Tuesday, September 22, 2015

OMG - No More Graphs!


Enough already! Stop
making me read these graphs!

I recall my least favorite part of the Organizational Behavior & Leadership program at USF was the required digestion of multiple graphs, charts, and their attendant acronyms (every one of them absolutely unmemorable, even the ones that phonetically could actually be pronounced). They all seemed to just mush together after a while into a jumble of larger, even more confusing nonsense, as we each searched to carve out our own unique management styles and processes - those which had the most meaning for us both personally and professionally.

Yet, not so fast, because here's one that really makes sense! Trust me here, you'll remember this one and find it truly useful for both performance reviews and 360 feedback inspiration on your estate, so please just stay with me here and hang in there for just one more graph.... 

Enter... the BARP-COTT Box!  Well, I guarantee you will NEVER remember the acronym itself, but it really doesn't matter because this concept is so good, you'll have the Box proudly displayed on your staff room whiteboard at all times, providing inspiration (and a quick self-review) daily for each of your staff members... and yourself.


The graph itself is really quite Tolerable, wouldn't you agree?


Think, for just a moment, about each domestic staff member on your estate, either those who you are managing or working alongside otherwise. Now, think about how they perform their duties in regards to both proficiencies and behaviors. Are they working in an Optimal state? If not, is there performance sub-par and they are Coachable?  And if they're not Coachable, what is your (or your Estate Manager's) plan of action?  Or, is their performance excellent and their hitting all 10's in providing the service needed and fulfilling each of their assigned responsibilities - yet their attitude sucks and they're basically abrasive to be near? Is your Estate Manager then just Tolerating their presence and if yes, how is that affecting the other staff and their own performance?

The graph is an interesting exercise because it begins as what appears to be a simple assignment - yet opens up a wide vista (or a can of worms, depending on your perspective!) of possibilities for discovering the nuances of how each staff member gets through both their day - and their ability to be a team player, as well.

Also worthy of note is how the box changes for each person gazing upon it. Whereas the Estate Manager may find a staff member in the Tolerable Quadrant 3, the Principals may not see the details of how they actually spend their day - and view said staff member in Optimal Quadrant 2.  The reverse may also present itself between Estate Manager and subordinates, between co-workers themselves, and between the Estate Manager and Principals - and even between anyone of the above and the Principals' guests and extended family.  All in all - it's a great way to begin discussions both during performance review periods, and virtually all other periods in-between.

What's been your experience with assigning characteristics of both skill and behavior to those on your domestic team - and even more interesting, what's been your experience with having those characteristics assigned.... to you?


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Below is the reprinted full article containing Hank Boyer's BARP-COTT Box from Multi-Briefs Exclusive:


Performance management is all about helping people achieve their potential. Regardless of their function, all employees in your organization can be placed into the BARP-COTT Box above. First, let's take a closer look at the box, and what each portion means. Then, we'll figure out some strategies for dealing with employees in each quadrant.
The two aspects of BARP (Behavior/AttitudeResults/Performance) are relative to your organization's standards. They can be used to figure out where employees fall in the box.
  • Behavior/Attitude — the behaviors and attitudes an individual displays when performing his or her job while interacting with others (customers, co-workers, supervisors, vendors, etc.).
  • Results/Performance — the measurable outcomes and contributions an individual delivers when performing his or her job, relative to your organization's standards.
COTT (Coachable-Optimal-Tolerable-Terminal) measures the four types of employees, based on the BARP categories.
  • Coachable — the individual has a great attitude and positive behaviors, but consistently delivers less than the expected (or required) results, but is willing to work to improve results. Most new employees start in this quadrant.
  • Optimal — the individual consistently achieves 100 percent or more of what is expected, and consistently displays a positive attitude and behaviors while performing the job.
  • Tolerable — the individual consistently achieves the performance results, but falls short of Optimal because of an unacceptable attitude and/or behavior, which you tolerate because he or she is producing results.
  • Terminal — the individual consistently underperforms in result areas, while doing so with unacceptable attitudes and/or behaviors.

Strategies for Optimals and Terminals

Let's start with the obvious: you want a team of Optimals, and you need to punt the Terminals — quickly.
In most organizations, managers spend a disproportionate time trying to fix the Terminals, and leave the Optimals to their own devices because they are performing well. Both of these approaches are ineffective.
You cannot get out of a Terminal what isn't already there. The faster you help the Terminal to move on, the better, before damage is done to your customers and other staff members. As expeditiously as your process permits, part company. One minute longer is one minute too long.
The Optimals can teach you about success, because they are the embodiment of success. They do a consistently good job the right way and never cause problems.
Spend the largest amount of your time here learning what you can from them, so you can replicate it in the rest of the staff. You also help them by removing obstacles so they can achieve even greater success. Optimals need the freedom to experiment and innovate, and you can demonstrate your trust in them by allowing them incubator space for their ideas.

Strategies for Coachables

Here is where to invest the second largest portion of your time. Most good performance is going to be the results of someone correctly applying his or her skills, knowledge and talents. Skills and knowledge can be taught; and all three can be coached.
Coaching is the process that should follow teaching and goal-setting. Coaching is helping people to master what they have learned.
Most of your time with Coachables should be spent in coaching them  asking what is and is not going well, and what they are learning in the process of mastering what they've been taught. Coachables need feedback. They need you to lead the self-discovery process by asking questions to make Coachables think.
Sometimes Coachables need an Optimal to mentor them. Your job as manager of a mentoring program is to make it work for both the Coachable and Optimal.
Pay careful attention to the ongoing development of your Coachables to ensure they are progressing.

Strategies for Tolerables

Tolerables can go either way — to Terminal, or Optimal. As their supervisor, create the ability for them to move to one or the other. Bad behavior (or attitudes) cannot be tolerated for long, even with good performance, because it infects the rest of your team's performance. And since behavior and attitude are both under the command of the individual, spending lots of time trying to change what someone will not change, is a poor investment of your time.
Tolerables need to be given positive feedback on their results, and little room to negotiate on their behavior or attitude. They are capable of being Optimals, but only if they want to. If they insist on bad behavior or attitudes, you must take decisive and speedy action.
Because of these things, Tolerables should get a little less of your time than Coachables. If their behavior or attitude does not rapidly become acceptable, they need to leave the team for the greater good of the team. Two options:
  • You could move them off the team entirely, and do so in a way that doesn't create a liability for the organization.
  • In the event they are so exceptional in getting results, move them into a solo performer role where they won’t interact with the team (or customers).
Ultimately, the choice is yours. You are the one who manages them and permits them to continue on the team. Decisive and timely action wins the day. So think inside the BARP-COTT Box to optimize your organization's performance.

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