(This is Part III of a three part series on the Performance Plus Planning System which focuses on the Four P’s – Plan, Platform, Process, People, to create synergistic accountable organizations.)

 

Each of the architectural elements plotted below warrant their own detailed explanations, however, in this article I am attempting to provide only the “framework” to build a prosperous integrated business operation capable of achieving Next Level Accountability.  

THE PROCESS

A Leader must insure his team distinguishes how to operate with competence and consistency in order to harvest a level of “competitive:” quality which outstrips the anticipations of

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clients.  The Team must appreciate “who does what when” and possess the competency to produce impregnable outcomes.  The formation of a rock-solid Plan and investment of a superior Platform is squandered without a proficient, smooth, trustworthy, Process to carry it out.

Process improvement is one of the most conversed necessities for any business attempting to advance performance.  A pure and present Plan and an organizationally supportive Platform momentously intensifies the likelihood that Process improvement will have an evocative and enduring impact.

Reengineering and Continuous Process Improvement programs employed by a fixated Leader require a company-wide effort to scrutinize all tasks and their relevancy in achieving Strategic Goals.  Team based approaches which gather information, seek out solutions and accumulate buy-in should be used as an imperative portion of Process Development.

Since most organizations lack resources to apply a complete re-engineering approach, Leaders must look at set systems and develop Processes generating more resourceful and operative results.

As a part of the planning process, measurements should be developed to determine progress to the plan.  A Leader must also fix metrics that can be effortlessly and habitually monitored for results of the Process Improvement Program.

The Process

Re-engineering

A Leaders commitment to the continuous advancement of Quality is indispensable to long-term Customer Value Proposition.  Involvement and solutions for these advancements should be pursued throughout all expanses of the company.  Process Leaders should acquire proficiency and usage in Kaizen based events to ascertain and implement these improvements.

A Street Smart Leader preserves an “external focus” on improvements which are driven by customer needs to pilot the organization to a leading industry position. The conveyance of a performance based organization must be cultured continuously to insure costs are driven down and the competitive position is enhanced.

Quality improvement programs should be examined to determine if customer satisfaction is the driving force behind any new processes and ideals.  An introverted quality program that focuses only on reducing costs without regard to customer impact will produce a company which profitably goes out of business. The effectual organization is able to conceive methods of accomplishing more with less.

The Re-Engineering

Systems

Deliberations of Systems tend to be framed in terms of information processed on computers and through the Platform Structure.  But often much of the information vital to the realization of an organization’s project or strategic plan is processed through a multiplicity of people and offline systems.  These offline systems can vary to a wide degree depending on the individual in control, possibly creating serious fissures in productivity and quality.

Often these online and offline systems are treated as separate entities resulting in a “disconnect” throughout the entire process.  Leaders must work with their teams to map both process types into one all-inclusive exploration.  Once this is completed all team members involved will now understand the entire picture.

Understanding where online systems and offline systems intertwine with each other is a Leaders first step setting the groundwork for process improvement.  Once understood, he can then begin to construct connections safeguarding check and balances are built-in to the systems to prevent the “ball from dropping” thus creating true widespread organizational productivity.

The Systems

Metrics

The establishment of a resilient Metrics program conveys accountability upon an organization.  Performance gains are based on knowing where one is starting from and where they desire to go.  Comprehensive Measurement is the best methodology to track and communicate headway.  A Leaders challenge is in determining what to measure, how to measure it, and what the results really conclude.

Developing a “root cause” mentality from the onset of Strategic Planning sets the stage for determining what to measure.  Your team will focus attention and effort in the areas the company measures.  Therefore, it is imperative to insure Measurements support goals directly without creating conflict within the organizational factions.

Leaders should concentrate Measurements in the areas of Quality (external measurements), Productivity (internal measurements), and Growth (financial measurements).

The Metrics

THE PEOPLE

A Leader’s greatest Plans, Platforms, and Processes will spiral into a tailspin without an A-Team in place.  And probabilities are, his customers will notice it before he does.  Becoming a performance based organization is reliant on people strength at every position within the organization.

Team members must unmistakably apprehend the big picture strategy and their roles within it to realize triumph.  The quality of their character, drive and skills must consistently meet the highest standards.  And the Leader must generate and sustain a workplace in which team members surpassing these criteria excel to heightened levels of personal and professional culmination.

A-Players are the “competitive advantage” of the future.  The ability of a Leader to attract the “best” and provide them with ongoing inspiration is reliant on a Vision and Plan which is stimulating, a Platform that does not get in the way and a Process which allow the A-Team to deliver superior results of which they can be proud.

People focused Leaders must evaluate the capability, drive and character of their team.  Leaders also need to assess the future probability of success each team member is likely to attain in the organizations “next level’ and determine if they are adept to “step up and grow”.  The cultural elements that positively and negatively affect performance must also be evaluated and acted upon by the Leader.

The People

Roles

The performance based organization desires to recognize the needs of customers more piercingly than customers themselves. They not only strive to comprehend what is imperative today but also what will be compulsory tomorrow, and the day after.  Leaders must work with their teams to see they become ultra-sensitive to the essentials of the customer.  As management, sales, and marketing uncover customer desires a system must be in place to disseminate this information throughout the team so that all team members accept responsibility for satiating these requirements.

Every team member must become personally engaged in customer fulfillment.  Each team and function must apprehend the customer’s needs and be devoted to delivering only the best they have to offer; not only understanding their role but also the role of others who they are responsible for functioning with and supporting.

Leaders must instill in their team that performance based service must be recognized as an imperative consequence everyone partakes in.  It is not just the job of some other department. Politics, the Blame Game, shifting and other disastrous behaviors must be sought out and eradicated.  The “common goal” of delivering Customer Value Proposition must be the focus and stand as the pinnacle for company integration.

The Roles

People Quality

A performance based organization must be strenuously unyielding in communicating the Customer Value Proposition to each team member.  Education and training must be carefully planned to insure all team members are capable of conveying customer value.  This training and education must go beyond job function and include elements that teach team members about the needs and requirements of the customer from their perspective.  Teams should then be given an understanding on the company as a whole and how each area’s goals contribute to the Customer Value Proposition.

There are many ways in which to communicate, train, and educate employees, from formal classes and seminars to on the job activities.  The strongest bond in developing team involvement is to have a strongly oriented performance based culture that creates a tidal wave of positive attitude towards the company’s Mission and wins.  A Leader must lay the foundation for this cultural strength.

World Class Organizations demand the best from each team member.  For this phenomenon to perpetually renew Leaders must be committed to the personal and professional development of each team member.  A learning environment must be created in which team members feel free to grow their careers without risk.  At the same time it must be understood that performance problems will not be tolerated and will be dealt with swiftly and professionally.

People Quality

Morale

The most effective plan will not flourish without stout Team Morale.  Perhaps nothing is more telling of the climate of the company’s culture than to perform an employee audit.  Leaders should look for outside assistance to perform a credible audit as a part of the internal analysis.  Leadership should address problems creating low morale before long-term performance improvements are affected.  In areas where Leadership cannot enact changes due to external forces (such as challenging economic times), strong internal communications and support should be provided to fortify the understanding and acceptance of the team.  No organization can move towards “being the best” without a exceedingly motivated work force.

The culture should be one that strives to deliver the Customer Value Proposition.  It should strive for internal effectiveness and constantly search for areas of improvement.  Since quality of work becomes a reflection of the quality of working conditions, a Leadership must commit himself to providing top working conditions for his A-Team.  Everywhere quality becomes the top priority for delivering value.  Team members should have a fundamental understanding of the importance of the customer and the direct correlation of the customer’s fulfillment on their personal career and future prosperity.

The Morale

Developing proficient Processes and building a fantastic A-Team of People allows a Leader to catapult off of the prodigious Plan and Platform they have developed and achieve previously undiscovered summits as a Performance Organization.  Leaders capable of building an organizational architecture on the principles of the 4Ps will establish an enduring, prosperous, and mounting organizational model.  The Performance Plus process is a comprehensive hands-on approach into your organization’s depths to gather information, solve problems, create new ideas, and discover breakthrough possibilities while directly leading your people “into the fold”.  A Street Smart Leader knows the Performance Plus Process is about realizing results.  In striving to create Next Level Accountability, he moves past the conference room “feel-good” banter and materializes real Deliverables to propel his Performance’s progress and Teams success.

4P Deliverables

THE PERFORMANCE PLUS SYSTEM

NEXT LEVEL ACCOUNTABILITY

The Performance Plus System

(This is Part II of a three part series on the Performance Plus Planning System which focuses on the Four P’s – Plan, Platform, Process, People, to create synergistic accountable organizations.)

 

Each of the architectural elements plotted below warrant their own detailed explanations, however, in this article I am attempting to provide only the “framework” to build a prosperous integrated business operation capable of achieving Next Level Accountability.     


THE PLAN

Building an impenetrable organizational architecture originates with the development of the Plan.  The construction of a cohesive interconnected Plan establishes the underpinning of a framework which all future decisions

Planning

can be grounded upon.  With a robust and resilient Plan an organization can productively move forward toward the attainment of innovative and sophisticated goals.  With the exception of the “lucky few”, every successful business I have ever known has inaugurated its growth cycles and built future opulence through an unswerving devoutly managed Planning Process.

Leaders must collaborate with their A-Teams to cultivate a comprehensive Plan so the organization comprehends why it is in business in the first place.  Establishing a Vision pinpoints what the business “will be” and what it should be endeavoring to deliver to the marketplace.  Next, a sturdy Strategy should be created to provide a business track that is clear and provides significance to the effort of performance based activities.  The efficacy of the Strategy should be centered on driving internal Tactics toward external Benefits to the customer.

In mounting an operative Plan, an assessment of customer value should be amassed to focus and prioritize the organization’s deliverables necessary to attract and retain customers.  Strategy formulation must be persistently reevaluated to insure it is aligned with the emerging needs of customers and is incessantly placing the organization in a position of competitive advantage.

The Performance Plus key to success is in the implementation of your plan.  Objectives and initiatives must be set with accountabilities and timelines.  Integration of Tactical plans is the crucial element to the Plan’s overall success.

Let’s take a look at the three structural elements of the Plan: Vision, Strategy, and Tactics.

The Plan

Vision

The facades of Vision and Mission have become central thespians in the false piety we are accustomed to these days.  But courageous principled Leaders sustain the practice of these tools to powerfully direct and stimulate their organizations.  A vibrant Vision of the company clearly and precisely affords an understanding of what your business is all about. Establishing the elementary principles of how you are going to accomplish your Vision defines the Values of the organization.  Without Values in place, the company is unable to induce clear and directional decisions based on the long-term prosperity.  For the Plan to flourish, Leaders must be prepared to become walking, talking exemplifications of the company’s Vision and Values.

Building on the Values of the organization, a Leader should proceed to composing a Mission Statement. The Mission Statement’s resolve is to provide a directional beacon that shapes and guides business Strategies. Through an efficient definition of the Mission, Leadership is enabled to determine the Unifying Goals which inevitably bring strategic factions together in a comprehensive progressive resolution.

The development of Visions, Values, and Missions, provides the organization with a Strategy compendium from which to create a performance based organization that creates Value for the company, its employees and customers.

The Vision

Strategy

A Street Smart Leader understands the prominence of “Culture” in satiating the customer and he is resolved in shaping the values, beliefs, philosophies and understandings of his team. Therefore, he must create a performance based program which surpasses slogans and converts his values to a “way of life”.  The goal is to lead people to not only “talk the talk” but “walk the walk”.  Without the proper determinations devoted to Culture, Leadership is fighting an arduous battle in creating change. The proper Culture for a performance based organization concentrates on the human element of the business.  Factors such as inspiration, enthusiasm and morale are major opportunities.

The Strategy articulates to the organization what is compulsory to accomplishing the company’s Mission.  All employees in the company must fluently appreciate each Strategic Element.  The Strategy should provide an interrelated concept that allows different teams and functions to accomplish collective goals together. And each Strategy should be centered in the significance of conveying incomparable Value to customers through action oriented deliverables.

A Leaders goal is to generate balance within the Strategy between short term goals and long term requirements.  The Balanced Scorecard, developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton provides a focus on establishing objectives that meet the customer, financial, internal and growth perspectives.  When each of these perspectives is kept in balance with the others, an organization avoids the trappings of short term gains at the risk of long term exposure

The Strategy

Tactics

Tactical Plans create the linkage between Strategy and Action.  Leaders should base each strategy/tactic link or initiative on a “cause and effect” relationship to gain root level sustainability.  With this structure mindset Leaders are able to methodically disaggregate each strategy with a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and create the building blocks for successful strategy implementation.

The execution of Tactical Plans should next be plotted and reviewed to insure cross-functional alignment exist between organizational factions.  Most importantly, Accountability must be driven into the plan through assigned responsibility and timeline stipulation.

“What gets measured gets done”.  A key to the development of a thriving Plan is in deciding what to measure and how to measure it.  Once the proper metrics are determined, they must be communicated to everyone in the organization and a meaningful review process should be established as a tool for Leadership to monitor the Plan’s progress.

 

The Tactics

 

THE PLATFORM

The most ingenious Plans are doomed to catastrophe if they are not bed-rocked on a solid Platform which supports the fluid implementation and sustainability of Strategic Initiatives.   Without a solid Platform day-to-day operations become sluggish, ineffectual, and impotent leaving a diluted and discombobulated workforce struggling to perform.  Any attempt to build a high performing organization must be predicated on a fundamentally stable and flexible network of interconnected systems which provide sustenance to the strategic drivers.

Leaders committed to building superior performance based organizations dedicate energies to systemize their customer offerings.  This is best accomplished in preparing an integrated methodology that drives a prolific deliverable Platform.  All the Mission, Values, Strategies, and Process elements will not achieve a dynamic organization without each of these components functioning in tandem with each other.  The implementation of a Strategic Platform is the most impregnable method to establishing a framework for an integrated solution.

The relationship between the cross functions of your organization must be analyzed and investigated in developing an integrated framework.  Department Silos must be torn down and barriers to the synergistic workflow and common interest eliminated through a restructuring of the organization to meet strategic goals.

Beyond mere organizational charts, the Platform also includes technologies and policies that affect the daily interaction of employees and the manner in which they accomplish assignments.  A Street Smart Leader reviews the organizational structure, technologies, and policies to ensure alignment and provide an infrastructure capable of supporting the Strategic Implementation.

A reliable, productive, and enduring Platform is based on the elements of Structure, Technology, and Policy.

The Platform

Structure

Structure is made up of the networks of people, physical facilities and resources that support the delivery of customer value.  This is where most expenditure in performing organizations takes place. The development of the structure must be carefully planned along with other strategies.  A structure built with solid principles set in the Values and Missions from the Leadership is a main ingredient in establishing the performance based Culture.

Leaders must generate an integrated approach to performance by building the Structure as an important entity within the organization.  A powerfully concentric Structure provides an organization with a resilient competitive advantage.  An enlightened Structure is built around essential customer fulfillment and is capable of quickly reacts to changing marketplace demands.  It also increases the company’s growth and profit prospects by capitalizing on existing potential and creating new business revenue sources.

A Leader committed to maintaining margins while providing customer value must take careful steps to insure the Structure is an efficient and effective organism.  He must implement a program that is suitable to the needs of customers and at the same time create a highly flexible Structure capable of dealing with any economic shift or new customer demand. A poorly managed infrastructure that is haphazardly providing costly service can drain company profits and threaten the competition position.

The Structure

Technology

Technology is no longer the differentiator we once depended on.  Available to everyone at a relative cost it has become a commodity in the business world.  In most fragmented industries, major systems development for the delivery of services does not exist and few independent solutions have developed, leaving these industries highly dependent on people skills to get the job done.

This, however, does not mean that technology does not play an important role in the accomplishment of improved productivity and customer value.  Rather the alignment of business systems with people systems becomes a key integration opportunity.

An effective Platform drives coordination from your back end systems, PC applications, processes, and people skills into a productive and value drive solution by taking the pieces apart and putting them back together in an innovative order.  Leaders deficient of substantial gains in this area are forced into having their employees working “for the technology” instead of towards the attainment of company goals.

The Technology

Policy

An effective Leader apprehends the importance of setting pure unswerving policies and compulsory standards which can be easily understood and communicated to his teams.  The establishment of policies and standards provides the organization with touchstones reinforcing the organizations Mission and Goals.

The performance based organization must stretch beyond internal processes when striving to improve productivity and quality.  Improvement on the service front is only truly defined and measured by the customer.  Policies and standards should be based on customer fulfillment criteria.

Your teams must understand the correct path to be taken in ambiguous situations where the rules are not exact.  Policies are the “glue” which keeps a Leader connected to the needs of his customers, employees, and shareholders.  They require serious thought and deployed properly, set the stage for Next Level Accountability.

The Policy

The creation of an unconquerable Plan and an unshakeable Platform are the foundations for a Performance Organization.  Leaders who possess the insight to develop and implement these key architectural elements provide their organizations with unsurpassed competitive advantages.  Not only do they strengthen their product and service offerings but they build an environment where A-Players excel in their pursuits. Our recent challenging economic times have resulted in the “shelving” of Strategic Plans and has left many Platforms tired, ragged and in need of an overhaul.  Leaders are confronted with rebuilding these foundations through unstable and unpredictable times ahead.  A Street Smart Leader will devise methods to beat the competition off the line by not waiting for the economic turn.  He will innovatively exploit the scarce resources available and initiate the rebuilding process now!

(This is the Introduction of a three part series on the Performance Plus Planning System which focuses on the Four P’s – Plan, Platform, Process, People, to create synergistic accountable organizations.)

As a young manager, I engulfed every business book I could amass with a voracious appetite. I was determined to master my craft and ascertain knowledge at a rate outpacing

my years.  The gurus of the time fascinated my interest and fostered my ambition.  I envisaged the day when I would be able to mark major initiatives, beyond my localized teams, with the concepts of strategy, marketing, customer service, and organizational structures which enthralled me.  As my roles expanded and my responsibilities grew into executive management realms, I eventually realized my place at the table where guiding and driving decisions about the company were formulated.  As a Leader, it was now my duty to construct the essential decisions which would shape our future.

Consultants often brought with them abundant theories to be deployed for the improvement of our business issues. But over time, I came to rely more on my direct experience as a “business operator” to increase performance through specific and actionable plans followed up with impactful execution.  In developing overall strategies it became vital to set foundations, implement strategies and systems and then train management teams to become effective directors of these programs ensuring short term challenges were met while setting the building blocks for the long term vision.

Through the years, I developed my own methods of organizational architecture for building stronger, more robust, more results driven companies.  With each success these systems evolved into a comprehensive architectural planning program for the development of a synergistic business unit.  The result is a Planning Tool I have dubbed Performance Plus which strives to drive Next Level Accountability through the development of the “Four P’s” –Plan, Platform, Process, and People.

Integrated Organizational Architecture

PERFORMANCE PLUS – Performance Based Service Organization

 The Performance Plus Model strives to build a Performance Based Organization as the preeminent defense against competition.  Nothing else can realize long-term growth and profits in the way a steadfast relationship with customers can.  Inventions and technological advancements are quickly tracked by the competition.  Lower costs are a never-ending duel constantly being pursued in the marketplace.  Superior marketing efforts will not compensate for inferior products that are not supported at every turn.  Even new product development becomes yesterday’s news and fails alone to “attract” a customer following over the long term.

As a Leader you must mold your organization to deliver the highest quality products bundled with incomparable customer quality if you are to position your company for permanency and prosperity.  Performance based service can become the “make or break” component for any industry.  For the company that excels at fulfilling the requirements of its customers, customer satisfaction becomes an offensive weapon allowing the organization to define the industry standards and their place in it. The Leader that decides to sit back and wait for the game to be defined by the competition and then follow minimum expectations is assuming a dangerous and vulnerable position.

Ron Zemke, co-author of Service America, states “extensive research leads to the obvious conclusion that those organizations willing to commit to superior customer service, profit on the bottom line. Those unwilling or unable to meet that standard do not and will not thrive – and possibly may not even survive.” Therefore the question becomes not one of whether a Company should strive for service excellence but how to properly go about it.

Planning and prioritizing – setting strategic and tactical plans – understanding the characteristics and elements of performance based service – implementing strategy with employee support – timing and available resources – These and many more are the decisions that need to be carefully planned and implemented by Leaders. It is an ongoing tough challenge in which a company’s culture must be able to undergo necessary transformations.      

Many Leaders understand the powerful impact of performance based service to the overall quality effort of providing the customer with a Total Value Proposition.  Tomorrow’s successful organizations must tear down the distinction between product quality and service support. Strong Leaders will integrate these concepts into a homogeneous organization focused on the customer while meeting corporate objectives.

 

TODAY’S ORGANIZATIONAL CHALLENGE

 Leaders are facing a turning point in organizational development.  As industries emerges from the severe recessionary impact of the last few years pressure will be placed on organization to deliver higher volumes of sales at lower margins on the product.  It is necessary for the models that have existed for years to change if they are to survive.

 Over the last several years customer knowledge of the supplier process has improved, placing further pressures on the supplier for higher levels of performance while at the same time expecting the best pricing the market will bear.  Clients are becoming less attached to product standards and shifting towards decisions that provide perceived value at the moment of purchase.

Leaders must compete in a future environment of driving volume, reducing margins and providing excellent customer service.  The following organizational capabilities must become core competencies in developing the model of the service driven company of the future.

  •   Ability to power Growth and Profit.
  •   Creation of a plan clearly identifying to all employees where the company is going and how it will get there.
  •   Balance in the planning process to ensure short and long term goals are accounted for.
  •   Cause and effect methodology that will take the strategy past the “talk” and into action mode.
  •   Defined tactics and accountability to deliver real results.
  •   Structural alignment to provide a platform for success.
  •   Teamwork to create meaningful and lasting change.
  •   Improved process flow for better service and efficiency.
  •   People strength to gain a competitive advantage.
  •   An integrated Management Team with shared responsibility, working together to reach all organization goals in unison
  •   Reach the “next level” Accountability and gain a competitive advantage driving market share and customer loyalty

INTEGRATED ORGANIZATIONAL ARCHITECTURE

 Leaders must build a program which founds a synergistic connection integrating an organization’s Plan, Platform, Process, and People.  Programs focused on creating vision and accountability through significant cross-functional results will determine today’s competitive advantage.

 The lack of success in the implementation of performance based service architecture is often in moving forward without a plan for the introduction and integration of each step.  Leaders often get excited and rush forward in a ready, fire, aim manner.  The strategy must been seen as a complete effort.  If viewed as a set of individual tasks, gaps appear in the system through which customer’s needs, productivity and employee satisfaction fall.  If goals are disjointed in the organization, internal workings become confused and departments fail to understand the entire picture.  The focus must persist on the overall goals and refrain from the mentality of task specialization for efficiency.

 Many improvement programs have yielded disappointing results due to fragmentation or focus on achieving specific economic outcomes without a linkage to the organization’s overall strategy.  Breakthroughs in performance require major change in the measurement and management systems used by an organization.  Being more competitive and capability driven cannot be accomplished by merely monitoring measures of past performance.

 Leader’s ability to move employees towards working together in harmony ensures customer quality is delivered, shareholder return is maximized and employee satisfaction continually rises all at the same time.  The achievement of this balance propels organizations towards lasting performance and the ability to reach the “next level” of success.

Performance Plus System


It is Time for Leaders to unshackle the survival mode of the last few years and begin to aggressively embark on developing the Strategic Strategies that will propel their growth and profitability forward in the next economy.  When building an organization for competitive effectiveness a Leader must focus on Plan, Platform, Process, and People.  Each of these structural cornerstones must be properly planned, integrated and implemented if a company is to be successful in both the short and long run.  Today’s Leader must be capable of dealing with the immediate needs of his business’ survivability while constantly working towards the “big picture” strategies of tomorrow that will insure stable, replicable performance.  A Street Smart Leader knows when the Four P’s emanate to generate a holistic, result driven accountable business model, many other P’s spring forth such as Profitability, Prosperity, Popularity and Perseverance!

An enormous amount of concentration has been spotlighted on the ethics, values, and beliefs of today’s Leaders.  The world is clamoring for Leaders to set the standard of what is

Lack of Individual Character

virtuous and authentic.  Companies have been forced into developing obligatory governance and ethics policies in an attempt to verify their collective contrived morality.  These guiding principles are designed to control the actions and profit motives of the organization.  Unfortunately, this righteous battering of our institutions has only served to dissuade the accountability of personal actions from individuals to the un-accountability of monolithic non-human entities.  The masses easily point to the corruption of the Corporation, the Government, or the Society as the “root of all evil” and painlessly exculpate themselves from the personal responsibility of accountability.  A societal top-down expectation of morality has developed allowing individuals to “sit back and wait” for ethics and values to come to them.

Much has been espoused regarding the significance of Character as a requisite for a Good Leader.  Yes, if you do not comport and demonstrate a Strength of Character, you will never truly Build and Lead an A-Team.  And with People as the key differentiator in today’s competitive business universe, you must compile an A-Team of Players for you and your business to succeed and prosper. But Character at the Top of an organization does not propagate Values throughout the ranks.  Character is not transferable.  The distinctive Character of an Individual is the building block to the Values of any organization or institution.

In today’s politically charged culture we are admonished for judging others.  We are to be understanding of the failures of virtue of those around us and give deference to the possibility of circumstances they may have encountered.  But if you aspire to excel as the Leader of an A-Team, you must embrace the obligation of judging the Character of others.  As I have said before, it is not your job to fix people.  A Street Smart Leader is not a builder of character; he is a Collector of Character!

A man’s character is his fate
Heraclitus

Character represents those attributes we expect our employees to stride through the door with. They include integrity, work ethic, quality, caring, accountability responsibility, cooperation, etc.  Character goes beyond just knowing what is right and perseveres in “doing what is right”.  Character is a habit which defies adversity and prevails with fortitude.  Leaders can count on people of Character to make the right decisions in the tough “moments of truth” even if it does not personally benefit them at the time.  People with Character allow you to focus on productive solutions instead of emotional motives.

The accomplishment of a great many things is possible with Intelligence, Skills, and Attitude alone.  So why is Character so vital?  First, Character assures that you and your team will embark on endeavors that are the “right things”.  Secondly, it is the presence of Character that makes sure those “right things” are actually successfully implemented through accountability and work ethic.  Character transcends one’s best intentions and is finally defined by one’s actions.   It is the fundamental difference in why we do, what we do.

Character is an A-Team Requirement

A Leader’s time can be “sucked dry” with people-issues emanating from Character related non-performance and drama.  Employees who simply fail to do what they are “supposed to do” create a ripple effect around them which proliferates and disrupts the entire team.  Eventually these diverters of productivity necessitate management’s time.  A Leader can teach someone a new skill and act to rectify an attitude lapse, but once a violation of Character takes place, trust is permanently lost.  Without trust, a Leader has no choice but to micro-manage an employee in an atmosphere of growing resentment and frustration.  His focus moves from enhancing performance to “fixing up” situations fraught with emotions.  Take notice of the amount of failures that are Character related.  Start accounting for the squandered time you spend on these worthless and wasted lost causes.

The force of character is cumulative.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is tempting for Leaders to become trapped into trading off Character for short term performance achievement.  Extraordinary performance is possible by extremely talented employees who lack Character and are focused on selfishly motivated objectives, but their cost is extremely high.  These crippling trade-offs can extend for years with a remarkably gifted employee.

We have all witnessed them.  The classic “ends justifies the means” people.  Those who disrupt, unravel, and generally blow up the work environment around them.  They take no prisoners and pursue personal agendas at the risk of accomplishing overall company goals.  They are people users, often burning out their team over and over again.  They are stress machines who develop turmoil and generate confrontation at every turn.  Others feign from the prospect of working with them.  Eventually teamwork is eliminated as the Cycle of Fear increases.  If we were talking about non-performers or average performers, the answer to this dilemma would be a simple termination, but sometimes these passion-killers are the highest performers of your organization.  They possess special, unique, and not easily replaceable skills and performance which create a make-or-break situation in your company’s success.

High Performers Without Character

What they lack is Character.  Regardless of the coaching, micro-managing, and manipulating you are willing to put into modifying their behavior, they will eventually “burn” you as a result of their lacking Character.  Success masquerades their flaws, but again and again they will make the wrong ethical choices presenting you with substantial liabilities internally and externally.  Ultimately you will be faced with losing them, losing your Team, or losing Yourself.  Decide early not to empower these individuals.  Be smart, be skillful, keep a great attitude and then present the Force of your Character at every challenge.

“Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.”
Edmund Burke

Your first priority is to make Character based hiring decisions by asking and listening to specific examples of “how” someone has dealt with the adversities in their career and in their life.    Next you must be courageous, make Character judgments about the people on your team, and diligently “weed out” those who are deficient.   As a Leader you are expected by your team and your company to exemplify a strong and moral Character.  But do not be fooled into believing this will create Character throughout your organization.  Setting the standard, cannot improve upon another’s Character.  Character is an individual accountability.  A Street Smart Leader knows the value of Character and requires it as a “condition of employment”.  He relinquishes the false ego gratification as a potential Builder of Men and focuses on the genuine results to be gained as a Builder of Character Based Teams.

A few years back I was engaged in some Small Business consulting assignments coaching Entrepreneurs desiring to take their businesses to the Next Level.  I was introduced to a distressed Owner whose endeavors to grow his business had resulted in agonizing quality glitches and dreadful performance deficiencies.  More than counsel, he required “hands on” development and implementation of a reliable proficient Operational Structure and Process before he could advance with his exceptional Sales Strategy and apprehend the growth he envisioned.  We met several times to deliberate his anxieties.  Although the project was relatively un-daunting for me, as I provided “off the cuff” resolutions, he was apprehensive to “pull the trigger” and hire me for the assignment.  Just as I believed we were there, he requested another meeting.  As he set forth upon his familiar nervous

The Real Thing!

path asking about my methods, interactions, and approaches it became evident we were headed down the similar track as the preceding four meetings.  One thought reverberated inside my head, “What do I have to do to get this guy to let go of his fear and understand I am his solution.”

He initiated again, “John, if I engaged you for this project, how…?”  I did not even heed the remainder of his query.  Instead I shifted from my comfortable conversational position, released my smile, and pitched forward with both hands forcefully clinched together on his desk.  I stared right through him and with a deep concentrated adagio tone I began, “Paul, I know you are nervous about letting a stranger into your company to effect such an important change with your people.”  Capitulating, he dropped his shoulders but before his next word could escape his lips, the intensity and concentration of my face silenced him.  Resolutely, I leaned into his space, paused until he was craving my next words and then solemnly declared, “Paul, I am the ‘real f—ing thing’ here, and I know what I’m doing.”  Slightly startled, he gazed right back at me and scrutinized to see if I would break.  I stiffened, and finally heard those words I had been anticipating all month, “Can you start tomorrow?”  Permitting my smile to return and relaxing back, I let Paul know everything was going to be alright with a “You bet!” It wasn’t solutions but rather convictions that made the difference.

We have all endured those endless meetings where everything is adeptly laid out.  The dialogue is smart and on target.  Relevant questions are countered with thoughtful ripostes.  Some great concepts surface and everyone approves they move forward.  The brilliance, logic, and impenetrability of the proposal make it destined for success.  And yet, as the group exoduses the room the strategy begins its passage into the abyss of “lost ideas” where it will meet a sluggish obscure demise.  Regardless of the time, thought, and coordination that went into the plan, it is destined to Die.  Why?  Because an idea, a plan, a program, no matter how dazzling, has no life.  By themselves they are DOA!

People will follow Leaders only because of the Passion they bring to their ideas.  They may reason an idea to be successful, but if you want people inspired to action, they must “believe” in your idea.  And they must believe you believe in it.  Passion when applied to an idea or plan creates an intrinsic feeling among people which confirms they are working for something of value.  With Passion comes truth.  And contained within the fulfillment of the Human Endeavor is an essential yearning to see truth become a reality in our lives.  Passion is Life!

Passion is a combination of a penetratingly deeply felt Emotion, relentlessly driven by an unwavering Commitment, which is forge-burned into one’s psyche through Intensity.  Passion is the sine qua non with which we invest our intimate personal human capital in a truthfully remarkable idea.  Passion dives deeper than identifying the activities we enjoy.  Passion defines us, who we are and what we stand for.  When Passion is connected with an extraordinary Thought people are compelled into Action.

Leading Compelling Action

There is a story telling of three bricklayers working side-by-side who are each asked what they are doing.  The first replies, “I’m making $10.00 an hour”.  The second acknowledges his work with. “I’m building a wall”.  And the third looks up to an empty sky and smiles, “I am building a Cathedral”.  While each man is performing the same task, we can certainly conjecture which one is performing at his finest.  Only one worker has a Passion for his effort.  This is the Key for Leaders:  Passion creates a reality where people are willing to invest in an entity greater than themselves and more meaningful than any company.  People working for Passionate Causes, are determined to create extraordinary results because their motive is grand.  Passionate pursuits undermine the limitations of personal inabilities and the smallness of selfishness crafting an atmosphere where anything is possible.  The best of people will want to reside and thrive in a Passionate environment.

Having a Passion for your ideas does not mean for each newfangled idea you cultivate a new Passion.  Leaders who attempt to “sell” new Passions are rapidly indicted with a

Get Naked, Get Real, Get Happy by Kevin Rafferty

“flavor of the month” manipulation which quickly disenfranchises everyone but the most gullible of “suck ups”.  A new mentor of mine, Kevin Rafferty, coaches executives in finding their Passions.  In his book,Get Naked, Get Real, Get Happy: Becoming Your Authentic Self”,Kevin helps Leaders recognize and understand their “Core Passion” through his Passion Exercise.  Kevin relates our Core Passion as the one whose common theme or thread runs through our other Passions.

Passion connects our thinking and feeling parts of being human. It makes us feel bigger, better, bolder, more alive.

Kevin Rafferty

As a Leader you must exhibit Passion for what you unreservedly believe in.  The Passion for the primary singular objective which is at the Core of why you are doing what you are doing must be evident to all.  Your passion must come through as an outstanding quality which you exemplify every day in which people feel they know who you are down to the Core and why they want to be associated with you.

Are we not, those of us who observe others whose passions are worn on their sleeves, in awe of them, maybe even a bit envious because they somehow seem to be more of something, be it successful, creative, happy, or joyful?

Kevin Rafferty

I can think of little else which would compete with Passion in its ability for contagiousness.  People gravitate towards it, they rise to it, and they suck at it for life.  Passion is a universal.  It generates an urge which exceeds logic and creates a sense of action.  A team driven with a common passion becomes a mighty force to compete with. A Leader who can find Motivated People, Build an A–Team with them and create a Passionate reason for them to accomplish goals will continually reach new heights of Success.

Whether your Core Passion is Quality, People, Relationships, Excellent Design, Profitability, etc., guarantee you understand your internal driver completely.  Then focus on entwining it throughout your agenda and everyday expectations.  Be the walking, talking, living, breathing epitome of your Passion.  My Core Passion is “Winning”.  I hate to lose and truly detest second place.  I want anyone with me to feel my beating driving desire to Win!  Winning means we have bravely competed against formidable odds by wielding the “best of ourselves” and attained a “perfect moment” christened Victory.  Be a Street Smart Leader and next time you have to lean across the table to show someone who you really are and what you’re made of, just unleash some of your personal brand of Passion. Show them that you are the Real Thing!

Upon visiting Barcelona years ago, I attended one of Spain’s most legendary and notorious sports undertakings, the Bullfight.  Open to the experience, I absorbed the cultural

The Bullfight

tradition, historical pageantry, and deadly tournament of man against beast.  I found my ethics deeply confounded between the incontrovertible proficiency of the Matador pitted against the vicious lethal conclusion for the Bull.  Once seen, no one can question the passionate dissension and controversy which surrounds the Spanish tradition.  But regardless of one’s viewpoint, I learned there is nothing which elevates a collective visceral disgust, even among the aficionados, more than a “bad kill”.  Finally the Bullfighter poses instants away from the “moment of truth”, cape and sword hand in hand, with a solitary clarifying resolve; to confront and kill the bull – courageously, skillfully, swiftly, and faithfully.  Mishandling the charge gives rise to a spectacle of superfluous agony and suffering that infuriates the crowd bringing dishonor and tragedy to the contest.  A matador incapable of executing his primordial obligation with decisive professionalism is hastily castigated by the crowd and jeopardizes ignominy.

Leaders face these critical moments when confronted with the task of terminating an employee.  In order to build an A-Team and perpetuate a climate of motivation and winning, underperforming and incapable employees must be removed.  Unfortunately, this means their employment must be terminated.  We can attempt to masquerade the rhetoric, but in reality this is a serious Leadership undertaking which severely impacts someone’s life.  Such a responsibility can never be taken lightly.

Termination is a testing shock to even the most hardened of employees.  It is also an enormously grim assignment to carry out for the person performing the termination.  It may appear effortless to those who have never headed the process and call out for another person to be fired or question why a particular employee remains.  But many agitators would quickly feint from their ostensible convictions if faced with actually personally terminating someone else.  Sitting across from a person and looking them “dead in the eye”

from the movie "Up in the Air"

while explaining they are going home today to their family with no job can weigh on the psyche of the toughest Leaders.  Regardless of how many times a Leader has performed the act, most still get a knot in their stomach in preparation for the final confrontation.

Once you determine an employee is incapable of contributing to you A-Team, whether purposeful or incapable, you must develop the essential plans to replace them.  You must possess the confidence in your skill of the termination process so as to prevent the uncomfortable actual act from creating anxiety which results in procrastination.  Although it may seem harsh, the ability to effectively terminate an employee is a required skill and performed well will prevent unnecessary pain and suffering of the individual facing the consequences.

It is important before terminating an individual that you comprehend and follow the policies and guidelines of your company.  They exist to prevent exploitation and limit exposure.  In most cases, you will want to provide the employee with reasonable warning and opportunity to correct their actions and avoid the termination.  There will be times however, when because of the seriousness of an infraction or threat posed to the organization, a warning becomes imprudent.  Or you may be faced with a person, who regardless of their best efforts, is just not up to the required commission.  Regardless of the policies followed or the situation at hand, as much as we wish they expected it, most people are utterly flabbergasted with the reality they are being fired.  And it is this element of disbelief that makes the confrontation so precarious.

HR will provide you with what to say, what not to say, and how to say it.  With this routine instruction most managers can remain out of trouble and get the job done.  Firing techniques are seldom discussed because they run the risk of “bad form”, but a messy termination confrontation can create collateral damage throughout your team causing a serious set-back to winning momentum.  If you want to be proficient and compassionate when terminating an employee, add these Street Smart Leader lessons to your HR repertoire.

Do Not Torment

The component of the bullfight which most often offends the sensibilities of onlookers is the perception of torturous acts being committed.  There is often a window of time

Tortured Bull - Disgraceful

between the decision to terminate an employee and the actual event.  Immature managers often use this time to berate and criticize the employee.  It is as if they plan to weaken the employee’s resistance and fight for the imminent meeting.  They would like to create a certain “resignation” in the employee’s demeanor as a way of weakening possible opposition.  While this may appear to be giving the employee a “heads up” it is a coward’s way out and should be avoided at all costs.  Make the decision, understand the time frame, and wait for the moment to perform the termination honorably.  You have other priorities to focus on in the meantime.

Care for the Living

Once you have honed your skills in this arena it will not be necessary to over-think and over-plot the actual termination meeting.  It will be on your calendar and you will handle it with the professionalism of any other appointment.  Before then, your priority should be focused on the Care of the Living.  You must understand this actions impact on the organization.  What will be the ramifications felt by fellow employees?  As a Leader, you need to ensure that regardless of one person’s failure the remainder of the team remains charged up and ready to go forward.  The impact possibilities must be clearly understood at the “people level” and plans should be prepared to maintain a positive environment for the remaining team members.  How will you keep you team intact, unaffected and moving forward during this transition?

Terminate without Discussion

When the appointed time comes, find a private place to have a conversation other than your office.  This is an important key not to be overlooked in efficiently handling the termination.  It is a rookie mistake to become trapped in your own office by someone who becomes argumentative or emotional.  By planning the meeting in a conference room or neutral place, you are able to have a brief conversation and then have the option to leave the room if you must.

Next, leave your emotions outside the door.  Chances are good that you are angry, happy, disappointed, sad, or regrettable about this person’s outcome.  Any of these emotions can be used to trip you up during the conversation and cause problems down the road.  Enter the room unemotional with a job to do.  Anything more is a liability.

Your meeting should be brief.  You want to make it clear individual why you are there.  Within the first two sentences you should let them know they are being fired.  “Sally, I am sorry this is going to be a difficult meeting because we have made the decision to let you go.  We are terminating your employment because we do not feel you are the right fit for our company any longer.”  It is a blunder to engage in any explanatory conversation regarding your reasoning.  If they ask why, or for specifics, you must answer that,” this decision has been carefully thought through and it is final.”  If they persist, you must become repetitive with your answer.  There is not anything you can say during an employee’s termination which is going to make the situation better for them and you will never convince them that you are right or a nice guy.   Some companies prefer to have another individual in the room as a witness.  If someone is with you make sure only one person does the talking.  Two people going back and forth create a conversation, which is exactly what you do not want to happen.  Your entire meeting should take less than 5 minutes.

It is difficult to envisage how an employee will react after hearing these words.  Some become quiet or upset or argumentative; they are in this moment dealing with a very difficult reality.  I believe they should be allowed their reaction, provided it is not violent.  It is your job to respect their reaction and stay calm and cool under any distress. Give them a quite unresponsive moment to absorb the gravity of the situation.  Once they realize they will not be able to argue the merits of their case they will typically shut down or break down.  Now clearly and quickly move them through your company’s exit process (typically clearing out their desk, receiving the termination paperwork, turning in company equipment).

Get Your Message Out Quickly

As soon as this process begins other employees will quickly determine what is happening.  Your key managers should be “on deck” ready to deal with other employee’s early reactions.  If you have planned correctly, with the termination concluded, you should be in a position to quickly and concisely communicate to your team.  You can explain what has happened and how you will be moving forward.  You cannot explain why it has happened.  “Trashing” the terminated employee is never a good idea.  Emotions run high for everyone when someone falls.  Be decisive and without sounding threatening make sure the team understands that we need A-Players in every position, all of the time, if we are going to win together.  Let them know how difficult these decisions are to make but they are necessary if the team is to stay strong and move forward towards its goals.  This is not a time for explanations as to why you terminated an employee but rather an excellent opportunity to reset expectations.

Lead a Unified Transition

Even the best termination decision will be quickly questioned if the team’s work begins to fall apart.  Any lapse in customer service, production, or any other important function will be considered your failure once the employee leaves the building.  You are responsible to make sure there is a seamless flow of work activity along with your decision to terminate the employee.  Do not expect relief or understanding from anyone including your boss as to the difficulties the termination has created.  You made the decision and you are responsible for the results.  Expect the key members of your team to pick up the slack and make sure to roll up your sleeves and jump in wherever necessary.  Your immediate goal is to make sure everyone perceives an improvement in the team’s overall performance immediately following the termination.

You cannot afford failure at this time.  Your boss, your peers, and your team will be very critical of any performance letdown.  This is a time to prove to everyone you were right

Difficult Job - Well Done

to remove the “dead weight” from the team.  More often than not, if you have built an A-Team, they will rise to the occasion and support the transition beautifully.  Being ready with a working plan and executing it flawlessly will keep the leverage of the situation on your side.  Moving forward, your team will understand that if they do not perform as individuals you are just as capable of replacing them.  It is a harsh reality, but you have just “raised the bar”.

Terminating an employee is a serious and difficult responsibility for any Leader.  And it should be!  A Leader should be on unshakable footing and possess the skills to correctly carry out his duty.  Culling the non-performers continues to sharpen and build the skills of your A-Team and unfortunately is a never ending requirement.   A good manager understands the employee handbook and how to carry out the termination policies.  A Street Smart Leader knows how to make a good, quick, clean, and efficient professional termination.  He knows how to treat the person with respect while conducting the difficult assignment inside his preset protective parameters.  Most importantly he understands the importance of Caring for the Living and moving forward with unquestionable grounding.  Messy and poorly executed terminations leave your team infuriated and disgraced.  Terminations will continue to be a somber and intimidating part of the Leadership job.  But with compassionate courage and thoughtful skill a Great Leader can bring honor to his team even during these difficult transitions.

“Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization – an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win – to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.

“It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there – to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules – but to win.

Vince Lombardi

Essentially all managers have acquired their opportunity and constructed command from the potency of their individual endeavors.  They have ascended beyond their peers by building an extraordinary reputation founded on incomparable performance, an acute understanding of the organizational goals, and the ability to interface in an orchestrated manner with other components of the enterprise.  They have inspired their team, shown them the vision, and laid out the strategy and plans for their team to excel.  As a manager, they have efficaciously directed their team to the realization of key objectives.  These managers have erected a high performance A-Team capable of delivering first class results.  This is an exhilarating period in a manager’s career.  It is a time when he senses he has it “dead-on” and concepts are flowing into actions almost seamlessly.  The team is responding, executing, and the ability to accomplish goals seems virtually endless.

Few developments can subvert a manager from this bliss more than his ensuing promotion.  With this elevation the game completely changes and it becomes essential for him to acquire the talents to manage other managers for the first time.  In this new arena he must achieve outcomes through an intermediary person.  The new Vice President or Director has successfully proven his ability to deliver results from his team, but now he has multiple teams from which to cumulate achievement.  And each team is headed by a manager who was, most likely, not performing as superbly as he was.  A newfangled challenge has arisen and if he is to evade the ensnarement of the Peter Principle, he must learn to master and shine in this stage of his career.  Building a performance based management team is a Leaders first major-league coaching assignment.

Finding yourself in this position should be a proud moment.  You have competed and won.  But your new challenge is substantial.  It is now compulsory for you to transform yourself from a field quarterback, who has been executing plays, to an adept Coach capable of sending the plays into action.  This is a dangerous transition primed for failure, but you now possess the potential to create significant contributions.  This success will have a larger impact on the company and therefore a greater bearing to your career.  The key to victory lies in knowing how to stay intimately involved without hands on execution.  Most managers, who fail, either will not let go of the ball or they take their eye off the ball entirely.  An exceptional Leader learns to realize results through the efforts of other leaders.

Managing Managers – A Game Changer

Up until now, you were rewarded for running, throwing the ball, and leading your team to victory on the field.  Now you are expected to do more planning and develop higher levels of strategy.  Your new responsibility entails developing and improving the cross functionality of in-house systems, processes and procedures.  If you linger on the field, you will find yourself leaping from issue to issue while realizing the work you just finished deteriorates with each new leap.  You can no longer persist at being hands-on in all situations.  Doing so will result in your failure.  You will only re-prove your capability as a front-line manager and that is a path leading to nowhere.

Cultivating your front-line managers should be your crucial focus.  Developing their skill set is your number one priority.  Since they are most likely less proficient than you were on the field, this can be a daunting endeavor.  It is essential to ensure your team’s success does not backslide while at the same time repelling all inducement to seize the ball and run with it yourself.

In addition to diffusing your priorities, your inability to step off the field, undermines your managers and emasculates their authority.  It precludes them from learning and growing and places them on a downward spiral towards failure.  Their employees see your continued involvement and continue to interact with you.  They go to you with their problems and look to you for solutions completely neutralizing your front-line manager.  Eventually your managers will become disgruntled and as they begin to question your motives, they will fall into disarray.

So let us discuss some essentials of how you can be successful in your new Coaching assignment.  First, your managers must understand the overall game-plan; what you are trying to accomplish with and their individual roles in a winning outcome.  Next, it comes down to my mantra of Business is Easy; People are Hard.  Without the right people, nothing materializes.  So your second job is to Coach your managers in assessing their people to guarantee A-Teams are being built everywhere.  With the right plan and the best people, execution on the field becomes the winning dynamic.  Just because you are coaching someone else to take over, does not mean your entire experience should not be utilized.  Your purpose is to replicate your success throughout the management team and teach them to acquire your methodology for being a great manager.  You want them to be able to reap results from their teams without you having to be involved in each situation.

At this point, I feel obligated to deliberate on that enchanted buzzword, “Empowerment”.  Over recent decades we have been indoctrinated to believe that if we just empower people, they will automatically be successful.  Just wave the magic wand and people can accomplish anything because you have empowered them.  After years of searching for genuine meaning and relevance for this term, I have determined this “mythical power” to be an absurdity.  You are not capable of giving someone your power.  If they are to become a Tough Leader, they must build and accumulate their “Own Power”.  Leaders must rely on their own skills, realizations and triumphs to create a power base.  Power propagates from success in doing things right.  Empowerment implies power is handed off and gifted to somebody for use.  The idea of empowerment is weak.  Empowerment equals “Under-powerment”.  You cannot afford to have an underpowered management team.  Instead you can Coach your managers to success utilizing these three step “hands-on” practice sessions.

First Step: Show them how to do it.

When faced with a new situation, whether it is explaining something to the team, counseling a team member, or describing a new process, your first step is to demonstrate through example to your manager how you expect it to be done.  Ask your manager to observe your presentation and take notes, not on what you say but rather on what he observes.  Ask him to study the structure of the meeting.  Then after the meeting ask your manager to explain what he observed.  If there is a significant gap between the lesson you expected him to learn and his feedback, you will need to repeat this process again.  Do not make the blunder of believing that an explanation from you prepares him for the next step.  He must be able to explain in his own words what you were attempting to extract from the situation.

Second Step:  Observe your manager’s execution the next time the situation arises.

This can be one the most difficult coaching assignments that exists.  Because it requires you to sit still and say nothing.  It is your turn to take the notes.  He has seen your execution and understands the concepts, methodology, and the outcomes that are to be achieved.  You must avoid the temptation to interrupt, to correct, and to enhance what he is presenting.  You are concerned with his development and not with delivering a perfect meeting.  After the meeting sit down with your manager and conduct a post-game review.  Discuss points where you wanted to jump in and describe how he can improve the next time.  Then determine if he is prepared to advance.

Third Step:  Next time this situation arises, he is on his own.

You have practiced and now it is time for him to engage on his own.  You still meet with him prior to this event and inquire about what he going to present and how he plans set it up.  Your job is to ask a lot of tough questions at this point to ensure he has indeed thought everything through.   At this stage you need to prepare him for the questions he will to be asked when you are not there.  As you give him the third degree, you are building his confidence to deal with the unexpected.   If he is weak in answering your questions, you must to tell him to go back and re-think the matter before proceeding.  Once he has adequately passed your Q&A session he is ready to step on the field and run the play on his own.  Of course, after he is finished, you will want to regroup for that post meeting and ask him to explain how the group responded in the meeting

Vince Lombardi also said, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”  Practice these three simple steps over and over again until your standards are embedded and you will develop powerful managers who build successes in their own right.  A Street Smart Leader knows that no one can be empowered.  Your job as a Coach is to teach your managers the leadership skills with which to flourish.  By getting off of the field and starting to call the plays you will be able to keep your perspective.  Coaching your managers with your direct experience will lead to one victory after another.  Imagine leading five or six high performance teams and before you know it you will have racked up Championship Season.