Cool Tips

It’s getting too hot here for a lot of reading so we thought we’d just share two lessons that we’ve learned this summer.

Score Cards

Score Cards are incredibly effective if used properly. The first organization Score Cards were designed as a vehicle to communicate with everyone in an organization, not just management. It’s a simple concept: When everyone is working off the same card, there is less, if any, confusion regarding objectives and the associated “scoring.” Performance not only improves; if maintained properly, Score Cards actually promote continual improvement. Score Cards can help galvanize organizations. Unfortunately, someone somewhere started using Score Cards to impress management and now many Score Card initiatives have devolved into management reports. Invariably the Score Card then becomes an exercise in form over substance. We know organizations that soon thereafter begin agonizing over format, colors, and what data will fit and “look good.” If you get to that point the Score Card has become counter productive. It’s not a Score Card if it’s not important to everyone in the organization. Choose information and clarity over looks. There is no rule that a Score Card has to be on a single side of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Get the right information to everyone involved on a routine and timely basis. And take the time to make sure everyone understands the objectives and the numbers. It’s less agonizing than trying to get everything on one pretty sheet, and a whole lot more effective.

Success Absolute

“It depends,” is my answer to most question,s and I refuse to answer those that demand “the one“ or “the single most.” There is, however, one exception: “What is the one, single most important skill an HR professional should have?” That’s easy and I always want to answer. Every staffing or human resource professional must have good consulting skills. They are absolutely essential to success and it is virtually impossible to be a high performer without them. Consulting skills enable you to get the customer to help you to help them. Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting is the book on consulting skills and is required reading for anyone in HR. There are also several very good consulting skills programs customized for recruiters and HR. One of them is conducted by Lynn Nemser of Partners in Performance, Inc. Lynn says that consulting skills are all about developing high influence, collaborative relationships that foster “joint ownership of a solution and equal sharing of risk and failure as well as rewards and success.” Her program includes contract steps that we use all the time: 1. Develop rapport 2. Listen to your customer’s needs first 3. Restate your customer’s needs 4. State your needs 5. Reach agreement to proceed 6. Close the meeting with an offer to help take the time to start, or review your Score Card and review your consulting skills. They’re an unbeatable combination.