Monday, March 20, 2017

Listening and Communication Skills -- Part 2

Barriers to Effective Communication:
  • Attitude of sender or receiver - How the sender feels about the subject matter, the receiver, or even about himself or herself affects the accuracy of the message.  If the sender has an "It can't be done" attitude or "know-it-all" approach, the message may have been sent just to go through the motions of communicating. Closed-minded attitudes cut off feedback and negatively influence the final result.
  • Emotional climate - Speaking in anger will distort the sending and receiving of a message.
  • Hidden agendas or preoccupations with other issues can foster negative feelings.
  • Body language may add strong signs of indifference, unimportance, or inattention to the message.
  • Semantics - Words mean different things to different people. When people attach different meanings to the same words, the message can become jumbled and misunderstood. Words with specialized meaning for certain occupations, professional, or social groups interfere with effective communication with people outside those groups.
  • Interruptions - anything that comes between the sender and the receiver of a message. Even if the interruption does not keep the message from getting through entirely, it can certainly distort the message. After an interruption, acknowledge the interruption and repeat what was last said, getting confirmation from the other party that he or she has the same understanding. 
  • "Hot buttons" - to control hot buttons, we must identify what triggers us, understand our responses, and develop behaviors that allow us to listen more carefully and objectively.  If you cannot eliminate hot buttons, the best alternative might be to develop acceptable responses.
Until next time...






Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
http://tools2succeed.com/

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Listening and Communication Skills -- Part 1

Do you want to be a more effective communicator?  If so, let's begin by taking a quick communication skills assessment. This assessment should take only 2 to 3 minutes. 

For our Communication Skills Assessment, please click here.

Communication is the glue that holds organizations together. It affects the outcome of relationships, products, and systems. Simply stated, when you communicate, you share, or make common, your knowledge and ideas with someone else.  Effective communication is sending and receiving a message so that the receiver understands the sender's meaning.  There is often "hidden" meaning in a message which must be deciphered.

Communication gaps are caused by the failure to convey and or understand the information, intent, or meaning of another, especially between individuals with different perceptions.  Stay tuned for more on communication next week!

Until next time...






Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
http://tools2succeed.com/

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Keeping Score on Organizational Goals 5

Step 4:  Set SMART Goals
 
SMART Goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.  It is much more likely that you achieve your goal if you make it a SMART Goal ("I will lose 15 pounds by May 31 by eating fewer fats and desserts, more fruits and veggies, walking briskly for 45 minutes 3 times a week, and weighing myself weekly") as opposed to what I call a New Year's Resolution ("I will lose weight this year").
  • Specific - Consider the difference between, "We want to sell more contracts than have ever been sold within this company," and "Our goal is to sell 20,000 units by March 15." Specific goals paint a much clearer picture for people and let them know exactly how they are doing in achieving them.
  • Measurable - Most goals should be quantifiable and measurable.  If not, they are probably wishful thinking rather than a goal and not likely to be attained.
  • Achievable - Although challenging, goals must not discourage team members who may conclude that they are impossible or too difficult to attain.  Goals need to cause people to stretch but be perceived as "doable."
  • Realistic - Goals should be realistic and within reach.  Team members must believe that the goal can be accomplished and be willing to commit to the goal.
  • Time-Bound - A goal should also have a timeframe for its completion.  This will vary depending upon the nature of the goal. However, without a timeframe, there is not pressure to compel people towards its accomplishment. 
Actions to Support Goals:
  • Are there specific actions you need to take to achieve each goal?
  • Do you need to get better at what you are already doing? 
Some of these actions require a great deal of planning and effort and may involve the help of management or support departments. Therefore, team members need to make sure that they do not take the actions lightly and that they coordinate their efforts with others in the organization.
 
Feedback
 
Once the basic template for keeping score has been developed, the challenge to the team is to make sure that those who need to know the metrics have frequent feedback.  The other steps in keeping score are meaningless if people don't receive feedback about how they are doing.

Feedback is like reporting the score during a game. To be meaningful, it must be up-to-date. It isn't very motivating or effective to wait until tomorrow to tally and report the score of tonight's game.  We want to know immediately where we stand and how we are doing.

People can't take ownership of their processes and results if they don't receive feedback about how they are doing.
 
Guidelines for Providing Feedback
  • Feedback should be frequent, accessible to everyone, and easy to understand.
  • Visual displays of feedback in the form of charts and graphs are far more effective than the written word.
  • Feedback should go not only to team members, but also to other stakeholders (customers, managers, suppliers, other departments) whose decisions and behavior impact your team.
  • Some of the common ways feedback is provided are:
    • "Scoreboards": Like the scoreboard at a basketball game, these are large visual displays, sometimes electronic, that are updated continually telling the team how they are doing on a few key metrics.
    • Standard and regular reports: results are summarized into a daily or weekly report which is posted or circulated so everyone can see it.
    • Review sessions: these are report-out sessions in which team members meet with stakeholders and share how they are doing.
Until next time...






Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
http://tools2succeed.com/  

Friday, February 24, 2017

Keeping Score on Organizational Goals 4

Steps in Keeping Score:
  1. Identify your team's most important key result areas.
  2. Select units of measure in each key result area
  3. Assess current performance in each key result area.
  4. Set goals to make improvements.
Step 1: Identify Key Result Areas (KRA's)
The first step in scorekeeping is to identify the key result areas most important to your team.
    These are broad categories in which you want to evaluate your team's success.
    They are qualitative as opposed to quantitative.
    They should be aligned to the strategy and goals of the larger organization.
    They generally fall into one of the following four categories:
 
Quality (examples)
  • Customer
  • On-time delivery
  • Accuracy
  • Defects 
Internal operations (examples)
  • Rate of production 
  • Cycle time
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Safety
Development (examples)
  • Product innovation
  • Employee empowerment
  • Process improvement
Finances (examples)
  • Profitability
  • Costs
  • ROI
What are your team's most important key result areas?
 
Begin by reviewing the strategy and direction of your team as well as the goals and objectives of the larger organization of which you are a part, then talk together with your team members to identify what is working and what is not working for your team.  Next, identify the key result areas (KRA's) most important to your success.  List each key result area and then note why it is important. Click here for a template which you can use to list what is working, what is not working, and your KRA's.

Until next time...






Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
http://tools2succeed.com/

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Keeping Score on Organizational Goals 3

Step 2: Establish Units of Measure
  • Units of Measure are specific ways of knowing how you’re doing in each Key Result Area
  • They translate KRA’s into numbers
  • Quality is an example that must be converted into measures
  • There is not a single unit of measure for everyone 
As you develop your own team's measures, you should answer each of the following questions to ensure that you understand them and know how you personally contribute to them.
 
Criteria for Units of Measure:
  • Unit: How is the KRA measured?
  • Source: From where is the metric obtained?
  • Frequency: How often is it measured?
  • Feedback: How and to whom is it communicated? 
Example for a call center that is measuring average response time per call:
  • KRA: Response Time
  • Metric: Minutes on Hold
  • Source: Call Center
  • Frequency: Random: 20% of Calls
  • Feedback: Team, Manager, Trainer
Keep in mind that a team should not identify key result areas independently, but instead they should be decided within the context of the direction of the organization as a whole.  This sometimes means that a team's key result areas have already been prescribed by the larger organization.  If that is the case, it is still important for team members to understand and "own" them.

Until next time...






Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
http://tools2succeed.com/  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Keeping Score on Organizational Goals 2

Steps in Keeping Score:
  1. Identify your team's most important key result areas.
  2. Select units of measure in each key result area
  3. Assess current performance in each key result area.
  4. Set goals to make improvements.
Step 1: Identify Key Result Areas (KRA's)
The first step in scorekeeping is to identify the key result areas most important to your team.
    These are broad categories in which you want to evaluate your team's success.
    They are qualitative as opposed to quantitative.
    They should be aligned to the strategy and goals of the larger organization.
    They generally fall into one of the following four categories:
 
Quality (examples)
  • Customer
  • On-time delivery
  • Accuracy
  • Defects 
Internal operations (examples)
  • Rate of production 
  • Cycle time
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Safety
Development (examples)
  • Product innovation
  • Employee empowerment
  • Process improvement
Finances (examples)
  • Profitability
  • Costs
  • ROI
What are your team's most important key result areas?
 
Begin by reviewing the strategy and direction of your team as well as the goals and objectives of the larger organization of which you are a part, then talk together with your team members to identify what is working and what is not working for your team.  Next, identify the key result areas (KRA's) most important to your success.  List each key result area and then note why it is important. Click here for a template which you can use to list what is working, what is not working, and your KRA's.

Until next time...






Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
http://tools2succeed.com/  

Monday, February 13, 2017

Keeping Score on Organizational Goals

What is the most important factor in a team's success?

A clear and elevating goal!

Research has shown that teams who are successful have clear and compelling goals which become a performance challenge to team members.

It is not only important to have clear and compelling goals, but people must also know how well they are doing in attaining those goals.  Imagine that you go to a basketball game of your favorite team and the announcer says at the start of the game, "Folks, we've decided tonight that we won't keep score.  This game has become too competitive and we want you to sit back and have fun watching the game and enjoying the athleticism of the players!" How would you feel?

People like to know how they're doing. Much of the appeal of sporting events and games would be lost if we did not know the score.

Keeping Score has Three Benefits:
1.  It motivates individual performance
2.  It becomes the basis for analyzing and making improvements.
3.  It helps team members to focus on a common purpose and work together.

Unfortunately, many teams and organizations do not do a good job of keeping score and so lose out on these benefits.

Keeping Score:
  • Is how we know how well we are doing
  • Must include several complementary measures
  • Must be linked to the strategy and objectives of the larger organization
  • Must be "owned" by the team
Until next time...






Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
http://tools2succeed.com/