When Evaluating Performance Consider The Intangibles

Decision making can take many forms depending upon the specific aspects of performance being identified and addressed. When leaders are making performance-based decisions regarding their organizational units, the decisions are typically based upon individual performance of the leaders, managers and employees under their direction.

Although performance can be documented in tangible and measurable terms, it invariably points to the performance or lack thereof of the individual(s) accountable for specific results. However, because decisions concerning these individuals are never made in a void, a number of more subjective factors must be considered.

This is important for leaders to appreciate because the performance evaluation program in an empowered organization incorporates all pertinent factors and contexts in order to yield more informed decisions regarding individual and corporate performance.

Since performance decisions revolve around the individual employees within an organization, the following less tangible factors need consideration. Often leaders are subconsciously aware of these aspects when making decisions, but they require more deliberate and formal weighing.

However, where possible even subjective factors should be linked to something tangible. In some cases overall employee performance and behaviors can be benchmarked, giving leaders a tangible backdrop against which to evaluate an employee when a decision is needed.

Cooperation

Certain employees will cooperate to the extent they are compelled to do so, while others will cooperate and offer their services beyond what is expected. In a union environment, some employees will hide behind negotiated rules to mask their lack of willingness to cooperate.

Undoubtedly when performance decisions must be made concerning individual employees, the level of cooperation among them becomes an important factor to consider. Within the empowered organization, cooperation tends to increase as more decisions are driven down to frontline employees.

Enthusiasm

As companies face continual change and evolve into empowered organizations, individual employees may become fearful or resistant to adjustments being made. With little other choice they may accept them, but not be enthusiastic. Leaders should watch for these tendencies as they can produce a drag on individual performance and even spread to others, further affecting motivation and morale.

Motivation

Personal levels of cooperation and enthusiasm are indicators of the individual employee’s motivation. As a leader transitions his or her employees into a cohesive organizational unit, employee motivation should shift from, “What’s in it for me?” thinking to a more group-oriented outlook.

As organizations transition from the traditional centralized and polarized bureaucracy to an empowered organization, employees also undergo a transition. Some will undoubtedly progress faster than others, but there comes a time when all should be motivated at least more by the group than the self. Thus an employee’s perspective must be considered in making performance decisions. If one or more employees have problems in this area, the leader must address them lest they fester and impact the progress of the organization.

Feedback and Insight

Employees that have worked in a job for a long period of time develop what is known as “native knowledge.” As this is developed, these employees begin to know all the “tricks of the trade” enabling them to be more efficient in their jobs. This is the information that leaders must tap into and share with the rest of their employees.

However, many longtime employees are reluctant to share this information since it provides them with “insurance” and a sense of job security. They are fearful that once they have shared this information, lower-paid employees may replace them.

As leaders evaluate their organizational performance, the feedback and insights shared by individual employees must be considered. Leaders should know the level of contribution an employee is capable of providing through daily interaction with them. They should be aware of those employees who are sharing their expertise and those who are not, and this is then factored into decisions made regarding performance.

Teamwork

The role of the leader is to lead and form the employees under them into a team focused on mutual goals and objectives. The more cohesive the organizational unit, the more productive and efficient it becomes. Thus as decisions are made about performance, the level of teamwork becomes an increasingly important consideration.

As decisions are made over time, the levels of teamwork should rise accordingly. Undoubtedly, if problems are identified with one or more employees, factors of cooperation, enthusiasm, motivation and performance also become issues with these employees. All of these factors are interlinked when making decisions regarding performance.

Performance

As all evaluative decision making factors are interlinked, deficiencies in one or more of these areas will contribute to personal performance problems. Conversely, strong indications in all of these decision making categories will contribute to enhanced performance.

Most performance decisions are based upon end results alone. However, when the sum total of these factors is evaluated, the problems behind the lack of performance are highlighted, making the leader’s decisions more meaningful.

When the root causes behind a problem are identified, it is easy for leaders to take the specific actions required to solve the problem.

Uncontrollable Circumstances

The final factor that must be considered in making performance decisions is the impact of uncontrollable events upon individual performance. Obviously factors of global competition, economic downturns and situations such as a shipping strike, internal production issues, and even weather can impact individual results. These realities and circumstances must be given appropriate consideration in making equitable performance decisions.

Excerpt: Strengthening Leadership Performance (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011)

Buying an Autoresponder

If you’ve been in internet marketing for 15 minutes, you’ve surely heard the phrase “The Money is in the List”. The next thing you’ve heard is that you simply have to have an autoresponder to grow your list, and then if you did any research you were confused with the number of choices you have for buying an autoresponder system .

Let me proceed by mentioning that the concept that the money is in the list is not exactly accurate (otherwise spammers would be the highest paid marketers!). In reality the money is in the value that you provide to your list, it is in the mutual relationship that you have with your list. In order to get this money into your pocket, you in fact need 5 things: a traffic source, a mechanism for prospects to join your list, a compelling REASON WHY they should join your list, a continuous stream of value that you give to the list, and ultimately a compelling offer that fulfills a burning need of your prospects.

I mainly wanted to discuss the actual autoresponder system that you should use and what you should look for in such a system, but keep in mind that your business is only going to be as strong as the weakest link in the chain, and you need all FIVE elements working together.

All of that being said, DON’T let your autoresponder be the weakest link! If you look for a free autoresponder script, you can find something that will work on a small scale, but the delivery rate could be as low as just 20%! That means that literally 80% of all of your other efforts are completely wasted, and all because you tried to save $20 a month. If you are serious about your business, choosing to buy autoresponder instead of using a free service is a no-brainer.

If you limit your choices down to just the top tier, industry praised companies, you’ll be left with just 3 or 4 choices. Further, when you look at the critical factors of deliverability, cost, ease of use, wide range of opt in form creation tools that are proven to convert, and tracking ability, that helps specify the choice even more. As an example of what I mean, infusionsoft is a highly respected service, yet many who are just starting out online would be hard pressed to pay $200 per month for such a service.

Also, look beyond just the basic autoresponder service. What other business communication tools does the company provide? As an example, one of my favorite services intergrates together with your blog, and functions as a newsletter by e-mailing subscribers when new blog entries are published. Without doing this and relying solely on RSS subscribers to your blog will unnecessarily reduce the potential traffic and fundamental interaction with your audience that you otherwise could have.

If you are serious about taking the next step toward ramping up your online business, I urge you to do further research on autoresponder systems here, and learn several extra pointers on that site that can increase conversions to opt-ins by 200-300% EACH, which all goes straight to your bottomline and puts cash right into your pocket.

Autoresponders ARE critically important, but they aren’t simply a commodity either. They are an essential part of your business and should be treated that way. There is an entire science on how to use them most efficiently. Don’t think you can just grab any old autoresponder service, slap some code onto your blog, and see results from that. Select a service carefully, and just as important learn exactly HOW to use autoresponders with skill.

If you’ve attempted any type of home-based or internet marketing system, you’ve certainly heard the phrase “The Money is in the List”. Most likely the very next thing you’ve heard is that you need to have an autoresponder to build up your list, and then if you did any research you were overwhelmed with the vast number of choices you have when it comes to autoresponder services.

Let me also say that the concept that the money is in the list is not precisely the right way to phrase it (otherwise spammers would be the highest paid marketers!). Really, the money is in the value that you provide to your list, it is in the mutual, beneficial relationship that you personally have with your list. In order to get this money into your pocket, you in fact need 5 things: a traffic source, a mechanism for prospects to join your list, a compelling REASON WHY they should join your list, and a stream of value that you give to the people on your list, and ultimately a compelling offer that fulfills a burning need of your prospects.

What I really wanted to discuss here is the actual auto-responder system that you should use and what you should look for in such a system, but remember that your business is only going to be as strong as the weakest link in the chain, and you need all FIVE elements working together.

All of that being said, DON’T let your autoresponder be a weak link! If you look for a cheap or free autoresponder script, you can find something that will work on a very small scale, but the delivery rate (the percentage of people who actually get your e-mail) could be as low as just 20%! That means that literally 80% of all of your efforts are totally wasted, and all because you tried to save $20 a month. If you are truly serious about your business, choosing to buy an autoresponder instead of using a free service is a no-brainer.

If you limit your choices down to just the cream of the crop, industry praised companies, you’ll be left with just 3 or 4 choices. Further, when you look at the most important factors of deliverability, cost, ease of use, wide range of opt in form creation tools that are proven to convert, and tracking ability, that helps reduce the choice even further. As an example of what I mean, infusionsoft is a regarded service, yet many who are just starting out online would be hard pressed to pay $200 per month for such a service!

Autoresponders ARE indeed critically important, but they aren’t a commodity either. They are a central part of your business and should be treated that way. Don’t think you can just grab any old auto-responder service, slap some code onto your blog, and see results from that. Select a service carefully, and just as important learn exactly HOW to use autoresponders with skill.

Networking and Ethics

In this day and age and within the various business climates, there is an emergence of ethics in conjunction with business and social practices. Handing business procedures properly, the right treatment of employees and staff are becoming important issues. Policies are being more stringent and companies, organizations and individuals are being held accountable for their words and actions. The same can apply in the capacity of networking and relationship building. Savvy networkers are starting to understand the relevance of operating in integrity, honesty and responsibility.

Listed below are key ways in which individuals and companies can improve their networking tactics by focusing on their ethical approach.

Truth be Told

While you are out and about focus on your speech, promises and obligations to others. Demonstrate honesty and integrity in your business and social dealings. Do not over exaggerate the truth to make a sale, get a referral or market yourself. Be genuine and respectful towards your counterparts and do not compromise your image or brand. Focus on adding value, solving problems, creating solutions and initiating connections. It is easy to fall into the trap of over promising and under-delivering. Stay true to your word and follow through in all of your practices.

Take Out the Negativity

Once again, do not compromise your image or brand when networking with counterparts. Show the importance and significance of your work, product or services. Do not talk negatively about the competition or specific individuals. Focus on the positive activity of your industry, business or company. People tend to lose trust and loyalty when others have negative and dis-satisfying comments about their competition. This can hinder future business and lessen your credibility, among other things. One of the main purposes in networking is to build relationships and a viable network. In order to be successful, it is important to win the trust and admiration of others.

Fall In Line

Another way to improve your networking presence and influence with others is to be consistent in your words and actions. Stay committed to your promises and agreements. Be proactive in following through and staying connected. Make sure that your appearance, speech and written communication are all congruent with each other. Inconsistency, lack of timely and proper communication can negatively affect your networking agenda. Continue to show an appreciation for your counterparts as well as any opportunities which arise from doing business.

In regards to networking, be an individual of your words and actions. Respect the people and organizations which you choose to facilitate business and social connections.