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    « Freedom of Choice in Workplace Technology | Main | Everyone's a Trainer »

    Looking for the positive, (and Phil Collins songs)

    The crew over at Sonar6, a Human Resources Technology solutions provider, have released a new 'color paper', (kind of like a whitepaper, but in color, and way more fun to read), called '(you've got to) accentuate the positive'. This color paper is all about how as managers, and as humans, we tend to focus on the negative. We have performance conversations with employees that fixate on the one or two 'problems', while ignoring, or at least de-emphasizing the areas in which the employee excels.Phil Collins

    And for the employee, this overweighed attention to the negative aspects of their performance can leave them frustrated, de-motivated, and perhaps even doubting their own ability and value as a member of the team.  The need to look for the positive and to end any performance related coaching conversation by 'closing upbeat' was also one of the themes in a webcast I participated in last week with Mike Carden from Sonar6 and Kris Dunn from Kinetix.

    In the webcast Kris indicated a 3 to 1 ratio of positive feedback to negative (but constructive) feedback was probably the sweet spot for coaching team members whose overall performance was generally solid, but from time to time may need a tweak or a nudge to correct a behavior once in a while. Your mileage may vary, but I think most of us would admit, a relentless focus on what we are doing wrong, and why we stink, eventually drives us to the point where we would either shut down, rebel, of simply walk away.

    So why was Phil Collins mentioned in the post title?

    I recently came across an article (apologies but link to the original post is now dead), in which the author had a kind of litmus-test question he asked of people he met, that he might work with, or perhaps even hire on to his team. He would ask them to list their Top 5 Phil Collins songs. The idea being that Phil Collins has a large and wide enough catalog that just about anyone should be able to find at least something positive in what is considered by some a morass of negative.

    This question, while certainly not scientific, provides some insight into the way a person thinks. Can they really find something to like, to single out for praise, and are they generally inclined to see things and situations in that manner. It stands to reason if you believe that in performance coaching in the workplace, that finding and accentuating the positive aspects of a team member's performance is one of the keys to making lasting improvements, then you had better have managers that can actually find the positives, even, as in the case of the Phil Collins catalog, they can be hard to uncover.

    What do you think? Would you ask a managerial candidate to name their Top 5 Phil Collins songs?

    What's your Top 5?

    1. Easy Lover

    2. Sussudio

    3. Fill in the rest in the comments...

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    Reader Comments (6)

    Does it have to be Phil Collins songs, or does it include "Genesis" songs as well? Even with Genesis included, I may not be able to come up with 5....I'm not getting the job...am I?

    April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterakaBruno

    Wholeheartedly agree Steve. We are often taught that hideous "feedback sandwich" technique as well - good, bad, good. Stick with one conversation for the good and another for the bad. Focus on what we want to achieve, not what we have and don't like! Oh - and my own personal top 5: Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away; Like China; In the Air Tonight (of course); All of My Life; It Don't Matter To Me. You guessed it, I am not 23!

    April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Clews

    In the Air Tonight...after that I am lost.

    April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Jorgensen

    In the Air Tonight... hands down... and best drum solo EVER! Great post, Steve!

    April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth McDonald

    @Bruno - Yes, I think the original post did permit the Genesis catalog - which I did not mention because I thought it would be too easy! I loved the ABACAB album!

    @Sharon - I love the sandwich analogy - and thanks for posting your favorite Phil songs!

    @John - No doubts a classic tune!

    @Beth - Thanks Beth - that is the iconic song for sure.

    April 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterSteve

    My top 5
    Against all odds
    in the air tonight
    Both sides of the story
    we said hello and goodbye

    October 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermicky lyden

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