Tag Archives: Action

Solving Corrective Action

This article introduces the problem solving model as a technique for managing performance issues that are more controversial, or that are not effectively addressed through coaching or feedback. Issues such as tardiness, being out of uniform, continual poor performance, and others are best handled by a direct, objective approach. By following the Problem Solving Dialogue Model taught in this article, you can feel confident in addressing these thorny issues with employees.

Problem solving sounds so simple. However, we know it is not as simple as it seems. Employees do not behave as we hope they would. Problem solving conversations are the ones we all tend to  or want to  avoid. Why Because we fear  or are concerned about  how the employees may react. In a minute we will find ways to overcome these challenging situations.

What you must remember is that it is important NOT to avoid these conversations as a result of feeling uncomfortable about having them. If you were the coach of a baseball team, you would want your players to give it their all. What they should be able to expect of you in return, is that other players on the team are performing as they need to. Why should the shortstop play his heart out if you let the pitcher or first baseman not play at the same level

Key Points

Guiding questions are a significant tool when in a problem solving dialogue. Regardless of the emotional response of the employee, we must always focus on the problem behavior not the problem employee. It is not personal.

Two key things to keep in mind are

Always treat the employee with professionalism, dignity, and respect.

You are responsible for the performance of your entire team. If you let
the lack of performance of any one person go unaddressed because you are uncomfortable dealing with it, you are being unfair to everyone else on the team. As a result, you would not be fulfilling your job responsibilities as a team leader. It is your responsibility to address any individual issues that are affecting the teams performance or morale.

The Problem Solving Model

It is valuable to allow the employee to solve as much of the problem as possible. The more employees can solve their own problems, the more likely they are to carry through with the solution, AND the more independent they become.
In problem solving, the chances are fairly likely that the person will not be able to solve the problem without help from you. It is important that you recognize the performance problem and the reasons for the problem.

It is also important that you plan solutions to the problems resolution before you meet with the individual. If the employee engages in inappropriate problem solving  blaming, excusing, defending, looking to others for the solution  you need to be able to redirect the problem solving to a more productive vein. You may find that you have to TELL the employee what the acceptable solution is. Thoughtful planning and practice increase the chance of success as you manage performance.

Open the conversation clarify the purpose of the conversation. It is important to focus the problem solving conversation early. It you want to discuss other things, save them for another conversation. Mixing other topics into a problem solving corrective action conversation diffuses the impact of the conversation and reduces the likelihood of performance change.

Be up front and specific. I want to discuss the missed deadline.I want to talk about your production numbers. At the same time, express your confidence that we together can resolve this problem.

Clarify the problem. This is where you clearly define the problem. Use specific outcomes or observable behaviors. Avoid absolutes, generalizations, hearsay, or opinions. Be specific. Instead of saying, you are always late, say, you were at least 10 minutes late three times last week.

Further clarify the problem by identifying the impact of the persons behavior on

a) The group i.e others have to cover for you when you are not on time.

b) The department or team i.e., our coverage numbers suffer

c) You i.e., I have to take time to conduct meetings like this when I could be coaching or doing other management activities.

d) The employee i.e., Your chances for growth or even continued employment may be jeopardized.

3. Make sure that you ask if the person understands the problem and the impact of the problem. Look for a verbal or non-verbal agreement. Getting agreement that there is a problem and that the problem has significant impact is half the battle

4. Create solutions that are acceptable to you. It is better to ask for involvement and ideas from the employee at this stage since doing so increases the likelihood that they will implement the solution. However, the solution must meet YOUR requirements and standards You may also find that the employee is not willing or able to come up with solutions. For these reasons, it is important that you have several solutions in mind before the meeting.

Solutions must include

a) Specific steps: what will the employee do to correct or alleviate the problem.

b) Timeframe corrective action discussions need to include some type of timeframe to mark the successful end of this intervention. Okay, lets start this tomorrow and try this for 30 days.

c) Consequences: consequences must be clear and appropriate. Moreover, consequences must be present or behavior will very likely not change. If you are late again within the next 30 days, I will need to issue a written warning which may lead to termination.

d) Follow up date and expectations set a specific date and time to meet to review the progress and either act on the appropriate consequences or celebrate success.

5. As you and the employee are creating acceptable solutions, you will want to direct the conversation. If the employee is generating acceptable solutions, you will want to support and build on those ideas. If the employee is exhibiting inappropriate problem solving by blaming others, coming up with excuses, accusing you of being unfair, etc., defer or redirect the conversation by saying, I would like to talk about that more later right now, I  like to stay focused on what you can do. In some cases, you will simply have to tell the employee what you think the best solution is. Again, be prepared

6. At the conclusion of the meeting, summarize the solution and express confidence in the employee to implement the solution. Then document the meeting and follow up accordingly.

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Action Focused Goal Setting is The Way to Go!

I’m finally back from my family vacation to Colorado and have somewhat recovered from all our activity. While making the 19 and 1/2 hour drive home I had quite a bit of time to think about this experiment and the posts I’ve written over the past week. I tried to look at the success forumula I’ve laid out and identify any elements that might prohibit someone from following it, and acheiving the success they want.

The forumula is as follows …

Goals + Positive Attitude + a Plan + Belief + Action + Accountability = SUCCESS

The following was my thought process as I worked through the formula on my drive home …

Goal Setting

Research has proven that only 3% of the population takes the time and effort necessary to write down their goals. This same 3% earns more than the remaining 97% combined.

Although this should be reason enough for you to have goals and write them down, I understand there are quite a few things that are possibly holding you back. I am not saying it’s “ok” to make excuses, I am simply saying there are reasons.

Let’s face it there are far more people in the world that will discourage you from thinking big, then there are that will encourage you to “reach for the stars.”

Since this is the case, we are basically conditioned to think small. We may intitially have a high goal, but by the time we share it with a couple people, we end up chipping away at it and whittling it down to something very small. Knowing this, I understand that, although dreaming big and setting goals should be easy, it really isn’t, due to the fact we’ve got so many people trying to drag us down.

Positive Attitude

Looking at things in a positive light is another thing that would be easy if it wern’t for the high amount of negativity we are faced with each day. Those same people who are telling you, “You can’t do that,” are the same people trying to have you catch their “negativity disease.”

There are far more people who seem to enjoy drama and whining about all the bad things that “happen to them.” These people will naturally have negative events repeatedly happen to them over and over because that’s what they focus on all the time.

I believe that each of us should mentally and physically divorce ourselves from negative people. It doesn’t matter if that negative person is your parents, siblings, or even your spouse. I know this may sound harsh, but unless you want to experience a lifetime of negativity, you need to surround yourself with positivity. I know this is a difficult thing to do, but you owe it to yourself.

Heck, if a friend of yours was in an abusive relationship you’d beg them to get out of it and think they were nuts if they didn’t. Surrounding yourself with negative people is EXACTLY the same thing as staying in an abusive relationship. DON’T DO IT!!

Have a Plan

Creating a plan is probably the easiest part of the equation so this is the part we’ll focus on the most. When you’ve set your goal, no matter how large or small, it should be quite easy to sit down with a piece of paper and outline all of the activities you’d need to accomplish in order to achieve that goal.

When you are writing your plan you should include every activity you can think of and be as specific as you can.

Believe You Can

If you happen to have kids, what do you tell them when they say, “I can’t do that!” I don’t know about you, but when I hear that I don’t like it!

My typical response is, “You can do anything you set your mind to.” I’m sure I’ve made this statement a million times without thinking about it because I was brought up in a positive environment where my parents supported me and encouraged me.

I understand that the majority don’t have this same type of environment, and I’ve already pointed out how we are basically surrounded by negativity. These circumstances make it very diffiult to set big goals, and in most cases believe we can accomplish even small goals.

The challenge with this is inline with the old phrase, “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, YOU ARE RIGHT!”

If you want to succeed you MUST BELIEVE YOU CAN!

Take Action

Besides creating a plan taking action should be the easiest step of the formula. The challenge is, due to all the obstacles I’ve discussed thus far, we are conditioned to question our ability so much that we have a hard time finding the motivation to take action. After all, why do the work if there will never be any reward?

You need to spend enough time on your plan that you know if you take action, you will receive the results you are looking for. Following that you need to stop making excuses and start making progress. If you don’t you’ll be sentenced to a life of mediocrity, and in my opinion, that’s a huge waste of your talents.

Be Accountable

Most people are afraid to tell anyone what they are looking to accomplish because they are afraid either:

1. The person they tell will laugh at them and tell them they can’t.

2. They don’t believe they’ll follow through with their statement.

The bottom line is they are afraid of failing and being mocked for doing so. It is one thing to keep your plans private and be accountable to yourself. It is a completely different story to surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you once you’ve announced your goals and plans. The only trick is to have the ability to find those positive people, and as we’ve pointed out, that can prove itself to be quite a challenge with all the negativity in the world.

So how do you overcome all these obstacles?

The best way to overcome these obstacles is focus on the easiest parts of the formula and leverage those elements to accomplish the rest.

If you are currently earning $30,000 per year and set a goal to increase your income to $100,000, that can be quite daunting. Plus if you knew what it took to earn $100,000, you’d already be doing it.

But …

If you set a goal to spend one hour each day educating yourself within your industry, you would increase your worth in a BIG way, and when you bring more value, it is impossible to not be rewarded. I understand your current boss may not ever pay you that much, but if you increase your value … the word will spread. Opportunities will open up for you. BELIEVE IT!

Speaking of believing it …

Although it might be very difficult to believe your income will increase from $30,000 to $100,000 … it is totally believable that you can spend one hour educating yourself within your industry isn’t it? Of course it is!

If you knew that your goal was to have the large pay increase, but you focused on the action goals you set, you will begin to gain confidence and belief since you’ll be accomplishing goals every single day. This will have an incredible impact on your positive attitude, your belief, and pretty soon you won’t be able to take enough action. It is infectious!

The last piece is finding the positive people to hold you accountable. That’s where my little experiment comes into play.

I would like to see as many people set goals and accomplish them as possible over the next 30 days. This will be powerful since it takes a person 28 days to begin a new habit. If we work together for the next 30 days, everyone that participates will have created some very positive, powerful new habits.

We can use technology to bring together a group of positive people for encouragement and accountability.

Here is how it will work …

If you don’t already have a Twitter account, go to the page and set one up. This will take you less than 3 minutes. Set a goal (doesn’t matter how big or small) and create a plan containing three daily activities, which if completed, will help you reach this goal. Post these three daily activity goals individually on Twitter and include “#accountable” after the post. When you’ve accomplished these daily action goals, post it on Twitter and include “#accountable” after it.

Everyone that is participating in this experiment will have the ability to do a search on #accountable within Twitter, and monitor each participants progress. Knowing that other positive people will be monitoring your results should instill a sense of importance to your action goals. Plus you’ll now have a new core group of positive “cheerleaders” on your side encouraging you to succeed. I look forward to your participation and more importantly, some incredible success stories over the coming month!

Pete Brand is a businessman.

He created a successful distribution business throughout the United States, which grew to a network of 2,500 sales people, under his supervision. He also acquired substantial sales and marketing experience with a local telecom company, and helped them to become the number one distributor of the product they marketed.

He was introduced to the Internet in 1998 and was fascinated at the possibilities. Although he didn’t know how to design or program a website, he saw the incredible opportunities the Internet presented in reaching people around the world quickly and efficiently. This motivated Pete to start a website development company which has since helped hundreds of companies around the world create well over $100,000,000 in online revenue.

Pete has a passion for Internet marketing and teaching individuals and companies the exact ingredients required for starting and running a successful online business. His expertise covers both “business to business” and “business to consumer” areas of online marketing.

Long Term Goal Setting – Goal Setting Action Plan

Long term goal setting is very important; however it should be in conjunction with your short term goals. Long term goals are very essential whether in an organization or on one’s personal life because it provides direction, but if that’s all you have, it is very easy to become discouraged or frustrated.

Click Here To Learn How To Set Goals Effectively!

So for example, you have three long term goals that all take two years to achieve, then that means for two years you will be working to achieve your goal without attaining a single one. Two years would seem a long time to go without having an achieved goal; this is the reason why short term goals are essential, it will balance things out.

Identifying your goals for the long term as well as the short term may be a little bit hard to balance. Learning how to set goals in a way that your goals themselves actually help you achieve them will bring about great results.

On the other hand, if you only have short term goals and no long term goals, then the result is that you won’t have a distinct focus for the future. Achieving short term goals is great and gives you a sense of accomplishment, but do you know the reason why are you achieving them? Without the long term goal, all you will have is a number of achieved goals that would not mean much in the long run.

The best way to achieve what you really want in life is to first set your long term goals. By doing it this way, you will have more focus for your life and it will serve as a constant reminder as to the reason why you are doing everything else; long term goal gives you direction, a purpose. After determining your long term goal, that’s the time to make your short term goals that will support your long term plan in life.

You may have already been doing this without knowing it but being conscious of your short term goals will help you stay motivated because once you achieve a short term goal you have a sense of accomplishment that will make you press forward on all your other goals.

Click Here To Learn How To Set Goals Effectively!

Anger Management: 10 Action Steps To Safely Process Anger

Managing anger is actually not as complex as it may first seem. The first steps are to identify and acknowledge your own anger and then try to find the reason or cause of why are you angry. Emotions should not be suppressed. Repressing them only makes them rear their ugly heads in the long run, usually in a misdirected, explosive way.


Expressing one’s anger is important, one only needs to do so in a manner that is appropriate and does not cause any one else, or even one’s self, harm. The following are anger management tips to keep you and those around you emotionally and physically safe.


1. Buy yourself some time before reacting.


There may be instances where you realize that your outbursts of anger are having a negative effect on your friends, family and work colleagues, it is important therefore to take a little time out. If you find your anger is boiling up and will explode any minute, count from one to ten. This helps prior to actually leaving or reacting to the current angry situation at hand.


2. Do a physical activity.


Move a muscle, change a thought. Doing a physical activity could actually help provide you a positive outlet for any of your pent up emotions or anger, especially if you feel the emotions erupting. Go run or walk around, clean the house or office. Go swimming or try to lift some weights, shoot some baskets.


3. Calm, calm, calm yourself.


Whether you are angry or not, it is always helpful to do some breathing-deep exercises. You could try to visualize a scene that is relaxing. You could also try to repeat a word or a phrase that is calming for you. Repeat this as often as you possibly could. The word or phrase could be as simple as, relax or chill out.


You could also try listening to some calming music, do some painting, jot your thoughts out on a journal just to let your feelings out. You could also do some yoga.


4. Express yourself appropriately


It is really not advisable to stew. When you are angry, immediately acknowledge and own your anger and try to kick over alternative means of expression. If it is quite impossible to address your own anger in a manner that is safe and pertinent to the situation. Talk it out with a friend, family, therapist or counselor or any other person you think you could trust.


5. Always play the tape forward.


In the heat of anger, there may be instances where things said or done are those you usually would later regret. This actually hurts more than the anger itself, and one that you wished you could always take back but never could.


As much as possible, think twice before saying anything or acting in the heat of an angry moment. Explore the future ramifications.


6. Work with, not work against.


Realize that it is always best to work directly with the particular personor situation that has angered you in order to identify the possible solutions of a particular situation.


7. Hold yourself accountable.


Deep down, using statements that start with an ‘I’ help in describing a particular problem and so assists in holding yourself accountable rather than unnecessarily placing the blame on someone else. You may say, ‘I am upset’ rather than, ‘You made me upset’


In actuality, no one has more control of your feelings than you. Do not let others make you angry without your express permission. You can choose to be angry, and you can also choose not to be angry as well.


8. Try not to carry resentment or grudge.


Holding resentment is actually unproductive and unhelpful in the long run. It is heavy and it holds you back. Believe it or not, it is always easier to forgive and let go. Resentments can linger for years after the event in your mind, when the person who affected you has long disappeared from the scene.


9. Be realistic.


The fact of the matter is that it is quite unrealistic to make sure or even expect anyone to go behave the way you exactly want them to.


10. Don’t take yourself so seriously.


IN the grand scheme of the cosmos, how important was the event that set you off? Humor can be an effective diffuser of tension. Remember there are many ways of looking at a situation, maybe your way is not the correct way.


There are many more tolls to use in anger management. Keep a journal and note every time you get angry or on any situation you feel has angered you. You may refer to this list in the future and use it as a productive tool to know which things set you off in order for you to know, monitor and be aware of the reactions you express, in order for you to change these for the better.


The most important anger management tip is to identify, own, and process the emotion when it occurs and not let it build up.

Pick up your Free Recovery Rolodex, Over 88 pages of self help and recovery tips, resources and links to enhance your life in addiction recovery.The author, Bill Urell MA.CAAP-II, is an addictions therapist at a leading residential treatment center. He teaches healthy life styles and life skills. Join our growing community. Tell your story! Visit: http://www.AddictionRecoveryBasics.com/

Problem Solving/Corrective Action

Introduction

This article introduces the problem-solving model as a technique for managing performance issues that are more controversial, or that are not effectively addressed through coaching or feedback. Issues such as tardiness, being out of uniform, continual poor performance, and others are best handled by a direct, objective approach. By following the Problem Solving Dialogue Model taught in this article, you can feel confident in addressing these thorny issues with employees.

Problem solving sounds so simple. However, we know it isn’t as simple as it seems. Employees don’t behave as we hope they would. Problem solving conversations are the ones we all tend to — or want to — avoid. Why? Because we fear — or are concerned about — how the employees may react. In a minute we will find ways to overcome these challenging situations.

What you must remember is that it is important NOT to avoid these conversations as a result of feeling uncomfortable about having them. If you were the coach of a baseball team, you would want your players to give it their all. What they should be able to expect of you in return, is that other players on the team are performing as they need to. Why should the shortstop play his heart out if you let the pitcher or first baseman not play at the same level?

Key Points

Guiding questions are a significant tool when in a problem solving dialogue. Regardless of the emotional response of the employee, we must always focus on the problem behavior not the problem employee. It is not personal.

Two key things to keep in mind are:

• Always treat the employee with professionalism, dignity, and respect.

• You are responsible for the performance of your entire team. If you let the lack of performance of any one person go unaddressed because you are uncomfortable dealing with it, you are being unfair to everyone else on the team. As a result, you would not be fulfilling your job responsibilities as a team leader. It is your responsibility to address any individual issues that are affecting the team’s performance or morale.

The Problem Solving Model

It is valuable to allow the employee to solve as much of the problem as possible. The more employees can solve their own problems, the more likely they are to carry through with the solution, AND the more independent they become.In problem solving, the chances are fairly likely that the person will not be able to solve the problem without help from you. It is important that you recognize the performance problem and the reasons for the problem.

It is also important that you plan solutions to the problem’s resolution before you meet with the individual. If the employee engages in inappropriate problem solving — blaming, excusing, defending, looking to others for the solution — you need to be able to redirect the problem solving to a more productive vein. You may find that you have to TELL the employee what the acceptable solution is. Thoughtful planning and practice increase the chance of success as you manage performance.


Open the conversation/clarify the purpose of the conversation. It is important to focus the problem solving conversation early. It you want to discuss other things, save them for another conversation. Mixing other topics into a problem solving/corrective action conversation diffuses the impact of the conversation and reduces the likelihood of performance change.

Be up front and specific. “I want to discuss the missed deadline.” “I want to talk about your production numbers.” At the same time, express your confidence that we together can resolve this problem.


Clarify the problem. This is where you clearly define the problem. Use specific outcomes or observable behaviors. Avoid absolutes, generalizations, hearsay, or opinions. Be specific. Instead of saying, “you’re always late,” say, “you were at least 10 minutes late three times last week.”

Further clarify the problem by identifying the impact of the person’s behavior on:

a) The group (i.e., “others have to cover for you when you’re not on time.”)

b) The department or team (i.e., “our coverage numbers suffer”)

c) You (i.e., “I have to take time to conduct meetings like this when I could be coaching or doing other management activities.”)

d) The employee (i.e., “Your chances for growth or even continued employment may be jeopardized.”)


Make sure that you ask if the person understands the problem and the impact of the problem. Look for a verbal or non-verbal agreement. Getting agreement that there is a problem and that the problem has significant impact is half the battle!


Create solutions that are acceptable to you. It is better to ask for involvement and ideas from the employee at this stage since doing so increases the likelihood that they will implement the solution. However, the solution must meet YOUR requirements and standards! You may also find that the employee is not willing or able to come up with solutions. For these reasons, it is important that you have several solutions in mind before the meeting.

Solutions must include:

a) Specific steps: what will the employee do to correct or alleviate the problem.

b) Timeframe: corrective action discussions need to include some type of timeframe to mark the successful end of this intervention. “Okay, let’s start this tomorrow and try this for 30 days.”

c) Consequences: consequences must be clear and appropriate. Moreover, consequences must be present or behavior will very likely not change. “If you are late again within the next 30 days, I will need to issue a written warning which may lead to termination.”

d) Follow-up date and expectations: set a specific date and time to meet to review the progress and either act on the appropriate consequences or celebrate success.


As you and the employee are creating acceptable solutions, you will want to direct the conversation. If the employee is generating acceptable solutions, you will want to support and build on those ideas. If the employee is exhibiting inappropriate problem solving by blaming others, coming up with excuses, accusing you of being unfair, etc., defer or redirect the conversation by saying, “I would like to talk about that more later; right now, I’d like to stay focused on what you can do.” In some cases, you will simply have to tell the employee what you think the best solution is. Again, be prepared!


At the conclusion of the meeting, summarize the solution and express confidence in the employee to implement the solution. Then document the meeting and follow up accordingly.

Summary

We, as managers, supervisors, and team leaders, realize that it is our responsibility to ensure that EVERYONE on the team performs to their potential — and to the expectations of the job. Poor performers not only affect themselves and their specific jobs, their effect negatively impacts the performance of other team members.

While it is challenging, conducting an effective problem-solving meeting is made easier when applying the Problem Solving Dialogue Model.

Terence R. Traut is the president of Entelechy, Inc., a company that helps organizations unlock the potential of their people through customized training programs in the areas of sales, management, customer service, and training. Terence can be reached at 603-424-1237 or ttraut@unlockit.com. Check out Entelechy’s website at www.unlockit.com.