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An ounce of prevention is certainly true when it comes to avoiding law-
suits, but despite best efforts, lawsuits can happen to any company. Keep
focused on your business, and let the attorneys deal with lawsuits as
much as possible. If you are in business for any length of time and have a
number of employees, odds are that one or more of those employees is
bound to sue you. In my nine years™ experience running a company,
many employees threatened suit, especially at the time of termination,
but I had to pay to settle only one and none went to court.
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Driving Employees to Peak Performance




M A NAG I NG P EOP LE W E L L

Here are some final tips for managing the human resources role:

• Give human resource matters the planning and time they de-
serve. Decide to treat employees fairly, but also commit to
spending most of your time with employees who can grow to
become outstanding members of your team. Spend as little time
as possible with discipline problems, and help employees who
need to leave do so in as gracious and honest a way as possible.

• Provide the best benefits you can, but remember, what your
employees want most from you is free”the benefit of your
wisdom and expertise to help them grow in their careers and
your recognition of their accomplishments.

• Get the support you need to deal with people issues. Find
other business professionals you trust and solicit their outside
perspective to help you solve problems. Although you may be
tempted to procrastinate, act quickly when you make decisions
about people and get on with running your business. As I dis-
cuss in the next chapter, knowing when to ask for outside help
is key to great leadership.



TOOLS FOR MANAGING AND MOTIVATING EMPLOYEES

The worksheets and exercises at the end of this chapter will help you
drive employees to peak performance. They include the following:

• Performance review.

• Team feedback.

• Management skills feedback.

• Employee ranking system.

• Human resource key indicators.

How does your human resource program rate on the following questions?

• Do you spend enough time to be sure you are hiring for the long
run?
212 Lead with Courage



• Do you have written policies as required? Are they updated at
least annually?

• Are you certain you are in compliance with the basic HR stan-
dards, for example, employees versus independent contractors,
exempt versus nonexempt employees?

• Are you following procedures that are most likely to keep you out
of employee lawsuits?

• Have you set standards for performance and day-to-day behav-
ior? Are the standards clearly communicated and followed?

• Does your compensation and benefit structure allow you to hire
and retain highly talented employees?

• Are your employees overworked? Do you spend a large amount
in overtime and temporary help? Is that figure increasing?

• Do you tolerate gossip or other behavior that undermines em-
ployee morale?

• Do you give enough feedback to employees about their perfor-
mance? Do you review them individually at least annually?

• Do you insist your employees stay employable?

• Do you have a plan for the loss of any key employees?
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Driving Employees to Peak Performance



PERFORMANCE REVIEWS

The performance review process should be done in two parts. Part A of
Worksheet 7.1 is a feedback mechanism from the employee to the man-
ager. It™s important for the manager and employee to have a dialog over
the issues, looking both at the employee™s individual behavior and
within the larger context of the corporate culture.

It™s important to find out upfront what the employee thinks leads to
higher productivity within the company™s culture and what results in
obstacles to the employee™s best work. It™s vital to begin the process with
an open mind, listening to the needs and problems the employee is will-
ing to address.

The employee is much more likely to be forthcoming and identify his or
her own inadequacies if the manager first allows discussion about inade-
quacies in the organization™s support of the employee.

The second part of the performance review process is a subjective analy-
sis on the part of the manager as to the various aspects of the employee™s
work performance. It covers the employee™s specific job responsibilities,
the quality and quantity of the work done, and how he or she interacts
with others.

When you conduct this review, get away from the office or at least find a
place you won™t be disturbed. Do this both to complete the worksheet
and, later, to meet with the employee. You should also set up criteria for
each of the possible scores of 1 to 10 based on your own expectations of
your entire employee group. When completing an individual™s review
worksheet, consider looking back at others you have done to help main-
tain consistency. Also, if you have reviewed this employee previously,
look back to see which areas show improvement. In the comments sec-
tion, list specific incidences to illustrate the employee™s behavior.



Making It Happen

Give or e-mail the employee the first part of the performance review to
complete about a month before his or her review date. Specify a date by
which you expect to have the form returned. Set a date for your meeting
when the employee returns the form. Give yourself a few days to read
the employee™s responses and consider thoughtfully how they compare
214 Lead with Courage



Worksheet 7.1
Performance Review
(Part A)
TO:
FROM:
It is time to schedule our annual performance review meeting sometime during the next month.
Please fill out this form as completely as you can and return it to me by .
It will help me to help you. We will schedule a time to meet as soon as possible after you
return this form.

What could I do to make your work more productive?




What equipment or training do you need to do your best work that you don™t have?




What could the company change (add or delete) that would help you do your work better?




What skills and abilities do you have that you think are underutilized?




Any other comments or opinions you would like to express?
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Driving Employees to Peak Performance



Worksheet 7.1 (Continued)
(Part B)
Name Date
Job Responsibilities 1“10 Comments




Quality of Work 1“10 Comments
1. Technical skills.
2. Accuracy, little supervision required.
3. Creativity/originality of work.
4. Communication skills.
5. New approaches to problems.
6. Accepts responsibility”takes initiative
for action.
7. Forward-thinking/moving in same
direction as company.
8. Continues to learn and improve.

Quantity of Work 1“10 Comments
1. Meets deadlines.
2. Consistently hard worker.
3. Planning/ time management/workspace
organization.
4. Does fair share of department™s work.
5. Is in on time, on time to meetings, and
doesn™t miss a lot of work.

People Issues/Teamwork 1“10 Comments
1. Solves people problems directly.
2. Positive influence on coworker morale.
3. Working relationships inside company.
4. Leadership in company/shares information
and suggestions with others.
5. Working relationships outside company with
customers or vendors.
6. Participates in meetings.
216 Lead with Courage



Worksheet 7.1 (Continued)
Company Department
Objectives Objectives Individual Objectives for Next Year




Outstanding Accomplishments/Qualities




Areas for Improvement/Development
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Driving Employees to Peak Performance



to your view of this employee. You can also use this time to do some-
thing about the problems the employee hopes will be addressed.

For the second part of the review, fill in the employee™s top five job re-
sponsibilities, then rate each category from 1 to 10, adding comments
where you have something to say. List the employee™s “star” moments on
the bottom of the second page, along with areas where further training
or improvements are needed or desired.

Use the middle of the second page of Worksheet 7.1 to write objectives for
the coming year, based on company objectives, and the department objec-
tives you have identified. After the review meeting, give the employee a
copy of the worksheet. It™s important that you both agree on these objec-
tives and that you meet at least quarterly to discuss them, along with any
other areas you identified where improvement is required.



Reality Check

Consider these questions about your completed worksheet:

• Is the company generally supportive of employees who are hon-
estly trying to do their best work?

• Are there a number of employees giving you similar feedback
about the company?

• Do the comments reflect a positive feeling about the company,
even if many problems are listed, or are there still things that
seem to be left unsaid?

• Would you agree with the employee™s assessments? Are there
things you can do immediately to show you are committed to the
employee™s success?

• Is your reaction defensive? Do you discount the employee™s opin-
ion before you have investigated the concerns? If yes, why?

• Can you objectively review your employees? Do you have fa-
vorites for reasons other than their work performance?

• Do your employees have a sense of your vision for them and their
work?
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• Do you have the courage and organizational support to be honest
with your employees about their work performance?

• Do you spend at least 90 minutes preparing for an employee re-
view meeting and at least 90 minutes meeting with the employee?

• Are review sessions a productive meeting of the minds or
(1) are they angry and defensive or (2) do they gloss over the real
problems?
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Driving Employees to Peak Performance



TEAM FEEDBACK

Worksheet 7.2 is another part of the total 360-degree review process,
which is intended to give the employee a full circle of feedback from
everyone he or she connects with on the job. There™s one caveat to this
process”namely, there must be adequate preparation for a company to
launch into this process. People who have never received completely hon-
est reviews from their supervisors and who have not had an opportunity
to personally evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses are not ready
to hear brutally honest comments from their peers and others.

Training with case studies and role playing should be required to give
employees both a sense of how to give helpful, constructive, and practi-
cal feedback as well as how to accept it when given to you.

The review forms that will be used to solicit feedback should be given to
employees three to six months before the process is used. This isn™t a
surprise inspection”if employees know what standards will be used to
measure them, they will begin to change their behavior immediately so
that they will not receive negative reviews. If handled this way, you will
begin to get the desired result before you even ask for feedback from
peers. After all, wouldn™t the best result be uniformly positive feedback
from happy coworkers?



Making It Happen

The supervisor should give Worksheet 7.2 to a representative number of
people who are in a position to review an employee™s work. If the
coworker reports to the same manager, he or she is considered a team
member. If the coworker reports to a different manager, the coworker
would be considered a peer. I suggest doing this process twice the first
year to give an employee the opportunity to raise his or her score
quickly. The scores are usually lowest the first time employees give this
feedback review.

When all worksheets are returned, the supervisor should tally an aver-
age question score by adding the total of the 1 to 10 scores for each ques-
tion and dividing that number by the number of people who answered
the question. Comments should be collected on another sheet for each
question.
220 Lead with Courage



Worksheet 7.2
Team Feedback
Please circle your relationship to (Name)
Team member Peer
Return this form to (Supervisor) by
(Date).
Please rate his or her performance in the following categories (10 = best).
Your scores and comments will be kept confidential.
Quality of Work 1“10 Comments
1. Technical skills.
2. Accuracy, little supervision required.
3. Creativity/originality of work.
4. Communication skills.
5. New approaches to problems.
6. Accepts responsibility”takes initiative
for action.
7. Forward-thinking/moving in same
direction as company.
8. Continues to learn and improve.

Quantity of Work 1“10 Comments
1. Meets deadlines.
2. Consistently hard worker.
3. Planning/time management/workspace
organization.
4. Does fair share of department™s work.
5. Is in on time, on time to meetings, and
doesn™t miss a lot of work.

People Issues/Teamwork 1“10 Comments
1. Solves people problems directly.
2. Positive influence on coworker morale.
3. Working relationships inside company.
4. Leadership in company/shares information
and suggestions with others.
5. Working relationships outside company with
customers or vendors.
6. Participates in meetings.

Comments
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Driving Employees to Peak Performance



The supervisor should meet with the employee to discuss the team feed-
back results. All feedback should be given confidentially. A total average
score of 7 or above for all questions should be considered excellent.

The goal of the meeting should be to look for five items that the employee
would like to impact before the next review and to create a strategy for
training, development, or more individual feedback (i.e., individual test-
ing or coaching) for that employee.



Reality Check

Consider these questions about your completed worksheet:

• Have you defined the numerical rankings well enough for peers
and team members to give meaningful and consistent feedback?

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