Today, reading up on leadership and organizational management, across my desk came this article from Forbes and guess what, this guy has an interesting 4 bulleted point approach. I don't agree with his line of reasoning but his subject is superb at this time of hiring and firing, ooops, I meant onboarding and offboarding. I guess the PC police has tendered the check on what is kosher to say and what is not.
Caveat Emptor: to both leaders and human resources. potential is instinctual, not intellectual. work your way through a challenge besides just thinking your way through it.
Here are the four items:
- Performance is not potential
- Emergence is not effectiveness
- Development is universal
- Every HiPo has a dark side
My experiential and colloquial take on the subject:
1. performance is important. more wins and successes than losses. the potential is in knowing your employees full set of skills and being coachable and flexible to be prepared to take the next leap. not everyone is up for constant change, so know your movers and shakers, know your maintainers and sustainers. each is paid differently, and each is rewarded differently. pay is not the same as reward. the shakers and sustainers know who they are by the get go and their drama about growth and potential promotions and raises are fundamental to a leaders exploration of the team and constant watch and support of all assets, even the humans, the most valuable and expensive, and most flexible in most cases. stretch goals are important and review and follow-up on HiPos is important as well. Don't expect HiPos to figure things out on themselves. Confirmation of mission, vision, and strategy is always important as one goes along their path.
2. Effectiveness is a function of style needed in the environment a leader is presented. emergence as the word states are all people ready to become leaders in any capacity? yes and no. some just love to support and follow; its in their DNA. Others always have to be in charge and lead, whether they are good or bad at it, or just pushy and arrogant; observation answers that question slowly or right away. To be effective one has to see where they can get what they need done as assigned in an environment that is either highly static and procedural (government) or highly dynamic and fluid (capitalism, free market); Both examples of government and capitalism is highly competitive so no need to really put this challenge in both camps; its because of the natural issue of limited resources in either goals, missions, and objectives. the greater good dictates who gets the resources when. It might not be pretty or perfect, but its real. Politics and other factors always play into effectiveness and of course the emergence factors. i have seen supervisors become analysts who become CIOs who have no business doing what they are doing, and guess what, its know what you know, its who you know, and do these peter principle folks get rewarded for stroking politics, yep. Remember leaders, those that look sharp and talk smart are not necessary always good from the supply room to the board room to the war room. Instincts are ones best assets and sharing the awkwardness of insights in this article can come from one with a PhD or one with no PhD. In either case, one comes off as soft spoken from a series of research assignments and papers, and another comes off from the school of hard knocks, a lot of introspection and some applied reading and theory. a great book called "Readings in the Management of Innovation" by Tushman Moore has some prophetic experience, reasoning and research on technical leadership and management, and psychology. If one can synthesize several sources into a direct line of effort depending on the situation, you have already won and are effective.
3. professional development is a necessary tool. not all employees come fully qualified and they shouldn't. I want someone who is 1/2 there and 1/2 coach-able, approachable, etc. some people learn from others, some learn from reading and trying, some do by listening, and some learn by osmosis. has professional development been abused by those not wanting to work and still get paid while others HiPos do the work? absolutely. the 80/20 rules like in the Forbes article is real. 20% do 80% of the work, and 80% do 20% of the work, and everyone still gets paid. now, a leader knows how to mathematically and logically deal with this scenario at the get go and in the long run. i have seen all sorts or reorganizations that are intended to be minor or major, sweeping or blunt and to the point. in either case, people need to continually learn and remain adaptive. leaders know that and continually consume information, process it, make decisions, and review, and repeat. a metaphor as in when the tide comes all boats rise, or the accurate quote is "a rising tide lifts all boats'. professional development can be that tide. have i seen professional development resources reallocated from those earmarked for it because they self learn to those that don't self learn, and those the don't self learn get 1-2 week conferences and travel abroad and enjoy the resources of others, and the ones that stay who don't need the professional development get a little bent? yep. happened to me two or three times. maybe I should remain a little stupid and get to use my professional development resources and take that 1-2 week conferences and training seminars around the globe in the name sake of professional development. what a scam. happened to me at Microsoft and at UNR. amazing, huh? was I the wiser, nope. just watched them enjoy a beautiful series of trips and conferences to soak up and connect and learn while I stayed home and did the hard work. they came back with a report, while i met the deadlines of the company. ok, i digress, but for leaders this is real and the author in Forbes shares that downside. watch out leaders.
4. the dark side of everyone is there. we just don't know what it is yet. their hot buttons, their intricacies, their quirks, their happy and bad places, and their thought processes. I have known primadonna leaders and programmers and engineers who just get up from a meeting and walk out and not come back for 3-4 days, 1-2 weeks, and not tell anyone why, where they are going, and it was not even their meeting. do they get fired, nope. are they a key man to the organization, yep. is this acceptable behavior to most, nope. does it happen, yep. would i do that, nope. would i fire the guy or girl who did in my org, yep. have i been that way, not even close. why? one of the key behaviors and traits of a leader is dedication. walking out of a meeting in a huff is not that. that's a temper tantrum. when people are waiting for a key person to achieve their goals to help the organization, the last thing you need is some hot shot holding up everyone else. fire them, fire them fast, and DNR.did that happen at microsoft? yep, several times over. people fired by HR for violation of company policies and hired back by directors or higher because that person was essential and vital to the success of the corporation. does that happen everywhere today, yep. someone says something wrong on the radio or on tv, yep, slapped a little or hard, and then come back a year or two later, or in this accelerated world, a month or two later... and resume with a few bruises and or legal suits and continue on...
Additional information on Leadership videos on the subject.
more to come...