Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Category Archives : management and leadership

Tip #692:  Do Organizations Need “Best Practices”?

Today’s ‘best practices’ led to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.” Peter Thiel

Implementing best practice is copying yesterday; innovation is inventing tomorrow.” Paul Sloane

Quality performance for businesses has typically included the use of “best practices.”

According to Wikipedia, a best practice is “a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things.”

There are two problems with “best practices.”

First, while “best practices” may have generated superior results for some organizations, that does not mean they were effective in others. This is due to … Read the rest

Tip #687: Why Top Performers Leave

On September 5, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #687: Why Top Performers Leave

The culture of a workplace – an organization’s values, norms and practices – has a huge impact on our happiness and success. Adam Grant

I just read an article by Jeff Buenrostro in the August 15th issue of Forbes. The article caught my attention because of its title: “Obituary Writing and Retention.” Catchy, isn’t it?

Mr. Buenrostro writes that leaders can retain top talent if they know what those employees value- and if those values coincide with the organization’s values.

He suggests that leaders have their employees write their own obituaries. He believes that this will benefit the leaders because they will learn what matters to their employees. He adds that it will also benefit the employees, because … Read the rest

Tip #684: Engagement or Redirection?

On August 15, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #684: Engagement or Redirection?

“Engagement may have been optional in the past, but it’s pretty much the whole game today.” Gary Hamel

I recently read about a Forrester Research report on employee engagement (or the lack thereof). It was based on round-table discussions with 40 senior managers from different companies.

The report noted that constant work and communication are two keys to maintaining employee engagement. However, the report also advised employers to “minimize the increased pressure at work.”

I assume that the basis for the recommendation for constant work is the idea that employees who are always busy either are engaged or have no time to become disengaged.

I do wonder at the type of constant work the polled managers had in mind. … Read the rest

Tip #671:  Make Better Hiring Decisions

On May 16, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #671:  Make Better Hiring Decisions

Hiring people is like making friends. Pick good ones, and they’ll enrich your life. Make bad choices, and they’ll bring you down.”  Jason Fried

In the past, hiring decisions were primarily based on a review of the candidates’ resumes and their references. Unfortunately, neither of those sources are completely reliable. Professional resume writers abound who can transform poor qualifications and/or experience into new and misleading statements.

With regard to references, many companies limit a reference response to simple confirmation of the candidate’s employment. In addition, unless the hiring manager knows and trusts the reference, it is possible that the current manager may speak highly of an employee that s/he wants to leave the company.

Even if the resume and/or … Read the rest

Tip #667: When to Adjust Your Management Style

On April 25, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership, By ,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #667: When to Adjust Your Management Style

“The best leaders don’t know just one style of leadership- they are skilled at several and have the flexibility to switch between styles as the circumstances dictate.”  Daniel Goleman

Management style depends on the task, the people and the situation that needs to be managed.

Daniel Goleman has identified six different management styles, each of which may be appropriate depending on the specific situation:

  1. Directive
  2. Authoritative
  3. Affiliative
  4. Participative
  5. Pacesetting
  6. Coaching

The most effective managers move from one style to another to get the best outcome, adopting the one that meets the needs of the moment. An effective manager’s repertoire should include many different management styles.

Six Management Styles
Management StyleMain ObjectiveCharacteristicsMotivational ApproachUse Do Not Use
1. 
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Tip #666:  Are Your Performance Expectations Reasonable?

On April 18, 2017, Posted by , In management and leadership, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #666:  Are Your Performance Expectations Reasonable?

“If you align expectations with reality, you will never be disappointed.”  Terrell Owens

There are many reasons why employees are unable to meet performance expectations:

  1. The expectation is not realistic in relation to the employee’s skills, experience or position in the decision-making hierarchy.
  1. The expectations are too vague.
  1. The time limits for the task are unrealistic.
  1. The manager mistakenly assumes that the employee has the necessary knowledge and resources to perform the task.
  1. The manager does not check to see and factor in what the employee is working on at the time and what other deadlines and projects s/he may have.
  1. The manager unrealistically expects the employee to work as long and as hard as the manager does.
  1. The manager
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