STAFF & Ditch the Annual Performance Reviews. Do this Instead (and Unite Your Team). How Successful Companies Do It.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I suggest most of my clients initiate at least quarterly one-on-one meetings with their staff instead of an annual performance review. Read the article below to see why annual performance reviews have shown to be ineffective about 80% of the time. Discover instead how one-on-one meetings at least each quarter (where you discuss goal setting, growth opportunities and how you can assist one another) grows better employees.

by Marla Tabaka, Inc. Magazine, 11/30/19.

This SHRM study found that as many as 72% of companies still conduct yearly reviews even though 87% of both managers and employees find them ineffective. 

A Gallup study revealed that employees whose managers regularly communicate with them are nearly three times more engaged than those with managers who don’t communicate regularly. The benefits related to frequent feedback, goal setting, and growth opportunities far outweigh the value of an annual review. 

 Here are a few tips on how to make your transition smoothe.

Take notes.

Doing away with annual reviews does not preclude the need for documentation. Keep ongoing notes on your discussions and the action steps that result from them. In the case of an underperforming employee, this is especially important.

Discuss reward and compensation.

Tell employees when and if they can expect a raise. The absence of an annual review could leave employees wondering about their financial future with the company.

Don’t slack. 

It’s great when you stop someone in the hallway to acknowledge an achievement, but a scheduled meeting still needs to take place. I have one client who meets with each of her five employees weekly, some of my clients hold meetings with employees monthly, and some quarterly. Determine your schedule by considering goals for your culture, the stage of growth the company is in, and how employees are performing. Avoid putting off a meeting with an employee for any reason; this sends the message that they don’t come first.

Listen.

These meetings aren’t about you; they are about the employee. Your time together is the perfect opportunity to ask them questions about their ideas and vision. Ask them for feedback about your leadership and communication style and let them voice their general concerns should there be any. 

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/ditch-annual-performance-reviews-this-is-how-progressive-companies-do-it.html

ASSESSMENT & The 8 Self-Assessments You Need to Improve at Work #HarvardBusinessReview

MANAGING YOURSELF: The 8 Self-Assessments You Need to Improve at Work This Year

by Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review, 1/20/16.

…we’ve pulled together several of HBR’s best assessments and quizzes to help give you a sense of what you need to work on and how to go about it.

Productivity. Time management is a perennial thorn in most managers’ sides… So before you try out a new program or app, take this assessment to understand your own style and discover productivity tips that like-minded people have found most effective. Then, if you want more information on the different styles, read this article.

Work/life balance… In this assessment, you can compare your priorities with how you actually allocate your time and energy. Once you’ve answered questions about four key areas — work, home, community, self — Wharton professor Stewart Friedman provides practical guidance and a useful exercise for addressing the critical gaps.

Cultural skills… This assessment helps you see key differences in eight areas where cultural gaps are most common, like communicating, scheduling, trusting, and disagreeing — and shows you how you compare with the norm for your culture in each area. The questions and feedback are based on comprehensive research by INSEAD’s Erin Meyer, an expert in cross-cultural management.

Emotional intelligence… With this quiz, you can test yourself on five critical EI skills — emotional self-awareness, positive outlook, emotional self-control, adaptability, and empathy. In addition to your score on each component, Annie McKee of the University of Pennsylvania shares an exercise to help you enhance your self-awareness by getting feedback from trusted friends or colleagues.

You might also take this assessment on emotional agility — the ability to manage your thoughts and feelings. Everyone has an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that includes criticism, doubt, and fear. By answering the questions in this assessment, you can identify your own patterns when it comes to avoiding or buying into those negatives thoughts…

Communication skills…The popularity of our grammar quiz shows just how many struggle with writing. Review the 10 sentences and decide whether you think they’re grammatically correct…

Finance skills…This 10-question finance quiz comes from the HBR Guide to Finance Basics for Managers. When you finish taking it, you’ll see which answers are correct, and why, so you can brush up on key concepts you need to learn to become a more effective manager.

Managing your boss. This assessment asks what you would do in five “managing up” scenarios. After selecting your answers, you learn which approaches experts recommend. You also receive links to further reading on how to cultivate your most important relationship at work­ — your relationship with your boss.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2016/01/the-8-self-assessments-you-need-to-improve-at-work-this-year

ASSESSMENT & Measurement: So What’s The Difference? Everything!

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/16/15.

An interview in “Christianity Today” with management researcher Jim Collins started me thinking about how some things cannot be measured, but they can be assessed.  I often direct my students to this article to help them create assessable evaluations for their final papers,

Jim Collins said that a problem today with non-profits is, “…being unclear about your goals.… Your goals don’t have to be quantifiable, but they do have to be describable. Some leaders try to insist, ‘The only acceptable goals are measurable,’ but that’s actually an undisciplined statement. Lots of goals—beauty, quality, life change, love—are worthy but not quantifiable. But you do have to be able to tell if you’re making progress. For a church, a goal might be: Young people bring other young people here unprompted. Do they talk about the church with their friends? You may not be able to measure that, but you can assess it.”

I think Collins is on to something here.

He is saying that while some things like “growth in maturity” (Acts 2:42) are not measurable, they can to be “assessed” or “described.”  Measurement means we can put a precise number to something.  I think we all agree that no one, except God, can put a precise measurement on a person’s “level of spiritual maturity.”

But, I think we would all agree that we can “assess” or “describe” progress of “growth of maturity” if a church is increasingly more passionate about “the apostles’ teaching (bible-study) and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).

Thus, “assessing” growth in maturity is exactly what we are trying to do by measuring the growth in percentages of the congregation involved in Bible-focused groups.  This measurement I call the Composite Maturation Number (A House Divided, p. 209), and it is an “assessment” of the goal of growing a church in maturity.  Thus, we are not measuring precisely “growth in maturity,” but we are assessing progress toward it.

I hope you see that what we are using are “assessments” of unmeasurable goals of maturity, unity and favor.  But, these assessments can, as Jim Collins says, “tell if you’re making progress.”

My hope is that through such assessments all of you are increasingly aware if “you’re making progress.”

NOTE: In the following books I have created and updated church measurement tools that measure four types of church growth, following Luke’s pattern in Acts 2:42-47.  For more info see these chapters or “search” for keywords such as “maturation” in this wiki.

Cure for the Common Church, (Wesleyan Publishing House), chapter “Chapter 6: How Does a Church Grow Learners,” pp. 101-123.
> ORGANIX: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church (Abingdon Press), “Chapter 8: Measure 4 Types of Church Growth,” pp. 139-159.
> Growth By Accident, Death By Planning (Abingdon Press), “Chapter 7: Missteps with Evaluation,” pp. 97-108/
> A House Divided: Bridging the Generation Gaps In Your Church (Abingdon Press), “Chaper 10: Evaluate Your Success,” pp. 202-221.

STRATEGIC PLANNING & A Simple QSPM Grid To Assess Which Visionary’s Idea is Best

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 9/17/15.

A former student told how a congregant abused the power of “vision” to push through an idea that was not in the best interest of the church.  The student wished there could be a way to prevent persuasive forecasters from selling the church on ideas, that though they may look good in a vision, in reality are not good for the church.

Here is his observation with some comments on how to evaluate such persuasive vision-casters:

Dear Dr. Whitesel, For years ____church name___  has debated two issues. Do we build an elevator or remodel the kitchen?  The elevator ended up being built.  I remember how it all went down.  A board member gave a vision statement of why we needed an elevator and painted a picture of the future of our church and how an elevator would benefit us.  The board unanimously voted in favor and the elevator was built.”  Sincerely, ___Name of Student___

My comments:

I reminded the student about how we learned about a “Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix” (QSPM).  Basically this is an exercise (via a grid) through which we can measure numerically which of several tactics (e.g. an elevator for a church, a kitchen remodel or teaching English as a second language) will best help a church attain a vision that is based upon a SWOT.

Basically, with a vision statement and accompanying SWOT analysis, the student could then create a Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix (QSPM) and numerically compared the two strategies (elevator or remodel a kitchen).

See Figure 5.8 (Smith, et. al. 2011, p. 100, click to enlarge) to see a QSPM for a church that was comparing its options of either relocating or starting a new service.

FIGURE ©Whitesel Ch MBA Figure 5.8
From this figure, I think you can see that in the ecclesial world we often lack knowledge about management tools, such as a QSPM, that would allow our leaders to make better choices regarding programming.  Usually churches make decisions about programming based upon the four Ps: Proximity (a church nearby tried this program and it worked), Popularity (a new program is so popular that your church wants to try it), Propensity (a leader in the church has a propensity, or partiality for a program), or Persuasiveness (of the presenter – and what happened in this case).

All of these ways to choose a strategy would be criticized in the business world as nothing more than hunches.  This is why many of our lay leaders, who are successful business people, are bothered by our cavalier attitude to tactic selection.  If they’ve taken business courses in undergrad or graduate school, they are already familiar with a QSPM.  And thus they often wonder how we can lead such an important organization as the church without an understanding a basic principles of planning such as a QSPM.Church Leader's MBA cover

Sometimes students struggle with using a Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix (QSPM) and think, “this looks too complicated, I don’t think I will use it.”  But, it is a great exercise for a leadership retreat.  A QSPM can give an actual rating (a number) whereby you can compare two worthy ideas and see which one better matches up with your vision.

Now, you don’t need to use a QSPM every time you have a new idea.  But, when there two competing ideas (like in the story by the student above) then it is best to use a QSPM and get an actual numerical comparison.  It can take the emotional vision-persuasion elements out of important decisions and make these decisions more balanced.

EVALUATION & One way to measure quality

by Jackson Wu, nd. (excerpted from a more comprehensive article on evaluation, linked below).

What about quality?

How does Scripture primarily describe Spiritual fruit? In Gal 5:22–23, Paul writes,

“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

Many mission organizations track statistics regarding the number of churches and professions of faith. How many have a way of recording and celebrating fruitfulness as Paul describes it?

We might think of “quality” fruitfulness in terms of five goals.

1. Clarity (head)

Are we giving a clear witness that is both biblically faithful and culturally meaningful?

2. Conviction (heart)

We want those we serve to have changed hearts. Yet, this is NOT something we can control.

It is a miraculous work of the Spirit. For this reason, we should be careful about how much we push “decisions” as the primary metric for ministry success. How can we be held accountable for something outside our control?

3. Character (head)

We want believers to live godly lives.

4. Calling (mission)

We want believers to serve God in ministry to the world. God’s people are called to join His mission.

5. Community (church)

Ministry to and through individuals is not the primary goal. We cannot claim effectiveness if we are not aiming to build up the Church. Christian faith is inherently communal…

Read more at … http://jacksonwu.org/2015/07/08/is-our-ministry-effective/

EVALUATION & One way to measure quantity # jacksonwu

by Jackson Wu, nd. (excerpted from a more comprehensive article on evaluation, linked below).

What about quantity?

Typically, missionaries (and churches) track the number of “decisions” made by the people with whom they shared the gospel. Practically, this translates into counting how many people “prayed to receive Christ.”

I’ll address this further in a coming blog post. For now, I will simply say this is a misleading metric. There are better ways of measuring ministry effectiveness. For example, . . .

Listening? –– Are people paying attention?

If we share the gospel in a culturally meaningful way, our message will not come across “abstract” or unrelated to daily life. We cannot change people’s hearts; however, we can convey the truth in a manner that makes sense. In this way, we expect more people to pay more attention to us than they otherwise typically do.

Longevity? –– How does attrition affect churches?

When the gospel truly changes people’s hearts, it fosters a new manner of life. There is greater perseverance in genuine faith that in superficial, religious belief or in the response that comes because of social pressure. Therefore, when the gospel takes root, we will see far less church attrition that in “movements” that produce 100 churches in a year but only have a scant few remain after 5 years?

Read more at … http://jacksonwu.org/2015/07/08/is-our-ministry-effective/