Set performance goals, meet staff regularly for reviews

28th Mar 2008

Outstanding teams have outstanding performance management processes that are a result of a leader’s commitment. Such processes are not easy to initiate and implement. Company-wide commitment is required, and time must be taken to make the process valuable.Once a good performance management system is in place and has gained traction, staff commitment, performance and morale will amaze — and the entire organization will thrive.  Please link to a Des Moines Register article PaceSetter scribed on this subject.



Emerging Opportunities: Biorenewable Materials 9/19/07 Networking

17th Sep 2007


The Iowa Biotechnology Association, Transition Capital Management and SEEME bring you this networking event at the Science Center of Des Moines, IA on September 19, 2007 at 4PM.  I’ll participate in the presentation delivering a business planning session entitled “Ready, Fire, Aim”.  Also on the agenda are Deere and Vermeer representatives who will speak about the subject.  Check out the agenda at the Iowa Biotechnology site and come out and join us.  Refreshments will be served after the presentations. 



Internal Communication: An Engaged Work Force = Productivity

7th Sep 2007

There are a number of U.S. workers dissatisfied with their employers.

According to Gallup research, there are three types of employees: engaged, not-engaged, and actively disengaged:

  1. Engaged employees “work with passion and feel a connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.”
  2. Employees who are not-engaged “are essentially ‘checked out’ putting time—but not energy or passion—into their work.”
  3. Disengaged workers “act out their unhappiness,” and “undermine what their engaged workers accomplish.”

A U.S. Employee Engagement Survey indicated that 69% of workers are either not-engaged or actively disengaged on the job. Further, that $370 billion/year is lost due to lower productivity. Can we do anything to increase the engagement level of the workforce?  Sure.  Certainly benefits, environment, etc. play a large role in engagement levels, but instituting an internal communications program has proven a valuable way to encourage employees to become stakeholders. Progressive companies view internal communications equal in importance to external communications. External marketing can reach its full potential only when employees fully “buy in” to a company’s vision, messages, goals, and values. Internal communications plans start with a clear statement of the company’s ethics, standards, and principles.  It’s also important to conduct a “communication audit” that analyzes how organizational communication occurs and answers some important questions:

  • Are employees receiving accurate information?
  • Are employees receiving regular information?
  • Are messages consistent across the company?
  • Do employees understand the goals/results of communications?

Once the audit is complete, a plan can be implemented that communicates employees’ worth and demonstrates that they are critical to the company’s objectives. In fact, there are countless ways to reinforce employee engagement from a communications perspective. Here are a few examples:

  • Contests with compelling prizes (free gift, etc.)
  • Celebrate of achievements (attended by senior executives)
  • Awards/certificates recognizing employee commitment
  • Internal mentor programs to link junior and upper-level employees
  • Community relations events sponsored by the company

Feedback is equally important.  Leaders should solicit employee feedback and suggestions about the company’s direction. Employees who feel that their ideas and suggestions are heard will be more engaged in their job. An organization with high levels of employee engagement enjoys reduced attrition and increased advocacy for its products and services. Implementing a well thought-out internal communications program will help companies leverage benefits for maximum advantage. Employee engagement can be the catalyst that leads a company to increased levels of productivity, creativity, and bottom-line results.  



People, your most valuable asset

29th Jun 2007

Through the years many managers have grown from mere supervisors into true leaders, doing all they can to remove the obstacles inhibiting their team’s ability to excel and win.  Are you and your management team included in this leader group?  I hope so.  If not, you can improve the performance of your teams by undertaking a very simple leadership approach, one of optimizing your performance management process.

We all recognize that our teams’ motivation levels vary, in some cases significantly.  Often, we call under-performance a people issue.  But is it really?  I believe it is most often a leadership issue.  You’ve seen the research.  Most people aren’t motivated by money alone.  Most perform well for a variety of personal motivations.  Nearly everybody wants to do a good job in all their endeavors.  And all employees want and need  to know what’s expected of them and how they are performing against expectations.  If you can do a proper job of communicating your company goals, your expectations of the employees and provide proper feedback on how you view their performance…you’ll see a marked improvement in the performance of your teams and, hence, the bottom line.

This doesn’t mean you should merely initiate a performance management process.  It means building a process, implementing the process and committing to continued use and improvement of the process.  Those old-fashioned annual evaluations have little value.  In fact, the results may be opposite of what you hope to achieve.  The same is true for evaluations completed by unskilled supervisors. On the other hand, a properly conducted, objective and open communication and feedback process can result in improved job satisfaction, morale and performance.  This process should be conducted much more frequently and include employee evaluation of supervisors.  It’s not a difficult task but it does take a commitment of time and resources and a champion.  And that champion should be a senior leader.

Want to hear or discuss more?  Stay tuned, I’ll be writing more about this subject in the coming days and will share some of the successes I’ve seen or enjoyed.