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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, November 26, 2017 1:00 am

Goals, reviews fill up final weeks

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

'Tis the season ...

For 2018 goal setting.

For trying to accomplish 2017 goals you and your team haven't already achieved.

For performance reviews, if you're among the organizations that still do them and they aren't handled earlier in the year.

For distractions.

We're down to the last five weeks of the year, just past Thanksgiving with Christmas and the New Year on the way. Holidays, as much as many of us welcome them, can also create distractions, sometimes shifting our attention from work. With staff time off – and maybe some personal vacation days – it can seem overwhelming to get it all done.

Pace, judgment and approach are crucial.

Next year's goals? Sure it's nice to hit the new year running in a calculated direction. But maybe try drafting a few goals before year's end and wait until the new year to finalize them. A short delay doesn't mean 2018 can't be a productive year. The new year might even give you fresh perspective to sharpen a future goal you have set your sights on.

For those 2017 goals established months ago, if there aren't seasonal factors that drive them now, it might be best to assess whether they are still realistic or just going to add undue stress.

Performance reviews can also generate stress. They might be especially tricky during this typically feel-good time of the year if there are performance issues that require attention.

Some employees don't like reviews – even when given an opportunity to weigh in with a self assessment. Some managers, even though it's their responsibility, may not like to give them. The key is to avoid surprises – issues that haven't been addressed before a formal review.

An October article on last month provided 10 key tips for effective employee performance reviews. The suggestions included avoiding the horns-and-halo effect in which everything discussed focuses on recent negatives or positives.

Another suggestion was to be conscious about your approach. Employees have to believe you genuinely want to see them succeed.

The right hires

Most prospective hires are well prepared, polished on interview questions. They're probably not going to point you to a reference who would speak negatively.

There are hundreds of questions managers can ask to increase the odds of hiring the best people.

Victoria A. Hoevemeyer has put plenty of the questions in the second edition of “High-Impact Interview Questions,” which was released last month.

The book suggests competency-based interviewing methods to get the most relevant information, including having candidates describe specific job-related situations to understand past behaviors and “more accurately predict future performance.”

Hoevemeyer, from Chicago, is director of talent development at Lexington Health Network and wrote the first edition of “High-Impact Interview Questions.”

Engage workers

An enthusiastic workforce usually means higher productivity and profitability. Richard P. Finnegan, author of “The Stay Interview,” last month released “Raise Your Team's Employee Engagement Score” to help organizations in those key areas.

Finnegan, based in Orlando, Florida, is CEO of C-Suite Analytics.

Billed as a manager's guide, his new book covers topics including how to build trust with your team, implement “stay interviews,” how to leverage company engagement programs, measure progress and forecast future engagement, and hire employees who self-motivate.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at