In the Media

What if Performance Management Focused on Strengths?
By: Marcus Buckingham | Harvard Business Review

Tuesday December 3, 2013

In previous posts I praised Microsoft's rejection of individual performance ratings as the building block for an effective performance management system, and described why rating people on a list of competencies is a flawed method for improving their performance.

Obviously we need a new system. And what can we say about the new system that would serve us better? Well, the specifics of the system will depend on the company, but we do know that it must have the following six characteristics, each of which follows logically from the one preceding.

First, it must be a real-time system that helps managers give "in the moment" coaching and course-correcting. The world we live in is unnervingly dynamic, where we are on one team one week and another the next, where goals that were fresh and exciting at the beginning of Q1 are irrelevant by the third week of Q1, and where the necessary skills, relationships, and even strategies have to be constantly recalibrated. In this real-time world, batched performance reviews delivered once or twice a year are obsolete before we've even sat down to write them.

Performance Management and the Pony Express
By: Marcus Buckingham | Harvard Business Review

Monday November 25, 2013

Microsoft has decided to dump the practice of rating individuals' performance on a numerical scale--a decision I applauded in a recent post. I argued that such rating systems don't accomplish the task managers expect from them, which is to accelerate the performance of their people. At best, they serve other goals: allocating compensation fairly, and aligning each individual's goals with the values and strategies of the company.

However, even if these were sufficient goals, managers would still be frustrated by how poorly ratings-based Human Capital Management (HCM) systems achieves them. Here are the two intractable problems with today's approach.

Trouble with the Curve? Why Microsoft is Ditching Stack Rankings
By: Marcus Buckingham | Harvard Business Review

Tuesday November 19, 2013

"No more curve," said Lisa Brummel, Microsoft's EVP of HR last week, curtly dismissing Microsoft's much-derided but iconic practice of ranking each team member on a forced distribution. This was big news, the lead of many a business section. After all, this practice of "stack ranking," of being forced to rate every single one of your team on a bell curve from excellent to poor (even if the whole team had, in fact, performed excellently) has been singled out by everyone from HBR to Vanity Fair as one of the reasons for Microsoft's inability to foster high-performing teams, a major cause of its "lost decade."

And not just big news, but welcome news for anyone who has ever struggled to keep a straight face while telling a direct report that a "3" really isn't that bad, that it truly does mean "meets expectations," and that, hey, sixty percent of the company gets that rating, so don't be too down on yourself.

We are pleased to announce that Marcus Buckingham has been chosen by Thinkers50 as one of the most influential management thinkers in the world.
By: Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove | Thinkers50

Monday November 11, 2013

Started in 2001 and published every two years, the Thinkers50 ranking is not a "set it and forget it" kind of list. Expressly concerned with those who have the most positive influence on management thinking right now, this year's ranking features 14 newcomers, along with such distinguished company as Clayton Christensen, Sheryl Sandberg, and Daniel Pink. Which makes it especially impressive that the 2013 Thinkers50 is the third in a row to include Marcus. Here's looking forward to 2015!
This Book Defines How Facebook Develops Talent
By: Max Nisen | Business Insider

Monday March 18, 2013

The New York Times' Sunday Book Review asked Sandberg what the best business book she read in recent years was. She responded with "Now, Discover Your Strengths" by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton. It hasn't just personally influenced her, but has been "instrumental" in determining how Facebook develops its talent.

The book focuses on how organizations deliver feedback to their employees. And after 25 years surveying employees, the authors found that the most important indicator of extraordinary performance in a company or team was how many people said yes to one question: "Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?"
By the Book
By: Sheryl Sandberg | New York Times

Thursday March 14, 2013

The Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and author of "Lean In" Sheryl Sandberg, says Marcus' book "Now, Discover Your Strengths" is the best business book she'd read.

Recommend the best business book you've read in recent years.
"Now, Discover Your Strengths," by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton. This book has been instrumental in how we think about developing talent at Facebook. Like all organizations, we have a system for giving feedback to our employees. A few years ago, Lori Goler, Facebook's head of human resources, brought Marcus to meet with our leadership team to help us improve this system. Marcus and his colleagues surveyed employees for 25 years to figure out what factors predict extraordinary performance. They found that the most important predictor of the success of a company or division was how many people answered yes to the question "Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?" And this makes sense.
Interview with Charlotte Jordan: Strengths-Based Leadership Development Solutions Make Managers More Effective in the Workplace
By: Lynne Fosse | CEOCFO Interviews | CEOCFO Magazine

Tuesday March 12, 2013

"What surprises people the most is that we make leadership development resemble using Netflix and"

CEOCFO: Ms. Jordan, would you tell us what was the vision when The Marcus Buckingham Company started and how that has developed?

Ms. Jordan: When the company started, Marcus had been a bestselling author for a number of years and a renowned speaker. He had a wonderful time traveling around the country, speaking, inspiring people, and helping people understand the value of leveraging strengths in the workplace—but he came to a point where he wanted to do more. He wanted to create sustainable, behavioral change for individuals within organizations. He formed The Marcus Buckingham Company with the idea that there were learning and development solutions that we could offer to take his work further. The vision was to create a strengths-based leadership development company. Our mission is to help managers become more effective in the workplace.

Leadership Development: Where Technology and Human Potential Intersect
By: Charlotte Jordan | Training Magazine

Friday February 8, 2013

Never before have training professionals had such a full toolbox from which to build truly effective and personalized solutions.

For more than a decade, pundits have been promising that technology will revolutionize training and development. An article in the January/February 2000 issue of The New Corporate University Review cited an ASTD estimate that within a year, 63 percent of organizations would offer employee courses via the Internet and 77 percent would provide training via their intranets. At about the same time, International Data Corporation (IDC) predicted 1,000 percent growth for the U.S. corporate e-learning market over three years. And former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, singing the praises of e-learning, declared that "classroom training is a 19th-century artifact."
Note to Gen Y Workers: Performance on the Job Actually Matters
By: Jane Buckingham And Marcus Buckingham | Time Moneyland

Friday September 28, 2012

We've all heard about how millennials have been raised by "helicopter parents," who hover over them and protect them from criticism and disappointment. The result is a "teacup" generation of young people who may appear outwardly perfect, but are easily shattered. For years, they have regularly been given pats on the back, often just for showing up. They made it to the end of the soccer season - fantastic, everyone gets a trophy! They took a test - how amazing! When they finally join the workforce, it's no wonder members of Gen Y expect a promotion just for being on time to work for six weeks straight.
Creating a Top-Performing Team: Leadership Development for Tomorrow's Corporations
By: Marcus Buckingham | Chief Executive Magazine

Friday September 14, 2012

Corporate America is in crisis. Consumer confidence is plummeting. Leaders are failing. In fact, more than 40 percent of new leaders fail within their first 18 months. Many companies, however, are also failing their leaders as they continue to invest in a broken leadership development model.