned tasks and responsibilities are accomplished in a timely fashion. This allows for effective managing of the performance plan as well as making modifications when needed.

Formalizing Plans

The final step of performance planning is to formalize a written plan. This becomes the actual management tool that guides and directs the organizational unit in the accomplishment of its goals and objectives.

The degree to which plans need to be refined will vary according to company standards. However, leaders make sure their plan clearly and precisely details the goals and objectives of the entire organizational unit. They write these in clear, easily understood language. Plans also include a timeline plotting each task, responsibility and milestone. Each time segment details the individual(s) responsible for specific tasks and their accomplishment and defines the resources to be allocated. All supporting data collected throughout the planning process is included to substantiate the plan, as well as the list of assumptions the plan is based upon.

Excerpt: Planning to Maximize Performance: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 16.95 USD

Related:

Plans Must Be Rooted in Past Performance

Measure What Needs to Be Measured

Performance Driven Leaders Must Establish Clear Employee Expectations

Decision-Making Begins When an Action Needs to Be Taken

For Additional Information the Author Recommends the Following Books:

Maximizing Financial Performance

Strengthening Leadership Performance

Performance Management

Problem Solving

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Well-Run Meetings Deliver Tangible Benefits

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AA018421

Most employees consider meetings boring, demoralizing and pointless; research has demonstrated that they are often in fact correct in this assessment. However, this perception is a reflection of the time and effort managers choose to invest in getting the most out of their meetings. Interesting, exciting and motivational meetings need not be costly, but do require devoted time and effort.

Managers often plan and prepare poorly for many meetings, and to predictable effect. They can fall short because they either don’t know how or don’t have the time to prepare an effective, well-run meeting. Some managers may further hold too many meetings. In many cases, managers are aware that quality meetings are expected by the company, but don’t understand the purpose and objectives.

A well-run meeting takes planning and forethought as to what should be accomplished in terms of specific desired results and outcomes. With companies continuing to slash or freeze budgets, managers must ensure that they are able to reach specific goals and objectives to maximize the return on their meeting investment.

A well-run meeting should provide a team and its individual members with tangible benefits not easily derived from other venues. These benefits include:

Focus

A well-run business meeting should be built around a theme that not only sets expectations for the discussion, but also indicates the tone and goals of the team for the entire year. The focus should be on something concrete that employees should think, feel and believe. As a gimmicky, entertaining theme will create little if any progress toward real objectives, the meeting should be a clear call to employees to pursue a specific goal through concerted and ongoing action.

Excitement and Motivation

In order to produce excitement in the team, well-run meetings should provide sufficient information regarding the company’s initiatives and programs for an upcoming period. The unveiling and demonstrating of new products and/or directions for the company can also be highly motivating. In any regard, employees should be excited about the possibilities presented to them. This excitement, together with public and peer recognition for accomplishments, will better motivate the team to get back into their jobs.

Insight

Well-run meetings should provide employees with additional perspective into the philosophy of the company, along with new directions, concepts and ideas that they can apply directly to their jobs.

The assembly and interaction of employees allows each to gain new ideas and insights into what is working in other departments, divisions and/or regions.

Knowledge and Expertise

Employees should leave meetings with further knowledge and expertise. This should include new company, customer, product and/or competitive knowledge. The purpose should be to impart this knowledge and information to the team and to provide opportunities for developing expertise within the confines of the meeting. These actions can also be taken in training sessions, group settings and workshops.

Enhanced Relationships

Meetings should provide employees and managers with the opportunity to build and enhance relationships with one another during substantive presentations. Many meetings include the presence of key support personnel, with employees given the opportunity to meet and interact with these individuals. During future contacts with these support people, relationships are strengthened to the point that employees can be more effective in dealing with one another and delivering service to customers.

Enhanced Communication

Effective and well-run meetings enhance communication on all levels. Subject matter is presented, and the presenter is available to answer questions and discuss issues with participants. Additionally, employees and managers have the ability to interact with each other in a more relaxed environment. Employees can communicate more openly and candidly than might be possible in other work settings.

Increased Results

The bottom line for any meeting is to enhance the employee’s knowledge and productivity. An increase in individual performance should be seen once employees return to their jobs. Managers will need to continually reinforce and coach individuals to ensure such increases are sustained and continue to grow over time.

Related:

Do These Four Common Pitfalls Undermine Your Meeting’s Effectiveness?

16 Ways to Motivate Employees and to Celebrate Their Successes

Focusing Your Employees on Future Performance

Building Employee Support Requires Interactive Leadership

Excerpt: Effective Meetings: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series(Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 16.95 USD

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Written by Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D.

February 7, 2013 at 11:06 am

Supporting Employees’ Need to Achieve Maximum Results

with 4 comments

CelebratingSuccess

At a sporting event, cheerleaders are present for the single purpose of providing support for their team. The same applies to the manager in the workplace. Once plans and programs are in place it becomes the responsibility of the manager to provide the support their employees need to achieve maximum results.

The nature of most positions assumes that employees are self-managing and self-directing in the majority of their activities. The traditional role of the manager was to control and direct the employees they supervised. Effective managers now support and motivate their employees by streamlining policies and procedures and by removing internal barriers to their productivity.

Managers must understand that by removing internal barriers and streamlining procedures they make the employee’s job easier, allowing each one to focus on more productive tasks rather than diverting their energy elsewhere. In this manner, the role of the manager is to keep their employees on track and motivated to reach their peak performance.

The role of the manager is to remove the roadblocks their employees encounter in order to enhance their productivity. Effective managers understand it is their primary responsibility to produce results and not just control and direct. Efficiency and productivity are the means to achieving results, and managers need to make attaining them as easy as possible. This is achieved by providing the following:

Attainable Goals

One of the primary responsibilities of a manager is to ensure that their employees have realistic and attainable goals. This does not necessarily mean that goals are easy; rather, they should always stretch the employee’s ability to grow. However, unrealistic and overwhelming goals and objectives are counterproductive because they frustrate and ultimately demotivate the employee.

Employees are responsible for developing their own work-related goals. In many cases they are accepted with little or no scrutiny. Managers should invest the time and resources to have a frank discussion with all individuals concerning their objectives. For example, IBM built their success by ensuring that their employees had a series of smaller, attainable goals. When those were achieved, employees’ successes were celebrated.

Managers should likewise require that their own employees develop a series of smaller plans for the quarter, month, week and day, all linked to the accomplishment of larger goals. In this manner, managers help their employees stay focused on activities that keep them moving forward toward the accomplishment of their objectives.

Without this critical guidance and direction, all unit or department activities for the year may prove wasteful and meaningless. When realistic and attainable plans are in place, the role of the manager is to support their employees’ activities and keep them on track and focused on the results they need to achieve.

Adequate Support

Employees must be provided the necessary tools and resources to achieve the desired results. A lack of adequate support for an employee sends a mixed message and hurts motivation. During the heat of daily activities, employees need timely information, data and support in order to keep moving forward.

When companies fail employees at these critical junctures, they are communicating their lack of concern for their efforts. This often undermines the investment in time and resources made by the worker. If it costs him or her meeting a particular target or goal, motivation to work hard toward the next objective is eliminated. It is replaced with an “If they don’t care, why should I?” attitude. Once this attitude takes hold it is difficult to reverse.

Realistic Reports and Policies

Employees can be burdened with scheduled reports that are generated more out of tradition than need. Aside from the expense and resource utilization reports required as management tools, managers should only request the information they need to monitor the success of the employee’s plan. Beyond that, many reports can duplicate information and may be throwbacks to outdated pre-computer days.

With the advent of computers and business management software, yesterday’s report can easily be transformed into an action plan. This process provides both the manager and employee with an informational tool that directs and informs.

Managers need quality information to monitor their employees’ activities, which can be obtained through a performance metrics system that reports key numbers to reflect the employee’s activities. Typically, such metrics accurately report the progress of activities within the employee’s pipeline.

Effective Skills Development

Managers must ensure that their employees continually polish their skills, which requires providing quality training while monitoring an individual employee’s performance to observe what skills are in need of refinement. When necessary, additional training and coaching may be required. Training should not be considered merely as a reward, but as a requirement if employees are to grow in their profession.

Related:

16 Ways to Motivate Employees and to Celebrate Their Successes

Recognition Must Be Given Liberally, Frequently and Publicly

Motivation Is More Than Money

Excerpt: Motivating Employees: Pinpoint Management Skill Development Training Series (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 17.95 USD

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Web| Blog | Catalog |800.654.4935 | 715.342.1018

Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

Objectives Allow Managers to Focus on Obtaining Results

with 19 comments

penandpaper

The most effective use of time comes from managers’ abilities to establish and detail appropriate and concise objectives. Making things happen that might otherwise go unattained, objectives allow managers to focus on obtaining results.

Many managers waste time by setting and following objectives that are unclear, imprecise or too broad. Objectives are reliable measurement tools for monitoring progress and directional courses of action.

Time is used unproductively when managers’ objectives are incompatible with organizational purposes and direction. Taking charge and authority over time comes from establishing appropriate departmental objectives.

Exerting a direct influence on attitudes and motivation, appropriate objectives direct managers’ efforts toward achieving concrete goals. Appropriate and effective objectives act as factors of success and become sustained positive attitude builders. They generate a consistency of action—which feeds continuous ongoing success—and prevent managers and employees from performing random activities and making ineffective decisions.

Detailed objectives keep managers on track and alert to potential interferences that can be addressed early before they create serious problems. This maintains workplace momentum and keeps productivity at peak levels. Additionally, effective objectives allow managers to concentrate on future opportunities and establish new goals as future needs occur.

Determining sound daily, weekly and monthly objectives and following them takes work and discipline on the part of the manager. In order to advance personal performance and departmental efficiency, managers must continually revisit all short- and long-term objectives.

Managing by objectives carries a positive impact in terms of saving time and increasing results. Managers should establish prioritized objectives to save work and reduce redundancies and frustrations. Objectives should be detailed carefully to assure essential assignments are met on a continual basis in all major areas.

Techniques to help establish time-saving departmental objectives include:

Establish Compatible Objectives

Managers must make certain that all objectives reflect how their own particular departments interrelate with others. Determining interrelated objectives will prevent departments from becoming independent operating units focused on meeting their own particular time schedules, quality standards and procedures. Valuable time and energy can be wasted because of segmented functions and disjointed compatibility.

When departmental incompatibility exists, time and attention is not devoted to organizational problem solving. Managers spend excessive amounts of time dealing with immediate crises and resulting conflict or chaos. Major issues tend to go unresolved and need more time and energy to remedy at a later time. As the need to produce results becomes pressured and forced, departmental cooperation and unity of effort is hindered.

Lay a Solid Groundwork for Defining Departmental Objectives

Objectives need to address departmental functions and purposes within the organization. Before determining departmental objectives managers need to ask themselves, “Why does my department exist?” Next, managers need to ask, “What should this department accomplish from an organizational standpoint?”

To answer these questions, managers must define departmental expectations, agendas, functions, methods and procedures. Managers must make certain that they contribute in a positive way to the effective use of human resources and profitability. To be effective and more time-sensitive, objectives must detail all necessary activities that contribute to overall organizational goals, as well as specific departmental ones.

Define Areas of Responsibility

Managers need to detail areas of departmental responsibility and identify particular key areas both where unnecessary overlaps occur and where overlaps should occur and do not. Within the analysis process, managers must concentrate on identifying areas of activity that play a significant role in achieving results.

Valuable amounts of time can be saved and transformed into bottom-line profit. Objectives must detail necessary lead time for obtaining such things as raw materials, essential components, additional equipment and human resources.

Define Specific Departmental Functions

Managers need to assess departmental functions that are necessary for attaining determined goals and results before formalizing objectives. While addressing specific functions that are necessary for accomplishing their individual departmental missions, they concentrate on planning, organizing, directing and controlling these functions. Departmental objectives should address how each particular function will be performed and why, as well as major areas of performance accountability.

Related:

Does This Activity Move Me Forward?

Five Strategies to Maintain Your Focus

Defending Against Personal Burnout and Frustration

Excerpt: Time & Personal Management (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011) $ 18.95 USD

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. | Author | Publisher | Majorium Business Press
Author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It and What You Can Learn From It (Finalist – 2011 Foreword Reviews‘ Book of the Year)
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Copyright © 2013 Timothy F. Bednarz, All Rights Reserved

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