Organizational Accountability Warning Flag 2 – Time-based Performance Assessments

StrategyDriven Organizational Accountability Warning Flag ArticleHow often have you, as an executive or manager, looked at the cars in the parking lot as you come into or depart from your workplace and said to yourself, “So and so are really contributing to the organization,” based on seeing their cars. Or seeing no one else’s car reflected on your own performance as, “I’m a top contributor. I put in more hours than anyone else.”


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Additional Information

Associating time with performance represents the weak analogy fallacy. Additional information regarding this fallacy and how to recognize when it occurs can be found in StrategyDriven’s decision-making warning flag article, Weak Analogies.

Organizational Accountability Warning Flag 1 – Equality of Outcomes

StrategyDriven Organizational Accountability ArticleNo two individuals are exactly alike; therefore, each uniquely contributes to the organization. Subsequently, it is reasonable to expect that each individual’s efforts will result in a unique value contribution to the organization. In the accountable organization, this value is proportionately rewarded. Thus, no two individuals should expect to consistently receive the same reward outcomes.


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Fire the Slugs! And Other Great, No-Nonsense Ways to Retain Your Best People

StrategyDriven Organizational Accountability ArticleThere isn’t an organization anywhere that doesn’t have a problem with some type of personnel turnover problems. Depending on the study you look at, the impact of turnover ranges from three months of salary for a low level employee who leaves to as high as 400 percent of the annual salary of an upper-level person who leaves.

It’s doesn’t have to be all bad. There’s good turnover and bad turnover.

Firing a non-performer is good turnover. When a top performer leaves to go elsewhere and leaves your organization with a huge void, that’s bad turnover. It can affect the performance of the whole organization.

If you are going to maximize your organization’s performance you have to make a conscious, binding top-down management decision and commitment to develop a no nonsense approach to retention. The following are several must-do actions items for retaining the high-value human assets you’ve worked so hard to acquire:

  1. Start at the top! Assess your supervisory and management team! Seventy percent of the people say that the worst thing about their job is the boss. Find out what’s wrong and fix it! Identify the prima donnas and micromanaging control freaks, the whiners, complainers, and blamers. Get them basic supervisory training and improve their performance continuously. If you are the boss, take ownership!
  2. Clean Up the House! Identify the non-performers. Identify the poor managers and supervisors. If they do not respond to training and show significant improvement, remove them from an influential role and replace them with someone that does what is truly desired and required for the role and position they are in.
  3. Manage Visibly! Get out of the ivory tower. Begin each day by walking around. Stroll around the floor several times a day. Meet the customers, talk with employees, visit with the supervisors, greet the vendors, help the delivery trucks load and unload. Get out of your office. Let people know you are there and that you care. The point here is that you set lead by example. If they like you they are less likely to leave you. Visibility drives retention.
  4. Care About Your People! If you don’t really care about your people, your business is doomed. Caring is the reason why people stay. Get to know your people. Learn what each person likes and enjoys. Listen to them and learn about their interests, families, and hobbies. Protect your people from harm and from others in your organization. People are loyal to those who care about them and care for them.
  5. Keep your door open 80% of the time. Let your people know you are accessible to them. Avoid telling people to make an appointment or come back later. Make sure the time you do spend with your people is quality time.
  6. Focus on Employee Assistance Actively. Sit down with the other managers in your organization and identify the problems that are faced by people in your workforce. Develop innovative ideas and deploy specific new plans to provide employees with more flexibility in their work, support for their common needs, and help for dealing with personal issues that impact their life.
  7. Treat Everyone with Respect Always! Every leader and manager and supervisor must set the standard that respectful behavior and sincere open appreciation are expected with no exceptions! Investigate and take immediate action for all non-respectful behavior incidents. Have the managers and supervisors bring food to be shared on a regular basis! Break bread with your people regularly instead of forcing people to eat baloney.
  8. Ask Your People What They Want! Sit down with your people and ask them what they want out of their work. Identify what they want to grow, to develop greater control, autonomy and responsibility for the work they do for you. Help them achieve these goals specifically and incrementally. Meaningful engagement in their own future drives commitment and loyalty.
  9. Tell Your People What You Want of Them! Be specific and be clear but make sure you explain what you expect of them. Give them the tools, support and the time they need to get the work done. If they do not meet your expectations, bring them in and talk with them and find out what it will take to get them on track.
  10. Fire the Slugs. Hold your people accountable for their performance. If they don’t solve the problem, then terminate them with respect and dignity. Your good performers will love you.

About the Author

Jeff Kortes is known as the ‘No Nonsense Guy.’ He is the President of Human Asset Management LLC, a human resource consulting firm specializing in executive search and leadership training. He has trained hundreds of first-line supervisors, managers, and executives during his career. His approach to training is no-nonsense, and practical.

Jeff is also a member of the National Speakers Association and a regular speaker on the topics of retention, recruiting and leadership. For more information, visit www.SlugProofYourTeam.com.

Everybody Loves Bob – Faster Cheaper Better: The 9 Levers for Transforming How Work Gets Done

StrategyDriven Change Management ArticleEverybody loves Bob. He’s a corporate hero. Just last week Bob was watching television after dinner, but he wasn’t really watching. Instead he was thinking about work, as he does most nights. Suddenly it hit Bob: he hadn’t checked to make sure engineering had included the new wiring diagram in the customer’s shipment that was due to go out first thing in the morning. Without the diagram the equipment would be useless.

“I don’t know what time I’ll be home,” he shouted to his wife as he bolted out the door, jumped into his car, and sped to the plant.

Jerry was on guard duty at the gate and greeted Bob warmly. He was accustomed to Bob showing up at all hours of the day and night. Bob went straight to the shipping dock. Sure enough, the box was sitting there ready to go, and it didn’t contain the wiring diagram. It took Bob an hour to track down a copy of the diagram, put it in the box, and reseal it for shipment. He got home at midnight.

That’s the kind of thing Bob does all the time. And the bosses recognize his devotion and applaud it often. He’s gotten raises and been promoted, and he’s been named Employee of the Month five times in the past two years. Many of his co- workers now emulate Bob and give an extra measure, too.

No doubt about it, Bob’s a great guy. Trouble is, his company’s approach to getting work done is a raging disaster.

Bob is forced to be a hero because he’s a loyal and ambitious employee struggling to overcome his company’s chaotic processes for getting things done. He gets lots of credit for making the fix to save the customer, but he’s constantly creating dramatic work-arounds because the existing processes create problems that shouldn’t exist. Worse still, Bob’s behavior and the accolades he receives simply reinforce the notion that everyone should work around the system. No one seems to grasp that if the system were fixed, there would be no need for heroes like Bob.

There are lots of companies like Bob’s, fragmented and inefficient. They survive despite themselves only because people like Bob are constantly fixing things. It may take thirty days to fill a customer order, but only three of those days involve real work. The rest of the time people are arguing about who’s responsible for some part of the order or the order is languishing in someone’s in- box.

For well over a century managers have achieved increasing productivity on ever larger scales by dividing and subdividing work into smaller and smaller units. The modern corporation that has evolved as a result consists of many specialized functional departments, such as sales, engineering, marketing, manufacturing, operations, and finance. The people who work in a given department all focus on the same departmental goal— advertising promotes sales, shipping moves the product, procurement buys the parts— and they report to the executive in charge of their department, who measures their performance and rewards or penalizes them according to the department’s own metrics.

Most companies get metrics all wrong. They allow each department to determine what it wants to measure. And because you get what you measure, each department gets a different and often uncoordinated result.

There is an alternative to the fragmented work process, and it allows us to be faster, cheaper, and better. It isn’t easy and it won’t happen overnight, but for those who master it the results are astounding.

The only way to survive in this ever-changing, expanding, globalizing economy is to continually adapt. Often this requires examining our processes from a macro-level. Getting a 50,000-foot picture of our operations illustrates outdated, cumbersome, inefficient processes. Rather than a series of discrete steps, work becomes an end- to- end continuum. People no longer focus entirely on their own jobs with no notion of how their work affects their colleagues’ ability to do their jobs or even the customer. Instead, they are thinking about the whole and not the parts, about outcomes instead of activities, about the collective rather than the individual.


About the Authors

Michael Hammer was a bold and revolutionary thinker, the coauthor of Reengineering the Corporation, the most important business book of the 1990s. Named to Time magazine’s first list of the twenty-five most influential Americans, the business world lost one of its rare geniuses when he passed away in September of 2008. Dr. Hammer was also the author of The Agenda: What Every Business Must Do to Dominate the Decade as well as articles in the Harvard Business Review, The Economist, MIT Sloan Management and other publications. To read Michael’s complete biography, click here.

Lisa W. Hershman is the Chief Executive Officer of Hammer and Company. She is a seasoned business professional and author, who brings a wealth of real-world experience and an innovative style to her position at Hammer and Company. Lisa is the co-author of the business guide Faster Cheaper Better: The 9 Levers for Transforming How Work Gets Done (rated 8 out of 10 by Inc. Magazine) and an inspirational and sought-after speaker and conference moderator/leader both in the United States and internationally. She is a regular contributor to BusinessWeek and her columns have appeared in Forbes.com and Foxnews.com. She has appeared as a business expert on Fox Business News, the Jim Bohannon Show, the Ron Insana Show, and other nationally syndicated business radio programs.

Organizational Performance Measures Best Practice 15 – Map Performance Measure Ownership

Too often, creation and maintenance of organizational performance measures becomes an administrative exercise accompanied by lifeless, mundane monthly review meetings. Real ownership of a performance measure means an individual is not only accountable for the performance indicated but is dedicated to improving that performance over time. Such ownership seldom exists when performance measures are assigned based on what appears to be a reasonable or logical association. Rather, true ownership occurs when performance measure inputs are assessed and responsibility and accountability deliberately assigned to the individual or work group whose actions and decisions most significantly affect the indicated performance. And as all accountabilities, ownership of performance measures should be documented and communicated to the respective owners.


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