Focus on these 3 T’s- how not to spend time on the WRONG things

Focus on these 3 T’s- how not to spend time on the WRONG things

I do it, you do, everyone (except the birds and bees) does it… spend time on the WRONG things.
Managers and owners spend our time coaching and training our People to be more focused, more effective, more productive… but are we?

As a fan and follower of Laura Stack (the self-proclaimed “Productivity Pro”), I was excited to read her latest book, “Doing the Right Things Right: How the Effective Executive Spends Time.”

She has a simple framework that outlines the 3 T’s — and is relevant for every People Coach (from to the CEO of a $1 billion firm to a small business owner with 5 people):

1. Thinking Strategically (Business)

2. Teamwork (Team)

3. Tactics (Self)

I call this Plan, People, and Process… and she has a nice breakdown of what a manager “should” be doing.

Get her book summary for free at this link: “Doing the Right Things Right: How the Effective Executive Spends Time.”

(There is even a self-assessment on pages 13-17 if you are up for the feedback!)

As the coach, you have to both set the example as well as personally focus on the Right Things for your team to be effective and successful.

“*Managing by Wandering Around” doesn’t work anymore! (*A great term coined to Tom Peters and still used today by many successful small business owners, who are unfortunately trapped in their business because their team relies on constant attention.)

Competencies trumps experience every time

Competencies trumps experience every time

Many organizations are starting to realize that “prior job experience” is only one element that determines success in a job role. (Especially after we have seen new hires with “tons of experience” be less than stellar performers).

Since 82% of managers are in the wrong job— mid-size and large employers are looking toward other indicators to use for selection, career paths, training and development.

This has led organizational development experts to develop what is called the “competency model” process.

Competencies are a group of skills that make up a “global” trait that someone can apply to many different jobs.

  • For example, someone with problem-solving competency might potentially excel as a scientist, consultant, product designer or manager.
  • If they also have leadership competencies, then a career path and development to manager might be appropriate.
  • If they are results oriented, then perhaps consultant would be a good match.

To hire or promote the person with the highest success potential in a new role, you have to look at the experience as the evidence of a competency strength– “related experience” alone is not enough.

The “best practices” use competency-based interview questions to identify ideal candidates during the selection process, in the evaluation of current employees for job fit and are especially helpful to craft training and development action plans.

In fact, this information is so powerful we build the People Plan model to include detailed behavior-based descriptions of 30 competencies, and include them in every aspect of our coaching model.

Click here to see <a href="http://people-plan check”>15 key competencies for most jobs — How will you use these?

Is Accountability a Pink Elephant?

Is Accountability a Pink Elephant?

Last week I was speaking with a small business owner who told me “you aren’t telling me anything I don’t know…
but HOW do I get my team working together to grow the business..
HOW do I get out of overwork and overwhelm

In a sentence, his firm lacks Accountability.

But what can/ should he do?

To quote an owner who has made this transition: “Knowing doesn’t make the difference.. it is Doing that matters.”

We talk about Accountability as if it is a “thing” that other companies have but we can’t seem to find, an elusive dream, a pink elephant.

Accountability is not something that is “done” to people but a contract between you (as coach) and your team member.

They know the Right Things to do, how and when to do them, what Right looks like, and agree to Get’r Done (said in your best Jeff Foxworthy voice).

It’s a process of being clear, getting people to commit, and then coaching with feedback, re-direction, praise, follow-up and sometimes tough love. It’s the proverbial “holding someone’s feet to the fire” or “inspecting what you expect.”

It’s also important that you have process to setup, agree to and expect Accountability.

The aforementioned owner thought his main problem was “finding better people”– yet a “better employee” will not be much more effective in a team who lacks accountability as a system.

Here are two quick videos from leaders on the accountability front to explain more:

From the Zenger Folkman group’s author Kathleen Stinnett, Accountability Success in Coaching

Great overview from Roger Connors of the Oz Principle: Steps to Accountability- Above the Line and Below the Line

Four Reasons Why You Aren’t Coaching Your Staff

Four Reasons Why You Aren’t Coaching Your Staff

Like exercising and eating right, most business owners express to me that they know they “should” be spending more time coaching and training their team members.

When I ask why, the answer I get is “I am too busy” – but what is the real reason?

Yes, even small business owners and managers sometimes don’t “do the job” (a short list from my article 10 reasons why someone doesn’t do the job) —

Which one applies to your situationwhy aren’t you coaching your staff?

  1. You don’t know what to do / or how to do
  2. You aren’t motivated to do it (you are uncomfortable)
  3. You think it is pointless
  4. You believe something else is more important (after all, you do spend your time doing something else)

Let me first address 3 and 4— Coaching is not pointless and nothing else is more important to your company’s success.

If you want to retain top performers and get your team working together to delight your customers and grow sales— only positive coaching for accountability (based on cascading goals) will do this.

Here are four possible solutions for the “reluctant coach” — to increase the amount of coaching and positive impact on your team:

  • Design and use a management rhythm— know what to say, when to say it — to clarify expectations and coach for accountability
  • Make conversations easy– build trusted relationships (builds on the management rhythm)
  • Practice and learn how to be comfortable—do it, learn from it, do it again (and keep it positive and appreciative)
  • **Add a layer– Develop a team leader or general manager who will be the People coach, and interact with the team daily.
    (You can get updates from this person, and lead weekly team update and rocks meetings to still be active and involved with the team. Just not every day and on every issue.)

(**This is also how you grow the team to stop relying on your daily presence…)

If you are not interested in creating a better process, or learning how to do it authentically and naturally, that is just fine.

Just as long as you start developing a People coach on your team who will.

If Not You, Who is Coaching Your Team?

If Not You, Who is Coaching Your Team?

A new software for small business owners is called “17 hats” – and I think this accurately reflects the roles of a small business owner. You are chief everything officer (sales, people, operations, marketing, accounting, customer service), cheerleader and spokesperson, and as my family says “chief bottlewasher!” (if it needs to get done, you will do it.)

So it is no wonder you feel like you don’t have time to coach your team members monthly (much less weekly).

And no doubt some people on your team are easier to coach than others, so you tend to procrastinate in delivering feedback or talking about what would challenge and motivate them.

The data is clear—employees don’t just want daily task discussions (called “Managing by Wandering Around” by Tom Peters)—

Employees want to know how they can contribute, what is the purpose of their work, feedback on results, and that there are opportunities to develop and maximize their strengths at your organization.

This means you need a development plan for each person, coupled with regular two-way discussion on their aspirations and challenging assignments that meet their desired career path. (That is what we mean when we say “coaching.”)

If all of your conversations center around “what are you working on today” then they feel ignored, and will lose interest, commitment, and engagement in your job. (Reminds me of the joke – “I feel like a mushroom, left in the dark and fed manure.”)

Ultimately these unnoticed people will seek employment elsewhere where they can feel appreciated, a sense of accomplishment and contribution.

Or worse, stay in your job as “actively disengaged” working against your team. (Read my article—Want Employees to Tune Out? Ignore Them to find out the huge cost of the disengaged).

Every small business owner or manager can be a motivational, positive, and appreciative leader and implement a rhythm of weekly coaching conversations.

You just need a blueprint and training, and the willingness to learn and get outside your comfort zone to start having real conversations with your staff.