I have always found annual performance reviews almost useless. If we wait to get and give performance feedback on an annual basis, it must not matter much.
I want to give and get feedback in a much more timely way. Dan Pink, author of Drive, publishes a weekly article in the Telegraph UK. This Sunday his article was right on. He suggests three things we can do to make a workplace a little more feedback rich:
- Do it ourselves. Why not establish our own feedback system. Get feedback on a regular basis (once per month?) from colleagues on how we’re doing. If we have a boss who’s really thinking clearly, they will honor and support this activity.
- Peer Recognition. I’m a big fan of people giving each other recognition. In the company I run, people are encouraged to send each other written acknowledgments on a card we call an “ACE” card. In Pink’s article he references a large American engineering firm where employees also have the green light to award team members $50 gift certificates.
- Do it with software. There are some great software packages that drive extensive 360 degree feedback – the more timely, specific, and constructive, the more effective results.
Great leading companies have feed back systems driving behavior.
Self accountable people find a way to get timely feedback on our performance.
Live the Triangle,
I used a quote from the renowned sales and motivational guru Zig Ziglar in a blog last week: “They don’t care about what you know until they know you care.”
It was October of this year, when I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep in the United Kingdom. It was 11:30 pm BST (British Summer Time) and I was still getting my North American body clock on track. I was exhausted and my mind was swirling. Then suddenly I realized it was Canadian Thanksgiving the next day and I’d forgotten to send a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving email out to our Canadian team. I lay there for a moment more and of course I knew what I had to do.
I got out of bed, grabbed my blackberry and lugged myself upstairs so I could get a decent signal and sent off a best Canadian Thanksgiving wish to Team Canada. As the CEO of a company with people in Europe, the U.S. and Canada, it was clearly the right thing to do. I’m no hero for getting myself out of bed to send that message. I should have had it on my calendar so I could have sent it out earlier. But my point is that to be a leader, regardless of title or position, is to demonstrate with sincerity that you and I care. Sometimes it’s inconvenient. Sometimes we might not be sure it even matters. But I think Ziglar is right; they need to know we care. And often the little demonstration of care rolls into an act of major importance and reference later.
Being abundant means being generous of spirit. That means dragging ourselves out of bed to send a message and much more. We have to generously and sincerely show we care. Be a leader. Act with abundance by being generous in giving of ourselves (and by the way don’t expect anything back in return).
Just Do It!
Live the Triangle,
Regardless of what role we have in organizations, I believe we are all in sales. Why? Because all of us, more often than not, are in the business of connecting solutions to problems and essentially transferring trust. We are usually convincing other people to buy into an idea, product or service we’re offering. Sometimes the person is internal to our organization; other times they are outside. If we peel away the veneer we usually are helping someone avoid a pain or fear and/or helping them achieve a desire or goal. I believe the RESPECT value of the Character Triangle is a gateway for successful selling. Why? Because, one of the key subsets of RESPECT is great listening.
Recently I heard a terrific presentation from super sales coach and leader Gerry Layo. Here is the essence of his short course on selling. Gerry says the short course is 4 words:
ASK QUESTIONS AND LISTEN!
Too often we are so focused on what we are going to say that we stop listening. Gerry’s contention is that the strongest sentences we can give to customers end in question marks? I believe it’s the same for anyone we interact with; at work or at home. When we can get people to open up, to trust us with their hopes or fears, we can usually help.
Another great sales coach, the legendary Zig Ziglar, said, “They don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” So when we ask the questions we also have to listen with sincere purpose and care.
People who live in the Triangle contribute great value to others …and that is what great sales people are …super value providers.
So you and I can improve ourselves by applying Layo’s short course on selling.
Ask questions and listen with care!
Live the Triangle,
Some viewers are fainting and/or taking a break from the screening of 127 Hours to regain their composure. Almost all critics are raving about the movie. According to an article on the front page of this Sunday’s LA Times, Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) intended on giving the audience an intense emotional experience to the point where the rooting for climber Aron Ralston, played by James Franco, to survive feels as if our own lives were at stake. He has apparently succeeds and then some.
For those of you unaware of the true story behind the movie, in 2003 Ralston went hiking into the Utah wilderness without telling anyone where he was going and with scant supplies. In an isolated gully his arm became pinned by a falling chockstone. Five days later facing death, Ralston heroically self amputated his arm using a dull multi-purpose tool. This summary is obviously hopelessly incomplete in describing the situation. We likely need to see the movie to better understand this incredible story.
My point is that when we are pinned down and have no “they” to blame or rely on, self accountability as an understood concept becomes crystal clear. Now I’m not suggesting we should go it alone nor do I want to trivialize this situation. But I do wonder what positive things might happen if all of us realized just how much power and ability we have to persevere, to make things better, and to appreciate the resources we have and what we can do.
My intent here is to spotlight an extreme case to make an everyday point. We can do so much when we choose to. None of us want to be tested like Ralston was. Thank goodness we don’t need to be but we can sure learn from him.
I’m looking forward to the movie.
Live the Triangle,
I know some people who have been unhappy in every job they’ve ever had. Even when they change jobs or organizations, things are “great” from the beginning but before too long, the bloom is off the rose. Most of us have changed jobs and there are many solid reasons to do so, but the belief that we will be happier in one versus another may be the wrong reason to change.
If we look for them and dwell on those things, we can find shortcomings in every job. And if someone analyzed and compared jobs objectively, definitely some situations are better than others. But the one constant in every job you and I have is our “mind set” (read another one of my blogs on Mind Set). We have to be happy in our jobs on purpose. I really believe we need to be self accountable in bringing a happy and satisfied approach to work. It is almost always our perspective, attitude, and choice. The ‘job” doesn’t do it for us. This doesn’t mean things can’t be improved; in most cases they can be. But we have so much daily control over our job happiness. I’m reminded of the story where two bricklayers who worked at the same construction site described their jobs this way: one complained of the boredom of the routine, and the other the beauty of building a cathedral. One has to go to work, the other gets to go to work.
So you and I can start a new job right now. What parts of the job could we change our perspective on? What could we do differently to have a more effective working relationship with people whom we struggle with? What would we do differently if we were starting our jobs for the first time tomorrow? The Character Triangle puts us in control. We decide. We determine happiness in our jobs.
Live the Triangle,
Many of you may not be American football fans, or you may be in part of the world where it is irrelevant. However, I had an opportunity to hear American football icon Terry Bradshaw speak to a room full of business executives the other day at the Aria Hotel & Casino (a beautiful facility) in Las Vegas. He’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is an actor in a number movies (including Failure to Launch). It was interesting to see Terry hold 300+ people in the palm of his hand for 60 minutes. Of course many were men or women who saw Mr. Bradshaw lead The Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles as quarterback, twice as Super Bowl MVP, and watches him religiously every Sunday in his role as a Fox NFL Sunday Analyst.
He held the room mesermized with more than just talk about football; it was his philosophy of living. During the talk Terry had this incredible approachability, like he was just jawin’ with a bunch of good ole boys at the bar, or mates at the pub.
Throughout his stellar football career he, like most of us, has had many personal ups and downs, several divorces, financial issues, and more. He couldn’t get a high enough grade to get to a top notch college. People called him dumb, too stupid to be a pro QB. So through the highs and lows, here are a few elements of the Bradshaw philosophy:
- Have Fun every day… smile all the time …laugh …laugh …and find the humor in life, it’s all around us (read my recent blog on humor).
- Love and respect yourself first. How can you love others if you don’t love and respect yourself first?
- Say thank to people every day. Most of us need others’ help and support to be successful (as you might imagine Bradshaw told poignant stories of the help he got from his teammates).
- Call your mamma and papa. Tell them you love them. Forgive them if you have to; they probably did the best they could.
- It is all about family. When we die they are likely to be the ones in the room.
There were a number of other “bradshawisms” but in the end he tries to simplify life everyday by focusing on what’s most important. People want to be around people who want to win… and Terry talked about how glorious a feeling it is to accomplish what one sets out to do. In the end it often comes down to human beings having fun and liking to be with each. We like to do business with people we like.
If you want to see Terry living out his philosophy, watch him this Sunday on Fox. He’ll be there with that giant Louisiana smile, grinning through our TV sets like we are all his buddies watching the game together.
Bradshaw’s speech reminded me that while the Character Triangle has a serious back bone, living it daily can and should be done with fun and laughter. Every interaction starts out better with a smile. I don’t know about you but I need to be reminded of that from time to time.
Live and laugh the Triangle,