Continuing the theme of Effective Communication Month, I want to address the importance of communication as a key leadership trait.
In every leadership development process, leadership assessment, 360 feedback report and leadership position analysis – communication is shown as one of the most important traits necessary for effective leadership.
So what is so important about communication and leadership? Here are some of the factors that influence the importance of communication:
Yes, the purpose of having a coach is to help you think differently. New thoughts or a new way to think about issues allows for learning at the highest levels. Self discovery of the answers to either an old or new problem is the way of the winner. Are you using a coach? Are you learning new things or ways to handle old problems?
Good coaches know how to ask the right questions to help you discover the new answers to any type of problem, issue, challenge or opportunity. A good coach is usually a generalist in pure knowledge or has years of experience – applying knowledge in different situations. Thus, the experience is practical rather than conceptual. Beware of the ivory tower type of coach who tells you everything. These people have not necessarily been on the field of play in any capacity. Some get degrees and teach, some get certified (without any practical knowledge) and others are just looking for work and become a “coach.”
When you are looking for a coach to help you or your team get to the next level, look for people who have been real experience. And, while experience is a good thing, good to great performance is more important. So, if you are looking for sales coaching find someone with sales experience. If you are looking for a management or leadership coach, find someone who has been running a company for many years.
Use a coach to learn to think about things differently, with greater clarity and with a focus upon results. Getting results is still the real game. Getting results is the key to people noticing who you are and what you do. When you do things very well, others want to work with you because you are one of the best.
Even the great Tiger Woods has a coach to remind him of the right ways to approach the game of golf – including the basic swing mechanics. This is the number one golfer in the world AND HE HAS A COACH.
Do you have a coach who can get you to the next level? Are you an expert at everything you do? Is there something that you want to do better, yet, are not sure how to do it? Are you technically outstanding – with people skills that hinder your success? You can improve – if you want to improve.
If you are looking for a good business coach, there are good ones available. We have been coaching executives, fast trackers, sales managers and sales people for over a decade with outstanding results. At one company, we have the reputation of the “promoters” since we got so many people promoted using our processes. Can me at 901-757-4434 and set up a time to discuss what you want to improve.
This is the fifth step of a Leadership Development Process. The tracking of a leader’s progress using a performance management system provides control and a universal check system. The data and insight provided by a tracking system allows the monitoring of results on a consistent basis.
Without a tracking system, the development process becomes a hit or miss system. There is no checking mechanism to ensure the process is working and the individuals are executing their plans. The performance management system is the glue for the process.
Performance Management systems come in all sizes, shapes and forms. The automated versions are the most valuable when used properly. The pen and paper versions are still in use with some companies – mainly because of a lack of investment in people development. When leadership is not committed to the development your people for higher performance process – then systems and processes as well as commitment is limited.
The best companies understand that it’s the people that make a difference in the business. It’s the people that make the decisions, manage the personnel and the processes, and interact with the customers – every day. So a purposeful developmental process and an automated performance management system are essential to the overall growth and health of an organization.
Performance management systems track the goals, meetings, action plans and decisions made by the individuals in the company. It tracks the overall performance of leaders and their teams. It provides information over a specific period of time – yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly – all documented for analysis and evaluation. The progress made by participants in the leadership development processes or programs is an important element. It is the progress that accumulates over time and leads to consistent high performance.
Remember the old saying: What gets Measured, Gets Done.
This classic statement is still accurate today. If you want things to get done, they must be measured and discussed. Discussions about performance standards enable individuals to understand what is needed to be successful and respected as a performer. High performance is not an accident. It happens due to a conscious effort to measure and track results.
If you lack an automated Performance Management System, contact us at 901.757.4434 during business hours of 9 to 5 Central time USA to discuss possible solutions. We can assist you with a complete package or simply Managing Performance Priorities on a weekly basis.
This is the fourth step of the Leadership Development Process and is an important key to the ultimate success of the process. The individual development plan is the connecting link to ensuring the success. Without a plan there would be limited focus on progress through developmental actions. So, this step connects the dots and gives clarity on the areas of need.
Key points of reference regarding developmental plans:
- Specific plans – the old days of holding a seminar or workshop that “everyone” attended does not necessarily count as a action plan. The only way this counts is if the content covers and addresses the definitive area of need for the individual in the leadership program. General – one size fits all – solutions may miss the mark for effectiveness and change.
- Target Improvement – Choices are involved in improvement plans. What do you improve? The old school just looked for any weakness and would target the weakness with the logic being – develop what is missing or low and you will get immediate increases in results! Well, good logic – bad decision – if the weakness has no bearing on the unique job performance. Even the great Peter Drucker stated that weaknesses that do not affect the job performance should not be improved.
- Job Related – The areas for improvement should be job related. Whatever can increase, improve, or enhance job performance are the areas that should be targeted for improvement processes. If a skill, talent or competency is not needed on the job and it is improved – it actually becomes a weakness or a liability to the leader who then attempts to use this new found attribute.
- Measure Results – The best developmental plans use measurable results as a guide or proof of actual improvement. The benefit of having a measurable result is the calculation of a return on investment for the leadership development process. A positive ROI allows for continued use of the process for all the leaders in an organization.
Every Leadership Development Process should have a Specific and Measurable Plans to ensure the success of the program. More importantly, the leaders in this program should be expected and encouraged to devote the necessary time and resource commitment to their personal improvement. Often we have found individuals that did not value their own development and then were the first to complain when a 360 feedback or a performance review reflected a lack of knowledge regarding key traits addressed in their developmental process.
Plans are meaningless unless the individuals take the responsibility to learn new or improved techniques that allow them to become more valuable. Take your plans seriously, make choices regarding the importance of the plans and execute the plans like a business strategy. Success takes many shapes – yet, it is action that makes it work.
This is the third step of the five part Leadership Development Process. The third step is to Assess Your Identified Talent. The assessment process will provide you with objective data and understanding of your current talent. This includes both the current level of performance and the potential for growth and improvement.
There are four methods of assessing your talent. All four should be utilized for leadership talent assessing. Each method is used for specific information. Here are the four methods for Assessing Your Leadership Talent:
- Interview – This method is used to find out specific answers to a list of predetermined questions related to the potential leader’s accomplishments and personal ambition. Some of the information to undercover includes what workshops or developmental education have they taken? Do they want to move into a higher level of responsibility? Do they want to work more with people than task or develop people more than do the job? Are they comfortable stretching their goals or multi-tasking within important projects?
The second step of a successful Leadership Development Process is to identify all the high-potential talent within your organization. Obviously, you start this process at the top levels of the organization. Identifying the top potential of existing C-level positions assists in narrowing the field of candidates.
After the top group is identified, expand your search to include key functional position candidates. Who are the key potential candidates for every managerial / leadership position in the company. This activity will require the coordination of current leaders in functional areas and cross-functional areas with position contact experience.
The goal of identifying high-potential talent is to know where your future leaders could be in the organization. This also can identify current leaders who are doing an excellent or poor job of identifying and hiring talent within their functional areas. The better leaders are very capable of hiring the best talent for their groups. They are equally adept with developing their talent with challenging work, stretch projects, coaching or mentoring techniques, and educational opportunities.
These individuals should be in a focused performance management system. This system will track their progress and keep a detailed record of their improvement activities. This information will allow for controlled development of each individual in the system. The purpose is to have a large pool of talent available for promotion due to opportunities for additional growth or normal attrition. A lack of in-house developed talent requires a time consuming and costly search for experienced outside talent.
If you need assistance in determining the criteria for identifying high-potential talent, contact us. We have been assisting organizations in identifying and developing talent for twenty years. And we can help you too. Call us at 901.757.4434 during the hours of 9 to 5 Central Time USA to begin your leadership development process.
This week I will be focused upon a five-part series designed to assist you in providing a comprehensive Leadership Development Process for your organization. Today, we look at the starting point of the Leadership Development Process – Defining the Competencies necessary for success.
Leadership Competencies need to be identified regarding the leadership role for the entire organization as a first step. This is the equivalent of having a code of standards for the overall leadership function of the group. What areas of individual performance need identification as a benchmark of success. The truth is few companies have taken the time to identify the traits, competencies and personal skills necessary for leadership success. This lack of identification has lead to promotions and selection of individuals that were not ready for important leadership positions. The results have been very costly to these companies when the wrong people have been placed in very important positions.
We have been helping our clients to “benchmark” leadership positions for several years. This practice has created a better understanding of the traits necessary for the “job” to be successful. This benchmarking track creates a comprehensive document containing the information needed for the position to talk. Here is a partial list of important items you need from a benchmarking process: