The Coach's Corner

Archive for March, 2015

Building Your Own Dream Team, Part 7: Re-recruiting (Develop and monitor the re-recruiting process)

March 30th, 2015 // Tom Doescher //
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Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

So, what is re-recruiting? It’s a deliberate effort to retain your team members.

It may be a negative motivator, but I always assume two things: (1) I need the team members more than they need me; (2) They have lots of other options to choose from.

I have experienced and observed that often, the most important team members are taken for granted. It’s true that, more often than not, leaders spend time with those people who have issues. I recommend taking a continuous, thoughtful approach that might include the following:

  1. Having dinner with the team member and their spouse.
  2. Sending hand-written notes to the team member’s spouse about a job well done or after a long, difficult assignment.
  3. Sending hand-written notes of praise or encouragement to the team member.
  4. Singling out the team member in front of others and mentioning a special job that was done well.
  5. Asking if you can relieve some of their work.
  6. Visiting their personal office.
  7. Visiting them on a job site.
  8. Using travel time with them to praise them for a recent job well done.
  9. Sharing positive feedback from a customer/client or from another senior executive.

If you notice, nothing on this list costs much money — just a little time.

Are you regularly re-recruiting your best team members? What would they say?

Building Your Own Dream Team, Part 6: Advancement (Provide opportunities for advancement)

March 16th, 2015 // Tom Doescher //
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Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

If you want to build a lasting organization, provide advancement opportunities for your team members. This is a huge differentiator in motivating and retaining good people. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about promoting unqualified individuals. I could tell you countless stories about people who started in one position or department and progressed to another. Often, it is the supervisor or mentor who suggests the change, based on knowing the person’s strengths. Here are just a few examples of how people advanced in their careers:

  1. A woman who started with an automotive OEM as an administrative assistant and eventually became an executive was recruited away to serve as CEO/president of a number of companies.
  2. An office helper became a key member of the marketing team as a result of his technology and social media hobbies.
  3. A machine operator became director of quality at a middle market automotive supplier.
  4. An executive assistant became president of Southwest Airlines.
  5. A professional service firm wanted to start a new service and offered the opportunity to a young professional who started a department that has grown to include more than 100 people.
  6. A CPA became a marketing professional.

The point is that it’s important to give your team members hope for a future with the company. Sometimes you may see some traits in a person and challenge them to transfer to a new area, giving them a chance to move forward. If you have a really great person who is a good fit with your company and you don’t want to lose them, take the time to figure out where they would fit best. In all the cases mentioned above, many more team members were motivated and encouraged to stay with their current company just by seeing that there were opportunities for advancement.

Do you have a process to identify key team members? Do you have a system to smoothly transfer team members from one department to another? Do you ask your team members, in their career development and planning sessions, if there is somewhere else in the company they would like to work?

Building Your Own Dream Team, Part 5: Feedback (Offer clear, actionable developmental feedback)

March 2nd, 2015 // Tom Doescher //
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Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

The best companies are really good at giving team members regular, clear, actionable and developmental feedback. Ideally, the suggestions are offered as close to the time the observation is made as possible.

I have observed that many feedback forms companies use are potentially quite negative. Many people say their annual review is a negative experience, and I believe part of the reason is because of the forms.

I like to refer to a review as an “annual career development and planning session” (CDPS). Here are a few tips supervisors might want to keep in mind:

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
  2. Make sure you spend the appropriate amount of time on the team members’ strengths and unique contributions. Write them down. The written word is powerful! (See my November 24, 2014 post.)
  3. Most CDPS meetings are with team members who are doing great, so please be positive and upbeat.
  4. The CDPS is a great time to re-recruit the team member. (More on this idea later.)
  5. Be very clear with any  feedback and offer concrete, actionable developmental suggestions.
  6. Ask the team member for feedback. What are they observing and thinking?
  7. Thank the team members for their contributions to the company in the past year(s).

In a few situations, there will be a need to deliver a strong performance message (i.e. I am concerned that you haven’t made progress in XXXX). These sessions require special care and preparation. I recommend that, after your discussion, you ask the team member to prepare a summary of the needed performance change, listing specific dates for meeting their goals.

How do your team members feel about these annual sessions? Consider asking them.

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Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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