360 degree feedback, organizational trust, change & sustainability
Check this: Recognising a Stroke
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Tuesday, 28 August 2007
I received this as an email today from an old friend. Thanks Steve! I've trimmed it down, this is the guts of what you need to know:


There are the 3 steps, S T R !

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S * Ask the individual to SMILE.
T * Ask the person to TALK to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (coherently e.g. "It is sunny out today")
R * Ask them to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

NOTE: Another sign of a stroke is this: Ask the person to stick out their tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call Emergency immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.


posted by Dr Ron @ 22:53   0 comments
Best Practice in 360 Degree Feedback: No. 2 - Know where you are now
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Monday, 27 August 2007
Any program aimed at improvement requires that you know where you are at the outset. Define the present and you will be able to state (and prove) how far you have travelled, what you have achieved. This is the only way that you can turn an intervention from a cost into an investment - a successful one. In this way, you demonstrate your worth as the HR or other manager of this initiative and earn the right to repeat it or initiate something new. You prove your results and thereby earn trust.

Return On Investment (ROI) is a measure of what you may reasonably expect to obtain from a program and should contain both 'hard' and 'soft' data - because both will ultimately affect the bottom line (financial).

For a nice of example of this aspect of a 360, see the previous posting 'Virgin 360'. It surprises me how few people are prepared to copy Sir Richard Branson. He has a great model for business, we should be cloning him!

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posted by Dr Ron @ 23:49   0 comments
Virgin 360
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Friday, 24 August 2007
Interesting to see how a top company like Virgin Atlantic uses 360 feedback to bring its senior execs up to speed and help them set their own development plans. They started back in the early 2000s as the company started to grow rapidly, to manage the growth and also to meet it by promoting from within. The company (Sir Richard Branson 51%) repeated it recently.

What is really noteworthy is the set of 11 Steps (see PersonnelToday) they developed to guide their 360. Most organizations could benefit by considering these:

Guide to leadership development in 11 steps
1. Understand the present and future context of the organisation and the sector in which it is operating.
2. Know what you are going to require of your leaders in the future. This mean you need to focus on potential performance.
3. Make sure any programme is tied into other company activities, such as secondments, mentoring, cross-functional working and masterclasses. It should mot be a standalone project or seen as solely an HR initiative.
4. Involve existing leaders by asking them to describe current and future leadership challenges.
5. Use a variety of development mechanisms. These might include group sessions and one-to-one work, experiential and paper-based activities, company projects, feedback and coaching.
6. Develop a framework on which to build the design of the programme, such as leadership competencies or principles.
7. Reflect company culture in the programme design. Make full use of the organisation's values and use the programme to bring them to life.
8. Give participants the opportunity to voice their career aspirations.
9. Wherever possible, involve line managers before, during and after the programme.
10. Build personal development planning into the programme. Individuals rarely complete development plans after the momentum of the programme is lost.
11. Carry out an evaluation of the programme at both a behavioural and results level through 360-degree appraisals (undertaken both before and after), surveys and performance data.

We can only applaud this level of preparation and follow-through.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 21:09   0 comments
Sustainability Planning: SAI Global sets dates
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Wednesday, 22 August 2007
It's a great pleasure to announce that SAI Global has now set the dates for the delivery Australia-wide of workshops on Sustainability Planning. Put these in your schedule now:

  • Sydney 12-13 Nov

  • Melbourne 19-20 Nov

  • Brisbane 22-23 Nov

  • Adelaide 26-27 Nov

  • Perth 29-30 Nov

A great November for Sustainability in Oz!

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posted by Dr Ron @ 18:11   0 comments
Best Practice in 360 Degree Feedback: No. 1
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Monday, 20 August 2007
Yes, in previous months we went through 16 Pitfalls in 360 Degree Feedback - meaning, of course, the process by which a manager receives feedback from a direct report or peer. But then someone asked "What about the positives in 360?".

Well, it's in line with our approach to always look for the positives, so let's see what we can say about Best Practice in 360.

Just for one moment let's recall that when 360 goes wrong, the results include:

Loss of morale, managers leaving, revenge against staff, disillusion with the process, collusion ('peer shopping') to get good results, incomprehension of the results, apathy about what can be done, manager rebellion... "you couldn't make any use of it", "nothing happened as a result" and a great deal more. That's what we want to avoid.

It should be clear that the first thing we want to do is define the Outcome we are aiming for. It should include an increase (note this, not a decrease!) in morale both for managers and their direct reports. If it doesn't achieve that much then it is probably doing more harm than good. Of course the Outcome should equally include hard data about performance and productivity. Without that, your investment is not getting a return.
(to be continued)

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posted by Dr Ron @ 17:51   0 comments
Sustainability on the Agenda! SAI Global takes off
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Friday, 17 August 2007

SAI Global is putting Sustainability on the agenda - in fact, that's the name of a workshop they are offering starting in Sydney in November. The aim is to get organizations thinking sustainability and then to use it to drive strategy. Working through sustainability issues is seen as the means to understanding an organization's future and its opportunities.

SAI is the international standards organization based in Australia, it creates and supplies standards for every kind of industry and activity. SAI's Education and Training Division offers many workshops in areas that promote organization development - "inform, inspire, improve" is their their motto. sustainability is seen as one of the most critical areas. Leaderskill Group is proud to be delivering this workshop. This is first notice, more info as soon as available.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 18:19   0 comments
What are your people worth - familiar?
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
Salary surveys are often promoted with the "What are your people worth?" tag. Such surveys may have their value but, seriously, do you think that the kind of loyalty and contribution that you need in your enterprise can really be obtained from a price tag? Consider these myths that some organizations still live by:
  • "you pay work by the day, week, month..."
  • "you're paid to do this job, aren't you?"
  • "you can be replaced"
and a lot more. The point is this: yes, there is a minimum requirement you can specify that someone has to do to fill a job, and that may include showing up on time. But what do you do while you're there? The essence of today's organization is that you, a staff member:
  • want to be there - feel good, contribute to overall morale
  • are allowed to contribute your ideas and get credit for them
  • feel loyal to the organization and want the best for it
  • can complain and get heard
  • are willing to do what you can to meet deadlines and emergencies or deal with difficult customers - and get rewarded for it.
So think of someone who is all of that - and how much are they worth? It won't be a price tag on the shelf. They might want more, or they might do it willingly for less - if they like the job.

If you are starting with 'ordinary' people, how can you transform them into loyal contributors? Or if you are clever enough to hire such people, how do you maintain their goodwill?

You can certainly do this by implementing a program of 360 Facilitated. This kind of culture is what it is designed to achieve. No wonder we have been told time after time "Your 360 is unique, unlike anything else that's available". It gets results.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 11:48   0 comments
Getting People You Can Trust
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Monday, 13 August 2007
A survey of 444 companies has found that bad hiring decisions have resulted in lower morale (68%), decreased productivity (66%), lost market share (54%), higher training costs (51%), and higher recruitment costs (44%) - Right Management.

Entente Consulting, creator of the Trust Survey offers a Breakfast in Sydney with the title of:

Employing People You Can Trust - and Keeping Them. It will be a great opportunity to look at the powerful and very graphically displayed Entente Trust Model, and to hear from a panel made up of:

James Adonis - Author of 'Love Your Team: How to halve your employee turnover in less than 90 days!' , and author of the People Management chapter of Vanessa's upcoming book 'The Truth about Trust - in business'. James is Australia's expert on employee engagement and will share insights on what you can do to keep your people performing.

Leonie Calhoun - One of Entente's Accredited Consultants, Leonie has an extensive background in the Recruitment Industry and will talk about some of the pitfalls of recruitment and what you can do to avoid them.

Kate Witenden - HR Partner for Fujitsu, Kate is responsible for over 900 staff and will share some of her insights into the challenges of hiring and keeping the right people.


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posted by Dr Ron @ 13:40   0 comments
Return On Investment - we expect it!
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Saturday, 11 August 2007
We don't encourage anyone to take on a program of 360 degree feedback without making an estimate of what they will gain from it (ROI). It's a serious matter, critical. After all, how can you justify the cost of a program that has no measurable return? And how can you expect to continue, expand or repeat a program without proof of results?

Although much is said about the difficulty of measuring 'soft skills' there are certainly a lot of good measurables for a program of 360 Facilitated. The full version of this program involves, not just the manager debrief, but also going back to the team to get their perspective on the situation and make them part of the solution - and a lot of change happens in that process. So we provide the client with a full set of measures that they should consider. Just to summarise a little of what we think they should expect:
  • Results is number one. Teams and managers create action plans with specific objectives and these should be recorded and outcomes measured
  • Delegation: there is usually increased delegation - what is delegated and how does it benefit?
  • Ideas are gathered. Remember the old suggestion box? This one really works, a great source of innovation
  • All the basics will be affected: absenteeism, sickies and other measures of stress
  • Alignment of levels - even if we can't solve all problems right away, we can at least come to agreement on what they are

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posted by Dr Ron @ 14:24   0 comments
Goldsmith coaches
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Thursday, 9 August 2007
Coaching has become a valued art. There are some good ones around, one of them is the renowned Marshall Goldsmith (see previous: Buddhist in the boardroom). About his own approach he writes that he and his team work at all levels of management and find the same range of stubborness/open minded everywhere. He says:

"First, I solicit 360 degree feedback from my client’s colleagues – as many as can provide valid information – from up, down and sideways in the chain of command, often including family members – for a comprehensive assessment of their strengths, challenges and opportunities". Probably referring to family members at board level in large organizations but they can also be found in SMEs. At lower levels, many organizations have rules against family, and the same even happens at the top of large ones (remember the mess that World Bank got into!). Most of the time, you won't have this problem/advantage.

Goldsmith continues "I then let my clients know (in a way that protects the confidentiality of the interviewees) what everybody really thinks about them. Assuming that they accept this information, agree that they have something to improve and commit to changing behavior, I go to work and try to help them get better – at what they have chosen – and as judged by whom they have chosen." That's a pretty good way to approach it. There are also some conditions worth considering - (1) Can you be sure to ask the questions that are most relevant? (2) Does the client choose the people who have most to tell them? (3) Even though you sit down with each Respondent and interview them, one at a time, how clearly will you understand the feedback, since you're not the client? and (4) What will you miss if you don't let the Respondents talk it over with one another and clarify their thinking?

Goldsmith goes on to say that his clients learn to say 'sorry' to those around them and to tell everyone openly that they are engaged in a process of change - a kind of "watch me, appreciate how I change" attitude. He also teaches them to listen without interrupting or defending, and to say thank you. And to walk around listening to suggestions.

He gets results, showing that "leaders that follow-up in a disciplined way get better, those that don’t follow-up are not seen as changing any more than random chance."

Finally, he teaches clients the value of 'feedforward' - how they can get information to improve in the future.

It's great news to see his approach so widely successful. There is a clear values base underlying this and, as you probably know, we have advocated these values and operated this way for three decades. So we support it wherever it appears. And if you want to look at another way of implementing 360 feedback, check:

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posted by Dr Ron @ 21:23   0 comments
Can we demonstrate sustainability? No. 7 - Resources: what, how much and why
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Monday, 6 August 2007
The last step in Mega Planning also turns out to be a 'first step' in many organisations - "How much finance do we need?" Using Mega Planning, you have now reached the point where you can assess and justify inputs of all kinds to meet your objectives. Unlike the nerve wracked GMs I used to see waiting their turn to meet with the CEO and try to get the budget they 'needed', with Mega Planning, all requirements become clear at the final Level of planning - Inputs.

Furthermore, there is a range of inputs we can examine that go beyond Finance: People, Skills, Knowledge, Networks, Material Resources, Infrastructure... At this moment in time, the USA is beginning to wake up to the fact that the infrastructure it requires to meet its many objectives has not been maintained - despite the warnings about bridges (for example) that have been around for decades. You could mention the levees of New Orleans in the same breath (still unprepared for Katrina). And in case anyone feels smug, check the infrastructure in your own country, Australia has its own problems. The simple fact is that organisations of all kinds, both public and private, are racing to meet financial goals without considering long-term requirements to be sustainable. Mega Planning obliges them to look at all the issues, shows them all the opportunities, and provides proof to the world of what they achieve.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 08:42   0 comments
Can we demonstrate sustainability? No. 6 - What we will be doing
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Friday, 3 August 2007
Now we turn to the activities that our organization will engage in. This is actually where a large number of organizations begin their planning! - What do we do and how can we can more of it, or do it more cheaply, profitably, efficiently... But in Mega Planning, we look at this only after our objectives have been set at every Level of Planning.

In parts 1 to 6 of this series, we showed how to set objectives nested within objectives throughout the organization, linked together top down in such a way as achieve a result that:
  1. makes a contribution to the future we all want for society and the environment, including in this the inputs we use, the processes we operate and the outputs and outcomes that we achieve
  2. does not act negatively towards this future in any way.
This is the framework of objectives that allows us to decide on the activities/processes - what we are going to do. We have a method to assess whether an activity is appropriate or innappropriate (has a negative impact on the community, pollutes, uses non-renewable resources...).

When we are obliged to use or continue to use harmful technology, we can at least challenge ourselves to find better. And those challenges are often quickly met (more to come on this).

So we have reached the Level of Process, with one Level left to go.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 21:44   0 comments
Can we demonstrate sustainability? No. 5 - Objectives within objectives
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Thursday, 2 August 2007
In the first four episodes, we developed a practical, measurable Vision, selected part of it for our organisation, and decided how we would know we were successful. Now within our Macro objectives for the organisation fit the Micro objectives for teams and individuals. Without them, nothing happens. At this point, everyone knows what their part of the goal is and how it fits in the overall scheme of things.

Complicated? No. There can be a lot to fit together but so many of the problems are overcome by this simple top down approach. It's the only sensible way to plan anything. The process has been called 'backward planning' - as opposed to the companies that I have seen where each division meets with the CEO to fight for the resources to get through the next year. And most go away disappointed.

Besides being the best way to plan, Mega Planning starts from the best point - the world we all want to live in. Hence the support at the shopfloor level where people suddenly realise that they are working for a better future for everyone. It makes a huge difference.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 22:50   0 comments
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