Archive for the 'Performance Reviews' Category

Leadership Newsletter – September, 2013

We have prepared some very interesting articles for you this month, great articles on the importance of leadership and how to accelerate the development of employees; also understanding the true purpose of performance reviews and how to conduct them effectively, developing positive productive work environments, what really motivates employees and how not to demotivate employees; also minimizing turn-over, how to save a troubled manager and much more. Scan through the newsletter and pick the articles you feel will be of most interest to you – and enjoy!



Leadership Newsletter . . . September, 2013


Newsletter Content:

Leaders Succeed Through Others!

The August Sessions Were Great!  Thanks!!

Coming up This Month . . .(Leadership Sessions)

Performance Reviews & Productive Environments

Leaders Achieve Improved Performance through Employee Growth!

We as Leaders Really Do Set The Pace!

Get in The Last Word . . . !

Tips on How to Run a Good Meeting!

Keys to Living a Successful Life!

Calculating the Cost of Turnover!

What Really Motivates Employees?

Turnover Can Be Controlled!

Leadership Test!

Quick Learning Tip!

Personal ‘On-Site’ Coaching!

How to Save a Troubled Manager!

Communicating Better at Work!

Leaders Ask Five Important Questions!

Motivating Generation X!

Motivating Generation Y!

Come Join Us!

Contact Information!



Leaders Succeed Through Others!

Great leaders and managers remove obstacles and they make it easyfor others to succeed individually and corporately.  Delegation and the empowerment of others involve the art of getting things done through and with people in a formally structured environment.  It includes the art of creating an environment in which people can perform as individuals and yet cooperate in an effort to attain the goals of the team and the organization as a whole.  It also includes the art of removing the kinds of obstacles that can potentially block such performance to make it easy for people to succeed.”

Jim Abbondante



August Sessions Were Great!

What a great time we had last month as we presented the monthly leadership sessions at home and around the country!  We want to thank each one who attended for your enthusiastic participation as we focused on Motivation and also on how to plan for and structure a successful Meeting.

We appreciated the many positive responses we received at the conclusion of each of the sessions last month. Based on all the comments and emails we received, the main things that seemed to really hit home from the segment on Motivation was the fact that Motivation, to be really impacting and effective, has to be specific to the individual; in other words, it has to be customized and speak to who the person really is and to what’s going to be most valued by the individual, and that requires ‘relationship’.  It kind of reminds me of what we have discussed in other sessions; that if we’re going to achieve genuine success in the ‘people business’, it’s going to be the result of the quality relationships that we have developed with each one of our valued team members, and our genuine commitment to their growth and success.

The comment we received the most regarding the segment on Meetings seemed to center around the practical application of the seven P’s and the importance of keeping it ‘simple’ as we take a more structured approach to planning for and conducting a successful staff Meeting.  I have included a few additional guidelines for you to follow to insure the success of your meetings.  I will refer to them a little later in this edition of the monthly leadership newsletter.

Well, while we had a great time together last month, you’re really going to enjoy what we have in store for you this month!

We’re going to keep it going!!

But first . . .

What an honor it is to have the opportunity to work with leaders like you who are committed to achieving a greater degree of excellence in their life and career, and to making a genuine difference in the lives of their team members. What goes around really does come around.

I’ve seen it time and time again!

Remember . . .

“The ‘best’ leader will always bring out the very ‘best’ in those he or she has stewardship over.”

By the way . . .

The Application Projects that were completed and turned in last month reflected a lot of introspective thought on everyone’s part.  You did a great job!

Remember, the Application Projects are designed to be the first step that’s taken toward getting the principles, concepts and processes out of the training room and into the real world where they really can make a difference.

Let me remind you again that if you have need of any assistance when it comes to taking that all important first step, all you have to do is email, or you can give us a call, and we will be happy to work with you on an individual basis to help you succeed with what you are learning in the sessions.  It’s free!

As always . . . we remain committed to your success!



Coming up this month . . . (Leadership Sessions)

We are really looking forward to seeing you in one of our many ‘on-site’ LEADERSHIP-THE BOTTOM LINE leadership sessions this month.

We have prepared two very interesting, enjoyable and practical segments for you this month that will focus our attention on two very important leadership functions . . . ‘Conducting Successful Performance Reviews’ and ‘How to Structure the Most Productive Environment Possible’ for your team.

(Each one of our ‘on-site’ groups will be going through the same sessions at each of their individual locations.)

Improved Performance through On-Going Employee Growth!

In the first of our two segments this month, we’re going to take a close look at what is often times viewed as one of the most negative and mundane responsibilities of the typical manager . . . conducting those Annual Performance Reviews.

It’s really amazing how many employees associate negative with the annual Performance Review when in fact, it should be looked forward to as being one of the most positive and beneficial meetings of the year  the part of both the manager and the employee.

What takes place in the annual Performance Review should become the foundation upon which the team member is able to build a very successful year with the organization.

But unfortunately . . .

One of the great secrets of corporate life is that managers, (those charged with doing the reviewing and with judging the performance of others), usually find the process as nerve-wracking and as unsatisfying as the employees do.

Have you ever wondered why?

Considerwhat are some of the main reasons for conducting a successful annual review?  Aren’t we looking for ways to improve performance, increase productivity and accomplish more through our team members with less effort and in less time?

In addition, aren’t we looking for ways to create a greater degree of commitment on the part of the team member to the company’s success, and a greater degree of loyalty on the part of the team member to the company and to their leader in particular?

How do you actually accomplish that in the context of an annual Performance Review?  Well, believe it or not, all that and much more can be achieved when your perspective is right, you’re prepared and you approach it correctly.

As you begin to understand, develop and master the art of conducting a successful Performance Review, here are just a few of the many benefits you will enjoy:

Better Attitudes

Increased Cooperation

Improved Working Relationships

Increased Loyalty and Team Spirit

Faster and Better Quality Production

Transform your Team Members into Leaders

Develop a Reputation as a Great Place to Work

Weed out Destructive Employees

Retain your Best People

Increase Profitability

Decrease Stress

What are the secrets to accomplishing this – and more?

That’s exactly what our goal will be as we focus on the critically important task of conducting successful Performance Reviews in our first segment this month.

We’re going to take a look at what a successful Performance Review really is and isn’t, what its ultimate purpose is, what the actual mechanics are, how to create positive involvement on the part of the employee, and how to utilize the Performance Review to accomplish a greater degree of growth both in and through the members of your team.

Not only are you going to enjoy this month’s segment on how to prepare for and conduct a successful Performance Review, but you are really going to appreciate the very practical tools you’re going to be given in the process.

As you begin to apply the principles and the steps you will be given in the session, both you and your team members will begin to really look forward to and enjoy the Performance Reviews you conduct in your organization.

Leaders Really Do Set The Pace!

In our second segment this month we are going to be taking look at a very important part of our everyday work life, and that’s Creating a Productive Work Environment.

If you have attended any of our monthly leadership sessions then you have heard us reinforce on a number of occasions the fact that any organization will always be a direct reflection of the leadership it’s provided and of the ‘leader’ in particular.

As leaders, we do set the pace in so many important ways.  For example, consider the following famous statement: “I’ve been to the mountaintop and I’ve seen the other side.”  Those words of Dr. Martin Luther King ignited the passion of the entire civil rights movement.  His passion, belief and attitude of expectancy caused thousands to follow him, no matter what the cost.

What was there about his leadership that made such an impacting impression on his followers?

First, he had a positive view of the future.  People want to be able to view their future optimistically and to be a part of something that is positive and fulfilling. Dr. King believed that his dream of equality and justice would one day be realized.

Second, he believed that ‘right’ would win out.  Dr. King stood for something important and noble.  Even as the fires of hatred and oppression burned, Dr. King believed that an ultimate good would arise from their ashes.  People want and need to be able to feel that their contribution counts and that it will make a lasting difference.

Third, he believed that his noble message would be accepted. In spite of immediate rejection, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned a day when his message of peace and harmony would be preached, taught, and practiced. He simply expected it to happen and so he was prepared to take all the steps necessary to see it come to pass.  People need to be able to depend on their leaders to ‘follow-through’ on their commitment to the future.

The task of a real and genuine leader is to show people the future. To present the possibilities in such a way that people can relate and identify with the success of the vision and in such a way that they want to become a part of making it become a reality.

Visionary leaders in all walks of life have been to the mountaintop. They have seen the other side and they are committed to taking their teams there.

In business, it’s equally important that we set a good example and that we earn the respect and loyalty of our employees.  It’s also vitally important that we communicate our vision in such a way that our people want to be a part of it and play an important role in the realization of it.

They need us to communicate our expectations in such a way that they feel empowered to succeed and they also need to know that we expect them to succeed, and they need to know that they really are making a difference.

In our second segment this month, we’re going to take a close look at the most important steps a leader can take to create the kind of environment for his or her people that will be the most conducive to consistent productivity, growth and success.

You will need to come prepared to learn a lot more about succeeding through people and to have a lot of fun with us in the process.

Remember . . .

Leaders are genuinely enthusiastic about the future!

“Great leaders are never satisfied with current levels of performance. They are relentlessly driven by their belief in the possibilities, and by their belief in the potential achievements of their people individually and as an organization.”

See you in the session!



Get in the last word . . . Apologize!



Tips on How to Run a Good Meeting!

As a follow-up to our segment last month, here are some additional tips for you on how to run a successful staff meeting:

1. Don’t compete with group members. Give their ideas precedence over yours.

2. Listen to everyone.  Paraphrase, but don’t judge.

3. Don’t put anyone on the defensive.  Always assume that everyone’s ideas have value.

4. Control the dominant people without alienating them. Respond in a positive way using leading questions to move everyone back on to the subject.

5. Realize that your interest and alertness are contagious. You set the pace when it comes to the focus and energy of the meeting.

6. Keep all the participants informed about where you are in the discussion and what’s expected of them.  Keep notes on a flip chart or on a marker board that everyone can see in order to remain focused and involved.

7. When a problem is raised, check with the person who owns the problem to find out if an idea is worth pursuing or if an already proposed solution is satisfactory.

8. Give others a turn at running the meeting.  Those who learn to lead learn how to participate more effectively.

And again . . .

Remember that proper prior planning (and preparation) prevents pitiful poor performance when it comes to conducting effective staff meetings!



Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks.



Keys to Living a Successful Life!

Here are a few things I have picked up along the way from those I have looked up to, respected and admired that have served me quite well over the years.  I do hope they will prove to be an encouragement to you as well.

Be proud of who you are.

Learn what makes you happy.

Do things for other people each day.

Love and respect yourself and others.

Climb mountains that seem impossible.

Set goals and work hard to achieve them.

Learn to win and lose with grace and dignity.

Love and treat your whole family with respect.

Ask advice from teachers and other successful people.

Always remember that you only fail when you fail to try.

Don’t be afraid of failure, it can be a good thing if you learn something.

Don’t try to be better than others, simple choose to be the best you can be.

Consider . . .

Going far beyond the call of duty, doing more than others expect, this is truly what demonstrating a commitment to personal excellence is all about.

And it comes from striving to improve and grow, maintaining the highest possible standards, looking after the smallest detail, and going the extra mile.

Demonstrating a genuine commitment to personal excellence means doing your very best and then just a little more in everything and in every way.

It’s remembering that every part of your life is a reflection of who you really are, what you really stand for and what you really want in your life.



“The person who fails to stand for something will ultimately fall for anything.”



Calculating The Cost of Turnover!

You’ve certainly heard the old saying, “Good people are hard to find.” Well, how about . . “Good people are expensive to lose.”  How much does ‘turnover’ cost the average organization? Consider the following formula for calculating what turnover could be costing your company.

To estimate the cost of turnover in your company, use the following formula:

Select a department or specific job function that has a lot of turnover. Write the number of people who have left the job or department during the past 12 months below on Line 4.

The average cost of turnover is 25 percent of an employee’s annual salary (Line 1) plus the cost of the benefits (Line 2).  Typical benefits amount to about 30 percent of wages.  The total cost per employee (Line 3) is the total of Line 1 and Line 2.

1. Annual Wage:____________________ X 25 = __________________

2. Annual Wage:____________________ X .30 = __________________ X .25 = _____________

3. Total Turnover Cost per employee (add Lines 1 and 2): ______________________________

4. Total number of employees who left: ____________________________

5. Total cost of turnover (multiply Lines 3 and 4): ___________________

Here’s an example:

1. Annual Wage: $35,000 x .25 = $8,750.00

2. Annual Wage: $35,000 x .30 = $10,500.00 x .25 = $2,625.00

3. Total turnover cost per employee: $8,750.00 + $2,625.00 = $11,375.00

4. Total number of employees who left: 10

5. Total cost of turnover: $11,375.00 x 10 = $113,750.00


When is the best time to solve this type of problem in your organization?
during or after it occurs? How about all three!

Make sure you join us for the leadership session in October when we take a look at the various options that are available to us as leaders to minimize the cost of employee turnover in our organizations.

In the mean time, consider the following . . .



What Really Motivates Employees?

I was on a flight recently from DFW to Los Angeles catching up on some important reading and while reviewing the findings of a recent survey, I learned that eighty-one percent of top-performing employees, (as identified by their employers), said that maintaining a good personal reputation is what motivates them to achieve peak performance.

The recent survey involved 600 of the country’s largest employers. Given our discussions in the various leadership sessions conducted around the country last month, I was pleased to learn that only 15 percent said that their expectation of financial reward had a very significant influence on the quality of their performance.

When you really think about it, in today’s market, competitive pay is the price of admission for employers who want to attract the very best people to their organization – however, it is not a key differentiator.

The research project showed that intangible factors such as personal satisfaction and recognition of contributions are much more effective in driving high performance.

The survey found the following responses for what typically motivates top employees:

*Desire to maintain good work reputation: 81%

*Importance of the work: 76%

*Appreciation of others: 66%

*Interesting work: 51%

*Personal desire to please supervisor: 20%

*Expectation of financial reward: 15%

It’s important to keep in mind that top-performing employees are typically well paid, so I’m not saying, (nor was the survey saying), that pay doesn’t matter. I think the message to employers is not to underrate the importance of ‘non-financial’ rewards in influencing consistent quality behavior.”

A leader’s success is largely determined by their ability to motivate others.



There is much more in us than we know.  If we can only be made to see it, then perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less.



Turn-over Can Be Controlled!

No matter how big or small a company is, employee turnover eats into profits. Replacement costs range from $7,000 to $10,000 per employee, and more for higher-level positions.  These estimates include the loss in company productivity, expenses incurred in replacing a lost employee, (recruitment costs, training, unemployment taxes, and time needed to interview and to select a replacement).

And, others in the organization must pick up the slack of the vacancy and deal with the disruption to the normal work flow.

Guess what?  Not all turn-over is bad!

New hires contribute fresh viewpoints and approaches that can energize an organization.  Marginal employees who leave provide an opportunity to replace them with better-skilled people. Turnover can’t be eliminated entirely, but it should and can be controlled.

The first step is to determine why employees typically leave your company. Statistics should be gathered and broken down (minimally) by department, the type of positions, and length of service.  For the smaller organization, large amounts of data may not be available, but a review of your former employees’ files may tell the story.

The most effective way to gather this information is through exit interviews conducted by a non-threatening manager or human resource professional. Periodic anonymous employee surveys will provide information needed to correct problems before any mass exodus takes place.

Turnover should be identified as either voluntary (resignations) or involuntary (terminations).  Each category may reflect its own trends and point to different solutions. Below are some of the most common reasons for resignations:

1.    Lack of Challenge or Advancement Opportunities.

Review your internal job posting system; expand breadth and depth of current jobs; provide skills development for future promotions or lateral moves.  Consider training as an investment in the future.

2.    Dissatisfaction with Pay

Determine your organization’s philosophy.  Are you the pay leader or do you pay market wages, or do you pay below market with other incentives used to fill in the gap.  Obtain industry pay data and compare.

Communicate fringe benefits if they are used to fill in the gap between actual and market pay. Pay bonuses in good years to fill in the gap if you’re concerned about the long-term cost of higher wages.

3.    Personal Problems (family conflict, poor health, etc)

Review your leave policy; consider alternative work schedules, flextime, telecommuting, etc., at least on a temporary basis if necessary. Be creative.

4.    Dissatisfaction with Supervision

Evaluate the supervisor’s management style. Provide training to improve skills; hold the supervisor accountable.  Does he/she create a hostile environment? Is there pervasive favoritism?  Involve them in our monthly leadership development series, (starting this month!).

5.    Not Satisfied with Working Conditions

For example: rigid work schedules, lack of responsibility/autonomy, repetitive tasks, etc. Conduct employee meetings to obtain in-depth information.  Re-design jobs or even the organizational chart if this is a pervasive complaint.  There may be no solution for jobs with low-skill levels and short learning curves.

6.    Conflict with Co-workers

Conduct employee surveys to get to the root of the problem.  Train supervisors in managing people/teams and hold them accountable. Depending on the pervasiveness of the problem, maybe consider hiring a mediator to defuse any hostility that exists. Review your culture. Is your organization possibly a breeding ground for political game playing?  If so, address it quickly.

7.    Job is Not What Was Promised

Provide realistic job overviews and communicate clearly your expectations during the initial job interview. Intervene early in any cases where dissatisfaction is expressed.

8.    Lack of Appreciation

This continues to be the top complaint, and probably the easiest to correct.  Make a habit of celebrating successes and be sure to say “thank you” often.  Money is not always enough, even if your pay scale is above market.  Personal significance is a real motivator.

9.    Being ‘In’ On Things

Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!  Employees want to know about the company, how it’s doing, and how they affect the organization’s success. Employees want to take pride in being an important part of a successful venture.  Let them know!

The combination of careful hiring and meeting the most reasonable needs of your employees will reward you with a competent and loyal staff and a surprisingly low turnover rate.  Be sure and join us during the month of October for more on interviewing and retaining your top producers.



Leadership Test!

To find out if you’re a true leader, see if you possess these qualities:

Leaders start projects by asking “What has to be done?” instead of by asking “What do I need or want?”

Leaders next ask “What do I have to do to make a real contribution?” The answer best suits the leader’s strengths and the needs of the project.

Leaders continually ask “What are my organization’s purposes and objectives?” – and – “What qualifies as acceptable performance and adds to the bottom line?”

Leaders don’t want clones of themselves as employees.  They never ask . . “Do I like or dislike this employee?” . . But they won’t tolerate poor performance. Their commitment is to the development of each valuable member of their team.

Leaders aren’t threatened by others who have recognizable strengths that they lack.

The quality of the leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves and encourage in others.

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether or not you are content with your failure. Abraham Lincoln



Quick Learning Tip!

Real learning occurs at pivotal points in a person’s career. If you want to bring in a coach for one of your employees or serve as a coach yourself, don’t do it when he or she’s coasting comfortably.

Instead, do it right after he or she has experienced a success or failure; for example: losing a key account or winning a promotion.

Reason . . .

It’s during these intensely emotional times that real learning happens.



Personal On-Site Coaching!

You are missing out if you are not taking full advantage of the opportunity for individual ‘on-site’ coaching as you progress through the twelve month leadership development process with us.

Let me remind you again that we are available to meet with you individually, at your location, on an ‘as-needed’ basis, between each one of your monthly sessions, to assist you with the completion of your application projects or to assist you in any areas that might pertain to your responsibilities as a leader and manager in your organization.

All you need to do is contact us via email or by phone and we’ll be happy to schedule a convenient time to get together with you at your location.  Personal coaching always yields impressive results.

Remember . . .

Every aspect or component of the leadership series has been designed to work together in such a way as to enable you to achieve the maximum benefit possible from your participation in the twelve month process.



How to Save a Troubled Manager!

If you have a manager or supervisor who is considered a valuable member of the team who is troubled or struggling with a particular problem, consider hiring an executive coach to help them get beyond their challenge/s and back on the road to success. This type of outside intervention is particularly valuable for managers who:

1. Are technically talented but have poor interpersonal skills;

2. Don’t communicate well with their people and/or have difficulty ’empowering’ them;

3. Have 75% of what it takes to get to the next level and can attain the missing 25% with some outside ‘one-on-one’ coaching; (or)

4. Someone who you want to put on the fast-track to the next level.

For example – a senior manager has a significant deficit – he’s sometimes arrogant, he’s often overbearing – and the president, CEO or other senior company leader has delivered an ultimatum such as:

“We can’t tolerate that kind of behavior, it’s too disruptive and de-motivating. You’re going to have to get help, (we’ll pay for it), or you are going to have to move on. The choice is yours.”

Executive coaching, which has become very popular with those companies who are committed to investing in their people, pays off. It’s proven to be the shortest and most cost-effective approach to creating a ‘triple win’.

As your good manager shows significant improvement, things get better for the manager, his or her team members and for the company over-all.

For additional ideas, feel free to visit our website:

There are two quick ways to disaster: taking nobody’s advice and taking everybody’s advice.  It’s critical that you take advantage of the right advice.



Communicating Better at Work!

In a lot of the workshops and coaching sessions I am involved in, employees often show concern about the quality and quantity of the communication that takes place in their working environment.

Some claim that management gives only lip service to open communication but does little to really communicate with them.  Still others contend their organizations believe that posting notices on bulletin boards and sending out memos will provide adequate communication. Still others say they receive vague instructions that are difficult to follow.

Ineffective communication often results in poor cooperation and also in poor coordination, lower productivity, undercurrents of tension, gossip and rumors, all of which leads to increased turnover and absenteeism.

My experience has shown that there are many ways that managers can improve internal communication.

Here are some things for you to consider if you want to influence better communication:

1. Understand that communication is a two-way street.

It involves giving information and getting feedback from employees. It isn’t finished when information is given.  There must be quality two-way communication that says we are working together.

2. Put more emphasis on face-to-face communication with employees.

Don’t rely mainly on bulletin boards, memos, emails and other written communication. We must remember that organizational success is the result of good working relationships being nurtured and developed at all levels in the organization, and also a sense of involvement.

3. Ask yourself, each time you give an instruction, if the message is clear.

Most vagueness is caused by failing to be specific.  Example: Don’t just tell an employee to “show more interest” in his or her work.  If an employee spends too much time chatting with others, be specific about it and involve them in a productive discussion regarding the benefits of becoming more involved in their work.

4. View information as ‘service to’ employees and not ‘power over’ them.

Listen to employees; show respect for them when they speak. They’ll feel like part of the team and will tend to be more dedicated and much more productive. One effective way is to ask more questions to show your interest and to have them clarify the points they are wanting to make. Let them know that the information you are providing is intended to equip them to succeed.

5. Don’t just talk ‘open-door’ policy.

Practice it by walking around and talking to employees. Allow people to disagree and to come up with new ideas.  By being open to input and stimulating the creative process on their part, they will feel more involved, take greater ownership and will produce higher quality work.

6. Conduct regular ‘one-on-one’ meetings.

Schedule regular personal meetings with each one of your employees. Ask each employee to tell you how you can help them do a better job. Then how they can help you do a better job. Work together to win.

7. Prepare & distribute internal publications frequently.

Implement a company newsletter in your organization.  Emphasize current issues that employees care about; don’t substitute quarterly “prettier” publications for substantive, up-to-date ones. Assign a committee to find out what employees want to see in the company newsletter and allow different team members to submit articles on those topics in each issue.

8. Concentrate on building credibility with employees.

Managers who lack credibility and fail to create a climate of trust and openness aren’t believed – no matter how hard they try to communicate.

Remember that your role is to be credible in your demonstration of what good looks like and to be perceived as your team member’s most valuable resource.

Why not give some of these ideas a try; You’ll be surprised at the responses you will get. Be sure and let us know how it goes!



A single conversation with a wise man is definitely worth more than ten years of study.



Leaders Ask Five Important Questions!

One of the leader’s most valuable assets is clarity of thought and the ability to recognize and focus the team’s energies on the organization’s most important priorities.  Get in the habit of asking yourself these few questions on a regular basis:

1.    What are we doing?

2.    What should we be doing?

3.    What should we be doing next?

4.    What should we not be doing?

5.    Why?

Remember . . .

Priority thinking is all about majoring on the ‘majors’ instead of majoring on the minors.



“Happiness is not an end product in itself.  It is a by-product of working, playing, loving and doing a whole lot of living.”



Motivating Generation X!

Have you ever wondered what motivates younger workers?

More than 40 million American workers are in their twenties or early thirties.  To stereotype these workers is dangerous, but managers need to understand what motivates younger employees.

Here are four ways managers can get through to Generation X employees for the purpose of motivating and helping them to work hard and succeed:

1. Help them “train for another job.”

It sounds ridiculous, but younger employees realize that the old employment contract is no more. They know they won’t stay with one company for their entire career.  So, ironically, the way to keep them is to help them acquire skills that will make them more marketable later on. The more they can learn, the more they will want to stick around.  They will want to stay longer if you can create opportunities to advance within your own organization.

2.    Give them responsibility for projects.

Younger workers have more of an independent spirit than Baby Boomers or older workers.  Rather than mistake this quality for a liability – e.g., a refusal to stick to procedures, treat it as an asset.  Give them clearly defined goals, and the freedom to achieve them in their own way. Empowerment and the opportunity to take real ownership is a real motivating factor for this group of employees.

3.    Offer constant informal feedback rather than just formal annual performance reviews.

Younger workers expect a lot of feedback from managers. Formal, sporadic performance reviews are not timely enough to keep up with the rapid pace younger employees work best at. Involvement on the part of their manager/leader is what they really want and need.

4.    Offer them access to many different kinds of information.

Younger workers grew up in the computer age, and are quite adept at using different data and technology to bring together seemingly unrelated elements in order to solve a problem. Managers who hoard information are stifling one of the greatest resources these younger workers bring to the game.

The key to succeeding with this generation as with any other generation is to really know and understand who they really are, their perspective, their wants, needs and desires, and then find a way to accommodate those in the context of creating an environment that leads to mutual success.



Motivating Generation Y!

Just as you’re getting used to dealing with Generation X, along comes the next demographic group.  Generation Y, as some call it, is composed of those born after 1977.

What are they looking for from their employers?

Here’s how Generation Y college students answered one survey when asked what they wanted in their first jobs:

1. A fun work environment

2. Growth opportunities

3. Competitive salary

4. A wide range of projects to work on

5. Good benefits, including health care, profit sharing, and 401 (k)

6. Opportunities to learn and develop new skills, paid for by the company

7. Travel opportunities

8. Flexible work schedules

It’s important that we understanding and learn how to recruit Generation Y workers and how to make them want to stay and perform at their best while they are with us.

Welcome to the ‘people business’ in the 21st century!



Are You Stressed Out?

The photo shown below has 2 almost identical dolphins in it.

It was recently used in a case study on stress levels with patients at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Look at both dolphins jumping out of the water. The dolphins are identical.  A closely monitored, scientific study revealed that in spite of the fact that the dolphins are identical, a person under stress will find differences in the two dolphins.

If there are many differences found between the dolphins, it means that the person is experiencing a significant amount of stress.  Look at the photograph. If you find more than one or two differences you may want to consider taking a vacation.

Stressed Out



Come join us in the September Leadership Development Session!

Once again, let me remind you that we are looking forward to seeing you again in one of the ‘on-site’ leadership sessions that are being conducted at various client locations around the country. If you need any additional information or any additional assistance of any kind, please feel free to email or you can give any one of us a call at any of the numbers listed below.

Make it a great month!

Contact Information . . .


Jim Abbondante
President, Director of Training
Direct Line: (817) 304-2225


Leadership Institute
Main Number: (903) 960-5636

Student Services Number:    1-800-955-0109
(Personal and/or Executive Coaching, Misc. Needs, etc.)




Leadership Session Follow-up – September!

This month’s leadership session follow-up will provide you with a quick overview of the content we covered in our public and on-site leadership sessions around the country during the month of September, 2012.  The two primary areas of focus this month were on creating a productive work environment for team members and conducting results-oriented performance reviews. You can scan this follow-up for a review of some of the main points we covered during the session and also the specifics regarding the application projects for the month of September. In addition, we have also included some additional resource material that will provide you with some very practical steps you can take to further increase your effectiveness in these two very important areas!



Monthly Leadership Session Follow-up – September!

Productive Work Environment & Performance Reviews

The Economy

People often ask me, how is managing in this present economy different from managing in what might be considered a ‘so-called’ normal economy? Actually, the main things pretty much remain the same. It’s always about financial discipline and its impact on the bottom line, but it’s also about understanding your customers and what their greatest needs are, and then positioning yourself to be their most convenient and cost-effective solution; it’s about segmenting your customers according to those needs, and then developing the kind of leadership team that knows how to best utilize your organizations resources to not only meet those needs but to also exceed your customer’s expectations.  See Leading in Tough Times

Jim Abbondante




September 24, 2012

As usual, thanks for your participation in our monthly leadership development sessions here and on the road during the month of September. We had a great time in each of the meetings. I really enjoyed the discussions and was very impressed with all the ideas regarding the application of the concepts that resulted from all the group participation in each of the sessions. We focused this month on two important topics. The first having to do with the need to become more aware of those little (and big) things our people need from us on a daily basis in order for them to be able to perform at their best; and the second having to do with positioning our people to become even more involved in their own performance reviews. I liken it to interacting with our people in such a way that they become empowered to take on a greater degree of responsibility for their own success.

Development of a Highly Productive Work Environment

In our first segment this month we discussed many of the obvious, and some of the not so obvious, things our people need from us on a daily basis in order to succeed. We began by reminding ourselves that no matter what our industry, we’re first and foremost in the people business; and where people are concerned, there’s always the need for effective leadership. With that in mind, we invested a few minutes on the front end of our session to remind ourselves that results-oriented leaders will typically demonstrate the effectiveness of their leadership on four very important levels. (We covered this originally in our January session.)


When it comes to providing the kind of leadership that leads to positive change and continued growth in people and their organizations, on the first level, it’s all about being credible, earning the respect of your people and achieving a position of influence; which is important because ultimately, people really need to be ‘sold’ instead of just being told. Leadership is about ‘influence’; It’s about leaders helping their people make good decisions that really will be in the best interest of everyone involved.

On the second level, leadership is about the development of the kinds of growth-oriented relationships with their people that will be conducive to mentoring and coaching, and to helping their people achieve their individual potential and the success they desire in their life and career.

On the third level, leadership is about involvement and empowerment, and about recognizing the fact that people learn by doing, and that they grow as the result of being given the opportunity to stretch and succeed on a regular basis. Delegation and giving their people the opportunity to take ownership is the management style of the results-oriented leader.

When it comes to the fourth level, the environment that the results-oriented leader creates for his or her people, the leader is keenly aware that his or her people will need any number of things from their leader on a daily basis in order for them to be able to function at their best, so as to be able to do their jobs effectively. We broke those things down into four simple categories in order to facilitate our discussion.

We discussed the fact that effective leaders will continually ask themselves “What will my people need from me today to succeed?” Outstanding leaders recognize the importance of that question because they realize that they as leaders will only succeed when their people succeed.

Here are the four categories we covered in our session together:

1. Team members need their leader to be first!

The leader needs to be prepared to set the mood, set the pace and also set the standards. Team morale, team momentum and the team’s concept of what ‘good’ looks like will always be a direct reflection of the example and the communicated expectations of their leader.

2. Team members need their leader to be fair!

That means not playing favorites, being quick to give credit where credit is due and also a willingness to assume full responsibility when the team doesn’t perform up to acceptable standards or fails in their attempt to accomplish a particular goal or agreed upon objective.

3. Team members need their leader to be firm!

It’s tough to follow a leader who is uncertain, indecisive and who has not clearly communicated the team’s goals and what’s expected on the part of each individual team member. That’s especially true when it comes to a particular team member who seems to be getting ‘off course’ in some area of their performance.

The effective leader will meet privately with that team member and will then clearly state the facts, get an agreement that a problem does exist, they will interact with the team member in such a way as to arrive at an agreed upon solution, and they will then have the team member commit to a specific course of action that will not only resolve the problem but will hopefully produce growth on the part of the team member in the process.

4. Team members need their leader to be flexible!

Team members will always function at their best when their leader is willing to assume the best of his or her people. Team members instinctively know whether or not their leader believes in them and whether or not they expect them to be successful. I have found not only in the ‘people business’ but also in raising teenagers that people will either live ‘up to’ or ‘down to’ the expectations of those authority figures in their life whose opinions make a difference to them.

Team members will also tend to function at their best when their leader is willing to maintain an open mind and a willingness to consider new ideas. And one of the things that will earn the team member’s respect and engender loyalty the quickest is when they see their leader as being willing to admit when they’re wrong. It reflects a level of self-confidence and nobility that people respect and admire in their leaders.

You know, it’s been suggested that it’s often times the ‘little things’ that will make the ‘biggest difference’ when it comes to achieving success in the people business. I think we see that demonstrated in these four categories.

By the way, you might take a few moments to turn back in your student manual to your January material and review the section on how to recognize and avoid the most common leadership pitfalls. I think you will see they apply to our discussion regarding what team members need from their leaders.

Positive Accountability – Successful Performance Reviews

In our second segment this month, we focused on accountability and how to put it to work for you, in particular when it comes to the development of your people. We discussed the fact that in most cases, people have a tendency to associate negative to accountability. We again reminded ourselves that in the people business, it’s not always what you say but its how something is presented that tends to make the big difference.

One of the keys to effective communication in the people business is to (before you open your mouth) start by considering the outcome you are going to want to achieve, and then ask yourself what the most effective approach will be. Do you remember the 7 P’s?

Accountability is, in a sense, the insurance policy that we take out on each employee to insure their success, so it’s important that their perception of it be positive. When you consider human nature, accountability is often considered to be a negative when it’s presented purely from the company’s perspective, in a direct, ‘do it or else’ style presentation. It’s considered positive when ‘what’s in it for the employee’ is taken under consideration in your approach and you allow the employee to come up with as many of their own ideas as possible. When they are allowed to make their own personal commitments for reasons they can identify with and get excited about, they are then establishing their own accountability factors, which serves to substantially increase their odds for success.

Your challenge as a leader is to move them (or lead them) through that thought process so they can make some smart decisions on their own, and then to agree on what ‘good’ will look like and discuss how you as their leader will be able to support their efforts along the way.

This is the mind-set that we need to approach the issue of performance reviews with; the perspective that understands that my job is not to tell someone what they had better do in order to get the raise they want, but my job is to focus on the positives and help them determine what they want to accomplish and why, and then my job is to help them succeed at it through coaching and positive reinforcement. Then as they begin to really involve themselves in the process of succeeding, their attitude, their performance and their over-all results will be such that they will most probably exceed your organization’s minimum standards and the potential raise will take care of itself.

With that in mind, we looked at a very simple but powerful approach to conducting performance appraisals that can be incorporated into what most companies are already doing when it comes to conducting their annual performance reviews.

Its focus is on really knowing your people, being committed to helping them achieve what’s really important to them and allowing them to assume a greater degree of responsibility for their own success. I think everyone really appreciated the ‘continuous’ aspect of the process. Again, we broke the process down into three simple steps to make them easy to remember and apply.

Here are the three steps:

1. Preparation!

Preparation is really the key to our success at anything we do but it’s particularly important when it comes to our being able to conduct an effective performance review. There were two main means of preparation we discussed with regard to our process; they were involving the employee and making sure that we as leaders are prepared by doing our own homework. This includes gathering all the information we will need to be able to conduct the most effective performance appraisal meeting possible. You can refer to the notes you took on pages 9-16 and 9-17 for the details, but it’s important to remember that both the employee and the leader has some homework to do in order to be ready for a successful meeting.

2. The Appraisal Meeting!

We said the first thing we wanted to do in our actual meeting with the employee is to put them at ease by choosing a seating arrangement that is less formal (less threatening) and more relaxed. We also want to remember that ‘the positive approach is always the best approach’, meaning that we want to start off our conversation by complimenting them on what they have been doing right and if possible, congratulate them on what their accomplishments have been. From there we begin asking non-threatening, open-ended questions like, “How do you feel things have been going this past year?” Your goal at that point is to listen as much as possible and continue to ask open-ended questions until you get to the part of your discussion where you are ready to agree on what their goals will need to be. You’ll want to keep in mind the perspective you’re going to want them to leave the meeting with throughout the course of your discussions with them.

3. Follow-Through!

This is probably the most beneficial part of the whole three step process. I say that because this is where we get to go out and apply all of the great things we discussed and agreed upon in our formal meeting. It’s at this stage that we have the opportunity to influence ‘on the job’ and help our employee succeed and grow.

This will include you providing your team member with regular positive feedback and ‘one-on-one’ coaching when necessary, keeping in mind all the while that your job is to set them up to begin experiencing successes in their career on a repetitive basis to facilitate their continued growth. As we said in our session, this step, when implemented properly, will lead into the first step of next year’s performance appraisal.

The Bottom Line on Performance Appraisals . . .

The greater the degree of involvement on the part of the employee, the more effective and successful the performance appraisal. Follow these three very simple steps and both you and your team members will achieve a much greater degree of success – not just during the appraisal process but all year long!!

Additional Opportunity!

We would be pleased to schedule a convenient time to meet again with you on an individual basis, or as a group, to answer any additional questions you might have about conducting performance reviews or any of the specifics we discussed in our first segment about what team members need from their leader. You may have a few specific applications you’d like to discuss. We would certainly welcome the opportunity!!

Please email or contact us at the number listed below to schedule a convenient time for us to get together – or you can reach us through our main website by clicking on ‘contact us’. There are no additional costs involved other than the costs associated with you taking no action!


Application Projects!!!!

Productive Work Environment

Turn in your manual to page 9-10.

Consider the material we covered in our first segment from the standpoint of your own performance; how you are perceived by your people and the impact you make on your own personal organization – then simply answer each of the four questions you see listed on page 9-10; and then be prepared to turn in a photocopy of your completed project as you check in at the beginning of the October session!

Successful Performance Appraisal

Now that you’re providing your people with what they need from you on a daily basis in order to be able to perform at their best, let’s move on to the application project you will find on page 9-23; “The Leader’s Ultimate Motivation!”

As the old cliche goes, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” It would have probably been more accurately stated if we adapted the cliche to read, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you really care about who they are as an individual.”

If we went out and interviewed the people who directly report to you and asked the question, “Does your manager really care about you as an individual?”  What would your people say?  Would they say, “My manager really does care about me personally and about my personal and professional success” or would they respond maybe in the negative? The answers to these questions will most likely reveal their true level of motivation and the strength of their loyalty to you as their leader. Consider the leader’s you have worked for, those you have admired the most, those you would have gone to the mat for; did they really care about you?

Complete the simple exercise on page 9-23, and be prepared to turn in a photocopy of your completed project as you check in at the beginning of the October session.


Application Projects . . .

When it comes to any of our application projects, the idea is to see them as the first formal step in terms of getting the content out of the classroom and out there into the real world where it belongs and where it will do you and your people some good. Your goal is to take the information we covered, the material we discussed in the session together, and find as many opportunities as possible to apply it out there in your real world. Remember, adults learn by doing and they grow as the result of being given the opportunity to succeed on a repetitive basis. That’s the meaning behind our madness with regard to all of our application projects.

Their design is always simple; Just read the directions at the top of the pages, follow the prompts, answer the questions, fill in the blanks, take the appropriate steps, then be prepared to share your results with us at the beginning of the next month’s session. You’ll do great!! You always do!!!

Call us at (800) 955-0109, if you need any assistance with any of your application projects.

We want to make sure you receive the maximum benefit possible from not only the application projects referenced above but from everything you’re learning as you progress through the complete leadership development process with us!!


Great Idea!!

Why don’t you go ahead and follow through and get started on your application projects now while the content and all the concepts are still fresh in your mind?

As a matter of fact, once you get started, you’ll really enjoy thinking through the processes and succeeding! Your people will enjoy you applying the processes too!


Please feel free to email or you can give us a call if you would like any personal assistance and/or coaching when it comes to completing your application projects this month.

You can call or email – or reach us through our website!  (See Below!)



Let me remind you once again to plan to take full advantage of your opportunity for individual ‘on-site’ coaching in any of the areas that pertain to the application of the concepts, principles and processes we cover in our monthly sessions.  In addition, we are always happy to assist you in any areas pertaining to everyday ‘people’ issues.

We can assist you by phone or at your location. Just email or give us a call and we will go to work on scheduling a convenient time for us to get together.


Next Month . . . October!

Make sure you join us again next month as we take a fresh look at how to interview, hire and fast start winners. This segment will show you how to pull together all of the factors that need to be taken under consideration when making these kinds of decisions on behalf of your organization. We’re going to be taking a look at how much of the process should be objective and how much of it should be subjective; and also how to determine whether or not you really are being presented the true facts as you are going through the actual interview process with a candidate. You’re really going to enjoy this one! In addition . . .

You’ve heard the old saying that ‘good people are hard to find’, well, I’ll bet that you’ll also agree that the best people are sometimes the hardest to keep. Why is that? In our second segment, we’re going to take a close look at how to develop and keep your very best employees. We’ll be looking at some very interesting statistics together that you’re going to find to be a real eye-opener. If turnover at any level in your organization is an issue, you’re definitely going to want to make sure to join us for the session in October.

You’re going to genuinely benefit from both of these segments! Two very valuable segments you will not want to miss. I’ll tell you more about what to expect in the October newsletter & monthly reminder.


One Last Thing . . .

Would you take a minute to provide us with some feedback regarding the September session by leaving a comment for us at the end of this follow-up article. You can just click on ‘comment’ below. We always appreciate and enjoy hearing back from you.

Have a great month and remember . . . .

“The will to win is worth nothing unless
you have the will to prepare.”

Continued Success!




Leadership works best when people are equipped to manage themselves. When that happens, everyone on your team is working proactively. Everyone is participating in leadership. You create this type of environment through win-win agreements which stem from quality relationships built primarily on respect and trust instead of on authority alone.

Jim Abbondante

Contact Information . . .


Jim Abbondante
President, Director of Training
Direct Line: (817) 304-2225

Leadership Institute
Main Number: (903) 960-5636

Student Services Number:    1-800-955-0109
(Personal and/or Executive Coaching, Misc. Needs, etc.)



Come see us on Facebook!