What You Can Learn from Professional Football for Your Organization

With the NFL playoffs in full swing, I've marked my calendar so I can enjoy the Vikings' games all the way to the Super Bowl. Go Vikes!

I pick up other games, too. For example, I watched the Baltimore/ New England wildcard game a couple of Saturdays ago.

If you didn't see it, the Ravens dominated the game from the very first play from scrimmage. Offensively and defensively, they played cohesively.

The Patriots, on the other hand, did not. They looked overmatched and inept, and though they had beaten the Ravens in five previous meetings, they were soundly trounced this day. Thus a long off-season began for the Patriots.

But you know what? I'll bet they won't sit around with their feet up. Like any good football club, they'll use the time to analyze what made them successful during the last decade, what worked and what didn't in their 2009 season, and, given their goals for 2010, begin to make changes. They'll identify incompetence and try to fill those spots with winners.

Which brings me to your business. Have you analyzed your team and your goals to see if they align? Are you ready for 2010?

The New Year is a good time to recognize incompetence on any team — business teams included — and do something about it.

In last month's newsletter, I gave you five signs of incompetent managers. If you recognize these signs in your managers, you know you have work to do. Here are some ideas for proceeding:

Follow the above ideas and you will take a giant step toward ridding your team of incompetence and filling it with winners. Just like the Patriots of old and presumably, of the future.

Tips: Eight Questions You Can Use to Test Yourself as Manager

We’ve all had one. A nightmare boss. He's the butt of many jokes, and a popular topic during employee break time and after-work get-togethers.

Sadly, workers complain about incompetent leaders because they believe venting is all they can do. They feel powerless to change the dynamics when a supervisor doesn't supervise or a CEO believes everything is just fine. They stumble along trying to get the job done while wishing their leaders could walk in their shoes for just one day.

What kind of leader are you? Answer the questions below to learn more about yourself.

1) Do I agonize over every detail of a big plan?
If so — if you cannot move beyond the small details of an important plan — you have likely lost sight of the big picture.

2) How well do I know my employees' attitudes toward things like change?
Discover your employees' attitudes through a sharply focused assessment, and then move ineffectual employees to positions that fit them better.

3) When do I delegate responsibility? Competent leaders delegate responsibility only after assessing their workers' capabilities, interests and development needs, and know they are capable of successfully completing a task.

4) Do I make my expectations clear? Or, do I turn away and allow my subordinates to do things their own way? Effective leaders clearly spell out their expectations for subordinates. They also correct constructively. Although they might bruise an ego, leaders cannot lead someone pointed in the wrong direction.

5) Do I talk or do I communicate? A verbose leader can hinder effective communication. By definition, communication is a give and take, not a give and give and give. Even if team members disagree, considering all viewpoints can lead to creative solutions.

6) Do I ask for help with the course of action I set? Seeking help to complete a project on deadline is always more effective than stubbornly pushing toward failure. There is no "I" in team.

7) How do I help team members develop their talents? Effective leaders help their team members learn from a master. They also observe their habits, criticize constructively and use focused training.

8) Do I stay with a problem even when it appears impossible to solve? Effective leaders know that every problem has a solution, and they find it.

Solution Toolbox: Identify Strengths and Pinpoint 'Improvements Needed' with CheckPoint 360™

Measuring What Matters
How often have you seen this scenario? A senior manager announces his decision to leave the company and in near panic the senior management team convenes a crisis management meeting. Meanwhile, the rest of the team begins partying. Champagne flows and everyone toasts their good fortune saying, "Now, maybe we can get on with business."

You have to ask yourself, "What happened? How is it that someone senior management so values works so poorly with the troops on the ground?"

In reality, most senior managers have no idea how people in their organization perceive them or their fellow managers…even at a time when achieving corporate goals through team-based efforts is the "in thing."

It's no wonder, then, that more than 30 percent of all people changing jobs do so to escape their bosses.

This disaster happens only in environments where traditional, boss-down appraisals evaluate management performance, an approach that never taps the views of those who most directly experience the effectiveness — or ineffectiveness — of a manager's performance.

If your success depends to any extent on your team, the traditional approach is no longer acceptable. So here's my advice: Use assessment tools like Profiles International's CheckPoint 360™.

CheckPoint 360™ allows your leaders to receive a job performance evaluation from the people around them—their boss, their peers and the people they supervise. From this feedback, managers can compare others' opinions with their own perceptions, positively identify their strengths and pinpoint areas of their job performance that need improvement.

CheckPoint focuses on a manager's job performance in eight competency areas: communication, adaptability, task management, productivity, development of others, leadership, building relationships and personal development.

How does CheckPoint 360™ work?
Each participant completes an evaluation on the Internet or on paper, a process that takes about 15 minutes. Results are compiled in a report, which the manager receives.

Except for the boss, participants remain anonymous. They are encouraged to be honest and objective in their responses.

To help the manager read, understand and effectively use the data for self-development, CheckPoint reports have colorful graphs and charts, and narrative descriptions of evaluation results. Further, its special personal growth section coaches managers helping them improve performance in development areas.

The CheckPoint report also encourages managers to link directly into an online system called CheckPoint SkillBuilder, which takes them through a step-by-step process of developing a comprehensive and personalized development plan.

This assessment provide useful information quickly, and they are easy to access. If you are interested in learning more about them, please send me an email (mgorski@mgassessments.com) or give me a call (952-322-3330).

HR Consulting
For many organizations, the next step is to seek professional assistance to find out how to:

Let’s Talk! We offer a no obligation consultation to informally assess your current policies, procedures, and practices. This may help determine what’s missing in your current programs to meet the above recommendations.

Call 952-322-3330 or send an email to mgorski@mgassessments.com.

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