Posts Tagged ‘Generation Y’

Supernova – when your Star explodes

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Managing Performance Key Success Factor

The Pain of Performance

After much professional struggle and personal pain, you are a Star in your industry. But life is not going so well, using alcohol and maybe some other substances to dull the pain, you lose control in public and are arrested for racist and anti-Semitic defamation. The instantly recognisable face of a global retail brand, the outburst filmed by a bystander goes viral on Then you are fired as your employer attempts to avoid brand contamination. Sober, and publicly shamed, you apologise profusely. But the damage is done.

John Galliano’s very public meltdown caught our attention as managing staff performance – however senior or much of a Star they are – is a key indicator of organisational success. UK organisations have a duty of care towards employees that includes the stress from their employment. Failure will, as Dior are finding out, damage your market and employer reputation, may further damage (and thus increase the risk of your being sued) your failing employee and will certainly waste the monies that you have spent developing and hiring him or her. For Dior to un-mesh their corporate identity with that of the Galliano ‘brand’ is a further cost.

High value services and products require teams to deliver into globalised market places. Leading teams of different generational, functional and cultural backgrounds is a daily reality for most managers. You are part of the team you lead and work alongside them every day, and you may even like them. With current market turmoil, the possibility of reducing stress by average scoring and giving the standard pay rise has gone. No wonder it is difficult to persuade managers to engage with this personal and interpersonal challenge.

No surprise then that the banks and IT developers are talking about developing software that will de-risk the 1:1 of leadership – Cyber or Android Manager to take the pain away?

We beg to differ. The solution starts with the senior team acknowledging the significant risks and costs involved with poor execution of these skills. Performance management belongs to line management rather than HR, as it is in those thousands of ‘moments of truth’ as teams interact that performance is managed. Giving managers the competence that leads to expert and confident delivery requires an accessible, engaging, individually low risk programme that fits around demands of running a business.

Talk to us today, in confidence and without obligation, to ensure your managers produce stellar performance from the whole team

NB: Dig a little deeper into the Galliano story and it transpires that the individual who managed the interface between Galliano and his employer, (Steven Robinson), died four years ago. Perhaps this exposed the designer to the stresses of managing his own relations with a corporate culture, and removed an important reality check. Whilst Galliano will no doubt recover from the shock, it is a shame for both the organisation and the individual concerned that the realisation that there was a problem came only after such public and shaming exposure.

What a show! Avoidable Risk – Management Error?

Friday, November 12th, 2010

High IQ and in need of soft skills competence?

It really is quite a show! We are being treated to a very public airing of accusations of sexism, ‘lookism’, ageism, personal vindictiveness and opaque process. To the delight of the press it includes elements of ‘cat fight’, as personal accusations are exchanged between professionals. This is all from such an avowedly high IQ and intelligent organisation, the BBC.

The corporation is paying the financial and distraction costs of a tribunal as a result of comments allegedly made by managers when discussing an employee’s performance and future. As gender, age and looks are not characteristics that an individual may (easily) change, and are shared by large proportions of the population especially theBBC’s audience and tax paying pay masters, the market and political damage is reasonably significant.

High IQ individuals often find the soft skills required to manage performance a challenge to perfect.  Performance feedback is an important and constant part of a manager’s job. Staying adult is part of the competency. However, the BBC team appear to have resorted to personally vindictive behaviour. This may be bullying and harassment, and whether deliberate or accidental, is certainly unnecessary and avoidable.

As more than one manager within the team appears to have demonstrated shortcomings, was it an isolated management failure with the senior manager failing to correct errors? Or was this a case of tick box compliance to policy?

Are your managers to exposing your organisation to unnecessary risks?

Talk to us, in confidence and without obligation about helping your managers develop the competence and confidence to manage effectively.  Solutions that engage, motivate and fit around, rather than disrupt the business.

The Case of the Fat Controller and the poisoning of Performance?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

The Fat Controller, (Sir Topham Hatt), is a ‘hands on’ manager.  He delivers feedback to his team in person (usually escorted by two uniformed ‘associates’).  His highest praise – ‘really useful’; his greatest criticism – ‘You have caused confusion and delay’.  Performance failure and an inappropriate attitude are met by being shut in sheds for days or consigned hard physical labour (shunting) duties. The team’s reality is that failure to be useful leads to the scrap heap and the smelter. Truly the world of small children has few shades of grey.   

Like some Asian cultures, the British are masters in the art of ‘face’ and not saying clearly what they mean (the use of euphemism).  There are good historical reasons for this – not least the need to not offend on a crowded island.

 The downside is that our messages are not always understood, particularly by recipients from different cultures – including the current educational culture.  A worthy national agenda and aspiration of inclusion is easily misunderstood and manipulated without the supporting vocabulary of duties and deliverables/obligations.  Jane Jacobs (1) makes clear the difference between the private and the public sectors – the latter which is able to legislate, regulate, commandeer resources and insist on ‘fairness’.  The private sector where we must co-operate and influence to gain resources, and the market defines ‘fairness’. 

How strange then the transition to work for many of today’s Generation Y, burdened by high expectations – including of ‘fairness’.  How strange the entry into a world of hierarchy, where experience counts, and we are not all equal (2).  And how strange for Generation X managers to be confronted by these beings from another planet at a time when performance really matters.   Much easier then to try to hide behind the ‘not the XYZ company way’ statement to close down arguments, than use appropriate communication skills.  Now more than ever the ‘soft skills’ needed for the delivery of performance management messages matters.

Next Steps? :

Talk to us, in confidence and without obligation about reducing fear and increasing  competence in your performance management

(1) Systems of Survival; ISBN-10: 0679748164 & ISBN-13: 978-0679748168

(2) Our generation: inculcated with dreams, hampered by the economy, scuppered by our own ineffectiveness.

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