Giving Aspirin Advice

Giving Aspirin Advice

There is no doubt that, as leaders, we are amazing people who know best, and by golly, aren’t our people so privileged to be the receivers of our well-intentioned advice! As humans, we don’t like being told what to do, yet we do love giving advice, and all of us have valuable experience and information to share. Do you sometimes feel, however, that your advice is falling on deaf ears, or is being met with the ‘roll of the eyes’? You won’t always engage or assist others with your ideas or advice, regardless of its relevance BUT you will engage them with the pain points or problems that your ideas or advice will solve. The brain will tend to reject ideas or advice that is unsolicited or that challenges the status quo or inherent beliefs…unless the advice assists in resolving an impasse in the brain, that is, a known problem is solved.  Such ‘reward’ is welcomed by the brain. Think about how motivated you are to take the advice and prescribed herbs given to you by a naturopath to support or boost your health, when you are feeling fine … COMPARED to the motivation to take the advice and prescribed pain killers from a doctor when you have a migraine! “Give me advice that solves a problem I have (takes away my pain), and I’ll now pay attention!” Amateur Leaders shoot from the hip giving out unsolicited advice front, left and centre – and sadly, great advice goes unheeded. Professional leaders take the time to get curious … to find out what is going on in the world of others … to find their pain points.  They diagnose before they prescribe and administer the solution. They give Aspirin Advice. And giving Aspirin Advice saves time. It’s a busy time of year – lots to do, the year to wrap up, planning for next year and presents to buy! Don’t let the season interfere with your professionalism – stay calm, focused and curious and be present for your people.  Find out what they need from you and give them that, not what you think they might need. AND this might even help you get through the Christmas Family stuff as well!  Make sure you are the listener, not the advice-giver – the facilitator of the awesome in your family … Have a wonderful Christmas break, and I’ll see you in January!
Why you should have the guts to drop performance ratings (or at least think about it)

Why you should have the guts to drop performance ratings (or at least think about it)

Big, successful organisations, across the globe, are dropping performance ratings. It’s on the agenda, and it’s on the increase! YES, really! And their experience shows that it is something we should all consider in some form or another. Take a moment now to allow your fight/flight centre to calm down, because it’s pretty hard to imagine, isn’t it? Just imagine your employees NOT wasting 3 months of the year in pain and anxiety worrying about your rating, how it will affect your pay, dreading ‘that’ conversation (both manager AND employee), and feeling like crap when you are told that what you produced over the last 12 months – through sweat, tears, late nights and weekends – didn’t cut the mustard! Just imagine your employees NOT spending a month or two distracted on deciding whether it’s time to look for somewhere new to work where they will appreciate you more. And just imagine your employees NOT having to keep all the useful information about that client to themselves, so that they could have a competitive advantage at review time. I just can’t imagine it, can you? So what is driving this shift? Well, when you look at it, in many organisations, the performance management system fails to improve performance. A big oops! There seem to be three major drivers for this recent change:
  • Organisations are getting a poor ROI on the time and energy invested in their performance management processes i.e. people aren’t getting better at their jobs at the rate that is needed, despite the time allocated to doing that;
  • There seems to be a misalignment between the PM system and their actual business objectives, desired values and desired culture i.e. it’s driving the wrong behavior, and
  • PM systems are just ‘noise’ in the already busy system i.e., people don’t like them and see them as just another distraction.
Studies show that in the six months following a performance review discussion, the highest performers (15% of the workforce) experience a slight dip in engagement in the two months following, but frighteningly, the average performers (85% of the workforce) experience a significant drop in engagement for around 6 months, and 2% of the lower performers never recover that engagement with the organisation. And neuroscience provides us with the evidence to support this disengagement. Not good. Now obviously, it’s not as simple as deciding one day that you’ll drop the whole idea and go free-form. The focus in making such a change rests on the desire of organisation to:
  • Increase the actual performance of individuals and keep them engaged with their work;
  • Develop and leverage the potential of employees and managers working from a ‘growth-mindset’;
  • Taking away the wasted energy and feelings of inadequacy that inevitably result from the way our PM systems are designed.
  • There are many and varied ways that the pioneering organisations are working through this, but the ROI seems to be there.
Maybe it’s time to at least start the conversation. Maybe it’s time for a revolution in terms of performance management, rather than investing in an evolution of an already flawed system?

Over to you

What return is your organization getting on it’s performance management process? Does it warrant a different conversation? If you’d like to understand more about how to raise the intelligence of your teams, I’d love you to make contact on, schedule a free 30 minute discovery session with me, or attend one of my upcoming events.