SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Have you ever put someone on a formal performance improvement plan?

  • Yes, several times: 66%
  • Once: 21%
  • Never: 13%

PIPs are a challenge. People sometimes perform below standard and you’ll need to step up and put them on a PIP. When you do, set them up to succeed. Give them clear, actionable feedback. It’s not enough to simply say “do better at xyz.” If they knew how to do it better, they likely would. If you want them to improve their performance, lay out the new behaviors you want them to demonstrate and let them know clear success criteria. Use the same principles you should apply to all performance evaluations. Giving them clarity gives them a chance.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, author of the upcoming book “The Elegant Pitch: Create a Compelling Recommendation, Build Broad Support, and Get it Approved” and “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.” (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How well did your end-of-year review process go last year?

  • Very well — We did a great job of reviewing performance: 12%
  • Well — We did OK, but it could have been better: 31%
  • Not well — It was somewhat ineffective: 11%
  • Poorly — It was a frustrating waste of time: 18%
  • What end-of-year review? 28%

Are reviews dead? Only 43% of you had a positive experience with end of year reviews. Hopefully that means people are set up to succeed this year and they received actionable feedback. For the other 57%, ask yourselves why the process is broken. It is fixable if you focus on key changes you can make. Is it the process itself or the quality of reviews being written. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How prevalent is “analysis paralysis” in your organization?

  • Not at all — We do a great job of avoiding it: 12%
  • Somewhat — We occasionally get sucked into the data: 37%
  • Very — We spend too much time analyzing versus deciding: 38%
  • Extremely — We never make decisions because all we do is analyze: 13%

Get out of the data. The good news is, we have tons of data. The bad news is we drown in it. There’s a simple approach for staying out of analysis paralysis or for breaking out of that dynamic when it rears its ugly head: ask if that incremental analysis changes the answer. If the results of the new analysis won’t change your recommendation, don’t do the analysis and move into decision making mode. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

What’s your outlook for the coming year?

  • It’s definitely going to be better than last year: 56%
  • It’ll be about the same as last year: 31%
  • It’s definitely going to be worse than last year: 13%

Optimistic Times. It looks like the vast majority of folks are seeing the coming year as an improvement over last year. That’s encouraging given all the turmoil in the markets but also understandable given some recent economic improvements. The big question for leaders is how do your teams see the coming year and how can you help them see how it can be better. Ask your people this same poll question and lead them accordingly. For the optimists, give them resources and support. For the pessimists, help them see the possibilities. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Do you have a reliable “right-hand person” on your team?

  • Yes — they’re always there to back me up and watch my back: 63%
  • Kind of — sometimes they back me up, but I wish they’d do more: 18%
  • No, but I could really use one: 19%

Find Your “Second.” 37% of you don’t have a reliable “second” there to back you up and be your right-hand person. That’s a huge gap and a big opportunity. Not only is it good for you to have that backup, it’s good for that person too. It can be a developmental and stretch role for them to learn from the boss and be involved in things “above their level.” Ask yourself why you don’t have a second. (read more…)