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getting feedback and not dependent or passively waiting for the man-
ager to give it.
• It is the responsibility of every manager to give timely and frequent
feedback to all employees, but the supervisor is not the sole initiator
of feedback.
• Make sure that all managers are trained to understand the essential
conditions for effective feedback”that the feedback giver is credible,
trustworthy, and has good intentions; that the timing and circum-
stances are appropriate, the feedback is given in a personal and inter-
active manner, and that the message is clear and helpful.14
• Include a training module for employees on how to receive feedback
that also encourages them to overcome any resistance they may have
to seeking it.
• Emphasize the importance of managers making sure the feedback
they are about to give is accurate before they give it.
• Communicate clearly and unequivocally that feedback is not to be
reserved for periodic, formal occasions, but is expected to be given
and sought on an ongoing, continual basis, driven not by the calen-
dar, but by the situation.
• Look for logical times to give feedback to an entire team of people,
such as at the end of a major project.
• Stress the importance of overcoming the natural defensiveness that
people have about receiving feedback by giving positive feedback
along with the negative. Encourage employees to build on their
strengths as the preferred strategy for improving performance.

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• It is not enough to point out shortcomings. Employees need help
¬guring out what actions they need to take in order to do better.
• Because feedback improperly given can have a negative impact on
performance, training should include time for managers to practice
giving it and employees to practice receiving it.
• Along with the training, offer a variety of feedback tools, such as
internal and external customer questionnaires, 360-degree feedback
instruments, and less formal feedback questionnaires.
• Make all managers and employees aware of available feedback tools
and training.


Getting the Best Results from 360-Degree Feedback
Many companies have initiated the use of 360-degree, or multirater
feedback that allows employees to receive formal feedback not just
from the boss, but from one™s peers, direct reports, and customers.
The idea is to give employees a fuller picture of how they are per-
ceived than they can hope to receive only from their direct supervi-
sor. Most companies with experience using 360-degree feedback are
reporting that best results are generally obtained when:

• The feedback is used only for self-development, not for rating
performance or making decisions about pay or promotion.
• Employees are given the option of receiving 360-degree feed-
back, rather than having it mandated.
• Employees are allowed to select the raters in consultation with
the direct supervisor.
• There are enough raters to assure anonymity to all raters.
• Those to be rated are trained in how to receive feedback.
• After receiving the feedback report, employees are encouraged
to seek additional clarifying feedback through follow-up discus-
sions with raters.



Engagement Practice 19:
Train Managers in Performance Coaching
While there is no one right way to do performance coaching, most em-
ployees know a good performance coach when they have one. One study

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of great sports coaches found that what many of them describe as their
secrets of success”˜˜recruit the right players and inspire them to win™™”is
not what they do at all. Instead, they carefully observe their players in
practice, stop practice and to give detailed feedback and teach the proper
way, ask questions to make sure the player understood, watch the player
perform the play or movement as instructed, and ¬nally reward with simple
praise.15
Joe Torre, manager of the New York Yankees, received wide public
acclaim in an article that appeared in Fortune Magazine after he had guided
his team to yet another baseball world championship. In the article, psy-
chologist Daniel Goleman, author of the book Emotional Intelligence, said of
Torre, ˜˜This guy is a textbook case of an emotionally intelligent leader.™ ™™
The article™s author describes Torre™s principal management tool as ˜˜not
meetings or motivational talks, but regular one-on-one encounters with
his players, which he uses to monitor and regulate their psyches.™™ One of
his players describes how Torre ˜˜watches and listens before he says a thing.™™
Another says, ˜˜you never see him berating a player . . . or dropping his
head in disgust.™™16
Torre and many other managers have the natural gift for coaching, but
performance coaching can be learned. One of the best teachers of perform-
ance coaching is Ferdinand Fournies, whose book, Coaching for Improved
Work Performance, outlines a systematic process based on principles of be-
havioral psychology. It is a process that provides a workable alternative to
what he refers to as ˜˜YST”Yelling, Screaming, and Threatening.™™17


Instead of pushing solutions on people with the force of your argu-
ment, pull solutions out of them.18
”Ferdinand Fournies


Fournies begins by confronting managers who believe falsely that em-
ployees™ bad attitudes are unchangeable, and that employees choose, against
their best interests, to underperform. Instead, he proposes that managers
must do everything possible to prevent employee failure by pursuing a
system of interventions. He presents sixteen reasons employees don™t do
what they are supposed to do:

1. They don™t know what they are supposed to do.
2. They don™t know how to do it.

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3. They don™t know why they should do it.
4. They think they are doing it (lack of feedback).
5. There are obstacles beyond their control.
6. They think it will not work.
7. They think their way is better.
8. They think something is more important (priorities).
9. There is no positive consequence to them for doing it.
10. There is a negative consequence to them for doing it.
11. There is a positive consequence to them for not doing it.
12. There is no negative consequence to them for not doing it.
13. Personal limits (incapacity).
14. Personal problems.
15. Fear (they anticipate future negative consequences).
16. No one could do it.19


When these sales managers ¬re someone they are saying, ˜˜I don™t
have one or two weeks to help you improve your performance, but
I have thirty work days to devote to replacing you.™™20
”Ferdinand Fournies



A Five-Step Coaching Process
Fournies provides a coaching analysis chart that prescribes what a manager
can do to intervene successfully, starting with identifying the unsatisfactory
performance, not the result of the unsatisfactory performance. Finally, he
presents a ¬ve-step coaching technique:

• Step 1: Get the employee™s agreement that a problem exists.
• Step 2: Mutually discuss alternative solutions.
• Step 3: Mutually agree on action to be taken to solve the problem.
• Step 4: Follow up to measure results.
• Step 5: Reinforce any achievement when it occurs.

This process is not about placing blame or even assigning motives to
employees for their behavior. Rather it is focused on producing positive

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behavior going forward. Companies wishing to upgrade the level of per-
formance coaching to more fully engage employees would be well advised
to design training for managers in a systematic process such as this one. As
Fournies himself points out, ˜˜Training compresses time, making people
smarter without getting older, and avoids the unnecessary bumps and
bruises.™™21


Four Common Performance Management Routines of
Great Managers
1. The routine is simple. (Simple formats allow manager to focus on
what to say and how to say it.)
2. The routine forces frequent interaction. (Meaningful feedback
happens when it follows on the heels of an event.)
3. The routine is future-focused. (Postmortems can lead to recrimi-
nations. Positive energy comes from discussing the future.)
4. The routine lets employees keep track of their own performance
and learnings. (Creates more employee ownership of the self-
discovery process.)22



Engagement Practice 20: Make the Performance
Management Process Less Controlling and More of a
Partnership
Over the past twenty years, most companies have been moving to a formal
performance review process that re¬‚ects the growing trend to create more
of a partnership between manager and employee, as the following compari-
son shows:

Traditional Approach Partnering Approach
Manager-driven Employee-driven
Parent-child model Adult-to-adult model
An HR exercise Manager™s tool
Personality issues Result-focused
Vague objectives Speci¬c objectives
Yearly event On-going discussions
Rank for pay Pay linked to goals


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While more than half of all companies have no performance manage-
ment system at all,23 many of those that do still practice the traditional ap-
proach. This may help to explain why almost 90 percent of managers who
do use performance appraisals do not believe they help to improve worker
performance! If a company is trying to become an employer of choice
based on creating a culture of reciprocal commitment, it is highly unlikely
it will achieve that status using an outdated performance appraisal process
that is based on anything other than an adult-to-adult relationship. Real
commitment comes from partnering agreements in which employees sug-
gest their own objectives and merge them with those of the manager, not
from the imposition of goals and objectives from above.
Most experts on performance management systems report that compa-
nies achieve greatest overall satisfaction and effectiveness with systems that:

• Use no performance ratings or summary judgments, as these have
been consistently found to increase defensiveness and reduce recep-
tivity to constructive performance planning.
• Unlink performance discussions from salary discussions. Many com-
panies have eliminated the yearly performance discussion focused on
a ˜˜¬nal™™ evaluation in favor of more frequent informal meetings.
This avoids the inevitable ˜˜gunny-sacking™™ of supervisor criticisms
over several months time until they are all dumped onto the em-
ployee in a yearly meeting.
• Further de-formalize the process by no longer requiring the employ-
ee™s signature or placing the plan in a ˜˜personnel ¬le.™™ Some compa-
nies create more employee ownership of the process by allowing
employees to keep the performance plan in their own ¬les and give
them the option of providing a copy to the supervisor.
• Call for meetings between manager and employee at least once per
quarter and encourage frequent brief performance feedback-and-
coaching discussions.
• Emphasize mutual performance analysis over performance appraisal.
• Give the employee the initiative in creating performance goals. Em-
ployee is the active agent, not the passive object of a supervisor™s
appraisal.
• Allow the employee to begin performance review discussions by
evaluating personal progress toward self-created objectives.



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• Train managers in a discussion process that is simple and memorable,
such as ˜˜Get-Give-Merge-Go™™ (start by getting employee™s perspec-
tive on performance, then give your perspective, then merge mutual
perspectives into an agreement, then go forward with new objec-
tives).
• Train managers in helping employees set appropriate objectives that
are speci¬c, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (S-M-
A-R-T).
• Put the manager in the role of counselor and co-problem solver, not
judge. Managers do not coerce or manipulate employees to accept
organizational goals. The manager is responsible for assuring that the
employee™s objectives align with the objectives of the unit and orga-
nization.
• Hold senior executives accountable for following the same perform-
ance review and planning process as every other employee must do.
• Have built-in measures of the system to assure that it remains effec-
tive, with measures based on periodic quality and timing audits and
on surveys of employee opinions about the process.
• Ditch elaborate and complicated ranking systems for determining sal-
ary increases. Many companies have managers use simple categories
such as A-players, B-players, and C-players, or ˜˜walking on water,™™
˜˜swimming,™™ and ˜˜drowning,™™ as initial groups, then provide raises
based on subjective judgments of overall value to the organization.

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