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partners Goals

by | Jan 5, 2022 | Goals, KISS, partner

🖋 Nature abhors a vacuum… which means many leaders believe they can set Goals by themselves, and simply state them to partners and peers as clear and unambiguous. That vacuum then becomes like the silence of deep space – as blank looks, and unengaged stares come back your way. The moniker of if you want to travel fast, travel alone also fits here, where many leaders believe that partners simply slow you down… Yes… and…

Most organizations’ “performance management” process is neither. In recent studies, 58% of executives believed that their current approach does not manage to drive either engagement or performance. Leading-edge organizations have been working to recast the process to one that is “nimbler, real-time, and more individualized—something squarely focused on fueling performance in the future rather than assessing it in the past.” The key to this is… understanding what “good” performance looks like – for ALL. Not just my group, or your group, but some discussion of what partners all agree on…

🎵 Like U2, KISS owes its formation to the drummer. George Criscuola was born in Brooklyn in 1945 as the oldest of 5 children to Italian immigrants. Like Paul, he was an art student, and loved big band swing music, actually studying drums under his idol Gene Krupa at the Metropole in NYC. He was in a couple of bands that actually landed record deals, but they fell apart. He ran this ad in Rolling Stone – the “new” music magazine’s East Coast edition:   “EXPD. ROCK & roll drummer looking for orig. grp. doing soft & hard music. Peter, Brooklyn”.

Simmons recalled, “I called the guy on the telephone, and even though he was in the middle of a party, he took my call. I introduced myself and said we were starting a band and that the band was looking for a drummer, and was he willing to do anything to make it? He says that he was, right away.” Simmons describes going to a small Italian Club in Brooklyn to meet the drummer: “The drummer started to sing, and this Wilson Pickett-style voice came out of him.  Paul and I said ‘That’s it, that’s our drummer:  Peter Criscuola!!”  He changed his name to Peter Criss, took the persona of “The Catman” and for the formative years, sat behind an enormous drum kit in their stage show, powering the band through amazing performance with his pounding kickdrum…

Also the lead singer on Black Diamond from Monday, Criss co-wrote today’s very not KISS-like ballad. The song was written before Criss had joined Kiss, where he came up with the melody for the song while on a train to New York City from New Jersey where the band practiced. They never recorded it, so Peter did with KISS…Can you imagine the first time Peter played for his partners?  It was a Top 10 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 7 in 1976. The song remains the highest-charting song for Kiss in the United States and it earned them a People’s Choice Award for “Young People’s Favorite New Song” in 1977, tied with “Disco Duck“…meeting the band’s definition of “success” and performance… even if it was not “on-brand”.

🖋 “They don’t fit” is a place that many performance management discussions start, sadly. If you want to avoid that, start Simply with the positive version of that – what do WE collectively think “good” looks like? A go-to part of my Management Hygiene, it became one of my first exercises with new partners. As with most of this work, the ability to both manage and observe while partnering –  simultaneously is critical, to say nothing of how you initially engage.  I was on a team that never cared about being on time – only I did (stop laughing…) It was up to ME to then decide just because I was ‘in charge” should I demand being timely as core competency? The discussion to watch for is what are each of the partners views, and how do you integrate them?

It is also worth considering what other frameworks exist that are mounted on the wall, even printed in those Performance Management forms that are “required”. We had something called RAPID – an acronym for …  no one really remembered or used consistently. However, my partner on the West Coast did – and had them well defined down to what EACH role needed to do to support them.  They were actively used in all discussions of performance.  Given that head start, I stole them (with my partners‘ blessing) and it accelerated the discussion with my/our team. This is the easy part – now you have to construct management practices to ruthlessly use these in ALL decisions. Like the kickdrum, the rhythm is always started with them. Circulate them to partners inside and outside of your organization so they know what type of performance you are looking for. As you solicit feedback, use these exact same things to prime the pump of words you need to align what Actions they saw with the Goals you are managing to.

And of course, the most important partner I find over and over in my coaching work is usually closer than you think, and often, from a direction that few consider. I cannot tell you how many times leaders say “… wow, that is exactly what my partner has been telling me…”. Duh. If you have the right one, they know you better than most, are looking out for your best interest, and really just want to see you succeed – assuming you have had that discussion with them, or yourself even 😉  My best partner’s full name – not the longer version – just these four letters that are still precious after all the ins and outs of our crazy performance together – Beth.

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