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Saturday, March 31, 2012

One Page Talent Management: 360 Feedback

360-Degree Feedback: Most 360s don’t require action, and only 20% require that the assessment be shared with supervisors.
a.    Start with the Science about 360s:
i.    Feedback about task performance tends to be productive. Tell them how to make a widget better and people improve. However, feedback about the individual tends to be less productive. Telling someone to keep quiet at meetings is not likely to change behavior.
ii.    Following up in a positive way affects the sense of change. Merely providing awareness is not as likely to have an effect on performance.
b.     Eliminate Complexity, Add Value
i.    360s have become almost piously private and only used for individual employee development. The authors argue this is a waste of an assessment because following up improves performance.
ii.    “Follow Up” becomes central to improvement.
iii.    Numeric scales can be unmotivating to people.
iv.    Focus on behaviors. What behavior do people need to demonstrate to better accomplish the goal? What do they need to do more or less of to perform better?
v.    Ask the fewest questions. Too many questions muddy the water.
vi.    Use 360 for both evaluation and development. Transparency, especially with the manager, is key to improvement. [Perhaps let the employee and manager decide.]
vii.    Keep responses anonymous. Providing safety for respondents is critical for getting the truth out.
viii.    Avoid self-assessments: When there’s a gap between self-assessment and others’ ratings, there’s embarrassment and resistance to change; a tendency to focus on gaps does not always focus on things that really matter.
c.    Create Transparency and Accountability
i.    Transparency:
1.    Be open and transparent about the process and the reasons for it. If it’s developmental or for evaluation, be clear to the employee and each respondent.
2.    Employees should widely share their assessments. People take you far more seriously when you tell them what you’ll be working on.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Page Talent Management: Performance Management

Performance Management:  There’s a clear love-hate relationship between performance management’s lack of popularity and its importance to the individual and corporation.
a.    Start with the Science (goal-setting theorists—Locke, Latham, etc.)
i.    The more challenging the goal, the more it motivates: People work harder toward stretch goals.
ii.    Goals aligned with personal interest motivate: There’s nothing like self-interest to motivate us. If it’s good for us and good for the company, the goal is a perfect match.
iii.    Specific goals beat general goals: “Do your best” is inferior to having a goal with a specific objective, standard or performance and a timeframe.
iv.    Too many goals dilute the effectiveness of each one. Thus, have only a few compelling, specific goals and offer feedback along the way and see people improve.
b.    Eliminate Complexity, Add Value
i.    SMART goals are good (but SIMple goals are better). SMART= Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound)
ii.    SIMple is better: Specific, Important, and Measurable.
iii.    Keep it to 3 goals. Too many diffuses people’s attention.
iv.    Avoid stretch goals. People give effort to large goals but get confused with the potential impossibility of a stretch goal.
v.    Participative goal setting often adds unnecessary complexity but does not add significantly to performance results.
vi.    Give feedback regularly and improve the goal attainment.
vii.    Using numbers or scales does not get to whether the person met or did not meet goals. Stick to discussions around goals and forget numbers.
viii.    Avoid self-assessments. It sounds harsh, but it’s the supervisor’s opinion that really ends up mattering.  Also, science—self assessment is the least reliable form of assessment.
c.    Create Transparency and Accountability
i.    Transparency: Show how goals are linked to higher corporate goals and show how goals are derived.
ii.    Share ratings and distribution: Knowing how others did helps employees know where they stand.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One Page Talent Management: Overview

One Page Talent Management: Eliminating Complexity, Adding Value (Harvard Business Press, 2010) by Marc Effron and Miriam Ort, reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D.
Overview: Companies build complex and difficult talent management processes (including performance management, 360 assessments, talent assessments, succession planning, and engagement evaluations) only to find out they often don’t produce expected results. One Page Talent Management (OPTM) by Marc Effron and Miriam Ort simplifies and improves the talent management process to make it more effective and efficient. The elements of OPTM are as follows: Start with the Science; eliminate complexity and add value; create transparency and accountability. Step 1: Start with the Science. The depth of management research on leadership and organizational development is immense. It makes no sense for us to ignore it when making decisions, but that’s often what we do. This book adds to that important component by offering relevant research to the common corporate problems addressed. Step 2: Eliminate Complexity, Add Value. Seek the shortest and simplest line between value and complexity. At some point there’s a trade off; so, break down the elements of a practice into small bits and assess the value of each and eliminate the unnecessary. You add value simply by purifying the process, by limiting choices and so on. Step 3: Create Transparency and Accountability. Talking to leaders about their performance and potential, sharing 360 assessments more widely, and letting high potentials know of their own status in succession planning are certain to create transparency. On one hand, transparency may be difficult for some companies to swallow, but on the other hand not doing so can lead to some awful leadership choices. Accountability for performance, 360s and other activities can be added with some thought by using corporate pressure, peer pressure, compensation, etc.  One clear tenet of OPTM is differentiation: Companies must decide who adds the most value to the organization and then invest appropriately. It’s like putting money into a stock. You make a calculated decision based on performance and likely potential in the future.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Positivity: Post #9--Final Words

Final Words on Positivity: Take a moment right now. Close your eyes and think of something or someone you love. Stay with that vision for about one minute. You’ve just injected yourself with natural hormones that make you happier and healthier. Chances are now better than before that exercise that if someone at work brought you a new project to consider, you’d now be just a bit more open-minded than close-minded about considering it. Also, you have a slightly better chance (than before the imaging exercise) of not catching a cold than before you had that image (but don’t push it by hanging around with people who have one!). And, if something happened that was a real setback in your life, you’d be better prepared to bounce back from it. All that said, positivity won’t cure tooth decay! You’ll still have to brush your teeth. But engaging in positive activities regularly and with discipline will increase your likelihood to view brushing as a more enjoyable process and make you grateful for that healthy smile.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Positivity: Post #8--Increase Positivity

Increase Positivity: To increase your positivity score and enrich your life, here are some thoughts by the author:
a.    Study positive psychology: Coined by Marty Seligman in 1998, this movement has had a profound effect on the field of psychology and on the author herself. [Reading and watching You-Tube videos might provide a nice backgrounder for all interested in this relatively new phenomenon.]
b.    Sincerity: An insincere smile or gesture can have an even more negative effect than doing nothing at all. Slowing down to be in the moment and be sincere about our responses can make a huge difference.
c.    Find Positive Meaning: Reframing an experience can make a big difference in not only how you react but also how you remember an event.
d.    Savor Goodness: Find ways to remember and re-remember good things.
e.    Celebrate Team Wins: Celebration boosts teams’ overall positivity state and allows you to savor the good memories together.
f.    Count Your Blessings: Being grateful for everything you have broadens and de-stresses your life. Keeping a gratitude journal [which I do] and listing 5 things (no matter how small…like water and electricity) a day that you’re grateful for can reframe your day and your life over time.
g.    Apply Your Strengths: People who work on and improve in their areas of strength are happier and more productive than those who work constantly on removing weaknesses. So, play life to your strengths and watch happiness abound.
h.    Connect with Others: We are pack animals, social animals. We need people to thrive. When in a tailspin, the tendency is to isolate ourselves to lick our wounds. In fact, that’s the worst thing…better to stay connected to those who keep us nurtured.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Positivity: Post #7--Decrease Negativity

Decrease Negativity: We can get sucked down by negativity. Remember, its power affects us much more than positivity, so take care. Some ways to keep it at bay:
a.    Dispute Negative Thinking: Act like a lawyer and argue against your feelings. Be sure to marshal the facts pitted against your anger or fear. The goal is to reduce inappropriate feelings that your mind gets stuck on and can lead you on a downward cycle.
b.    Stop Rumination: The cycle of thinking and thinking about negativity can become pathological—like an illness. To break this cycle, the author suggests a positive diversion like yoga or working out to free the mind and put it on a different track. Avoid unhealthy distractions like alcohol and other high risk alternatives.
i.    Become Mindful: Meditation has so many benefits that it would be hard to oversell it. Paying attention to the present moment non-judgmentally is the heart of mindfulness and meditation.
ii.    About 20 minutes a day or 80-90 minutes a week.
iii.    Results: More positive, less stressed, open to new ideas and people, opens the heart and makes life more enjoyable.
iv.    It also severs the bonds of negativity.
c.    Watch Less Negative Media: You can affect your life negatively by watching too much violent or negative TV or videos.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Positivity: Post #6--The Losada Line


The Losada Line: The positive-to-negative ratio that makes the difference between flourishing and languishing relationships
a.    Losada’s research determined that you need a 3:1 positive-to-negative ratio to have a thriving relationship with one another or in a team. Below that ratio, you have problems, and above that ratio, you see thriving relationships.
b.    Negativity has a stronger effect than positivity…which is why a 1:1 or even a 2:1 does not create a flourishing relationship. It takes a 3:1 relationship—which was buttressed by Frederickson’s research.
c.    Marriages (and high performing teams) need a 5:1 ratio! John Gottman, also known as the love doctor, has studied couples and can predict accurately whether people will divorce in the future based on this ratio after viewing a video of the couple interacting for a short period of time.
d.    Gottman has found that in marriage, healthy conflict is productive and normal. But he also sees contempt and disgust very destructive.
e.    How to Assess Your Own Positivity: The author offers a “Positivity Self Test.” She also recommends taking it several times a week over a period of time to get an accurate reading—a baseline.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Positivity: Post #5--The Positivity Ratio

The Positivity Ratio
a.    Marcial Losada studied high-performing business teams. One-way mirrors watching various business teams working with each other. Recorded and coded every remark made.  Tracked data especially three dimensions on whether remarks were: 1) Positive or Negative; 2) self- or other-focused; 3) based on inquiry (asking questions) or advocacy (defending a point of view).
i.    Over 60 teams—The top 25% of high performing teams scored high in positive comments, being other-focused and inquiry observations by researchers. The bottom 30 teams scored low in business results (profitability, etc.) and had high scores in negative comments, self-reference and advocacy—the exact opposite of high functioning teams.
ii.    Positivity Ratios: Losada’s research team discovered that high-performing teams had a 6:1 positive-to-negative ratio. Low scoring teams had a 1:1 ratio and mixed-performance teams had a 2:1 positivity ratio.
iii.    Negativity has a powerful effect, about 2 to 1 over positive. We respond far more to a boss’s negative comment than we do to a positive one. So, bosses, be careful.
iv.    Negativity and teams: Low-positivity teams lose their cheer and flexibility. They defend, deflect, self-refer and advocate. Instead of listening, they only wait for their turn to advocate their position.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Positivity: Post #4--Building with Positivity

Positivity Builds Your Best Future by Building:
a.    Psychological strengths. People get more resilient, optimistic and purpose driven.
b.    Social connections. Positivity and gratitude strengthen, energize and reinvigorate relationships. More friends (and stronger ones) emerge, divorce decreases, and collaboration abounds.
c.    Good health. Positivity lowers stress hormones, builds bond-related hormones, enhances immune functioning, and results in less illness.
i.    Hugs have an effect on your mood and happiness.
ii.    Higher mood-elevating and lowering-stress hormones occur when husbands and wives (and partners) “…have learned to touch their partners’ head, neck and shoulders in loving ways.”
d.    Resilience—the ability to bounce back after setbacks.
i.    Build resilience by increasing a higher positive ratio
1.    Doing things that you love to do and that calm down your brain and heart
2.    Meditating, walking, exercising, being with friends, hugging someone!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Positivity: Post #3--Broaden the Mind

Broaden the Mind: Positivity prepares your mind for opportunity and options.
a.    Back-of-hand exercise: Study the back of your hand and describe to yourself what you see. Next, make a list of what you might do if you had a half-hour free. Then, think of a former joyful moment in your life. Savor it for a bit. Then again construct a list of what you might do if you had a half-hour free. Now compare the two lists.  Often the “positive” experience list is longer because positivity opens (broadens) our minds, allowing creativity.
b.    Positivity opens the brain, allowing it to see “the big picture” of possibilities. Neutrality or negativity shrinks our peripheral vision, not allowing us see options.
c.    Students do better on standardized tests when they have a self-generated positive experience before taking the test.
d.    Doctors and positivity: Cornell researchers gave doctors candy which they could not eat until after a diagnosis was made; as a result, their diagnoses were more thoughtful, creative, and accurate.
e.    Positivity and trust: As positivity grows, we trust others more, and they trust us more!  A positive spiral up—a virtuous cycle.
f.    Positivity makes you see others more like you and less separate (from Me to We). Experiments using positive, negative and neutral experiences before classifying how we view others demonstrates this “me-to-we” phenomenon. And, it works cross culturally.
g.    Oneness: Positivity creates a sense that we are all one and “breeds
helpful, compassionate acts.”
h.    Positivity transforms us by connecting us to something bigger than ourselves—oneness with others and nature.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Positivity: Post #2--Not Just Happiness

 Positivity is not just another form of happiness.
a.    Happiness is vague and difficult to quantify.
b.    Positivity—based on Frederickson’s research— emerges primarily from any one of ten positive emotions: Joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love (love is the most frequently experienced form of positivity).
c.    Positive or negative emotions are dependent on how you think. If you interpret events and ideas as either positive or negative, they change how you think and feel.
d.    Positivity can lead to a life that flourishes (is joyful, engaged, and driven by purpose) and has an effect on good health, prosperity and openness to the world. On the other hand, negativity can lead to a life in languish (is sad, disengaged, and without verve or direction) and has a pervasively negative effect on life.
e.    Introducing the Core Truths about Positivity: The Broaden and Build Theory
i.    Broaden: Positivity broadens and opens up our hearts and minds, allowing us to be more creative and receptive to new ideas.
ii.    Build: This broadening of heart and mind, which positive emotions produce, prepares us to build a good future: To learn, to change, to become someone new.
Positivity Builds Your Best Future by Building:
a.    Psychological strengths. People get more resilient, optimistic and purpose driven.
b.    Social connections. Positivity and gratitude strengthen, energize and reinvigorate relationships. More friends (and stronger ones) emerge, divorce decreases, and collaboration abounds.
c.    Good health. Positivity lowers stress hormones, builds bond-related hormones, enhances immune functioning, and results in less illness.
i.    Hugs have an effect on your mood and happiness.
ii.    Higher mood-elevating and lowering-stress hormones occur when husbands and wives (and partners) “…have learned to touch their partners’ head, neck and shoulders in loving ways.”
d.    Resilience—the ability to bounce back after setbacks.
i.    Build resilience by increasing a higher positive ratio
1.    Doing things that you love to do and that calm down your brain and heart
2.    Meditating, walking, exercising, being with friends, hugging someone!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Positivity: Post#1--Overview

Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3-to-1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life by Barbara Frederickson, Ph.D. (Three Rivers Press, 2009), reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D. 
Overview: First and foremost, positivity makes you feel good and gives you an injection of natural hormones that makes you both happier and healthier at the same time. Those same natural chemicals ushered in by positivity broaden and expand your mind, making it more adaptable and receptive. Positivity then helps reduce stress, allowing you to build out significant areas of your mind and your life because you stay open and receptive to life’s opportunities—not closed down by fear, anger, or depression. It also builds your psychological immune system—resilience—the ability to bounce back from negativity that life naturally brings. The positivity ratio of 3:1 (Losada’s Line) offers us a concrete goal to set a path toward thriving, not just surviving. This book is one you’ll want to read cover to cover and give to your best friend, relative or coworker.

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