Failing to Onboard? Wish-list for Old Bosses and New Staff

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Accountability, Onboarding | 0 comments

I remember starting a manager role with no  desk, phone, or computer ready.  Another time I arrived in a new leadership role with a team who hadn’t been informed about me.  This is a failure to “onboard” – the process of developing productivity and engagement, and well beyond orientation or “induction” (forms and stuff). Below, you’ll find my “wish-list” of actions for bosses and new staff (whether from another company or promoted from within.) Here’s an explanation from HRZone about the different goals for onboarding:  “Induction generally refers to the process of filling out forms, getting an overview of employment benefits, and so on. New employee orientation is often done in conjunction with induction and includes an introduction to the company and its structure. Onboarding is a longer-term process that focuses on helping new employees become a part of the organisation, building crucial relationships, understanding their role and learning how they add value.” My onboarding list isn’t exhaustive, and it doesn’t include job specific training that may be needed.  But it’s what I wish my bosses had done for me.  What do you find most important in successfully transitioning to a new role?  Send me your “wish-list”: Download the list as a PDF:  Onboarding Best Practices SUCCESSFUL ONBOARDING FOR NEW LEADERS Role  of “boss” Prepare an onboarding package for the role with all necessary company and departmental information, access codes to systems, available resources, calendars, business plans, org chart, etc. Be present first day. Introduce new staff to people in department as well as those who will be peers outside the department. Create clear expectations for the transition time to focus more on exploration and understanding context versus action. Describe company culture, and possibly the political landscape of informal hierarchy. Clarify long term expectations. Meet more frequently at first – check in daily the first week, then at least weekly.  (Time spent together now builds an important foundation for future success through challenges.) Provide help in “where to find out what you need to know.” Be honest about issues that have a difficult history. Discuss how you’ll both approach differences of opinion/conflicts. Provide private and public support, especially in front of direct staff. Be open to how the team will be changed by this new person. Discuss how the actual role appears different than the role that was “sold” during recruitment. Immediately schedule an overall progress review after 8-10 weeks to align expectations and openly discuss areas where new learning is necessary. Ask new person to create list of all the questions they have, then make sure you are helping them find answers. Help new person create priorities about where to put their time and attention Encourage the new person to bring “fresh eyes” and challenge assumptions about how things are done. Be careful about micro-managing (one of the biggest complaint of new leaders). Role of the “newbie”: Enjoy being new and don’t try too hard to appear “competent” at the risk of not asking questions Increase attention to...

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Meeting Tip: Post What, Who, When

Posted by on Apr 23, 2014 in Accountability, Meetings | 0 comments

This tip caught my eye last week and I’m sharing it as part of my year-long goal to improve meetings everywhere.  Post What, Who, When:  the action steps, assigned people, and due dates, where everyone can see them real-time during the meeting to create clarity about decisions and accountability for all. It makes sense.  Often we discuss something, then move on to the next agenda item so quickly that the specifics can easily get lost.  Plus I’ve found that there is almost always a difference in understanding from one person to the next.  When I’ve actually asked for a pause to go around the table and have each person state what had been decided, invariably there were differences in how people interpreted the discussion. If the decision is written down for all to see, immediately you create a shared understanding.  Then if your write someone’s name down as being responsible, and a date, that’s creates clarity for all to see.   Think of the difference if I, as the leader, just write it in my notes.  Or worse, if I don’t write it down, but only expect the person responsible to write it down.   How easily things can get lost. You can go low tech and use a big flip chart, or a white board.  Or go high tech and project it, or use WebEx or Goto Meeting if it’s a virtual meeting or use this Smart Draw LIve Information Capture software that I get newsletters about but haven’t seen. According to their advertising:  SmartDraw has a special template specifically designed for your meeting. It lets you create an easy-to-read agenda, edit it real time, and assign action items to attendees. Best of all, it gives everyone in the meeting a clear and concise plan of action with accountability. Just make sure the technology doesn’t get in the way of making real connection with one another during the meeting.  Sometimes it becomes a distraction. So try the tip of posting what, who, when, and let me know how it works:

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4 Questions Help You Hold People Accountable

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Accountability, Leadership | 0 comments

Too many managers and leaders avoid or delay holding people accountable because they find it uncomfortable, or because they are too trusting, or even too disorganized.  Then they get angry (at themselves and the employee). Here are four questions and an outline to help you. Don’t manage by anger.  Start with a primary assumption:  People generally want to do well at work and feel proud of their accomplishments.  You want to trust them to do well, and you also need to track their performance (trust & track).  You start with clear expectations including how each person’s role fits into the whole.   1.  If an individual or team isn’t doing well, what’s in the way? Missing skills Misunderstanding expectations System or process obstacles Individual obstacles Behavior/attitude issues 2.  How do you find out where the problem lies? Ask the individual what they believe is in their way Verify understanding of expectations Explore skill gaps Examine the process and the system (other contributing people, departments, etc) Determine specific impact of behavior/attitude issues   3.  When do you hold someone accountable? Prevention and intervention:       Prevention:           Immediately Upon assigning responsibility – ask individual or team to reframe the expectations in their own words so you can verify initial understanding Ongoing Agree upon check-points in advance – 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, etc., or different process steps -whatever is appropriate Create a simple system for you to check-in and evaluate performance at check-points (put on your calendar) Addressing obstacles immediately – think “what’s going wrong and how can it be fixed?” Intervention: As soon as you see problems: All too often we wait too long to act.  Holding someone accountable is your obligation to your organization.  It isn’t personal.  You shouldn’t need to get angry to discuss problems or the need for course corrections of any kind. Review data: Remind the individual of the expectations, provide data on the performance to date, discuss gap between expectations and performance. Balance your role Holding someone accountable isn’t the same thing as micromanagement, so manage the boundary carefully.  People need to try and sometimes even fail when the consequences to all are tolerable. 4.  What are the consequences? Know the consequences at every level: Organizational (lose money?  Lose clients? Lose reputation? Lose time? Etc.) Team (Lose credibility?  Slow other teams? Etc.) Individual (Lose respect?  Lose bonus?  Lose future opportunities? Lose job? Etc.) Share the consequences for non-performance with the individual or team. Separate the person from the behavior – it’s the behavior that’s the problem Act on the consequences Make sure they are appropriate and specific Be consistent Be timely In a book based on research on shame, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown, PhD LMSW talks about accountability: “Setting boundaries and holding people accountable is a lot more work than shaming or blaming.  But it’s also much more effective.  Shaming and blaming without accountability is toxic to couples, families, organizations, and communities. .. Additionally, if we don’t...

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