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The Operational Excellence Show

Mar 20, 2020

Hi everyone, welcome to this episode! I’m delighted it comes on the back of Episode 6 ‘How to set yourself up for a Successful Day in the Office
- I got a number of comments and requests around 

“And what happens next - I have done all the coaching with my agent / Teamleader / Member of staff - but somehow the performance doesn’t improve.”

Now - let's be clear - not every team member we have is also in the right role! 
Here’s what I mean by that:

You followed the recruitment guidelines, you hired a person to the best of your judgment. Maybe you used a matrix to calculate somebody’s “fit for role” state and the number was fine. For example over 7 on a scale of 1 - 10.
 Yet the person is not performing

You may have promoted somebody into a role, for example an Agent has become a Teamleader. Your firm has given training for Teamleaders, you have done your one to one’s on a regular basis - yet the individual is not performing. And to make matters worse, they don’t seem to be enjoying the job

You may have been desperate for support, hired a person into a role in a hurry - lets face it - we all have done that - and now it’s not working out.

Now - you have got two options if any of the above scenarios occur:
Option 1 - you can fire the person (of course you need to be within the law…)
Option 2 - you can proactively help the person to become successful - either within your company or elsewhere.

 Here is where the LEAP PDP comes in! 

Using a personal development plan with your staff takes the individual in question into account - in fact - the individual himself is in charge of the plan - you as their manager provide the coaching or counselling relating to the plan.

You can download the document for yourself - the link is below.

The LEAP PDP consists of 3 Steps:

  • Plan your career

  • Manage your review

  • Implement and update your Plan

To illustrate I’m using an example of a Teamleader, let’s call him John, whom I managed a couple of years ago. John had been promoted internally from Agent to Teamleader - and he desperately wanted to move up to Operations Manager. I saw his potential - but somehow his own team’s performance was not there, he got frustrated very quickly and he threatened to leave. 
Honestly, people, I don’t react very well to threats and thought somewhat grumpily - well then just leave!

However - my passion for people and their development quickly got the better of me and I brought John into my office, explaining that I was putting him on a personal development plan. 

And you know - John’s initial reaction was…. Well why don’t you fire me? Why are are putting time and effort into a PDP?  - My answer - because I am a Kolbe 8 (I need to find the facts before I make a decision) and my biggest Gallup Strength is Relator  - I manage relationships very well.

So we got to work.

Step 1: I issued John with the LEAP PDP form and invited him to start his own personal assessment. If you work in a forward thinking enterprise, you and your teams probably have some form of personality testing - use that as a baseline. 
In step 1 we are looking at the strengths John has, based on either Myers Briggs, or Gallup Strengths Finder or Kolbe A+ index and how these strengths show up in his daily conduct with this team and the wider organisation. 

None of us is perfect - I also invited John to take a very close look at his development needs.

In order to assess whether we really needed to help him with additional skills (based on his development needs) or - indeed should further enhance his strengths, John is now looking at his career objectives
Where does John see himself in 1 year, where in 3 years and where in 5 years? 

Unsurprisingly - John saw himself as Ops Manager in 12 months and then as Ops Director in 3 - 5 years. He also wanted to be come competent in Lean Management and he wanted to be involved in Bid Management. 

However - his development needs where two fold:

His own team didn’t reach targets, despite daily huddles, one to one’s and constant in-the-moment coaching that needed attention. John identified one individual bringing the teams morale and performance down - but he was afraid to act because he didn’t know the HR implications and was worried the agent in question might take a case against John or/and the firm

John had an understanding of “cost saving was necessary in the business” - but he couldn’t identify opportunities and address them accordingly.

As a result of 
a) John’s strengths
, b) John’s Development needs
, c) John’s career aspirations

 we agreed the following development objectives:

Understanding basic HR people management skills

Activity: I sent John on a 10 weeks HRD course @ the local University to familiarise himself with the law, with how we manage performance, exchange views with other aspiring managers. 
The measure to show that what he learned was really holding clear: He managed said “disruptive” agent clearly and precisely. On a weekly basis and ensured he had all the necessary facts to take an educated and fact-based decision as to whether or not to “help the disruptive agent” to be successful elsewhere.  - You notice…. I don’t fire people. I’m not Alan Sugar :-) 

My firm ran internal LEAN courses - I put John onto a lean course. As part of the course he had to complete a small cost saving project - which we both agreed would be our Development Measurer. 

Both activities had very clear completion dates. 

We also jointly agreed - that we would work together for 9 months and that I would do my utmost to get him into a position where he could confidently apply for the next Operations Managers Position. 

Step 2: My own commitment in this process was that I regularly reviewed the progress with John. Now - when you engage in longer term development of your staff you want to schedule these review meetings quarterly - to allow your staff member time to learn and implement what they learned. 

Step 3: Review and update the PDP on an ongoing basis! - meaning - as soon as one Objective was achieved - we looked at the next one! The LEAP PDP became an evergreen tool. 

I recently spoke to John, who is now a successful Operations Director in an In House Contact Center environment. Needless to say - I’m proud of John and what he has achieved over the last 10 years.

I have of course had situations, where it became clear over the course of a PDP, that the individual would be much happier in a different role. So you can see - Personal Development Plans not only serve direct career advancement; they also are a very clear indicator with actual options how to get there for a career change.

Earlier - I mentioned popular personality assessment tools.

 Here they are again:

Kolbe A Index: measure the cognitive behaviour we are actually born with. The link is below. 
Personally I am an 8 - 6 - 4 - 2

8: Fact-finder

6: Follow Through

Quick Start


Gallup Strengths Finder - measures all your skills and identifies the top 5 you should be working within, 
For me that’s Relator, Individualisation, Analytical, Ideation and Arranger


The details of how I use these results in my business and my career are for another episode! 

Kolbe A Index:
Gallup Strength Finder:


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