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5 Year End Questions Every Manager Should Be Asking About Their People; Their Organizations and Themselves

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment

As we near the end of the year (and more importantly, as we get closer to kicking-off a new one), it is important to reflect on what we’ve done over this past year.  Here are some questions for you to ponder on this holiday season.

thinking_kidOrganizational Questions

  1. What goals did my organization accomplish this past year? And how did we get there?
  2. What goals did we not accomplish? And what were the obstacles preventing us from getting there?
  3. Are there any goals not achieved which should be carried over into next year? What will we do differently?
  4. How did I do against my budget? Where did I fall short, and where did I overachieve?  Why?
  5. Was my organization aligned to best meet the vision and goals we had set-up? Do I still have the right organizational model?

People Questions

  1. Who were the top performers? And why were they so successful? Did we recognize their efforts throughout the year?
  2. How would I characterize team morale from beginning of year to now?  Is there anything we should have done differently?
  3. Did people in my organization develop and grow this past year?  What skills or opportunities did they get?
  4. Why do people like to work for this company, organization, and me?  Why do they think about leaving?
  5. Do I have the right people (i.e. skills, drive, passion) to grow to the next level?  If not, how do I resolve that?

Self-Development Questions

  1. What did I accomplish this year? And how did I do that?
  2. What did I not accomplish this past year and why?  Do I want to make these goals for next year?
  3. Was I clear in my priorities and objectives this past year and how often did I change direction?
  4. What could I have done better as a manager?
  5. Did I develop and grow myself personally?  In what ways?

Taking the time to think about the past will not only better open your eyes to your successes & shortcomings, but it will also serve as a good guide as you think about the upcoming year.

It’s Not Just About the Fixing The Weakness – Exploit Your Strengths

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Whenever I ask someone about their goals, or ask a manager about what’s their current focus, I usually get a diatribe of all the things they’re doing to get themselves fixed.  After five minutes of listening, I can tell everything that’s wrong with them and their group.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but they’re missing a great opportunity to apply some focus on excelling at what they do best!Close up of man's arm

A recent post by Michael Hyatt (Are You Focusing on the Obstacle or the Opportunity?) inspired me to write this post.  The key message in his blog is that people often focus only on what’s wrong (or what they need to fix), versus what they can create or how they can leverage their strengths.

Whether you are creating goals for yourself; your organization; or talking through a development plan with one of your employees – it’s just as important to know what you do well, as much as it’s important to know your weaknesses.  From there, it’s a matter of doing more of what you do best and protecting yourself from your blind spots (aka – killing your snakes). Read more…

Kill Three Snakes, Find Three More – Repeat

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

snake I was sitting in a meeting, when I heard my manager say, “Everyone should identify and kill three snakes.”  Like Indiana Jones, I rolled my eyes and thought, “I hate snakes! Why does it have to be snakes!”

Seriously – What he was really saying was we needed to identify and deal with our three largest organizational weaknesses.  He wanted some brain-power and people-power behind solving these areas, then repeat the cycle.

The key belief here is by identifying your organizational weaknesses, resolving them, then going back and finding your next batch of snakes – you build a methodical approach to improving your organization.  And by identifying three snakes at a time, you can deal with a manageable number of opportunity areas without diluting your focus from growing your business.  Let’s face it, you cannot build a ultra-successful organization by only focusing on eliminating weaknesses.  At some point, you need to focus on growing your business and/or using your strengths to hit the accelerator.

Hopefully after a few rounds of “snake killing”, you’ve addressed your biggest issues and can focus on business expansion and exploiting your strengths.

One key assumption is by applying focus to a weakness, you can actually kill (or at least tame) them.  When identifying which snakes to kill, you should keep that little nugget of information in mind.

Questions to identify your snakes and which ones you should be working on:

  1. What are my organizational weaknesses or gaps (aka – my snakes)?
  2. Which snakes have the greatest exposure to my company and/or organization?
  3. Which snakes can I have the greatest and fastest impact on?
  4. Do I know how to eliminate or minimize the exposure?

QUESTION: WHAT ARE YOU BIGGEST ORGANIZATIONAL SNAKES AND HOW CAN YOU DEAL WITH THEM?

 

Skills Matrix Scoring – A Simple Management Tool To Move Your Organization in the Right Direction

December 1, 2010 Leave a comment

As a manager, I have often found a need for an effective tool to help me identify:matrix

  • organizational strength and weakness areas
  • organizational training needs
  • individual development areas
  • organizational and individual flight risk patterns

Over time, I developed a simple excel Skills Matrix Scoring Spreadsheet that provides valuable “at a glance” information to help me ensure I’m managing my team to success.

Read more…