360compass.com | Larry Ferguson

From the Non-Work Side: 2 Guys I Like to Hang Out With

Larry FergusonMany of you have heard me talk about these two guys. Although they come from different families, I’m constantly surprised at how similar they are in style, personality and talent. They’re both reserved, hard working, and avid runners (that’s Ben, 29, our son-in-law, on the left; Greg, 30, our son, on the right).

In May 2008, Ben, earned his Ph.D. in medical research from Harvard University. Today, he works as a medical researcher at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in a lab headed by Linda Buck, Ph.D., a Nobel prize winner in medicine.

Greg is on his way to a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern History from Columbia University on a full scholarship. He just started his third year and will spend four more years at Columbia and abroad, completing his graduate research and dissertation. After that? Greg wants to teach at a 1st tier college or university (we’re pulling for a west coast location), focusing on the Ottoman Empire.

Not only are they fascinating guys to talk with but they’re a joy to watch as their careers unfold. Ask me anytime to tell you more!


FOCUS TOPIC:  “Is Feedback Really That Important?”

Larry FergusonIn my 22 years of coaching and consulting with managers, project teams, and employees, I cannot recall one EVER telling me, "I'm tired of all this feedback. I wish people would never tell me how to improve." Instead, I continually hear just the opposite: all want more, NOT less feedback on their performance. In many cases, they seek opportunities to apply their skills and experience for challenging assignments and career advancement.

Best-in-class companies concentrate on measured performance and frequent feedback. They are continually looking at competency models to develop top organizational performance. One of the key ingredients in any competency model is individual performance feedback.

Finding the "Right Way" to Offer Performance Feedback

Feedback is a proven way to keep your managers, technical contributors, employees, and team members focused on activities that exemplify high performance. Obviously, feedback does require an investment of time. But, like any quality investment, the dividends you reap will reward and contribute to a top-performing company.

Frank, constructive feedback is a great way to add "motivational fuel" for your team members and builds self-confidence by recognizing what they do well. It also eliminates performance challenges early on, so you can move them toward core competencies, targeted for maximum performance.

Modeling a Process that Works

You can reinforce high performing behaviors and actions among your team members by modeling a proven performance feedback process:

1. Ask team members how they evaluate their performance; offer your own observations
      2. Identify behaviors or actions that reinforce or improve their performance 
      3. Ask for their input on how they can improve
      4. Agree on steps or actions to promote higher performance
      5. Schedule a follow-up date to review progress

Using these 5-steps, you can quickly and easily give your team members a "rudder for steering forward" -- and help your company strategically meet and exceed its goals to become "Best-in-Class."


* Vital Learning Corporation (2007). Providing Performance Feedback.
* Montier, R., Alai, D. and Kramer, D. (July 2006). "Competency Models Develop Top    Performance." Training and Development

All the best to your communication success,
Larry Ferguson
Senior Consultant/President

P.S. – Eager to improve your performance communication skill? Contact us today to receive a F*R*E*E online assessment of your skill. You'll also receive a complimentary 30-minute de-brief to identify strategies for giving feedback in tough situations.  
Call or email now -- larry@360compass.com  or 503-282-7181


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