Monday, June 17, 2019

Is This Your #1 Business Challenge Too?

I had a great family get together in Indiana this weekend after speaking at the Energetic Women's Leadership Conference in Indianapolis. (The conference was a gathering of women from all over the US who are in the Energy industry - primarily gas & electric).

One of the many highlights was getting the latest updates from my stepson Chris regarding the state of their business in 2019 (we have 4 business owners in our immediate family!). They are exceeding goals! I was so happy to hear!

"So, what are your current challenges, what do you want to be different?", I asked. His answer, "Building middle management." Their business is family owned and operated with very aggressive growth goals. They need an effective, competent second tier leadership/management team if they want that to happen.

So we talked through some of his efforts and in several aspects he has some great things in place. For example, they have scorecards to keep everyone focused on the metrics that matter. They are very sensitive about company culture. They certainly do a lot of fun things together.

The one thing he really was stalled on was building a management team that could replace him so he could be free to develop the best, most market responsive strategies to grow the business overall.

So I shared with him my newly formed Executive Advantage Blueprint for Smart Management. I walked through each "smart management" building block - some of which, to varying degrees, he had in place.

What was missing is what most leaders miss...see if any of this applies to you:

1). He didn't recognized that when he said. "I want my managers to do this____________", he was really wanting a specific behavior. 

2). "Getting" managers to do a certain thing or have a "skill" is about developing behavior. Skills don't magically appear. Skill development takes intention with a proven plan over time.

3). That telling someone to do or be a certain way without specifically showing them or telling them how leaves lots of room for frustration on both party's part and wasted time. The quicker and most effective development efforts have a what, how and a why.

So as we went through the blueprint. I asked, "What if your managers had a weekly management blueprint to follow that set in motion the development of the skills/ capabilities you wanted and consistently achieved your needed results and from which you could see rapid improvement in 90 days?  Would that be helpful? Does that makes sense?

Then the light bulb went off! He replied, "That's cool! Where does the 90 days fit in?" So we  discussed the unique feature of the blueprint which is the integration of human behavior science in each building block. Because it's built upon principles of human behavior, you can design how and when you can get results. The blueprint is designed to get results in measured cycles - the first full cycle within 90 days.

I asked, "How would it be if you did not have to rely on a particular skill level of a manager or "style" because you're relying on the science not the competency per sae of the manager. With this approach, the science makes the manager competent. => this really is the cool part! :-) 

And, what would it be like if you promoted someone or hired a new manager and they were shown exactly how - where given a blueprint to manage from on day one - without you wondering how they'd "really do" post hire. That's what the blueprint offers - a road map for success- expected performance from day 1and from which you had a place to coach up or coach out.

I said, "That takes a lot of pressure off of you as the leader trying to "figure out" how to get and help people manage successfully. Or get your entire leadership team on all levels to have a cohesive leadership culture, that actually is your operational framework - in fact is the "human behavior-performance framework" of your business.

Chris, "Well that's really cool" Me, "I'll send you a copy." Here's what I showed him:

Using a tested, proven process that get results because it's based on human behavior science - if used as directed - will consistently get the intended results. Trust the science of natural wiring.

there is not consistent performance with your managers and their teams,
you're not sure how to develop your next tier managers
your collective leadership and management team is not cohesive and consistent
you're struggling with difficult employees
you have a dysfunctional managers and/or teams
you've kept underperforming employees way too long
you find it difficult to fire
you're overwhelmed and exhausted because you're not developing so you can delegate.'ll want to explore the possibility of getting help.

Schedule a 30 min. chat - let's start a conversation. We're here to listen.

// JCS Business Advisors is a strategic business management consultancy. Through our expertise in human behavior, we develop high-performance leadership teams and organizations as we partner with forward-thinking senior leaders, entrepreneurs and their HR counterparts, bridging the knowledge & execution gap of connecting people, performance, and profits.

// Email: // Ph: 888.388.0565 // Schedule a complimentary advisory call and receive a copy of our latest executive briefing.

//Learn more about our "all-in-one" blueprint that develops competent leaders and managers, effectively manages operations, people, talent and time.

Special Note: I want to make a bold statement. Every business owner and/or senior leadership team needs an advisor who has expertise in human behavior. It is the #1 driving element of their business they do not recognize (as well as many business coaches), yet directly impacts every area.  Take advantage of our complimentary 30 min. Q&A (ask us anything) and see how that translates to your business. Contact

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Have You Ever Misjudged What an Employee Can Do?

And...what kind of headaches did it cause?

I recently posted a short info video on how to determine when it's time to let someone go. It's one of the most popular struggles for leaders, managers, entrepreneurs, business owners...yes...just about everyone with a leadership role. :-)

This post is a quick follow up to that. In the video I give what elements to consider... a bit of a checklist to determine when it's time to fire someone. One area of assessment I didn't include was the functional capacity or capability of an employee.

Have you ever kept an employee in a position way to long where it was clear they were struggling... and there was not an acceptable level of improvement in sight...over an extended period of time?

When describing elements of Human Resources - which I do in the most literally sense in my executive briefing book The Human Quotient: The Most Potent Force for Your Business Success - I describe job function abilities in these ways:

Technical Capabilities
Skills – exceptional ability: competent excellence in performance; expertness

Capabilities – having power and ability to act and/or do

*Bandwidth - mental capacity; intelligence: a person's capacity to handle or think about more than one thing at the same time

*Capacity - the ability to receive or contain: power of receiving impressions, knowledge, etc.; mental ability: the maximum amount or number that can be received or contained

*Aptitude - capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something; talent: readiness or quickness in learning;

Job specific – activities related to a job description, job functions, job specific knowledge.

The Dilemma
I've witnessed on many occasions, particularly in industries with low skilled workers, that employees are kept in positions way too long that contain functions an employee just can't adequately master - even after an extended period of time. 

One of the main reasons this happens is because those managing, supervising or leading, see the task, function or role as very simple. And so, it is beyond their comprehension that a person is not able to grasp it - they just don't believe they can't.

The result?...they just keep giving them more time to "keep trying" motivated by the belief that "certainly at some point they'll get it".

In many cases, they don't... and as time elapses, the manager becomes more frustrated and angry (which is difficult to control or hide and which seeps into the day to day interactions with the employee). 

This condition subtly chips away at the employee's sense of self esteem-self worth as it and their performance continues to decline. Mistakes can even increase in parts of the job they can do. 

It becomes a downward, unhealthy cycle for all involved - the employee, the manager and fellow team members and in some cases with mounting collective bad attitudes and resentments. In human performance, this is called "the point of diminishing returns".

What You Need to Know
1). There are certain functions people just won't matter how simple it may be to or for you.

2). There are certain functions that an employee may take more time than what a business can and should handle for them to barely get it. This is a lose/lose situation for you and the employee.

And here is the key to this knowledge - it will only be valuable for you (and your business) depending upon how quickly you can recognize, acknowledge, accept and believe it!

A manager's disbelief, aka not accepting reality, keeps employees in jobs for which they are not nor will ever be qualified.

By the way, this doesn't just apply to low skilled workers. I graduated near the top of my high school class and almost flunked college chemistry. For me, this was a reflection of aptitude.

Here's another example. We all have something called capacity range (some call it bandwidth). This range varies person to person. So you might be able to handle much more in responsibilities and activities than a fellow leader. Job types have different capacity needs. 

Note, it is good to grow or stretch in an attempt to expand capacity... just be careful folks aren't stretched to the point of being broken. If you or an employee start experiencing extended "points of diminishing returns" with additional adverse results, then it's time to make a change.

Ideally you want taking on new learning/responsibilities for those with aptitude and capacity potential to look like this:

Note: Some may never get above the line (or slightly above) and then performance drops below the line and may even decline further

By the way ..."plateauing" in this case is not a negative thing. It suggests that little to no effort is now required because mastery or unconscious competence has been achieved. It also can be an indicator that it could be time for new challenges.

This post in conjunction with the video how to determine when it's time to let someone go should give you adequate guidelines to determining what's best for you and your employees as you smartly manage your talent.

// JCS Business Advisors is a strategic business management consultancy. Through our expertise in human behavior, we develop high-performance leadership teams and organizations as we partner with forward-thinking senior leaders, entrepreneurs and their HR counterparts, bridging the knowledge & execution gap of connecting people, performance, and profits. // Email: 
// Ph: 888.388.0565 // Schedule a complimentary advisory call and receive a copy of our latest executive briefing. Learn about our "all-in-one" system that develops competent leaders and managers, effectively manages operations, people & talent.

** Check out our Coffee Talk Series - Business Management Q&A for the Busy Business Leader in 10 mins or less: Dilemma - You feel as if your business is overwhelming you and your life... you're having a love/hate relationship with it...