Wednesday, December 22, 2010

RCSA working on future leaders too!

Good feedback for RCSA's Future Leaders program
The RCSA Future Business Leaders Forum, an event held this week to help senior consultants make the step up to managing teams, was a big success according to organiser Phil Isard. 

Isard, the owner of Consultive Recruitment and a member of the RCSA Victoria Council, said the session was led by senior industry figures Robert Blanche of Bayside, and Nigel Harse, who manages the RIB Report. 

Isard said consultants tended to complete a lot of professional education on things like technical and sales skills, and the RCSA saw a need for more development focus on people management and business skills. 

The RCSA had received enthusiastic feedback from participants and planned to expand the program next year, he said. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why hiring or keeping the 600lb sales gorilla is a mistake

For many years the legend of the 600lb sales gorilla or Alpha sales superstar has been strutting the hallways and boardrooms of businesses. Often revered for achieving top of the league ladder sales results, yet feared by many for their aggressive, manipulative, ego centric, demanding, intimidating antics, countless CEO's and sales managers have allowed these sales prima donnas to remain in their sales teams but at what cost to their sales team and their business?

Too scared to confront them about their behaviours or sales tactics for fear of losing their sales contribution, many sales managers and their sales team have simply suffered in the presence of these sales bullies. In my many years of working with sales teams and sales managers I have met my fair share of sales gorillas and their distressed managers and sales teams.

Here's what I have observed:
  • They have the ear of the Managing Director/CEO who thinks they can do no wrong.
  • They won't let the business anywhere near their customers.
  • They tell tall tales about their legendary sales conquests.
  • They refuse to be coached, counseled or trained.
  • They are very demanding, always complaining about the lack of resources and taking up the time of countless people to do their bidding, leaving the other sales people to fend for themselves.
  • They often exhibit bad behavior, and may be heard swearing or making inappropriate comments to their colleagues or other staff who are often too fearful to report them (see point 1).
  • They can engage in questionable sales tactics, yet claim that they are pristine and operate with the utmost of integrity.
  • They claim to know a lot of people and be very well connected.
  • They use actual or implied intimidation to get their way with internal team members.
  • They use charm and manipulation to get their way with key stakeholders.
  • They act with righteous indignation if you question anything about them.
  • They don't think they need to comply with company policies so often refuse to complete paperwork or keep up to date CRM's if they think it's a `waste of time'.
You only have to watch the movie `Glengarry Glen Ross' to see your fair share of sales gorillas. This type of sales culture was revered by a number of industry sectors in the 70's and 80's, including real estate, car sales, stock broking, etc. Watching it makes me feel ill, but many sales teams got off on this and even use `Glengarry Glen Ross' as a model of how they should sell in some quarters today.
Yet most people watching `Glengarry Glen Ross' or meeting their very own sales gorilla feel repulsed by them. Often very wary of them, others wonder why they have to tolerate them and why management won't act. Truth is these sales gorillas have never been pulled into line. Their outstanding sales results have somehow bought them immunity from behaving in a civil manner. The smell of money they can bring in has condoned behaviour that has often outweighed the need to act ethically and uphold team values and respectful behavior. Their bad behavior has been allowed to manifest without restrictions, `oh let him get away with it. Look at the results he pulls in'. These sales gorillas are the direct result of poor quality leadership, lack of clear standards and bad decision making.

What most businesses do not know is that these sales gorillas, for all their so called sales success, actually fall well behind the real sales superstars in terms of achieving high level and sustainable sales results who, by contrast, are open minded, curious, collaborative, team oriented, open to learning and aim for partnerships on every level. And these real sales superstars are humble too which is a direct contradiction to the behavior of the sales gorillas.

• So are you currently letting fear hold you and your team hostage by allowing your sales gorilla to persist?
• What would happen if you got rid of the sales gorilla?
• How would the rest of your team respond when they left?
• What would happen to sales and the clients?

In my experience when the sales gorilla finally departs, there is an initial sense of shock which quickly gives way to relief and the opportunity for the sales team to really pull together and prosper. The biggest fear of losing the sales gorilla's sales power and their clients doesn't eventuate in the vast majority of cases. In fact it is often revealed that the clients are happy the sales gorilla has left and look forward to a more open and prosperous relationship with the company concerned and sales grow even more.

I am not suggesting that most leaders intentionally hired these sales gorillas or intended for them to manifest however, without clear codes of conduct or values and a proper understanding of what you want by way of `good sales performance' you cannot hire or develop the right sales people to do the right things in the right sales culture.

In his book `The No Asshole Rule', Leigh Buchanan writes about bosses behaving badly. Its thesis – don't hire jerks, has become public policy in many companies around the world. I would suggest we think clearly about what we want manifested in our sales teams and take a leaf out of Leigh's book and make sure we employ `The No Asshole Rule' and don't hire sales jerks.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Candidates being turned off by poor public sector recruitment processes

The Australian Public Service is losing the best candidates because its recruitment processes continue to be slow, bureaucratic and inefficient, according to the annual State of the Service report.

The report, released last week by the Australian Public Service Commission, found that it took federal public sector agencies an average of 75 working days (15 weeks) to fill a non-executive vacancy.

Executive-level roles took an average of 94 working days (19 weeks).

Cost to fill varied from $700 to $19,000 per vacancy, and the average was $2,800.

(The report noted that the expenditure data was limited, because only 23 of the 98 agencies in the survey were able to provide an estimate of their spending.)

The report showed that the APS recruited fewer staff in fiscal 2010 (10,221 permanent hires, or 6.8% of the total workforce) than it did in fiscal 2009 (12,963 hires or 9%).

The Commission polled employees on their experiences of being recruited into the public service, and found that 60% believed the process wasn't managed efficiently and 53% said it 'took far too long' to complete.

The report said that although government departments were clearly spending a lot of time and effort on advertising, interviewing and selecting candidates, employees continued to view recruitment processes 'poorly'.

Furthermore, some 11% of all those APS employees who left their jobs during the year were leaving within their first 12 months.

'If the APS is to build its workforce capability in a more competitive labour market, it will need to improve its recruitment processes so the right people are placed in the right job at the right time,' the Commission said.

'Recruitment across the APS will need to become more efficient, transparent and applicant-friendly and will need to distinguish [between] candidates on the basis of merit."

There were, however, a few success stories.

The report said the Department of Infrastructure reduced its recruitment costs from $670,000 in 2008/09 to $100,000 in 2009/10, by introducing department-wide recruitment campaigns, developing a new employer brand, and launching targeted graduate recruitment programs and student vacation internships.

The National Library of Australia reduced recruitment timeframes from 39 to 21 days, after putting in place an online recruitment system for the first time in October 2009, developing a recruitment policies and metrics, and providing associated training for staff.

The report noted the most recent estimate for the public sector's total direct recruitment costs (in 2006/07) was $370 million, and indicated a goal of shaving 10% off this amount.

"The Commission is investigating ways to streamline APS recruitment... If [doing this] delivers a 10% saving on direct recruitment costs ($37 million per annum) without diminishing the quality of selections, the return on investment would be considerable."

The report provided only minimal detail on efforts by agencies to measure quality of hire.

Lack of planning leads to paying too much for skills
The report said the most critical skills shortages in the APS at present was in IT, with more than half of the agencies surveyed reporting difficulties finding skilled IT workers.

More than 40% of government departments were also struggling to source finance and accounting staff.

The report noted that only 21% of APS agencies had a formal workforce plan - although another 41% said they were currently developing one.

"Assessing the demand and supply of staff is difficult, particularly when agencies make this assessment without an established system for classifying skills/competencies.

"The lack of systemic workforce planning in agencies leads to poor succession management and a growing sense that the APS ends up paying too much for skills that unexpectedly become in demand."

Friday, September 3, 2010

TheTen Fatal Flaws That Derail Leaders

Poor leadership in good times can be hidden, but poor leadership in bad times is a recipe for disaster. To find out why leaders fail, we
scrutinized results from two studies: In one, we collected 360-degree feedback data on more than 450 Fortune 500 executives and then teased
out the common characteristics of the 31 who were fired over the next three years. In the second, we analyzed 360-degree feedback data from more than 11,000 leaders and identified the 10% who were considered least effective. We then compared the ineffective leaders with the fired
leaders to come up with the 10 most common leadership shortcomings. Every bad leader had at least one, and most had several.

Worst Leaders Ten Fatal Flaws:

Lack energy and enthusiasm. They see new initiatives as a burden, rarely volunteer, and fear being overwhelmed.
One such leader was described as having the ability to “suck all the energy out of any room.”

Accept their own mediocre performance. They overstate the difficulty of reaching targets so that they look good when they achieve them. They live by the mantra “Underpromise and overdeliver.”

Lack clear vision and direction. They believe their only job is to execute. Like a hiker who sticks close to the trail, they’re fine until they come to a fork.

Have poor judgment. They make decisions that colleagues and subordinates consider to be not in the organization’s best interests.

Don’t collaborate. They avoid peers, act independently, and view other leaders as competitors. As a result, they are set adrift by the very people whose insights and support they need.

Don’t walk the talk. They set standards of behavior or expectations of performance and then violate them. They’re perceived as lacking integrity.

Resist new ideas. They reject suggestions from subordinates and peers. Good ideas aren’t implemented, and the organization gets stuck.

Don’t learn from mistakes. They may make no more mistakes than their peers, but they fail to use setbacks as opportunities for improvement, hiding their errors and brooding about them instead.

Lack interpersonal skills. They make sins of both commission (they’re abrasive and bullying) and omission (they’re aloof, unavailable, and reluctant to praise).

Fail to develop others. They focus on themselves to the exclusion of developing

Monday, August 30, 2010

here's another good one. Full EO process

might be a little long in the tooth, but fun concepts! I have rextricted this on to 'arrows on;y' whereas the other you can drag around with your mouse. Also, under the 'more' tab you can make it full screen.

Employment Office Client Presentations

Tess has done some great work using 'prezi' to create client presentations.
Well done tess!

Look forward to SAE feedback particularly, on how they use them and where you might be able to take them?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Recruitment Agencies, their fees and why they think they deserve to be so expensive!

Helping People Soar Like Eagles – an excerpt from ‘One Minute Entrepreneur, by Ken Blachard’

Helping People Soar Like Eagles – an excerpt from ‘One Minute Entrepreneur, by Ken Blachard’

Nancy Kaline had taken over the presidency of her large, family owned company from her father, who had built an incredible business from scratch with a classic ‘my way or the highway’ leadership style. Yet that hadn’t seemed to work in the last few years he ran the company.

“Several things changed,” Nancy told Jud and Terri when they all got together. “First of all, business is much more complicated today than when my dad started out. Globalization, intense competition, and rapid and constant technological change were stretching him beyond his comfort zone. The one-man-band strategy of decision making just didn’t cut it anymore as the company grew. Today’s knowledge works want a partnership relationship with their leaders”

“Partnership?” said Jud.

“Yes” said Nancy. “Dedicated employees today believe that ownership and management need them as much as they need the company. If they feel undervalued or uninvolved, they will go elsewhere. As with customers today, loyalty from your people has to be earned”.

“How do you earn your peoples loyalty?” Terri wondered aloud.

“By letting them bring their brains, not just their bodies, to work” said Nancy. “As Lou would say, let them soar like eagles instead of quack like ducks. To do that required owners and bosses who are servant leaders”.

“Servant leadership?” said Jud. “It sounds like the inmates running the prison”.

“Or some kind of religious movement” said Terri.

Nancy laughed “To truly understand what servant leadership is all about, you have to recognise that there are two aspects to leadership: vision and implementation/ The visionary aspect of leadership sets the direction, the values and the major business initiatives. That’s the ‘lead’ part of leadership. It’s what I call strategic leadership. This is what my father was good at”

“Sounds like a big-picture guy” said Terri.

“He was” said Nancy with a smile. “And he had a number of experienced folks with him from the beginning, who would do anything to please him and make things happen. These were the typical employees of the past – loyal and willing to do what they were told. They dedicated themselves to the company in exchange for lifelong loyalty from their employer. Without folks like them, Dad would have been in trouble. He didn’t focus much on implementation. He would set the direction and then expect that what he wanted to have happen, would happen”/

“What do you mean?” asked Jud

“He would tell people what the task was, and then he’d disappear” said Nancy. “He would head off looking for the next business opportunity. They were okay if they understood exactly what to do. But that wasn’t always the case. Sometimes work didn’t get done in a timely manner, and mistakes were made. When that happened, he would circle back and become a seagull manager, swooping in, making a lot of noise, dumping on everybody and then flying out. But since my dad was loyal to them, they’d pick up the pieces and get back to work.

“When I took over, most of the original folks were retiring or heading out the door. It’s a whole new ballgame now. People understand that good performance starts with clear goals, but what interests them the most is how those goals are going to be met – the operational leadership. That’s where the ‘servant’ part of servant leadership comes in.”

“Today, people want managers who will work with them to accomplish goals. They want leaders who think of them as partners. That’s what servant leaders do.

“And yet” said Nancy, in most companies – whether large or small – leadership is commonly thought of in terms of a hierarchy, where the owner or president or CEO is in charge and everyone’s energy is focused on pleasing their boss. That was happening with my father. In my experience, that kind of top-down leadership does not bring out the best in people”.

‘In other words” said Jud, “leadership that is perceived as side by side rather than top to bottom is more likely to create high performance and satisfaction”.

“Right” said Nancy. “With such a side by side partnership, the focus is on helping people produce good results. When that happens, your folks feel good about themselves and the company wins.

“So, how can we, as entrepreneurs make sure that we’re emphasizing both performance and satisfaction?” asked Jud.

“By encouraging everyone to become a leader. Entrepreneurs who retain their people do just that. They realise that they can’t do everything by themselves. They have to depend on the people they hire to take their dream, run with it, and make things happen. When mistakes are made, these leaders use these occasions as learning opportunities, rather than as a time to punish others.”

“I see a lot of entrepreneurs who let their egos eat their brains” said Jud. “They start to think their business is all about them. They forget about the importance of their people. I hope I never fall into that trap”.

“It’s an easy trap to fall into” said Nancy. “If your organisation is all about you, you don’t allow your people to become committed to your dream. They’ll shuffle in and out of your company, depending upon the offers they get elsewhere. When you think of your people as your partners, they’ll begin to act like they own the place. They take responsibility for what they do. And that is exactly what you want them to do”.

“How do you make people your partners, exactly?” asked Jud.

“You have to set up strong performance management system” Nancy replied.

“The word ‘system’ often has negative connotation” said Jud with a smile.

“You’re right” said Nancy. “Most entrepreneurs don’t think they need a system to manage their people. Yet as Peter Drucker often said, ‘Nothing good happens by accident’. I am sure you have several people in your life who always remember your birthday”

They all nodded.

“They are very thoughtful people” continued Nancy. “How do you think they became so thoughtful? They are organised. They have some system that signals them several weeks before your birthday that it is coming up. That same kind of systematic thinking has to drive your management of people at work”.

“What does a good performance management system involve?” asked Jud.

“There are three parts to an effective performance management system” said Nancy. “The first is performance planning. This is when you agree with your people about the goals and objectives that they should be focusing their energy on. All good performers start with clear goals”

“So, if people don’t know where they are going, they have little chance of getting there” said Terri with a smile.

“That’s for sure” said Nancy. “Too many people in organisations get punished for not doing what they didn’t know they were supposed to do in the first place”.

“And goal setting helps eliminate that” said Jud.

“It certainly helps” said Nancy “Particularly if people not only know what they are being asked to do, but they also know what good performance looks like – what the performance standards are”

“Does the partnering begin with the performance planning? Asked Terri.

“Yes” said Nancy. “But you have to remember that in performance planning, it’s okay for the owner or manager to set the goals, because if there is a disagreement between a manager and a direct report about what the goals are, who wins?”

“The owner or manager, I assume” said Terri.

“Yes” replied Nancy. “Because that person represents the goals and objectives of the company. That doesn’t mean that you don’t involve your people in goal setting, particularly experienced people. It just means that the responsibility for goal setting rests with the manager. This is the ‘lead’ aspect of servant leadership”.

“What’s the second aspect of a good performance review system?” asked Jud.

“Day-to-day coaching” said Nancy. “This is where you invert the proverbial pyramid and turn the hierarchy upside down, so now you are essentially working for your people”.

“Why do you do that?” asked Jud.

“Because then as a manager you become the cheerleader and supporter of good performance by your people” said Nancy. “It’s the role of managers to do everything they can do to help team members be successful. This is where the partnering relationship and the ‘serve’ aspect of servant leadership really kick in. You do everything you can to help team members soar like eagles”.

“What’s the third aspect of an effective performance management system? Asked Jud.

“Performance evaluation” said Nancy. “This is where managers and their direct reports sits down and examine the performance of each team member over time”

“I used to dread performance – evaluation sessions” said Jud. “even though I knew Dirk, the CEO, was on my side”

“The reason most people dread their performance evaluation sessions” said Nancy, “is they are never quite sure how they will be evaluated. They just hope they have a good relationship with their boss and, therefore, that their evaluation will go well”

“That certainly was the way it was with me” said Jud. “ I remember Dirk had a form he filled out on me”

“Oh yes, the form” said Nancy. “When I go into most companies, and organisations, people will say to me, You’re going to love our new performance-evaluation form”. I always laugh, because I think most of them can be thrown out”.

“Why do you say that?” says Terri.

“Because these forms often measure things that nobody knows how to evaluate. For example ‘initiative’ or ‘willingness to take responsibility’ or ‘promotability’ – that’s a good one!

‘When no one knows how to win on an evaluation form, they focus most of their energy up the hierarchy. After all, as Jud said, if you have a good relationship with your boss, you have a high probability of getting a good evaluation”

“That really rings a bell with me” said Jud. “I never knew exactly how Dirk was going to evaluate me, except with my sales numbers, which were very specific”

“That gets back to performance standards, Jud” said Nancy. “remember how I said that all good performance starts with clear goals? You need performance standards. After all, if you can’t measure something, you can’t manage it. Often people are evaluated on unclear areas, where they don’t eve know what good performance looks like. And sometimes they haven’t even been told that their boss is interested in a specific area”.

“Let me get back to goal setting for a minute” said Terri. “Don’t most organisations do a pretty good job on goal setting?”

“Yes, they do” replied Nancy, “But unfortunately, after setting goals, what do you think happens to those goals in most cases”

Jud starts to laugh “I bet they get filed”

“You’ve got it” said Nancy. “And no one looks at them until it’s time for performance reviews”.

“So the goals are not used actively during the year?” Terri asked

“Not they are not” replied Nancy

“Why” said Jud.

“Let me answer by asking you a question” said Nancy. “Of the three aspects of an effective performance management system, what’s the one on which the least time is spent?”

“I know it’s not performance evaluation” said Jud with a laugh, “because that seems to me to be the one aspect of what you’re talking about that every manager focuses on”.

“I bet its day-to-day coaching” said Terri.

“Bingo!” Said Nancy. The lease amount of time managers spend is on coaching. Yet this is the most important aspect of managing people’s performance. It’s here where feedback – praising progress and redirecting inappropriate behaviour – moves to centre stage. This is where your manager really becomes your partner, because he or she is giving you feedback on your goals and the results you are getting.

“If you want people to win and accomplish their goals, then they need somebody observing and monitoring their behaviour after goals are established. This is when you guide them in the right direction if they are off base, and praise and cheer them on if they are on the money”.

“This is really exciting stuff!” said Jud.

“I’m glad you think so” said Nancy “because it’s absolutely key. To illustrate, let me share with you a story about a college professor I had. He was always in trouble with university. He was investigated repeatedly by faculty committees. What drove the faculty crazy more than anything else was that at the beginning of every class he gave his students the final exam. When the faculty found out about that, they asked “What are you doing?”

He’d say ‘I thought we were supposed to teach these students’ ‘The faculty would say ‘You are, but you don’t give the students the final exam ahead of time’. He’d say “not only am I going to give them the final exam ahead of time – what do you think I am going to teach them throughout the semester? I ‘m going to teach them the answers, so that when they get the final exam, they get As. You see, life is all about getting As, not some stupid normal distribution curve’

“What a great philosophy” said Jud.

“It is” said Nancy. “He impacted my leadership perspective significantly. Do you two go out and hire losers? Do you go around saying “we lost some of our losers last year, so let’s go out and hire some new ones to fill those low slots?”

“I sure hope we don’t!” said Terri. “I like to think we go out and hire either winners or potential winners. Potential winners are people we think can be winners if they’re coached in the right way”.

“So you don’t hire people to fit a normal distribution curve, do you? Said Nancy

“Absolutely not” said Terri

“So you want to be careful not to fall into that trap, whether officially or unofficially” continued Nancy. “So often managers think of their jobs as judging, evaluation, and criticising their people. What it really is about is helping, cheerleading and supporting their efforts”

“Giving people the final exam ahead of time is equivalent to performance planning. Now they know exactly what is expected of them. Teaching people the answers is what day-to-day coaching is all about. If you see somebody doing something right, you give them an ‘atta boy’ or ‘atta girl’. If they do something wrong, you just say ‘wrong answer. What do you think would be the right answer?” In another words, you redirect them. And at the end of the performance period, giving people the same ‘exam’ you gave them at the beginning of the ‘semester’ makes the performance evaluation more effective”

“So you are saying there should be no surprises at an annual or semi-annual performance evaluation” said Jud.

“That’s exactly what I am saying!” said Nancy.

“Everyone should know what the test is going to be, and that they are going to get help throughout the year to achieve a high score. When you have a forced rating system where a certain percentage of your people have to lose, you lose everyone’s trust. Now all they are concerned about is looking out for number one”

So, if you want our people to soar like eagles and take care of our customers, we have to create an environment where they can win – where they know that we’re on their side – so they will be empowered to act like they own the place”

Leadership that emphasizes judgement, criticism and evaluation of employee is a relic of the past. Effective leadership is about treating people the right way by providing the direction and encouragement they need to be the best. If you help your people get A’s, then you have a performance management system that will ignite them to blow your customers away. They feel good about themselves and want to return the favour to others.