Most successful organizations have transitioned from the traditional employee appraisal process to the more enterprising performance management process that ties employee performance to organizational performance through its mission, vision and values. Management teams have discovered that when they do not deploy cascading goals from the executive suite to divisions, departments and individual employees, the organization experiences a misalignment with their overall goals. This misalignment results in unclear goals at the department and employee level.
On-boarding, beyond being helpful for the new hire, is essential for talent retention and employee engagement, which translate directly into efficient productivity. Talent retention has become a hot topic in the human resource (HR) community because of the looming talent shortage as baby boomers leave the workforce. The research is showing that employees more often quit working for their managers, not for their organization, so first impressions for the managers are important.
Today we hear a great deal about including job competencies in our job descriptions. One question I hear often from students and practitioners in my SHRM certification course is: “exactly what are job competencies and how do they differ from job skills?” This is a great question and the confusion lies in the fact that competencies are, in fact, skills.
It seems to be part of human nature to save things; just in case. We want something in reserve that we can fall back on. We like the security. Inventory can serve such a purpose in our workplaces. When we see work in process, we might feel encouraged that there is work to do. We might also feel a bit intimidated or overwhelmed.
There is a lot of discussion in the industrial arena about Lean Enterprise and Six Sigma. Many times, it appears that authors promote their focus on one of these best practice approaches, and discuss the other as if it were a competing or opposing view. If we take a deeper look, however, we should see there is great synergy and value in appropriately combining these powerful approaches.
People that are viewed as good problem solvers are valued. We know they can help. They just seem to have a knack for figuring things out. In truth, we all have different abilities and skills, and some people ARE better at getting to the crux of the problem. But, how do they do it? Is problem solving a learned or innate skill?
An effective continual improvement program needs to include involvement from everyone in the organization. Achieving this level of cultural awareness takes time and must be nurtured employee by employee. One of the first questions that employees ask is, “What do you want me to do?” If we can’t define the roles we want employees to play when it comes to improving processes, how can we expect a cultural transformation to take place?
DMAIC comes to us from the Six Sigma community and PDCA comes out of the Lean community. 8D (Eight Disciplines) was developed by Ford Motor Company to solve problems. All three are valid roadmaps on which you can hang any of the tools for analyzing processes.
As I mentioned in my last article, project management has become a critical skill for efficiently and effectively aligning valuable resources to achieve an organization’s important operational, strategic and sales projects. In this article, I’d like to address something that all three of these categories of projects have in common. They are all constrained by three elements – Time, Cost and Requirements.
Today more than ever, organizations are faced with the challenge to reduce costs and increase capacities while delivering increasingly better products and services. Facing global competition in the marketplace, organizations are struggling to be competitive, struggling to be profitable, and most importantly, struggling to survive. Dr. W. Edwards Deming once commented, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” With the reality of going out of business, organizations in all industries are asking, “How do we change our approach to business to keep us relevant in our industry?”
As a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, I’ve been known to think differently than others and my family has noticed. And many people have no idea what it is or what it means. “Martial arts? When did you do that? And what does Lean Six Sigma mean?” Ugh! They’ll never understand. Or, maybe this is the perfect opportunity to let them see me in action and they might just gain some insight into, “What is Six Sigma?”
In any organization, work can be broken down into two categories – operations and projects. Operations are the organization’s on-going, repetitive activities, such as manufacturing, staffing or accounting. These activities are primarily focused on keeping things running. On the other hand, project work is temporary in nature, having defined start and end dates; project work produces unique outputs. Though both categories of work have some things in common (people, resources, goals), they require different sets of skills and tools.
Can you answer yes to the following question? At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? According the author Tom Rath in the book Strengths Finder 2.0, those who answered yes to this question are six times more likely to be engaged in their work and three times more likely to have a better quality of life in general. According to this study by the Gallup organization of over 10 million people, only a third of them “strongly agreed” with this statement.
Say the phrase, “We need to hold people more accountable” to your team and most of them will likely have a negative reaction. Why? Because for many, the connotation of the word “accountability” was created by an unpleasant experience involving blame, coercion, criticism and more work. What we say we mean versus what they perceive is often contradictory.
Providing difficult feedback to an employee is one of the most challenging tasks for a supervisor. Nobody likes having to tell someone that they are not doing a good job. And certainly nobody wants to hear it. Employee defensiveness, even complete denial of the situation, can often be a typical employee response.
As we approach another end to the business year and, hopefully, are planning for the coming business year, I genuinely encourage you all to reflect upon the past year’s successes and failures to determine where that one extra degree of effort either made the difference or could have made the difference in your businesses.
In my last article, I wrote about two of the common traps decision makers can fall into. In this article, I’d like to share two key questions that must be addressed when making a decision – who should make the decision and who should be in involved in the decision. The answer to the first question is pretty straightforward – generally it’s the individual who is in charge. But the decision maker has some options when it comes to the second question. Let’s explore them.
Gather in a circle? Ned, are you crazy? This is a workplace not some hand holding kumbaya love fest! No I am not crazy and you don’t have to be kumbaya love fest to pull this off. The circle is the most prevalent geometric shape natural to nature. Everything you see has a circular shape to it; the moon, earth, sun, clouds, trees, animals, (some of us are a little more circular than others) and so on.
What is it about someone that makes them a great leader? Is it their status, outgoing personality, likeability, relatability, vision, ability to create a great strategy and execute it? I’ve always been interested in the subject of leadership and what makes some people so good at it, while others (despite all the classes they take, books they read or coaching they receive) are not. As an avid reader on the topic and observer of others, I find that the foundation of great leadership is self-awareness.