Joe and Wanda on Management

Joe Kerr and Wanda B. Goode, two characters from Nick McCormick’s book, “Lead Well and Prosper,” dispense their management wisdom

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Month: November, 2006

The Counter Offer

25 November, 2006 (19:05) | Compensation, Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

When the supply of talent tightens, it’s not uncommon for some employees to test the market. Sometimes they find another job and come back to management to break the news. Do you make a counter offer? Let’s check in with Joe and Wanda to get their thoughts?

Joe Kerr: Hey, if the person’s a dog she gets shown the door. If she’s a keeper, I do what I can to convince her to stay. If that includes a bump in pay, so be it. After all, people are our most important asset, right? We need to take care of the top performers.   

Wanda B. Goode: Counter offers can cause some problems. Countering implies that you’ve been underpaying the employee for a while. After all, only the threat of leaving brought about the salary action. The person may feel good at first that companies are fighting over her, but that can be short lived. Second, word of the dealings can get back to others, and that can open a whole new can of worms.

I try to avoid countering. It’s better to care for the person all along. If the person is unhappy, that should have been known and action(s) should have been taken to attempt to address. If legitimate business conditions prevent paying a person her worth, that should have already been communicated, and unless their has been a very sudden change of fortune, there should be no extra money lying around to pay out. Sure the person leaves, but she does so on good terms, and as a result, might return some day.

Holiday Party Etiquette

18 November, 2006 (19:21) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

It’s that time of the year. Within the next few weeks, most companies will be having their holiday parties. Let’s check in with Joe and Wanda for tips on holiday party etiquette.

Joe Kerr:  Ahhh the holiday party… a “opportunity” to spend hours of your free time with people you’d never hang out with in a million years… One rule. Laugh at everything your boss and boss’ boss say. They are especially funny on this night.

Wanda B. Goode:  I’m no Miss Manners, but here are a few holiday party tips that I try to follow… 1) Show up. Some years you will have conflicts which will prevent you from attending, but try not to make your absence a regular occurrence. 2) Stop by and say hello to those in your organization. Make sure you know their names! 3) Should you sit with people in your organization? That really depends. In many cases, the evening is a chance for employees to get out and enjoy themselves. Sometimes having the boss in close proximity can put a damper on things.  It really depends on the relationship you have. Use your discretion. 4) Stop by to say hello to your boss and boss’ boss if applicable. 5) Spend some time catching up with those you have not seen in a while and try to meet some new people as well. It’s a good opportunity to build relationships and to learn from those with whom you don’t regularly interact. 6) Be yourself and enjoy the evening. 7) Finally, and most importantly, go easy on the alcohol. This applies to everyone in attendance, but especially to those in management positions.

Problem Employee: Dealing with Performance Issues

12 November, 2006 (19:36) | Leadership, Management, Problem Performance | By: Administrator

If you are a manager for any significant length of time you will come across a team member with performance issues. Let’s see how Joe and Wanda handle someone that is not pulling his weight

Joe Kerr: I have absolutely no time for problem performers. If the guy is in a protected class I am doubly screwed. I just hang on and look for an opportunity to transfer him out of my group. I give him a decent annual review, because if I don’t he could get HR all over me. Plus, I would have a tougher time transferring him.  Frankly, my only other hope is that he passes away. 

Wanda B. Goode: This might seem obvious, but the first thing I do is sit down and talk with the person in private as soon as possible. Too often managers simply do not address performance issues. After all, it is not an easy thing to do.  There are a number of books written on the topic which can help, to include Crucial Confrontations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. Ken Blanchard’s One Minute Manager also has a method for handling problem performers. I just try to be honest and respectful. I explain my expectations and how he came up short. I give him a chance to give his side of the story, and give him the benefit of the doubt. I tell him I want to see him succeed, and offer to help. That usually does the trick.

Most people want to perform well. Sometimes they just need a little assistance. If the problem continues, I get him back in the office and set up a recovery plan with measurable objectives and exact due dates. If he does not execute the plan, I let him go. Oh yes, I make sure I document all of our conversations as well.

In almost every case the team has recognized the performance issue before me. It has been negatively impacting their work. They are watching to see how I address the issue. I have an obligation to the team, the company and the employee to address it.