Resources for Managers

Mar 30, 2012

2600 Phrases for Setting Effective Performance Goals (AMACOM, 2012) by author Paul Falcone is a companion to his earlier text on phrases for performance reviews, and it follows the same pattern: Falcone not only provides succinct phrases readers can plug into goals but also advises managers on how to use those phrases and goals effectively.

Falcone offers tips on setting goals for employees, such as helping everyone document progress with a departmental calendar, finding out (with an exercise Falcone provides) what best motivates each employee and working with employees to set goals that advance their next career moves. Employees need customized development plans, which grow out of self-assessments conducted before any formal appraisals take place, Falcone notes.

The bulk of the book provides sentences to include when writing goals. Falcone organizes these phrases so that users can turn quickly to what they need for any given role—sales, finance, operations, manufacturing, information technology, legal, HR—at any given level, from leaders to line managers to administrative assistants. Phrases also are tailored for specific skills sets and for the employee’s stage in his or her career, from “early career goals” through “senior leader goals.”

To boost goal-writing further, Falcone adds lists of high-impact verbs and adjectives managers can use to draft clearer and more-detailed job goals.

Purchase the book online at the SHRMStore.


Flexible work practices—part-time work, flexible or compressed schedules, job sharing, work at home—are mere “cosmetic arrangements,” authors Alison Maitland and Peter Thompson argue in Future Work (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). They say these practices do nothing to challenge the old model of work: “If you give me your time to perform a job, I will reward you per hour.”

It’s time to scrap the rewards-for-time model in favor of “future work,” in which employers reward workers for output, not for time, Maitland and Thompson say. In this book, they outline how companies can overcome resistance to change, give employees more autonomy over where and when they work, and at the same time improve the bottom line.

Why doesn’t flexible work work? It just shifts the time in which the work is performed; it doesn’t shift the notion that time equals dedication. “Instead of rewarding long hours of low productivity, why not reward shorter hours of high productivity?” the authors ask. And instead of encouraging employees to be seen at an office, why not encourage them to work wherever they are most productive?

Maitland and Thompson lay out the business case for future work and provide dozens of real-world examples of how firms already see gains such as greater productivity, better customer service, lower turnover, and savings on real estate and travel.

Future Work gives managers, executives and HR a blueprint for putting future work into place. The guidelines include the following:

  • Reward output of quality work, not input of hours. This requires setting careful goals that let people work without constant supervision.
  • Get the CEO’s and the board’s support for a fundamental change. A flexible work program instituted by HR isn’t the same as a top-down, pervasive culture change.
  • Treat people as individuals. Find out whether individual employees work best with total autonomy or with differing levels of supervision. Among managers, this change can create fear of being seen as unfair or discriminatory. The answer, Maitland and Thompson say, is that managers have to step up and be willing to exercise judgment.

The book provides a question-and-answer section addressing managers’ chief concerns: How will I know they’re working? What happens to team spirit? Don’t we still need meetings? What happens to employment contracts? What’s in it for me?

Purchase the book online at the SHRMStore.


Take this quiz:

Do you think your success is due to luck or timing? Do the smallest flaws in your work torture you? Do you find even constructive criticism painful and just another sign you’re not competent? When you succeed, do you think, “I fooled them again—and one day they’ll figure out I’m just faking it all”?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then no matter what it says on your resume or your business card, no matter what you’ve achieved, you may have impostor syndrome.

Women are particularly prone to impostor syndrome—the belief that no matter how successful they are, it’s not really due to their own talents and skills but to luck or error or fakery—and author Valerie Young wants women to recognize and fight it, especially in the workplace.

The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women (Crown Business, 2011) lays out the roots of impostor syndrome and demonstrates how deeply it affects not only individual women but businesses, too. Throughout the book, Young summarizes key lessons and lists action steps to take as readers move out of impostor mode.

The book offers exercises for learning to own one’s real accomplishments without claiming that luck, timing or connections were involved.

Readers also learn about five “competence types,” each with a distorted view of what competence means. For example, the perfectionist must do everything herself so it’s done right; the expert believes she must know 150 percent of what others know to be considered even half as competent as they are; the rugged individualist thinks that if she is truly competent, she should never need help. Young provides new ways for women to think about competence and shed these unrealistic views.

Purchase this book online at the SHRMStore.

Compiled by Leigh Rivenbark, a freelance writer and editor in Vienna, Va.


Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America has launched a website for workers’ compensation news, information and resources that can help keep employees safe and organizations’ workers’ comp costs down. Users can register to receive WorkSafe solutions e-mails with news and information for the industries of their choice. The site features the resources and tools available to Accident Fund customers. Its WorkSafe Toolbox gives employers access to online training, safety videos and other educational materials.

Contact: 866-206-5851;


PI Worldwide has introduced the Influence Skills Assessment Tool, which is designed to provide an in-depth look at the core skills required for influencing others. In today’s growth-driven economy, employees in all functions rely on the ability to articulate ideas, present clear and compelling plans, and get buy-in on projects and business strategies. The tool offers a way for leaders and managers in business functions such as information technology, human resources, quality assurance and risk management to build consensus, motivate change and improve organizational effectiveness.

Contact: 800-832-8884;


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