How to Develop a Success Strategic Performance Management System
Presented by Mack Munro, Founder/CEO, MACK Worldwide

If you are looking to bring a strategic edge to your organization, a robust performance management system is a key component. This presentation will show the importance of balancing performance management, strategic goals and initiatives, wants and needs of employees and managers, and tight budgets while working to implement a culture of performance improvement.

In this session, participants will learn to proactively initiate (or adeptly respond to a request for) a “performance management system or initiative” Specifically, they will learn techniques to identify need, gather relevant data, leverage performance management, and communicate findings to senior management. They will learn key areas to consider and standard traps to avoid falling into. Finally, they will learn how to keep a program energized and permanently ingrain it into the organization’s culture, all the while communicating its success in the language of business.


Date: October 20, 2016
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 a.m.
Event: Wilson County SHRM - How to Develop a Successful Strategic Performance Management System
Topic: How to Develop a Successful Strategic Performance Management System
Venue: Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Location: 565 S Mt Juliet Rd
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.

For Managers: How to Have Your Best Day Ever

Desperate unhappy young business womanIn my work as an organizational repairman, I find the most common cause of problems in a company is the quality of the management.  Much of my work revolves around training managers to be more effective.

If I could nail down the one time a day that sets a manager up for success or failure, it would have to be the first contact with employees in the morning or at the beginning of a shift.  That contact sets the tone for the shift and allows the manager and employee to communicate so that the entire shift runs well.  It’s a crucial moment…

…that usually doesn’t happen.  Most managers get into their office, grab some coffee, and immediately start browsing email.  They may watch as employees file in but often trust this function to a line supervisor.  Soon the calls start coming in and the crises grow.  By lunchtime, that manager has sat in at least one useless meeting and put out several fires.  The afternoon runs much the same and at 5PM or later, the manager leaves work exhausted.  The next day brings more of the same, as does the next and the next and the next.

If you’re a manager, how can you stop this madness and set yourself up for success?  Be deliberate in how you handle that first contact of the morning.

Let’s be honest.  The main reason managers hide in their offices is because they’re afraid to talk to the staff.  They hide this fear with the “I’m so busy” excuse.  After all, if they walk the floors, they may be made aware of problems that they’ll have to fix.  It seems they’d rather avoid those problems now so they can read an email about them or hear about them in a meeting a day or two later.  How about quit being such a big wuss and get more proactive!

Here’s my suggestion.  In the morning, greet your employees with the following questions: (Be sure to bring a pad of paper and a pencil with you.)

  • How are you doing?
  • What are you working on today?
  • What updates do you have?
  • What problems need my attention?

Four quick questions.  Sometimes nothing needs to be said.  Other times, major problems can be headed off early.  Either way, if you get your team used to it, this can go pretty fast.  Now, here are some things to be careful of:

  1. Build rapport first.  Don’t expect your employees to open up to you if they don’t trust you.  Work now on building a better relationship (not buddy-buddy) with them now.
  2. Don’t fall into the trap of doing a meeting each day for this.  That’s a time waster.  If you HAVE to do it thjs way, use the model I learned in the Navy of morning quarters.  That was a 10 minute max meeting, where everyone stood (to avoid getting comfortable and letting the meeting drag on) and heard the plan of the day.  There was a few minutes for questions and then off to work we went.

Finally, if you’re an employee reading this, forward a copy of it to your boss.  This technique not only makes the boss’s day a whole lot better, it does the same for you to too!

A Message to Millennials

warningDear Millennial:

For some time, you’ve been much maligned by people of my generation.  They’ve called you lazy, entitled, arrogant, unwilling to wait, wanting gratification now, and expecting everything handed to you.  Books have been written on how to motivate you and some consultants base their entire practice on helping older generations understand you and connect better with you.  In some ways, you’re seen as more of a disease than a part of the human race.  You’re something to be tolerated, dealt with, and especially, put in your proper place.

I think that’s a bunch of crap.

As the father of four millennials, I think I understand you.  I don’t see you as part of a stereotypical grouping, I see you as what you are:  young people.  What old-timers like me forget is that we were young like you and said and did exactly what you’re doing now.

Still, it leaves you in a tough place, having to prove yourself and operate in environments that put you face to face with seasoned workers.  In order to help you survive and thrive, I’d like to offer you a few pieces of advice.

  1. Set your career goals now and begin your journey in a focused way.  Having a career goal (i.e. become CEO of my startup) and articulating it lets everyone around you know that you’re being deliberate in what you do.  The knock on your generation is that you don’t know what you want to do and that you got a meaningless degree, now work at Applebees, and are content to live with your parents.  I know that’s not what you want.  Figure out what you want and let us know you have a plan.
  2. Understand why people think you are disrespectful.  I’m pretty sure you want to be taken seriously, to have your ideas listened to, and get that elusive “seat at the table.”  That’s normal.  All of us wanted the same thing.  Unfortunately, those privileges are awarded slowly and it’s because wisdom comes through experience.  Your challenge is that those who can give you the respect and award you the credibility are only now themselves being taken seriously.  Because it took us so long, we think it should take YOU that long too.  It’s neither right or wrong, it simply is.  HOWEVER, you can shorten the wait and GET the respect from those older than you by asking for help.  Rather than treat us as adversaries, leverage our experience and let us shorten your learning curve.  We would be happy to mentor you.  Communicate your career goals and ask us for help.  Those older folks who turn you down SHOULD be feared and don’t deserve your respect.  Do what you need to do to succeed around them, within the boundaries of the organization, and move on.  Oh yes, and HOW you ask questions of us is pretty important too.  Here’s an example: (You) “Why do we have to do it this way?” (seen as challenging and disrespectful.  Try (You) “I’m not sure I understand.  Can you tell me why we have to do it this way?”  Watch the tone of voice.  Even this, in a demanding tone, can come off as disrespectful.  Yeah I know it sounds like we’re a bunch of babies.  Just humor us ok?
  3. Realize that you’ll be in our position sooner than you think.  The script on that graphic above is the truth.  Where you are now, we once were.  We were young, excited, and fearless.  We wanted it all, sooner rather than later, and were willing to kick and scratch to get it.  And we finally did.  But that works the other way too.  Where we are now, someday you will be.  One day you’ll look in the mirror and see the wrinkles and gray hair.  The songs you listen to now on your cool Spotify playlist will be spun on the “oldies” station.  You and your colleagues will start noticing how the newer workers seem to want it all now, are unmotivated, and entitled.  You’ll complain how they need to “pay their dues” just like you did.  More than one of you will brand themselves as ______ generation “experts” and write a book and give talks about it.  And then hopefully you’ll get over yourselves and make it your mission to grow and develop that new generation.

The circle of life affects more than Simba and Mufasa.  It’s part of all of us.  You can fight it or leverage it.  Just know that the circle always completes, with or without you.

Those *&%$ Millennials Are At It Again!

Social but not socialMike, a 19-year-old has been in the Navy for nearly a year.  In that short period of time, one thing has become glaringly clear:  people in the Navy do a lot of dumb things, there are a lot of dumb rules, and Mike is feeling like he’s ready to explode.  When he asks why the Navy does dumb things, like fill out endless log books to record mundane events, he’s told that “this is the way we do things, don’t ask, just do them.”

One hot Saturday afternoon, Mike and his friends Jeff and Roger venture out to the base swimming pool.  The petty officer on duty there has stepped away and sitting on the desk is that ever-present green log book.  A plastic sign warns them to sign in before entering the locker room.  Mike and his friends sign in as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy.   Approximately 30 minutes later the petty officer on duty asks which one of them is Mickey.  All three get a butt-chewing and are kicked out of the pool. The petty officer shakes her head and whispers under her breath, “These young sailors have no respect, can’t take orders, question authority, and the Navy is going to hell in a handbasket.”

Yep, those millennials are at it again.

Or are they?

Actually, Mike is me.  The year is 1984 and the buzz around the Navy and workplaces in general centers around this new and frightening group of young people known as Generation X.  We’re accused of being entitled, spoiled, wanting instant gratification, and generally disdaining hard work and effort.  Books are written on how to deal with us and more than a few “experts” are putting together strategies on how to protect the workforce and the future of the United States against our upstart generation.

And yet we managed to grow up and do just fine.  As did our long-haired hippy radical Baby Boomer parents and our moonshining and wild-partying grandparents, and their parents and grandparents before them.

I recently worked with a young (early 20s) group of retail managers and supervisors.  They were inquisitive and motivated to do well.  They didn’t fit any stereotype put out by millennial “experts” nor did they treat a geezer like me with disrespect.  They asked good questions, lots of them in fact.  They will need coaching and guiding and honest feedback, but they’ll do well,  as will most of this over-hyped generation.

But left without guidance, why would you expect they would turn out any different than some of the lazy, unmotivated Baby Boomers, and gently graying and balding GenX’rs you work with?  Without someone taking the time to guide and mentor them, they won’t succeed.

This week, when you’re tempted to stereotype one of 81 million young people of the millennial generation, ask yourself what YOU’RE doing to guide them?  Don’t outsource this to a consultant.  YOU take care of it.

After all, you’re where you are, regardless of your age or generation, because someone did or didn’t do that same thing for you.

Are You INJURED or Just HURT?

hurt or injuredYears ago, when my son played youth football, I remember the coach constantly asking the kids after they complained of injuries this standard question:

Are you hurt or are you injured?

Now in case you don’t know, there is a BIG difference.

Hurt means you feel pain.  Injured means you have a condition that means you can’t continue.

Since so much of football is a mental game, the choice pushes a player past what they THINK they can’t do and gets them back in the game.  It’s probably why there is a whole generation of football players now with CTE, but that’s not my point here.

For those of us whose days of competitive athletics are long over, the choice between hurt and injured are not quite as distinct, yet they are more than ever most important to sort between.

All of us experience rejection, disappointment, and failure in our professional lives.  The question is:

Do these rejections, disappointments, and failures hurt us or injure us?

If I’m “hurt”, I then have the choice to get my mind and emotions back together and give it another shot.  If I’m “injured” then I might have some serious retooling to do in order to get back in the professional game.  When I was first turned down for the Navy Medical Service Corps Inservice Procurement Program back in 1994, I was hurt.  Then I heard that every single candidate selected had a Masters degree.  That meant I had two years of retooling to get over that career “injury”.  If I had quit because I was hurt, I would have never grown professionally.  The Masters degree never did get me in the program (hurt) but it’s lead me to the rewarding career I have today (overcoming injury)

This week, take stock of your most recent failures.  Are you allowing “hurt” to prevent you from trying again?  If you’re “injured” are you doing everything you can to rehab yourself back to success?

In many ways, professional life is a game.  If that’s true, you have to play hard to win.  Separate hurt from injured.  Get your mind right, Go full speed.  Never quit.  Those football colloquialisms are just as relevant in the workplace as they are on the field.  I’m still in the game.  Are you?

Lessons in Humility…From Dan Rather

Me...and Dan Rather signing books behind me!

Me…and Dan Rather signing books behind me!

This week I attended the HR Florida conference in Orlando.  I applied for and was granted a breakout session where I spoke about performance management.  These conferences are a great chance to network and fertile ground for getting clients.

Since this is one of the largest SHRM chapters in the country, I felt very honored to get a session.  They even asked if I wanted some of my books to be sold in the SHRM bookstore AND if I’d like to do a book signing after my 10:15 AM talk.  Of course I agreed.

I started feeling pretty important.

I could tell my colleagues I was going to speak to one of the largest SHRM chapters.  And have a book signing.

Things went well!  I had my book on display.  They even put up a big schedule and I was right up top, just underneath the keynote speaker who was non-other than Dan Rather, the legendary journalist.

Dan Rather did the keynote.  I was busy setting up my room as my session started immediately after his. By 10:00, my room was packed.  People were even turned away.  I was feeling more and more important.  When my session ended, I raced up to the book signing table and sure enough there was already a line of people waiting for a signed copy…of Dan Rather’s book.  I worked my way around the crowd and sat just a few feet from Dan Rather.

Nobody asked for my signature.  Nobody bought my book.  My perceived celebrity was upstaged by the real deal.  I stayed for about 10 minutes, had Vince, the book store manager shoot my photo, and slinked away from the table.

Now I’m not bitter or angry about it.  I was at the conference to meet people, build a network, and grow my business.  All three of those happened.  It was a very worthwhile trip and I know those who took my breakout left with valuable information that will help them.  Some will reach out to me for help.  It’s a win-win-win.

But then there’s my deflated ego.

And here’s the lesson:  No matter how big you think you are or how big people tell you that you are, there will always be someone bigger and better than you.  You can allow that to paralyze you or you can use it to motivate you.  I choose the latter.  I’ll write twice as often, market twice as hard, and talk to twice as many people now.  I’ll answer twice as many Calls for Speakers for conferences and work to reach out to twice as many groups.  I could complain and blame Dan Rather for stealing my thunder, but the bottom line is that Dan Rather has no clue who I am and so blaming him wouldn’t really fix anything.

What will you do with your setbacks and disappointments?  Your choice is to blame and back down or buckle down and power full speed ahead.  I hope you’ll join me and choose the latter.

I’m sure Dan Rather would encourage you to do the same!

Is It Still Worth Doing?

Tradition concept with vintage letterpressLately my wife and daughter have been binge-watching Greys Anatomy.  Since it occupies both televisions in the house, I’ve been subjected to it as well.  As I see it, the plot revolves around a bunch of doctors, interns, and residents that see patients, get in conflicts constantly, and rendezvous regularly with each other in the on-call room.

Another observation I’ve made though is around the amount of hours the residents are required to work.  On a recent episode, the hospital decided to adhere to the rules of 80 hours per week leading to some of the old-timers complaining that the longer hours made them better doctors.  As a potential patient, that worries me.  I want my doctor to be rested if they’re making life and death decisions about me and my family.

When I was in the Navy, there were a whole lot of traditions, requirements, and customs that made little or no sense to me.  They were blanket policies that really fit better in a shipboard environment (like onboard fire watches, seabag inspections, and safety standdowns) but they were forced fleetwide, which includes shore stations.  This meant I needed to stencil my name and SSN on all of my clothing, including my underwear (yes, a 34-year-old man writing his name on his underwear).  It just didn’t make any sense.

What procedures, customs, and requirements are you using now that are arcane, outdated, and done simply for the sake of doing?  Could your policies be chasing away your customers and preventing talented employees from staying with you?  Are you doing things simply because they’ve always been done that way?

This week, take some time to view your standard operating procedures, policies, rules, and requirements.  Don’t let tradition and past regulations prevent you from future success.

Do You Cause Anxiety Attacks?

AnxietyAnxiety is a funny thing.  It’s not actually a fear in and of itself, it’s a fear of possible bad things.  There’s even a lame and overused motivational speaker example of F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real) which really speaks to this idea of anxiety.  All of us have experienced anxiety at one time or another.  Some folks even have a condition that requires medication to deal with this.

But did you know that YOU can be the cause of someone’s anxiety?

As a frequent business traveler, I always feel my stress level increasing before heading to the airport for a flight.  It’s not because I’m afraid to fly.  It’s because I’m afraid of travel glitches.  See, I’ve spent many a night sleeping on an airport floor, made a 14 hour drive because of a flight cancellation, had to cancel or delay a client gig because of an air traffic controller furlough during sequestration, sat on a tarmac for hours, had a rental car with a flat tire, had a hotel give away my room because a flight delay got me in late, and more than a few time had to run like O.J. (there’s an example only geezers like me can relate to) through the airport to make a tight connection.  I’ve had some really bad experiences.  That’s why I stress out.

The reality though is that 90% of my trips go off without a hitch.  Just like the one I’m flying home on right now.  Yet all day I was stressing out hoping this afternoon flight would be on time since I have an important presentation tomorrow and can’t miss it.

A few travel disappointments give me regular travel anxiety.

There’s more than enough people to point the blame on.  Airlines, weather, etc.  I have the anxiety issue, but there are causes and blame to assign to others.  Really the blame comes because of broken trust.  I trust airlines, rental car companies, and hotels to perform.  When trust breaks, anxiety grows.  That’s a reality.

Are you the cause of somebody’s anxiety?

Years ago, I worked for an organization where one of our team members routinely called in sick on the Tuesday after a three-day weekend.  She’d call early and leave a voicemail in her “sick” voice.  I’d usually be in early and would catch the calls.  Soon it became an expectation.  Before long, we wouldn’t have any meetings or schedule anything that involved her on a Tuesday after a three-day weekend because we were too afraid she would let us down.  That sense of anxiety hindered productivity.

The late NFL coach Dennis Green went off on a rant after a comeback loss to the Chicago Bears exclaiming over and over that “the Bears are who we thought they are.”  It’s comical and you can view it on YouTube but you can’t help but feel his frustration.

What about you?  Would someone say, in a negative way, that “you are who we thought you are?”  Does your performance result in anxiety?  If so, take some time this week to turn it around.  People will tolerate anxiety so long as they have to.  I travel for a living so I own my anxiety.  Would someone be patient enough to own yours?

Four Steps to Take When Making a REALLY Important Decision

DecisionsFlying is extremely safe.  It’s the rare occasion we have an air disaster.  What’s more common, particularly if you’re a frequent business traveler like I am, is a computer SNAFU that completely paralyzes an airline.  This was the case on a recent trip I was taking on Southwest Airlines from Albany, NY back home to Nashville.  Please understand this post is not a dig at Southwest.  I am and always will be their biggest fan.  I actually took this flight for business up in Montreal.  Yes, I fly to Canada on Southwest.  Albany is the closest airport.  Then I drive.  They handled this like absolute pros!

I read about the big glitch the evening before but figured it was all sorted out.  When I got to Albany for my 5:25 flight to BWI with connection down to BNA, I saw it, along with another early flight to Midway in Chicago was cancelled.  The gate area was already packed with mostly vacationing families so I pulled out my phone and called Southwest.  The rep told me they normally couldn’t switch me on the phone but this was a big deal and she would do what she could.  She kept apologizing profusely (unlike United would in a situation like this – they usually make me feel like the cancellation is MY fault!) and managed to get me on a 10:30 AM flight to BWI with a connection at 4:20 PM to BNA via a quick stop in Cleveland.  I would arrive at BNA at 6:40 PM.  She set it up and my boarding pass showed up on my Southwest app.  I thanked her and then headed off to look for a comfortable place to sit for 5 hours.

But something didn’t feel quite right.  Passengers (again, mostly travelling novices) were getting frustrated. I heard a loud scream and shriek from a young mom with a toddler who was having a meltdown of Biblical proportions.  The mom, not the toddler.  Then I saw a group of Southwest flight attendants all talking.  I held my phone up to my ear pretending to be on a call and walked close to eavesdrop.  They were having trouble connecting to their dispatcher (from what I could tell) and none of them knew what was going on.  SNAFU was turning into TARFU (Things Are REALLY F’d UP).  I had a decision to make.  Things were probably going into FUBAR (F’d Up Beyond All Recognition) and I didn’t want any part of it.

I needed to get home that night.  If things didn’t get on track and my flight from Albany to BWI cancelled again, I may not get a later one out and miss my connection in BWI.  Also, I had watched the weather reports the night before and there were some afternoon storms in the Midwest.  This is normal in the hot afternoons.  That could delay or cancel the flight going through Cleveland.  I didn’t want to spend the night in the airport (I’m usually too cheap to get hotels and spent more than a few nights on an airport floor) so I opted to re-rent my rental car from National and drive home.  Travel time was 14 hours and 20 minutes.  I headed to the rental car terminal, plugged in my phone for the GPS and headed home.

As it happened I made it to the Nashville airport at 8:15 PM.  My flight arrived well before that at 6:40 PM.  My decision to drive turned out to be the wrong one.  I thought back on my process.  Maybe this will help you.  I had 14 hours to think about it.  It’s now called OSGO™.

O – Objective Data

When I knew there was a problem in Albany, I looked at what I knew:

  • The flight was cancelled.
  • Cancellations have a ripple effect.
  • Summer flights are booked to capacity so it’s hard to rebook if you get cancelled.
  • There would be storms in Cleveland.
  • At the time, Southwest employees appeared to still be in the dark.

S – Subjective Data

I then reflected on what I assumed:

  • I fly about 3 weeks a month on Southwest about 99% of the time.  They are reliable but usually booked to capacity.
  • I had already experienced computer glitches twice before, once on United and once on Southwest.  It’s a mess.
  • I saw the meltdowns at the smaller Albany airport.  I didn’t want to see the probable mob at the much larger BWI where people would be getting cancelled out of flights to Aruba or Puerto Rico.  There would probably be no place to sit and no open outlets to charge my phone or laptop.

G – Gut Feeling

  • Something didn’t feel right.
  • Based on previous experience, I just didn’t trust that my new, complicated itinerary would work.

So I decided to drive. And it was the wrong decision.  So I then agreed to…

O – Own It

I followed the progress of the flight on the Southwest app at every stop on my drive.  I felt good when I saw the Albany flight was delayed by 45 minutes.   I was just a little bummed when I saw the flight left Cleveland on time.  I was angry when I saw it landed at BNA and I was still driving through Louisville.

But I owned my decision.  I used data and my gut reaction.  Given what I had, it was the best decision.

Not to mention I came up with a new decision model to teach in my workshops, a new blog post, 3 new ideas for management curriculum, and caught up with 3 old friends on the phone.  Overall, I’m ok with it.

So what about you?  When it’s a big decision how do you decide?  Next time, think about how to OSGO™ your decision in order to prevent FUBAR.

Why Impact Always Trumps Intent

Mistake in math on chalkboardOn a recent business trip to the region I grew up in, Southern California, I spent an afternoon driving around my old house, my grandparent’s old house, and some of my schools.  It made me think about my experience in 7th grade math class at Red Hill Lutheran School back in 1977.

Our teacher, Mr. Newman created a system for teaching math that enabled him to spend focused time with students who were at different stages of math ability.  He put us into three groups.  Then he would call each group up to the chalk board and worked with them individually.  Group 1 had all of the math geniuses.  They always went up first.  Their group finished the fastest.  The he called up Group 2.  Group 2 had those who were moderate in their knowledge.  Their group took a little longer.  Finally, he called up my group, Group 3.  The Math Dummies.  We took up the majority of his time.

Mr. Newman’s intent was noble.  Break up the group so learning was customized.  He might have been way ahead of his time in innovation.  All I remember is the stigma of being in Group 3.  The impact was demoralizing.

Intent and impact are never intended to be different.  We all do things with a closely related result in mind.  We might even frame it with the Golden Rule in mind (“do unto others as you would have done unto you”) but unfortunately, if we don’t take time to empathize with those impacted, the impact can hurt.  I’m sure Mr. Newman never intended to make Group 3 feel inadequate.  He probably thought he was doing what was best for us by removing us from the quick learners.  If he had put himself in our shoes though, that of 7th graders that absolutely HATE being singled out for anything, he might have thought better of his Group idea.

This week, as you make plans and decisions, take some time to think through all possible impacts from what you want to do.  Your intent may be pure, but impact is highly subjective.  Just think it through a bit longer ok?