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The PeopleCap Playbook

Timely insights and actionable people strategies for leaders.

Before You Promote

There are multiple factors, completely unrelated to ability, that drive decisions to put employees in people management positions, including the desire to: attract and retain top talent; recognize and reward service; or the need for someone to manage a growing team. Often these ancillary reasons result in managers who can’t manage. Successful leadership development begins with leadership selection. Continue reading “Before You Promote”

100,000 Opportunities to Build or Dilute Your Culture – Lessons from Delta

By formulanone from Huntsville, United States - Delta N981EV Bombardier CRJ200 Takeoff ATL June 2015, CC BY-SA 2.0

Last year, I was asked to serve on a panel in Atlanta with senior executives of Cox Automotive, Rheem Manufacturing, and Delta to share insights on cultivating an effective culture. Cox Automotive, Rheem, and Delta were on the panel because of their vigilant commitment to maintaining a positive and productive culture for all of their employees. Collectively, they have over 100,000 employees, and their cultures are shaped every day by the actions and decisions of each of those 100,000 employees.

On my way to Atlanta, my Delta flight was delayed almost two hours. Fortunately, I was flying in the day before my panel, but most passengers were flying in for business meetings that day, and the delay was causing significant disruption to their schedules.  Tensions and frustrations were high. Continue reading “100,000 Opportunities to Build or Dilute Your Culture – Lessons from Delta”

#21 Culture Decision

In their first baseball tournament of the Spring, my son’s team found its way into the Championship Game. Late in the game, we had runners on first and second. We needed to move the runners around, but stealing was out of the question. Their catcher was throwing everyone out.

#21 came up to bat. He had gotten on base every at bat during the entire tournament, and this was his chance to remain perfect. The coach gave him the green light; but he didn’t swing for the fences. He laid down a beautiful bunt. Continue reading “#21 Culture Decision”

Get in the Rink

I can’t roller skate. Never learned. While roller skating isn’t a skill I need regularly at this point in my life, the reason I can’t roller skate is important.

When growing up, it seemed like every birthday party was at Skateland. Every. Single. One. I couldn’t skate; and so every time, I sat at the tables outside of the rink and watched everyone make fools of themselves – slipping and falling. Some kids were so bad, they had to have a walker to hold them up. I wasn’t about to make a fool out of myself, and I stayed safely on the outside. Continue reading “Get in the Rink”

You Can’t Leave without Telling Me!

Recently, I was out of town facilitating a Board/CEO retreat. The retreat was incredibly productive. Everyone willing to put tough issues on the table and candidly discuss them. At the end of the retreat, strained relationships had been strengthened, expectations had been clarified and agreed upon, and there was an understanding and appreciation of the value each member of the Board could bring to the CEO. There was an enthusiasm, cohesion, and excitement in the group that hadn’t been present for months. To say that I was riding high would be an understatement. Continue reading “You Can’t Leave without Telling Me!”

Leading an Investor-Backed Company

 

puzzle pieces

Growth is a double-edged sword. Success provides the opportunity to grow. Growth is a reward for hard work and success. And yet, growth is hard. It often requires a new focus, new leadership, different skills, and possibly a new structure. As CEO, you are tasked with building a new, larger company while continuing to run the company that currently exists. The downside to growth is that it comes with significant risk; because so much has to change, you can’t just go back to the way things were if the change is not successful. In many ways, growth is an all or nothing endeavor – it is critical to get it right. 

This dynamic becomes even more complex when the growth is backed by investors who join your Board. Continue reading “Leading an Investor-Backed Company”

Performance Management is Evolving: The New Paradigm

paradigm shift key on keyboard

The necessity of developing talent is at an all-time high; yet, prehistoric performance reviews roam free – devouring hours of productivity and lowering morale without having any meaningful impact on organizational performance. Most HR departments don’t believe annual performance evaluations provide accurate data, and many managers and employees simply dread the process. In a study by Mercer, 95% of managers reported being dissatisfied with their performance management process and 90% of heads of HR did not feel their system provided accurate information. Continue reading “Performance Management is Evolving: The New Paradigm”

When It Comes to People Strategy, Success is in the Grind

Last year, I decided on a whim that I wanted to do a Half Ironman.

As I started to sketch out a plan, the enormity of the race started to sink in – a 1.2 mile swim, followed by a 56 mile bike, followed by a 13.1 run. I had a long way to go. I had never done a triathlon — not even a baby one. I had never swum a complete lap without stopping; my longest bike was 25 miles; and I hadn’t run in almost 2 years — and even then, my longest run had been 5 miles. Continue reading “When It Comes to People Strategy, Success is in the Grind”

Talent Development Is a State of Mind

exchanging information

Years ago, McKinsey popularized the phrase “The War for Talent,” and warned that the companies who were best at acquiring and developing high quality talent would be the most successful. Fortune 100 companies answered the call, as did many companies in Silicon Valley, where there was an urgent need to stay on the cutting edge.

For most of the rest of the country, however, the War for Talent wasn’t much of a reality. There was plenty of talent available, and the skills needed were not difficult to find. That is no longer the case. The landscape has changed. Having an effective strategy to develop employees is no longer optional – it is an imperative.

Several factors are converging to bring the war for talent right to the doorstep of smaller companies. Continue reading “Talent Development Is a State of Mind”