An introduction to Meaningful Conversations

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Bowland Software – [Videos] Farrer & Co. Law Firm

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William Dawson, Managing Partner, Farrer & Co.

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Bowland Software – [Videos] Trowers & Hamlins Law Firm

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Paul Robinson, Director of HR, Trowers & Hamlins

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Bowland Software – [Video] Performance Appraisal with Integrated 360 Feedback

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An introduction to Bowland’s Performance Appraisal & 360 degree feedback for law firms

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Bowland Consulting – [Video] What distinguishes Bowland?

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[Video] What’s the problem with performance appraisals in law firms?

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Motivating Millennials through Meaningful Conversations

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A short article in Smart Company magazine caught my eye recently regarding a report that highlighted how millennials were more likely to show loyalty to an organisation where there was a good frequency and high quality of meaningful conversations with their Line Managers.

Such conversations were having a motivating effect as they demonstrated a genuine interest on the part of the Line Manager in the individual both within the scope of their work and beyond.

We find ourselves increasingly working with organisations where managers are finding themselves with individuals for whom their current style of management is not working as it might have before – the lament is ‘How do I motivate them?’ - part of the answer from this report would seem to be to simply show interest and foster more, meaningful two-way conversations; the other part of the answer would probably follow from the thinking popularised by Dan Pink’s book, ‘Drive’, which suggested offering people a sense of purpose, the opportunity to act autonomously, and develop mastery in their role/career, would fire up individuals to perform to the best of their ability.

All of these intrinsic motivating factors can be tapped into through having regular meaningful conversations with your team.

John

 

 

 

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Is this a new era of Performance Appraisals?

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We have touched upon this topic many, many times, and rightly so; because each new article trumpeting the end/death/demise (tick favourite to suit) of performance appraisals has a more nuanced message behind the attention grabbing headline.

Take this latest article in Forbes, about IBM very dramatically ‘blowing Up’ it’s performance review process.

The IBM story is particularly interesting because as you read through, you realise that ‘enhancing’ might be a better description than ‘blowing up’; they will still set objectives, albeit these will be shorter-term in nature; they will still assess at year-end against a number of ‘dimensions’ rather than a singular grade; they will dispense with performance ranking (which has been a trend for some time), and they will encourage a process of continuous feedback & coaching throughout the year.

What is being described is Performance Management.

Realising that a once-a-year conversation/evaluation doesn’t actually work when it comes to getting the best out of people, is not a revelation – it is sensible conclusion borne out of experience, where greater levels of communication and open, transparent relationships between a Line Manager and their team members, is more likely to deliver sustainable results.

The performance appraisal projects we work on with clients, are rarely just about implementing an effective performance appraisal system; invariably, we are deep down into revising their approach to performance management:

- understanding the purpose of performance management

- designing appraisal forms and processes which are ‘fit for purpose’ and include the input of employees

- creating an easy-to-use on-line appraisal system, which allows for capturing continuous feedback and feedback from others (360 degree feedback),

- and ‘Meaningful Conversations‘ training for Line Managers for every aspect of performance management i.e. Setting objectives, giving feedback, coaching and appraisals

 

If you would like to talk us to us about ‘blowing up’ your performance appraisals, then feel free to contact us, but I suspect you might find we do a better job of ‘building on’ what you are already doing.

John

 

 

 

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HR in Law Awards 2016

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A brief post to share our delight to again be sponsoring the ‘Excellence in Learning & Development’category at this years HR in Law Awards which is taking place on 5th May 2016.

We have been successfully working within the legal sector for many years now, helping firms successfully implement 360 degree feedback and performance appraisal process through on-line software, consultancy, training and debrief services.

In that time, we have forged long-standing relationships with many of HR professionals who continually prove themselves to be integral to the sustained success of the firms they work in; we wish them every luck in these awards.

The closing date for entries is Friday 4th March, so if you do wish to showcase the great work you have been doing, then do submit an entry and we hope to see you there!

John

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Webinar – The Art of Meaningful Conversations

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We are running our next webinar on the above topic on January 26th at 1pm in conjunction with Shorebird RPO.

Meaningful Conversations is a framework which enables Line Managers at any level to conduct effective Performance Management conversations whatever their purpose; be that setting objectives, giving feedback, coaching, appraisals or 360 feedback debriefs.

At the end of this webinar, you will:

  • Understand what Performance Management really is and why it’s so important.
  • Be introduced to the ‘Meaningful Conversations’ framework as a guide to conducting effective Performance Management conversations.
  • Appreciate what is the mindset and the core communication skills required to conduct a Meaningful Conversation.
  • Have reflected on your own style of Performance Management conversations and considered some changes you could make immediately to improve.

This webinar is aimed at anyone who has to conduct Performance Management conversations with team members in their organisation and will appeal to all those in a management or senior positions.

Please go to the registration page here for more details.

If the event is fully booked, a waiting list will be opened up, so you can still register your interest to attend and/or be invited to a re-run of the session at a later date.

We hope you can join us for this or a future event.

John

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Wishing you a Merry Xmas!

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Busting Urban Myths – The Key to Meaningful Conversations

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The neuroscience of Meaningful Conversations

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We recently held a webinar on ‘The Art of Meaningful Conversations’…well, here is the neuroscience of Meaningful Conversations in a snippet from David Rock’s recent presentation to the CIPD HR Leaders Network.

He talks of mindset as being critical to successful performance reviews, namely a growth mindset over a fixed one; the simple belief that one can improve and is not limited solely by talent but by effort.

We see the beliefs and assumptions that one takes into a performance management conversation are key to the ability to make it more likely one can conduct a meaningful conversation; one where the purpose of the conversation is delivered upon and where the dynamic is adult, 2-way, constructive and respectful.

You must believe the person in front of you is capable of change and improvement; if not, why persist with performance management?

John

 

 

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Recording & Slides available – The Art of Meaningful Conversations

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We were delighted to host our latest webinar this week with Shorebird RPO on ‘The Art of Meaningful Conversations’ – all seats were filled, so a second session is planned on January 26th 2016 – if you would like to attend, please feel free to email me at john@bowlandsolutions.com if you would like to add your name to the notification list.

Both the recording and slides from this week’s session are available below – the recording is useful in that you can see some of the great insights that came from the attendees during the interactive exercises; it was a vibrant session with a lot of participation!

Meaningful Conversations is a framework which enables Line Managers at any level to conduct effective Performance Management conversations whatever their purpose; be that setting objectives, giving feedback, coaching, appraisals or 360 feedback debriefs.

At the end of this webinar, you will:

  • Understand what Performance Management really is and why it’s so important.
  • Be introduced to the ‘Meaningful Conversations’ framework as a guide to conducting effective Performance Management conversations.
  • Appreciate what is the mindset and the core communication skills required to conduct a Meaningful Conversation.
  • Have reflected on your own style of Performance Management conversations and considered some changes you could make immediately to improve.

This webinar is aimed at anyone who has to conduct Performance Management conversations with team members in their organisation and will appeal to all those in a management or senior positions.

Listen to the webinar

View the slides

 

Hope you can join us for the next webinar!

John

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Busting Urban Myths – Creating quality 1-2-1 time

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The Art of Meaningful Conversations

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We are running our next webinar on the above topic on October 13th at 1pm in conjunction with Shorebird RPO.

Meaningful Conversations is a framework which enables Line Managers at any level to conduct effective Performance Management conversations whatever their purpose; be that setting objectives, giving feedback, coaching, appraisals or 360 feedback debriefs.

At the end of this webinar, you will:

  • Understand what Performance Management really is and why it’s so important.
  • Be introduced to the ‘Meaningful Conversations’ framework as a guide to conducting effective Performance Management conversations.
  • Appreciate what is the mindset and the core communication skills required to conduct a Meaningful Conversation.
  • Have reflected on your own style of Performance Management conversations and considered some changes you could make immediately to improve.

This webinar is aimed at anyone who has to conduct Performance Management conversations with team members in their organisation and will appeal to all those in a management or senior positions.

Please go to the registration page here for more details.

If the event is fully booked, a waiting list will be opened up, so you can still register your interest to attend and/or be invited to a second run of the session at a later date.

We hope you can join us for this or a future event.

John

 

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Another one bites the dust…the collapse of Performance Appraisals?

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Another week, another article, or in fact another series of articles, sounding the death knell of the performance appraisal – Accenture, National Australia Bank, and Deloitte – all deciding to stop the annual performance review process, whilst moving to a more regular series of feedback conversations throughout the year.

However, if you look more closely, what is actually being scrapped is a practice of forced ranking and distribution, which was a key feature of their review processes.

We have long debated the relative merits and pitfalls of ranking individuals and/or reducing their performance over a year to a singular grade or number – but of course, performance reviews don’t have to work this way, and many organisations approach reviews with the idea that it is an opportunity to reflect on what has happened over the previous 12 months as a means to learn and improve performance in the future.

With this purpose in mind, removing a conversation at the end of the year which offers a chance for a Line Manager and team member to come together and discuss past performance in a meaningful way, seems somewhat shortsighted.

Moving to a process whereby there are regular, ongoing feedback conversations throughout the year, is certainly to be advocated and applauded – but these timely, in-the-moment, conversations are often quite tactical in nature; they are helping people track progress and keeping tacking back and forth towards their goals.

Such conversations need to be supported by a more reflective, strategic type discussion, which allows a summing up at the end of a year, and critically, prompts a conversation about learning & their development.

Performance Management is simply a series of two-way conversations, each with a specific purpose – if you don’t like the Performance Review conversation and find it meaningless, don’t scrap it, change it’s purpose to one you do like and is meaningful.

John

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Busting Urban Myths – Emoticons for 360 degree feedback

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Going beyond the individual with 360 degree feedback

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Often when working with our clients, particularly with senior leadership teams, we help them with the one-to-one debriefs; the session where you share the feedback with the recipient for the first time.

During this session, as well as getting a balanced view of the 360 feedback, the hope is that they will begin the process of creating a ‘Personal Development Plan’ or PDP.

This will highlight any strengths that could be better deployed, and naturally any development areas they wish to work on.

Whilst this is an invaluable exercise for the individual leader, there is an opportunity beyond this to work with the whole leadership team in unison and create a ‘Team Development Plan’ as well.

By aggregating the results of all the senior managers in the leadership team, we can see the wider picture of development needs; ideally this report, should be shared just as one would share an individual’s report i.e. Face-to-face with the group.

In this way, you conduct a ‘group debrief’ and together they can see their collective strengths and development areas, before collectively agreeing how to tackle their development areas.

This is an important step, because whilst individually they could simply attend to their own development, it wouldn’t necessarily address issues that exist in the space between people.

The use of aggregated reporting with 360 degree feeback helps raise levels of awareness beyond the individual and highlight issues that ripple outwards across teams and often company wide.

John

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Busting Urban Myths – Empathy is a state of mind

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