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Ducks in a Row: Value-Based Compensation

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gardener41/1452771619/

Yesterday we considered the error companies make by basing offers on salary history, instead of future performance.

That may be about to end, at least in the outliers of Philadelphia and New York City.

In short, the law prevents employers from asking candidates about their current/previous compensation.

Candidates can volunteer the information, but can’t be asked for it by the company or any recruiting process, including third parties.

Doing so opens them up for lawsuits.

Ignoring implementation and legal hurdles, what does it really mean and why do I see it as such a positive?

Primarily because I don’t believe that either performance history or salary history has a damn thing to do with the value candidates bring to their next job.

Companies need to have a hiring range for each opportunity based on the impact that specific position should have on the company’s success.

The low end is based on average performance, while the high end is the result of an over achiever in the position.

The offer should be the highest number within the range based on the hiring manager’s evaluation of the candidate in light of two strong constants.

  1. 98% of star performers become stars as a function of their management and the ecosystem in which they perform.
  2. People who join for money will leave for more money.

Merit raises are then given based on that individual’s actual contribution to the company’s success, as opposed to some number from HR.

This puts most of the responsibility on the hiring manager — exactly where it belongs.

Image credit: gardener41

Ducks in a Row: Wally Bock Reviews “Winning Well”

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

https://www.flickr.com/photos/44412176@N05/4197328040/A couple of years ago, in a post citing Robert Sutton’s comments on scaling, I said,

A company isn’t an entity at all. It’s a group of people all moving in the same direction, united in a shared vision and their efforts to reach a common goal. (…)Yes, it’s the people. It has always been the people all the way back to our hunter ancestors.

And it will always be the people.

Years before that I wrote about creating a Good Culture in a Toxic Environment.

My e-buddy Wally Bock says bosses need to have a duel focus to be truly successful.

One is to accomplish the mission, make your numbers in business. The other is to care for your people, keep them safe and help them grow.

To that end, I thought I’d share Wally’s review of a book offering guidance on carrying them out.

Winning-WellBook Review: Winning Well

Several years ago at a party, I was approached by a young man who had just assumed his first management job. His name was Carl and he had a simple question: “Is there any company I can go to where I don’t have to choose between getting good results and treating people right?”

I answered Carl’s question with one of my own: “Why not stay where you are and do the job right?” I told him what I learned in the Marines, that you really have two jobs. One is to accomplish the mission, make your numbers in business. The other is to care for your people, keep them safe and help them grow.

It can be done. There are managers all over the world doing it every day. Carl and I talked some more. I tried to give him the basics of doing it right. If we were having that conversation today, I’d suggest that Carl read Winning Well.

An Overview of Winning Well

The promise of the book is in the full title: Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results–Without Losing Your Soul. Karin Hurt and David Dye have written a book that goes way beyond my discussion with Carl. Here’s the premise of the book, taken from chapter one.

“Winning Well means that you sustain excellent performance over time, because you refuse to succumb to harsh, stress-inducing shortcuts that temporarily scare people into ‘performing.’ You need energized, motivated people all working together. Your strategy is only as strong as the ability of your people to execute at the front line, and if they’re too scared or tired to think, they won’t. You can have all the great plans, six sigma quality programs, and brilliant competitive positioning in the universe, but if the human beings doing the real work lack the competence, confidence, and creativity to pull it off, you’re finished.”

The book is divided into four sections. The first covers the basics of Winning Well. Section two is about accomplishing the mission, getting the job done. Section three is about caring for the people, covering how you “Motivate, Energize, and Inspire Your Team.” The fourth and final section is practical advice for getting started, even if your boss doesn’t care about your soul or your team doesn’t care about the work or each other.

Who Should Not Read Winning Well

There are people who believe that all of this caring for the people stuff is nonsense. If that’s you, don’t even bother to pick up Winning Well. Wait until you think there might be something to the caring part of being a manager, then, when you’re looking for the “how to do it” part, buy the book and read it.

Who Should Read Winning Well

You should read Winning Well if you want practical advice for the real problems of getting results without losing your soul. Here are three kinds of people who can benefit from this book.

If you’re a working manager

If you’re a working manager and you want to learn the how’s of Winning Well, you can use this book in two ways. Read it straight through, making notes as you go. Then create an action plan for becoming the manager you want to be. There’s plenty of help in the book and online.

You can also read individual chapters to help you with a thorny issue at work. Dip into the book, get some just-in-time learning, and meet the specific challenge you’re facing today.

If you are a leader of managers

You’ll get a lot from this book and it’s also a great book to share with your managers. Winning Well is about rich, long term success. This would be a great book to stimulate discussion at team meetings or for a book club.

If you think you might want to be a manager

If you’re considering becoming a manager, Winning Well can help you in two ways. You’ll learn how you can be the kind of boss who gets results and builds relationships. As a bonus, the many stories and examples will give you insight into what a manager’s job is all about.

Bottom Line

If you’re a manager who wants to get great results and still have a good relationship with your people, or if you want to become that kind of manager, Winning Well will give you the insight, information, and inspiration to achieve those goals.

You can find out more about this book and how it got written by reading The Story of Winning Well on my writing site.

Post and image credit: Wally Bock; Duck image credit: gorfor

Ducks in a Row: Falling Star Marissa Mayer

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98714794@N08/15815120475/

There is nothing wrong with Marissa Mayer’s compensation.

Yahoo! Inc.’s Marissa Mayer was the country’s highest-paid female CEO. The 39-year-old was awarded $59.1 million in 2014, making her No. 3 among the eight women on the Bloomberg Pay Index…

However, there is a lot wrong with Marissa Mayer’s performance.

The problem is, as As Wally Bock succinctly said last year, “We live in a world of microwavable answers and quick fixes” — and bosses see stars as quick fixes,” and Yahoo’s board thought Mayer the star would quickly fix Yahoo.

Hiring stars is often a function of bragging rights, better known as “mine’s bigger than yours.

But in a world where where people want star status in order to brand themselves, boards and bosses would do well to remember that they don’t come with any kind of money-back guarantee — in fact, they more often come with some kind of golden buyout.

Most star performers are a product of the ecosystem in which they perform. Change the management, culture, especially culture, or any other part of that ecosystem and stars may fall.

And never forget that that ecosystem is permeated by that insidious little detail that impacts success and is so often ignored in discussions — the economy.

As everyone knows, Yahoo isn’t Google, so…

A rising star at Google has become a falling star at Yahoo.

And a lesson learned for thinking bosses at any level, especially those responsible for hiring  executive and strategic talent — the past is no guarantee of the future.

Flickr image credit: Tim Spouge

Golden Oldies: Are you (in)competent

Monday, January 18th, 2016

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over nearly a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written. Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

This particular Oldie is one of my favorites; probably because it poked such large holes in all the giant egos back in 2000. And it should do the same thing to the even larger egos walking around today. Read other Golden Oldies here.

Gotcha! I see all you readers twisting your arms in order to pat yourselves on the back because you know that even though you could improve at least you’re not incompetent.

Are you sure of that?

Way back in 2000 I read about research that stuck in my mind, an unfortunate reminder to me that I’m not nearly as good/smart/interesting/funny/etc. as I’d like to think I am.

It was done by Cornell’s Dr. David A. Dunning, who describes his research in the field of social psychology this way, “My social psychological work focuses on two related phenomena. First I am interested in why people tend to have overly favorable and objectively indefensible views of their own abilities, talents, and moral character. For example, a full 94% of college professors state that they do “above average” work, although it is statistically impossible for virtually everybody to be above average. Second, I am interested in how people bolster their sense of self-worth by carefully tailoring the judgments they make of others. That is, people tend to make judgments of others that reflect favorably back on themselves, doing so even when the self is not under explicit scrutiny.”

According to the research, “most incompetent people do not know that they are incompetent. On the contrary. People who do things badly are usually supremely confident of their abilities — more confident, in fact, than people who do things well…One reason that the ignorant also tend to be the blissfully self-assured, the researchers believe, is that the skills required for competence often are the same skills necessary to recognize competence.”

Isn’t that encouraging.

How bad is it? “Asked to evaluate their performance on the test of logical reasoning, for example, subjects who scored only in the 12th percentile guessed that they had scored in the 62nd percentile, and deemed their overall skill at logical reasoning to be at the 68th percentile.”

However, since the skills that make you competent are the same that you use to evaluate your ability, if you’re good at something you’ll know, right?

Wrong! “Unlike unskilled counterparts, the most able subjects in the study were likely to underestimate their competence.”

So, damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

The research did find that, “…a short training session in logical reasoning did improve the ability of low-scoring subjects to assess their performance realistically…”

But if you don’t know, why would you get the training? Or should you get it as preventative medicine.

Or maybe, just maybe, you should actually start listening to those around you and really hearing what they’re saying—even if it’s not complimentary, makes you uncomfortable and you don’t agree.

It doesn’t mean that “they” are always right, but if multiple people are all saying (by word or body language) the same thing, it’s very likely that they know something about you that you don’t know.

Listen, learn, think, change.

Ducks in a Row: Brains and Performance Reviews

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Performance reviews are a frequent subject of management gurus, the media and pundits of every variety, myself included.

More recently the focus has been on what’s wrong with reviews and how they often act as a demotivator.

A new article in strategy + business uses brain science to look at exactly why and how reviews demotivate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On another front, it’s Leadership Development Carnival time and the offerings are excellent. Click on over and I’m sure you’ll find information that will be of active use both at work and in your non-work life.

YouTube credit: strategy + business

If the Shoe Fits: Show Your Love

Friday, February 14th, 2014

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

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Today is Valentine’s Day and a good time to consider how best to show your love for your team.

Basically, there are two ways bosses show their love, either with cool tools or magic minutes.

Think about the old saying, “give a fool a tool and you’ll still have a fool,” which is frequently forgotten in our tech-happy world.

For discussion purposes, the term ‘fool’ denotes an underperforming person or group.

Showing your love by showering them with the latest, greatest technology or apps is unlikely to turn the fools around.

That’s where the magic minutes come in, because the majority of fools really aren’t fools.

They’re more like lost souls looking for a path to productivity, personal satisfaction and success.

Most people want their company to succeed, want to do their work well and want to feel good about what they do.

And whether you like it or not, when you chose to found a company you took on the duel roles of leader and manager.

That means your real job is spending whatever minutes are required to guide them to the path out of fooldom and into becoming an appreciated member of a powerful team.

It’s also one of the most important and satisfying experiences you will ever have no matter what happens to your company.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Saturday Odd Bits Roundup: 3 Review Don’ts

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

glassesThe dreaded annual review is on us once again, so I rounded up some great information to help you deal with them.

The second most important thing to know about performance reviews is that using software to write them creates a totally inauthentic experience for your people.

Number one-and-a-half is a great commentary on the stupidity of waiting to apply a retention tourniquet until an employee is frustrated, disgusted and ready to leave.

The most important thing to know about performance reviews is that they should be ongoing conversations throughout the year.

Most managers understand the need to help their people grow and do their best to give them timely feedback—although some do a better job than others. But even the managers who are good at it have trouble when it comes to providing feedback to their top performers, even though they are often the most eager for challenges and growth—neither of which can happen without candid feedback.

Image credit:  MykReeve on flickr

Feedback Means No Surprises

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

feedbackYesterday was Phil Gerbyshak’s last day writing Slacker Manager and the last day of Bizzia, the b5 business portal, (he’ll continue writing at The Management Expert), but his choice of topics is an important one.

The Secret to Firing Someone talks about being human and accepting that the response will also be human—and likely emotional.

But it shouldn’t be, not if you have really done your job as their manager.

Because if you’ve done that they would have been getting feedback all along; feedback that told them there were performance or attitude issues that needed to change; discussions of what needed to happen and how to do it.

This is your responsibility as a manager, leader, parent, whatever; it is up to you to give feedback constantly—not just on a certain date or because it’s convenient—never forgetting that good feedback should be public, whereas criticism is only given in private and always in a constructive manner, because no matter what is going on, no matter the problem, nothing positive will happen without honest feedback.

Yes, sometimes it is necessary to fire someone, but it should never come as a surprise to that person.

Image credit: daniel.julia on flickr

Wordless Wednesday: And The Award For Best Manager’s MAP Goes To…

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Vote in comments for your favorite manager and I’ll send him/her a great business book.

Click to see a common attitude for all generations

Image credit: cliff1066 on flickr

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