Leadership and the Bully Pulpit

Which of the current national/global leaders in the news are you most like? Least like? In this time of high emotion and controversy, your reactions say a lot about you as a leader.   With the news spotlight on national and international leaders, it’s a good time for every leader to think again about what it means to be in a formal leadership role.   On the global stage, terrorism is calling every kind of leader out of the woodwork – an emigration that has been underway full steam in the US as it ramps up for Decision 2016. A full parade of the powerful and would-be powerful, surrounded by… Read More

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Four Missing Pieces from Today’s Change Management Agendas

NUGGET : It’s not enough to add change management steps to project plans and programs. Ensuring change success requires other more powerful and sometimes subtle actions. Here are four.   Change management is becoming a differentiating capability in organizations today. There are more accessible and useful tools and training – stakeholder analyses, better planning and project/program management tools, readiness assessments, communication formats. Change management modules are regularly being built into big technology and other strategic programs. Good stuff, but often they don’t fit the change challenge and may even divert valuable energy because they overly bureaucratize what sometimes needs to be a dynamic and learning-driven process. Four major elements are… Read More

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What If…

NUGGET : Bring your management process into the networked age. Assess your performance management process’ contributions to alignment, culture and your organization’s change process. Imagine that you want to find a better way to help people work toward common goals in turbulent times. A way of managing that’s great for the business and the people in it. And imagine that you introduce this approach in a way that actually jazzes the organization – wakes it up to the New World of Work – stimulates the transformation that you know has to happen “sooner” (for there will be no “later”). Then, rather than patch up that old performance management process, redesigning… Read More

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The Often Lonely and Murky World of the Change Agent

It’s difficult and often lonely to be somebody who is spearheading new processes, systems, views of the organization and people’s roles in it. If you know what I mean by this statement, then you are, like me, a change agent – a business or government leader, and academic or professional who develops leaders, a person who is passionate about creating a better institution and society. You want to influence what is happening around you – to consciously create the future — rather than abdicate to the status quo or accept change as an inevitable and evolving process that will occur with or without you. As a change agent, you are… Read More

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Change Management as Risk Mitigation™

NUGGET : Treat Change Management as Risk Mitigation. Most strategies and plans require many changes in how your enterprise works. For this reason, and because the enterprise is a social as well as a technical entity, changes contain major inherent risks of failure. Change management, if it is put on the table at all, often is an add-on in the form of communication or training programs meant to manage peoples’ resistance or to convince them to get on board. The result? We hear these statistics over and over again: 60-70% failure of change initiatives – in the form of cost overruns, quality problems, continually revised schedules, and abandoned programs. Many… Read More

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More on The Way Forward Transforming Performance Management, Part 5

NUGGET : Performance management? Start over with these 4 additional strategies! This is the fifth article in the Transforming Performance Management series. The first presented a case for taking a new approach. The second and third examined why it is so hard to make changes. In the last article, I suggested four important steps toward a new approach: 1) use different approaches for managing stability and change, 2) redraw the organization to show work flows vs. decision structure, 3) embrace open system values, and 4) bring self-management to the fore. Here I add four more changes that can launch a new era in how we align people and work. This… Read More

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The Way Forward: Transforming Performance Management, Part 4

NUGGET : Performance management? Start over with these strategies! It’s time to stop patching legacy performance management* practices. (See “Performance Management: It’s Time for Something New,” “Why it is So Hard to Make Changes,” and “More About Why It is So Hard To Make Changes,” for reasons.) It’s time to move in a new direction with a designer’s mind and a lot of tenacity. Here are the first four of eight recommendations that can launch a new era in how we align people and work (manage performance). In the new scenario leaders and team members take primary responsibility for the management processes and HR helps to prepare the culture, processes,… Read More

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More About Why It Is So Hard to Make REAL Changes: Transforming Performance Management, Part 3

NUGGET : Power traps, defaulting to HR, and some inherent useful qualities in traditional performance management keep us from moving to a better way of aligning people and work. In my first article in this series about Performance Management, I started to build a case for changing the way work performance is “managed.” In the last article, I suggested three big reasons why it is so difficult to make real breakthroughs. I put some of the failure to change at the feet of 1) boss-subordinate mindsets, 2) the tenacious top-down view of workflows, and 3) faulty views of control. I’d like to add three more reasons to the list and… Read More

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Why It Is So Hard to Make REAL Changes: Transforming Performance Management, Part 2

NUGGET : Boss-Subordinate thinking, a top down view of work flows, and faulty assumptions about control are three big barriers to breakthroughs in performance management. My last post argued that it’s time to stop patching the old performance management forms and systems. It’s time to design something new — something far more powerful for business and energizing for everyone. Yet, we keep cycling through the same approach with different forms and terminology. In this and the next article, I want to focus on WHY it is hard to change. Then, in the 4th article, I’ll suggest some alternatives. Boss-subordinate thinking. It’s the job of people in formal leadership roles to… Read More

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It’s Time for Something New: Transforming Performance Management, Part 1

NUGGET : Performance Management is broken and can’t be fixed with a new appraisal form. It’s time to rethink and innovate based on the needs of today’s Changing World of Work. Show me how performance management actually works in an organization and, without an employee survey, I will tell you what the real values and relationships are. Leaders everywhere are pronouncing the “right” values – socially acceptable things like: collaboration, customer-focus, agility, accountability, empowerment, innovation, learning. The hyped values invite people to unleash energy. But the old back-end (driven by pay, appraisal, and ratings) approach to performance management often has more negative than positive effects. Even though you may say… Read More

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