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John Maeda is the President of the Rhode Island School of Design. In this entertaining and humorous Ted Talk, he shares his thought provoking perspectives on the intersections between technology, design and art, what we can learn from those interactions, and how it can influence what he refers to as ‘creative leadership’:
Design – makes solutions
Art – makes questions
Leadership – makes action
Great culture can’t be bought. While there are a few things companies can do to help promote a positive company culture, the foundation of that culture needs to happen naturally and it’s development needs to be organic in order for it to be truly authentic, and for people to buy in to it willingly.
Read the full post on Signal vs. Noise.
Employees need to get feedback on their work – if they’re not 100% sure of how they’re doing, how can they improve? Often, employees aren’t too shy about asking for feedback on their performance – Generation Y in particular. But sometimes it’s their peers and managers (especially new managers) that aren’t sure how to give good feedback, and how to make it useful and constructive.
So here are three simple rules to remember for giving effective feedback:
1. Make it specific
To avoid having the feedback come across as ‘personal’, the focus should be on the specific behaviour the person is exerting, and that behaviour should be referred to when giving the feedback. Vague and generic statements such as “well done” or “good job” aren’t helpful, as the person can’t be sure of what exactly they did well, and then the positive behaviour won’t be reinforced.
2. Give examples and suggestions
An extension of making feedback specific – tell them exactly what they did well, or poorly, and tell them why. Going a step further, particularly if you’re a manager, give the recipient some advice on what they can do differently to improve in the areas where they’re struggling. As an employee, nothing is more discouraging than being told that improvement is needed, but being uncertain of how to get there. Failing to make suggestions for improvement is also likely to instill a fear of making mistakes, which is counterproductive and stifles innovation.
3. Make it timeous
Perhaps the most important aspect of giving feedback is to give it as and when an event occurs. When a person is given feedback or constructive criticism immediately, it means they can make a change and improve immediately. Giving positive feedback timeously is equally important, as the person will know that their good work is not going unnoticed, and their positive behaviours get reinforced. Waiting for someone’s performance review in 6 months time to tell them where they could have improved is too little too late.
Of course, feedback will be more meaningful and acceptable to the recipient if their initial goals and expectations are very clear. Providing clear expectations creates the context within which an employee should be given feedback, which ensures that it will be more constructive and effective.
Facebook comes out with changes and updates to their product so often that it sometimes feels tough to keep up. Clearly, innovation at the company soars – the question is: can other companies learn from what Facebook is doing to drive such continuous and impactful innovation?
One interesting point Kate shares is that everyone is involved in designing and building their products – including the executives at the highest level. This way, the final decision makers are part of the process from the beginning, and aren’t making judgments and decisions that would otherwise be out of context if they weren’t involved from the start.
Unsurprisingly, Kate explains that the physical layout and environment is also an integral part of Facebook’s innovation culture:
Have a look at Reena’s full article on the HBR Blog Network.
There are numerous HR systems and applications for all sorts of HR areas that are aimed at improving productivity and business performance throughout your company.
When it comes to performance management technologies specifically, there are two critical factors that must be remembered:
1. A system does not replace performance conversations
Face-to-face conversations between employee and manager are of the utmost importance to foster learning, trust, and performance improvement. Performance management tools should serve as a framework for capturing those conversations, as well as other feedback, so that no performance related data gets ‘lost’ or goes unheard. While it’s important to record these conversations, the system should not be the primary means of communication between employee and manager.
Nothing can replace the face-to-face conversation that must take place around performance management, but a useful tool can certainly facilitate the conversation.
2. Systems don’t fix people problems
The implementation of a system will not fix an existing cultural problem at your organization. If your company culture is one that lacks enthusiasm when it comes to sharing feedback, learning, and tracking and improving performance, no system or tool will mend the situation. Simply putting a tool in place that manages goals, feedback, and performance reviews for employees will not be helpful if the people behind it are not committed to gaining from it’s potential benefits.
The company needs to develop culture of feedback, performance improvement and career development that ought to be driven by key stakeholders at senior and middle management levels of the organization. If management doesn’t buy-in, how can they expect employees to do the same?
Quite aside from the tool or system that is used by your company to administer and record performance reviews, it is important to remember that performance management is not the responsibility of HR. While HR certainly has a role to play in the process, it really should be driven my managers and employees.
This post was originally published on 24 October, 2012.
There are a lot of tools and tricks people use to help themselves, and sometimes the people around them, be more productive. It’s particularly important for managers and leaders to know how they can help their teams be more productive and function at the highest level possible.
One of her tips is simply to make sure that you give your employees what they need to do their jobs. The other is to remove obstacles that get in the way of allowing them to do their jobs efficiently. As Janine says:
There is also an important leadership lesson in what Janine says here – she “works for her team”.
Great leaders are not the ones who simply give commands, tell people what to do and make sure they meet their deadlines. Great leaders are the ones who help the people around them recognize their own talents and strengths, support them in building on those strengths, and help them develop their careers in the direction that the employee wants for themselves. The best leaders know that it’s not about them – it’s about the others.