Free Webinar – Meaningful Conversations – Conducting effective Performance Appraisals

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Meaningful Conversations – Conducting effective Performance Appraisals

Friday 21st November 2014@1pm GMT

Join us for this final webinar of the year as many Line Managers approach their year-end performance appraisal conversations with their team.

“Effective Performance Management is the bedrock of sustainable organisational success and the main vehicle by which line managers communicate what is required from employees and give feedback on how well they are achieving job goals; it is essential to do it well.”

 

Eventbrite - Free Webinar - Meaningful Conversations - Conducting effective Performance Appraisals

Our series of ‘Meaningful Conversations’ webinars and classroom-based training modules build the capability and confidence of Line Managers, so that they can not only follow a process that works, but critically they can approach these performance management conversations in a way which builds and preserves the trust in the relationships they have with their direct reports.

This webinar will explore the key elements of a successful Performance Appraisal; by the end of this session, you will:

  • Understand the context of Performance Appraisal in the Performance Management cycle
  • Know how to effectively prepare for the Performance Appraisal conversation
  • Have a simple Performance Appraisal meeting structure which supports a constructive conversation

 

Eventbrite - Free Webinar - Meaningful Conversations - Conducting effective Performance Appraisals

Previous Bowland webinar participant’s feedback:

  • I like the way in which these webinars are facilitated, they are structured, easy, clear and personable. The interactive and engaging way it involves the audience even though they are remote. 
  • Excellent content delivered clearly and professionally. A great opportunity to interact with the subject and other participants
  • I liked the way you made the effort to keep it as interactive as possible, by using polls and the chat function.
  • I find Webinars hosted by Bowland, very informative, engaging, and educational. They provide quality tools to have participants involved and are always clear. 
  • Bowland’s webinars are extremely interactive and well structured. They focus on the core aspects of the subject and the tips/guidance are applicable in the business.

Presenter

John Rice, Director, Bowland Solutions

As a Director with Bowland Solutions, John brings over 10 years of experience in facilitation, training and coaching across a range of high profile & diverse clients including Legal & General, Microsoft, Revlon, CBRE, Renault, Kellogg’s and a number of top 100 law firms.

I hope you can join me on Friday 21st November.

John

Eventbrite - Free Webinar - Meaningful Conversations - Conducting effective Performance Appraisals

 

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My daughter doesn’t use facebook any more

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My daughter is 16 years old and doesn’t use facebook any more…she hasn’t updated her status “in months”.  ”None of my friends do really”.  I’m not sure this is the death knell of facebook just yet (by all accounts it has 50% of internet users worldwide…it will soon run out of humans) but it brought home some thoughts I had been having of the pace of change in our world.  A few short years ago my wife and I were facing the standard parenting dilemma of whether to allow access to facebook before our daughter’s 13th birthday.  Now among her friends it is old hat.  At that time I had to get up to speed on facebook, how it was used, privacy all that stuff.  Now my 11 year old son is not bothered about facebook (may not be the death knell but you can see a trend here) and like my daughter is much more interested in Instagram.

Instagram wasn’t invented when my daughter was convincing us she needed to use facebook.  Snapchat (I just don’t get it) certainly wasn’t around.

Other than desperately not wanting to be or sound older than I am, what is the point here?  Our children are adapting, changing, controlling, accessing the world at a pace of change that we did not.  They work in minutes when we worked in days.  They love using a tool that deletes images after 10 seconds.  In one generation we have gone from trips to Boots to get film developed to instant images on phones being deleted after 10 seconds.

The next generation are bringing that accessibility, pace, technology immersion to work and expect work, systems, processes, leaders to work with their way of being.

It’s very interesting and most of this new set of people haven’t even entered the workplace yet.

 

Brendan

 

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Getting my own feedback

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In line with being a director of business that focuses on feedback I was looking to get some of my own.  Rather than pick my own questions I asked Peter and Vicky, who report to me, to take a look at our generic competency framework that our clients can use and pick out the competencies that they would like to give me feedback on.  I asked them to pick 6 or 7 and said I would pick ones that I think are relevant as well.  My idea is that I will then sit down with them and discuss their feedback on me on these competency areas.

So, I opened up our competency framework and started working my way through.  Almost immediately I wanted to ask Peter and Vicky to give me a few months before I get their feedback.  The simple act of reading over behaviours – most relevant in some way – reminded me of what I should be doing more of.  It wasn’t that I particularly saw things I couldn’t do (though they may have a different opinion on that!)more that I didn’t do them often enough.  The simple act of reading and reflecting raised my self-awareness.

So, could we save ourselves some trouble and just send managers a list of what they should be doing and ask them to read it?!

Here is what would then be missing.  First, my reading of the behaviours was part of a process and so I was attentive to it because I knew feedback was coming.  Second, my own reflections lacked power.  They were useful but within days I had forgotten my thoughts and motivation to change was drifting.  And finally, they were only my thoughts.  And much as I find it hard to accept – I may be wrong.  I need additional perspectives both on performance and the impact of how I am.

So – still need to get that feedback!

 

Brendan

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What do you want to talk about in a performance review meeting?

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I don’t get to put bold and italics into a blog post title, so let me say that the emphasis in that question should be on the “want”.  If you are a manager – what do you want to talk to the employee about in a performance review meeting? If you are the subject of the meeting what do you want to talk about with your manager?

Plans for the coming year – sounds good.  How last year went – perhaps, although no need to linger on things we already talked about at the time.  My career ambitions – probably.  The overall grade of performance – well we’ll have to talk about that.  Whoops…did we move from want to have there?

That overall performance grade has to be very important to us if it is in nearly every performance review form and yet none of the participants particularly want to talk about it.  The employee may want to know their pay rise or bonus and the organisational process may link an overall grade to that pay decision but it is rare in my experience that a great deal of value comes from the discussion on the overall grade.  And yet it can dominate the performance review meeting.

Worth reflecting on – might just be one of those things we have to accept as part of organisational procedure but let’s not accidentally have one element of the process dominate what could be a conversation both parties want to hold.

 

Brendan

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Unwrapping the benefits of the gift that is 360 degree feedback

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I have recently been putting together a short introductory document to our 360 degree feedback debrief service, which promisingly now supports most of our client 360 programmes, although it wasn’t always that way.

We have advocated face-to-face debriefs for many years, in particular the idea that the recipient would see the report for the first time during this debrief, and have been encouraged by the growing acceptance that it is this conversation which really makes 360 feedback successful for all parties concerned.

In our mind, we see the reasons to have a debrief are that it:

  • Helps the recipient understand what the feedback is really saying to them
  • Helps them accept that there is information they need to pay attention to
  • Identifies any areas where they need to take action as a result of the feedback.
  • Ensures they retain a balanced view of the feedback and don’t focus solely on the negative
  • Challenges defensiveness, excessive self-criticism, over-optimism where necessary
  • Offers support in a process which can be unfamiliar to them 

As I drafted the first version of this document, I requested feedback from some individuals who had personally experienced a debrief, so I could include it and provide further evidence of the value people clearly derived from this part of the process; their comments thankfully aligned with many of the benefits we firmly believed were being realised:

  • You brought perspective, colour and guidance on how to properly interpret what people are saying below the surface. I found the debrief to be a key ingredient to making the process something I could relate to.
  • I really appreciated the 360 debrief. You had a personable approach which created a pleasant atmosphere and allowed for an open discussion; most importantly, you ensured that I really explored the feedback and didn’t jump to conclusions too quickly.
  • You helped me not just look back at my strengths and development opportunities, but more importantly, look forward to think about my future potential in this business. 
  • I found the debrief process really useful. I believe that if I had just been handed the responses I would have interpreted them in one way; however, you gave a different and very useful perspective on them.

Notwithstanding the small trumpet blowing above, it does underline the message that a debrief offers individuals the opportunity to take a step back, better understand their feedback, view it through different perspectives and connect some dots. 

If ‘feedback is a gift’, then just like at Xmas time, you shouldn’t just receive the gift, hurriedly open the wrapping, look at it briefly and move onto the next present; rather you should open it slowly, appreciate what’s inside and take a moment before moving on. It’s a far richer experience.

John

 

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Taking the ‘Annual’ out of Performance Appraisal

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A brief article here in Entrepreneur magazine offers advice to organisations in changing the way they approach Performance Management; most notably, banning the ‘dreaded’ (Have you noticed it’s always ‘dreaded’..?) annual performance review.

It advocates a more continuous cycle of conversations throughout the year i.e. Setting goals, giving feedback and coaching, with a move away from a review.

In part we agree with what is being laid out here; Performance Management should be a series of meaningful conversations each with a distinct aim; however, we would suggest that a ‘review’ conversation is still an integral part of that cycle.

The opportunity to jointly reflect, consider what went well, what didn’t go so well, is invaluable as part of the learning aspect of a review conversation and in that way critical to an individual’s growth and future performance.

By all means take the ‘annual’ out of Performance Appraisal, but don’t take the ‘review’ out of Performance Management.

John

 

 

 

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Simplify – simply fly

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I have a vague recollection that there used to be a logoed t-shirt with “Simplify – simply fly” on it.  Something to do with Google?  If I have inadvertently transgressed a trademark then I apologise now! This phrase came to mind today when I was reviewing some of the work we have been asked to complete in the past few weeks by clients new and old.  There is emerging a real drive to simplify: a drive to get back to the key elements of 360 feedback or performance appraisal and ensure those key elements are done well.

This suits a long running philosophy of ours to keep the process/system “quiet”.  It is the conversation that matters in both feedback and appraisal processes.  And by simplifying process, form, questions and other artefacts you let that conversation take centre stage rather than the process itself.

Simplify – simply fly.

 

 

Brendan

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Busting Urban Myths – Unintended consequences of Forced Distribution

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What can 360 degree feedback tell me about my business?

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A number of recent 360 degree feedback projects have called upon us to aggregate the data of all the recipients in the 360 process and assimilate this with the anecdotal/qualitative data drawn from the face-to-face debrief conversations; the resulting summary analysis is always fascinating and genuinely insightful.

Time and again, we see the power of 360 degree feedback to go way beyond the value which individuals derive from the process; if the data is synthesized with some care and thought, the organisation will get feedback on itself.

The organisation has put in place systems, processes, reward practices and alike, and these will drive certain behaviours – sometimes intended, sometimes not, and 360 degree feedback is very good at highlighting such behaviours.

An example would be a sales force being rewarded on individual, short-term targets, but where the the desired organisational behaviours indicated in the 360 are those associated with collaboration, teamwork and strategic selling; there is a potentially a big mis-match.

If the 360 feedback shows a collective ‘poor’ rating around these behaviours, coupled with debrief conversations that point to the reward system being (partly) to blame, then the organisation has insight from the 360 process that it perhaps might have suspected, but lacked the evidence to create a compelling case for change.

So what can 360 degree feedback tell you about your business? Much more than learning & development needs; just need to dig a little deeper to mine the gold.

John

 

 

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Faster or better?

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The most common requirement that we are immediately presented with by prospective clients when they first get in touch is “our current employee’s find the current process takes too long and want it to be quicker”.  This has been the most common presenting problem over the past 10 years of providing performance appraisal software.

The tempting response is – we can make it go faster.  We could

  • shorten the form
  • take out some of the tiresome narrative process
  • increase the amount of rating/bullet points which are quicker to answer
  • move it online
  • automate the written sections based on common phrases
  • rate multiple people at the same time
  • and so on…

Is it better though?  My suspicion is that we have now “wasted less time” but at the same time we have an even less valued process.  Completion rates will fall even further and appraisal conversations will deteriorate.

It is usually possible to make it “go faster” and “be better”.  Or to use our standard language it is usually possible to increase the efficiency and the effectiveness.  Structurally, we focus on

  • What are the key objectives of the appraisal process for the individuals involved and the organisation
  • Improving the performance appraisal conversation and gearing the form, the process, training, and communication to that conversation and the objectives from step 1
  • Delivering the minimum content and process that we require to meet the key objectives

We may work then on the overall performance management process rather than simply the end of year appraisal but first we get credibility with all concerned by responding to their request for a faster process and also delivering to them a better one.

 

 

Brendan

 

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What should 360 degree feedback software do?

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We have spoken at great length about our approach to 360 degree feedback; how to ensure it is effective through focusing on the quality of the debrief conversation, delivering training for 360 debriefers, the principles of good questionnaire design, and selecting a report that works dependent on the purpose of the process.

However, we shouldn’t lose sight of the software element in the middle of these key factors for success; we provide our clients with the tailored on-line 360 degree feedback software as well as all the supporting services described above. 

Making the software work for you

I don’t want this to descend into a ‘How to select an online 360 software provider’ post, so instead – I’ll cover how to get the system to work for you.  We see the system’s role as a supportive one – it only exists to help the process, it must not become the end itself.  So, you are looking to:

  • make it simple
  • ensure the only time spent by people is on completing or reviewing feedback rather than clicking all over the place
  • make error checking easy
  • remove administration tasks / make them easier
  • improve reporting and make it more timely

Most everything else is fluff.  So, when we are implementing the system phase, we work off a simple checklist of what needs to be done and we strip the system functionality down to this level.  The less noise the better.

If you have this level of simplicity then there should be no training requirement; it should be intuitive. The days of lengthy user training manuals are gone.

For a service like ours there is no real IT project to implement.  The only area to take care on is ensuring that emails will get through firewalls/spam filters.

We do suggest that you pilot the 360 implementation if you can.  There are unlikely to be technical issues, but this does offer the opportunity to change wording of questions, instructional text, and review process.

Otherwise it should be a matter of getting the emails sent out and off we go.

Respecting the role of software in the 360 degree feedback process is important, but don’t let the tail wag the dog.

John

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Free Webinar – Meaningful Conversations – Conducting effective Performance Appraisals

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Meaningful Conversations – Conducting effective Performance Appraisals

Friday 21st November 2014@1pm GMT

Join us for this final webinar of the year as many Line Managers approach their year-end performance appraisal conversations with their team.

 

“Effective Performance Management is the bedrock of sustainable organisational success and the main vehicle by which line managers communicate what is required from employees and give feedback on how well they are achieving job goals; it is essential to do it well.”

 

Eventbrite - Free Webinar - Meaningful Conversations - Conducting effective Performance Appraisals

Our series of ‘Meaningful Conversations’ webinars and classroom-based training modules build the capability and confidence of Line Managers, so that they can not only follow a process that works, but critically they can approach these performance management conversations in a way which builds and preserves the trust in the relationships they have with their direct reports.

This webinar will explore the key elements of a successful Performance Appraisal; by the end of this session, you will:

  • Understand the context of Performance Appraisal in the Performance Management cycle
  • Know how to effectively prepare for the Performance Appraisal conversation
  • Have a simple Performance Appraisal meeting structure which supports a constructive conversation

 

Eventbrite - Free Webinar - Meaningful Conversations - Conducting effective Performance Appraisals

Previous Bowland webinar participant’s feedback:

  • I like the way in which these webinars are facilitated, they are structured, easy, clear and personable. The interactive and engaging way it involves the audience even though they are remote. 
  • Excellent content delivered clearly and professionally. A great opportunity to interact with the subject and other participants
  • I liked the way you made the effort to keep it as interactive as possible, by using polls and the chat function.
  • I find Webinars hosted by Bowland, very informative, engaging, and educational. They provide quality tools to have participants involved and are always clear. 
  • Bowland’s webinars are extremely interactive and well structured. They focus on the core aspects of the subject and the tips/guidance are applicable in the business.

 

Presenter

John Rice, Director, Bowland Solutions

As a Director with Bowland Solutions, John brings over 10 years of experience in facilitation, training and coaching across a range of high profile & diverse clients including Legal & General, Microsoft, Revlon, CBRE, Renault, Kellogg’s and a number of top 100 law firms.

 

I hope you can join me on Friday 21st November.

Eventbrite - Free Webinar - Meaningful Conversations - Conducting effective Performance Appraisals

John

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Returning to harbour

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Tony Phillips of The Coaching Approach sends out a daily quote.  I suspect I initially subscribed because I liked Tony and thought I could filter the email away (sorry, Tony) but over time I’ve come to look forward to reading the quote and it is part of my routine for the day.  Today’s was

“A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

John A. Shedd

It had me thinking in both directions.  First, taken on face value the quote is highly valid.  We should all ensure that we do not sit in harbour at all times.  That we travel outside of that comfort, embark on journeys, arrive at new places and enjoy experiences.  Perhaps because I have just spent a period of time talking to high level executives I have been seeing plenty of this.  Those executives are often straining every sinew to push themselves and others – endlessly on the move setting off for pastures new.  The second direction I took from the quote was that a ship does need to return to harbour at times.  For a check-over, to refuel, to get ready for the next journey.  I often see less of that in executives.  Taking stock, resting, re-fueling, considering where to go next.  Like a ship they risk failure through poor maintenance.

Brendan

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