394: Performance conversations that can transform your business with expert Christopher D. Lee

Christopher Lee, author of Performance Conversations: How to Use Questions to Coach Employees, Improve Productivity, and Boost Confidence (Without Appraisals)

Bill Ringle and Chris Lee discuss how your managers can adopt a coaching methodology to improve your business conversations and performance for small business leaders.

>>> Visit MyQuestforTheBest.com  for complete show notes and more expert advice and inspiring stories to propel your small business growth. My Quest for the Best is a top-rated small business podcast with over 300 episodes of thought-provoking and insightful interviews with today’s top thought leaders and business experts. Host Bill Ringle’s mission with this show is to provide the strategies, insights, and resources that will unlock the growth potential of your business through these powerful conversations.

Interview Insights

Top 3 Takeaways

  1. Waiting until the very end to give a performance review is doing your direct reports a disservice because it is a delay for improvement. You allowed your team to continue a substandard performance for a long time only to give them a bad review. Coach as soon as you can.
  2. Performance conversation, like any fruitful conversation, must be two-way. It is not just the leaders giving feedback and what their direct reports can change to improve performance, but also the employee can open up to their leaders and ask for help.
  3. Never let your personal biases affect your performance evaluation.

Read the Show Notes from this Episode

  • A.G Garson was a black millionaire business owner for Birmingham, Alabama, whose presence in their community was heavily felt by Chris and served as his most significant influence growing up. [01:04]
  • Be ‘forward-looking’ in your performance conversations. Chris weighs in on why looking forward is fairer to employees. CASE 1: Sally, an A-tier employee, who performed great most of the year but didn’t have the best start, was worried her early performance would shade her most recent performance. [02:34]
  • Christopher explains the biases when leaders try to manage past performance, i.e., waiting until the end to give the bad news instead of correcting through coaching ASAP. [05:22]
  • Christopher highlights the difference between a judge and a coach. [07:06]
  • The mutually beneficial of coaches/leaders and their clients/direct reports. [09:08]
  • Christopher reminds us that a conversation is two-way. For example, in a performance conversation, it is not just the manager who talks but also the employee who can ask for help. [12:15]
  • CASE 2: Karen is an HR in the Pittsburgh area who had an issue with ‘the tail wagging the dog.’ How do we catch ourselves when we are being unfair with our judgments? [13:44]
  • A performance conversation, as defined by Christopher, is structured and tailored. [16:07]
  • A tip on how to create a positive performance conversation. [19:18]

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Expert Bio

Chris is the chief human resources officer for William & Mary, the nation’s second-oldest university. Before this role, he was Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources for the Virginia Community College System, a network of 23 colleges serving over 200,000 students in the commonwealth. He has over 25 years of experience as a chief human resources officer in higher education, having worked at public and private institutions.

He is a consummate human resource professional with experience as an author, consultant, lecturer, and accomplished practitioner. He is a former question writer for the PHR and SPHR examinations administered by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). He is the author of numerous human resources-related articles and four books, including Performance Conversations: How to Use Questions to Coach Employees, Improve Productivity, and Boost Confidence (Without Appraisals).

He has presented at conferences and consulted with clients in the US, Canada, Australia, and South Africa on HR-related topics. He holds a master’s degree in HR Management, a doctor of philosophy degree in HR Development, and is a certified human resource professional. Chris is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Marine Corps Reserves.

Contact Info and Social Media for Christopher Lee

  • Travels from: Williamsburg, VA

Resources Mentioned During the Interview

Below are key people, places, books, quotes, websites and other resources that we discussed, so you can explore further.

Published by Christopher Lee

Performance Conversations by Christopher Lee
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