Executive Performance -- Who's to Blame for Incompetent Managers?Written by Dr. Robert Karlsberg and Dr. Jane Adler
A recent article in Wall Street Journal raised question: Who’s to blame for inept managers?
The answer, of course, is superiors who hire or promote them -- but not because they intentionally select or retain poor performers. Every leader knows that his or her own success depends on putting right people in right positions. It’s easy to blame a manager’s poor performance on his or her boss, but more often than not, managerial incompetence isn’t obvious to superiors. Instead, fault lies with systems used for evaluation and alternatives available for dealing with performance failure.
Despite their widespread popularity, standard 360 evaluations and psychometric tests are poor substitutes for informed, thorough evaluation. Standardized assessments and tests are promoted as rapid, economical alternatives for determining competence and assessing performance. Consultants and salespeople alike tout them for their objectivity and accuracy.
In reality, typical 360 evaluation is far from objective. How can a group of very different people, with very different relationships to subject and very different priorities, be expected to evaluate an individual professionally and objectively?
Additionally, reliance on these measures can cause you to miss crucial information about how senior executives and managers think and how they relate to others on a day-to-day basis — factors that can make or break your organization’s ability to perform. While 360s can appear relatively cheap and quick to implement, a poor evaluation system can have very expensive repercussions.
The second problem is alternatives available for floundering executives. “Cutting poor performers loose” is a lose-lose proposition as a first-line response. If alternative is firing, superiors may be reluctant to acknowledge a problem and even colleagues and subordinates might shrink from responsibility for destroying a career. When alternatives, such as a different position or behavioral coaching are available, problems are much more likely to be identified early on.
Allan Kempert Discovered That Truly All You Gotta Do Is Ask.Written by Chuck Yorke
A year or so ago, I met Allan Kempert. Allan was Quality Assurance Supervisor for a metal stamping company in Ontario, and just completed Norman Bodek’s book, The Idea Generator, Quick and Easy Kaizen. As Allan explains, he couldn’t put book down because it was such a simple approach and he knew that it was going to empower employees at his place of employment. In fact, Allan had tears in his eyes a few times while reading book because he realized that he had come across a jewel. He spoke to people in his department and explained how program worked. He convinced them that it would be beneficial to company to start a pilot program within their department.
Upon completion of book, Allan set up an appointment with me and proceeded to convince President and Vice-President of his company that they needed to accompany him to see how another company had implemented process. Allan’s theory is, “learn from mistakes of others because we don’t have all time in world to make them ourselves.”
Each department in company had a leader in program; a team of 12 people was assembled to look at problems with traditional suggestion programs, causes and solutions. The solutions were based on Quick & Easy Kaizen and conversations between Allan and me. Allan would implement an idea system, where people implement their own ideas. This is a distinction he makes from a suggestion system, where ideas are usually submitted to a committee who either transfers it to a department to review or kills idea. Everyone in company was trained to new IDEAS program. In fact, training involved encouraging people to put forward IDEAS during training session. This resulted in over 100 Ideas from 104 employees by end of training.
The team conducted an effectiveness review. They developed questions and asked participants in program as well as non-participants questions pertaining to program. This helped to improve program. What really stood out to team is that by asking people to make their jobs easier, which was main focus at onset of program, people commented that they felt empowered, listened to, like someone cared, happy about coming to work etc. The team also noted that IDEAS coming in were related to not only making people’s jobs easier but were also related to safety, set-up, 5S and cost savings. Allan likes to point to a statement that explains this. Mahatma Gandhi stated, "take care of MEANS and ENDS will take care of themselves".