Lunsford Richardson invented what we now know as Vicks VapoRub in Greensboro, NC, USA. As the company grew, the need for excellent management was recognized. H. Smith Richardson, started a training program to train Vicks executives and then scoured business schools, snatching up their best graduating students. He gave them advanced training, keeping the best and brightest for the company. The students not selected for the Vicks company were quickly hired by other companies that recognized the value of their training. This training program became the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and is still based in Greensboro, NC. It continues to train leaders to this day and has expanded into a world-wide program, with campuses in North America, Europe, and Asia. The training is so well recognized that at one point, newly promoted Brigadier Generals in the U.S. Army were sent there for training. Military helecopters flying in and out of the rural campus that sat on the edge of Greensboro, NC helped to give the Center its mystique in the area.
On May 16, 2005, the Financial Times will rank the CCL “among the overall Top 10 providers of executive education worldwide,” making it the only institution that solely focuses on leadership education in their list.
The program in which I was enrolled there included instruction on giving effective feedback to subordinates. Here then, in a nutshell is the procedure:
- Give feedback frequently.
- Make feedback timely, as soon after the noted behavior or “teachable moment”.
- Keep it simple.
- When used for correction, provide a private and neutral setting.
- Focus on the situation that was noted.
- Describe the behavior, staying away from any interpretation or rationalization of the behavior.
- Share the impact of the behavior on you and others.
- Give suggestions for improvement and offer support in the change.
- Keep the subordinate’s information style in mind and be ready to hear unexpected information.
- Leverage your subordinate’s strengths.
- Catch them doing something good.
A future post will go into more detail in the SBI model of giving feedback, which is included in #'s 5 - 7. Giving good feedback can mean the difference in helping an employee grow and become more valuable as opposed to them becoming marginal in their performance.