Tag Archives: Written

How Do You Develop Current Managers to Support Growth? Six Suggestions

Situation: A CEO is concerned that the current management team is not mature enough to support planned growth. Sales skills are necessary to start an office, but there is a wide range of business acumen and people skills among the managers. How do you develop current managers to support growth?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Company policy requires manager candidates to demonstrate competence in at least three of five areas: sales, technical skills, customer management, customer management, and business acumen. A coaching or mentoring process from senior management would be beneficial.
  • A minimum number of clients is required to start an office. There are important differences in the skills needed to grow and sustain an office. More evaluation of the managerial skills of manager candidates will help.
  • Another CEO shared story of a regional office with a manager who was technically competent but had poor business development skills. This created a growth issue. Clear, mutually agreed upon, written goals helped. Office growth requires good administrative performance as well as technical or sales skills.
  • Frequent group meetings with managers and a deliberate agenda help. There is merit in allowing the field people to contribute to the agenda, having a “round table” type of review, and peer dialogue. In addition to current individual weekly telephone conversations and quarterly operations reviews, there is an opportunity to modify the format.
  • Sometimes there is a double loss in taking a good individual contributor and making them a poor manager. For example, of a good salesperson may turn out to be a bad sales manager. The transition may not play to the person’s strength. A more rigorous selection process will help.
  • Another CEO shared a story of one of his plant managers who reached the limits of his competency and could not continue to grow the plant. He was moved to a support position and a new plant manager was hired. The former manager found new satisfaction in the support role and was successful sharing his knowledge and skill with the new manager and a broader audience within the company.

What are Best Practices for Employee Reviews? Five Examples

Situation: A CEO is evaluating her company’s employee review process and seeks input on alternative practices from other companies. What are best practices for employee reviews in terms of frequency, format and structure?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Company A conducts annual reviews. They ask for written input from the employee, peers, and manager. The review is a sit-down meeting between the employee and manager.
  • Company B conducts formal annual reviews, with informal 6 month reviews. The annual review evaluates the employee’s performance on 15 key variables, and is prepared by the manager. The review is a sit-down meeting between the employee and manager
  • Company C does not conduct reviews. They have tried several formats over the life of the company, but found none satisfactory. Instead the company continually monitors key metrics on a green, yellow, red scale. As soon as yellow appears on a metric for an employee, the supervisor meets with the employee to discuss the situation and to formulate corrective action. The result is that reds do not occur.
  • Company D conducts annual reviews on the employment anniversary. They request written input from both the employee, and manager. The employee, manager and President meet over lunch, off-site. The objective is to communicate plus and minus points, taking a long-term approach in a conversational setting.
  • Company E conducts annual reviews, with quarterly self-evaluations. Both reviews and evaluations include a key question: “what can management do for me to improve my performance?” The review is a sit down meeting between employee and manager. Results of reviews are tied to quarterly profit sharing.
  • All companies agreed that, generally, in evaluating the options, the most important questions to ask are:
    • Why are we doing reviews?
    • What is the objective?

    The answers to these questions help to evaluate review options.