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The Khorus Blog

Live in the Now. Practice Feedforward Coaching.

Posted by August 29, 2014

The concept of “feedforward” was coined by Peter Dowrick as a behavior and cognitive science of teaching and learning, it has since been applied to organizational management and has played a part in building high preforming companies. Feedforward coaching is all about providing suggestions exclusively about what an employee can do right in the future. The idea is simple, but most easily understood in contrast with a more familiar concept, feedback.

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A Different Way to Think about Performance Management

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
August 28, 2014

“We tend to think that, in a traditional organization, people are producing results because management wants results, but the essence of a high-quality organization is people producing results because they want the results. It’s puzzling we find that hard to understand, that if people are really enjoying, they’ll innovate, they’ll take risks, they’ll have trust with one another because they are really committed to what they’re doing and it’s fun.” — Peter Senge

Peter M. Senge is the founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning. He has lectured extensively throughout the world with a focus on decentralizing the role of leadership in organizations to enhance the capacity of all people to work productively toward common goals. If you agree with that approach and also believe that, “the essence of a high-quality organization is people producing results because they want results,” then you might want to think about a new approach to traditional performance management.

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14 Inspirational Quotes on Strategy Execution

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
August 26, 2014

Arguably the biggest challenge facing any executive (especially those with a strong strategic orientation) is execution. Most of us are terrible at it, yet your company's success rests on its ability to actually implement strategy.

To get you revved up for the execution process, here are some quotes on the topic from notable figures. Perhaps you’ll find one or two inspirational.

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”   Sir Winston Churchill

"Vision without action is a daydream. Action with without vision is a nightmare.”   Japanese proverb

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5 Things Leaders Can do to Earn Team Alignment

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
August 25, 2014

We've titled this blog “5 Things Leaders Can do to Earn Team Alignment,” because we think the idea that team alignment is earned is really important. It simply isn’t something that just happens or that is owed to the leader by the team. Most business leaders agree that team alignment is important, but many get frustrated when it doesn’t happen or believe that something about the makeup of their organization makes it impossible. Thinking about alignment as something that is earned, rather than granted, can be helpful. Here are 5 ways to work for team alignment.

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Employee Accountability - Lots of Leaders are Bad at It. Are You?

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
August 20, 2014

What do we mean when we say lots of leaders are bad at employee accountability? Well, for starters, Harvard Business Review reports that 46% are rated “too little” on the item, “Holds people accountable when they don’t deliver.” That’s almost half and the data stayed the same whether they looked at C-level executives, directors or middle managers. As if that weren’t bad enough, Towers Watson reports that almost 1/4 of organizations give bonuses to employees who fail to meet expectations. It seems that many leaders are struggling to maintain employee accountability.

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How to Engage Employees in 7 Simple Steps

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
August 18, 2014

Employee engagement is an important responsibility of leadership teams. How important? According to Gallup, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%. Sadly, many organizations are falling short when it comes to engagement. In fact, according to a Dale Carnegie survey of more than 1,500 employees, 71% are not fully engaged. The problem may be that executive teams and managers aren’t exactly sure how to engage employees. Here are 7 simple steps to get you started.

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What is Employee Engagement Anyway?

Posted by August 15, 2014

Employee engagement is a bit like good cholesterol. You know you want more of it, but it’s hard to say exactly what it is or how you get it. The definition of employee engagement can vary greatly depending on who you ask. A few answers to the question, “What is employee engagement?” leave us scratching our heads. Like this one from William Khan for example, “the harnessing of organization members' selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances." It’s no wonder the pointy hair boss is confused.

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Performance Management from C-Suite Future Diaries

Gary Cokins

Posted by Gary Cokins
August 14, 2014

Performance Management Diaries- from the C-Suite

I recently read a newspaper column describing pretend future diary entries written by politicians.[1] It inspired me to conjecture what executive C-suite officers might write in their future diaries. My crystal ball is crystal clear. From the year 2020, with perfect hindsight, here are the personal diary entries from the executives of a fictitious corporation reflecting on their experience implementing the performance management framework. The last diary entry written by the CEO was most surprising.

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Setting Quality Goals Explained by the Cheshire Cat

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
August 12, 2014

I’m not sure he meant to be giving business advice when Louis Carol wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, but this exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat is nonetheless instructive.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—“ said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

The cat has a point. It seems that most important thing about getting where you want to be is knowing where you want to be. Without that, tactics are trivia. Knowing where you are going, in business is achieved by setting quality goals and laying out the path to achieving them. But, how do you know if you are setting quality goals, or if you, like Alice are just trying to get somewhere? Here are a few questions you can ask to find out.

Is it Specific?

Just like “somewhere” is not a destination, poorly defined business goals are not quality goals. “Improve customer satisfaction” is a somewhere goal. “Leverage new support ticketing solution to Increase NPS scores by 5 points," is a specific “where are you going?” goal.

Can it be Measured?

In order to determine if you’ve reached your destination, you have to know where you are. If your goals can’t be measured, you are judging success in the dark. You’ll never know if you have, “increased employee satisfaction.” But, you will absolutely know if you have reduced employee churn by 10%.

Is it Possible?

When trying to set quality goals, it is important to consider that they be both realistic and achievable with the resources you are willing to expend to get it done. Certainly goals can be difficult and require a stretch, but setting impossible ones only sets your team up for failure and dissatisfaction.

What’s the Time Frame?

Timing is an important part of setting quality goals for a couple of reasons. First, the time frame for goal achievement should be stated so that everyone knows not only where they are going, but when they will get there. Next, the time should not be so far in the distance that it is too hard to internalize. Most companies find quarterly goals to be the most effective.

With or without setting quality goals, you’re sure to get somewhere. If you’d prefer to arrive at a specific point on the map, it pays to devote the time and energy to plotting out exactly where it should be. George Harrison summed up the Cheshire Cat’s wisdom in his song Any Road, “And if you don't know where you're going, Any road will take you there.”


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Do Your Employee Engagement Programs work for Millennials?

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
August 7, 2014

Well, the data is in and, as it turns out, Millennials are not like their parents. (Shock.) In fact, some have argued that Millennials are even more different from their parents than their parents are from their parents. Having been born into the digital age, it’s no surprise that Millennials are more connected, tech savy, agile, mobile and always-on than their predecessors. They see the world a little bit differently and that has had a significant impact on how they see work. This generation of people born between 1980 and 2000 brings a different set of values and expectations to the job. Smart leaders will develop employee engagement programs designed specifically to recruit and retain them.

The Millennial Retention Problem

Research shows that Millennials tend to believe that they must take control over their own career. They desire a quick rise up the latter and will change jobs as often as necessary to achieve it. This can cause real problems for employers. According to a survey by, 30 percent of companies surveyed lost 15 percent or more of their millennial employees in the past year. Interestingly enough lack of a “cultural fit,” was cited as a reason for leaving by most survey participants.

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CEO Best Practices: #5- Leadership

Joel Trammell

Posted by Joel Trammell
August 4, 2014


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Make Your Operations Management Review a Piece of Cake

Marina Martinez

Posted by Marina Martinez
August 1, 2014

Julia Child once said, “Any party without cake is just a meeting.” So, if all else fails, order a cake and turn your operations management review into one big party. (If all else has failed, you might also want some bourbon.) Another, considerably more effective, approach to a successful review is to plan ahead and lay down a foundation that will make it easy for you to determine if your operations are effectively driving your company toward its quarterly goals.

Know what you are going to review

Operations management reviews can be difficult if clear goals were not defined and communicated at the outset of the review period. It is essential that everyone involved have a firm grasp of the goals of the organization, each department and every contributor. This transparency will help each participant be more fully prepared to bring relevant insight to the table.

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