Grote Consulting's Resources

Articles by Dick Grote

How to Terminate an Employee without Breaking Their Spirit –– January 2017
Terminating an employee is never easy, but there is an effective way to fire someone while maintaining the dignity of both people involved. Dick Grote provides a specific 5-step procedure that explains exactly how to terminate someone’s employment successfully.

3 Popular Goal-Setting Techniques Managers Should Avoid
Harvard Business Review –– January 2017
While the value of setting goals is unarguable, there are three commonly used goal-setting techniques that can thwart success when goal-setting time rolls around: SMART goals, cascading goals, and using percentage weights to indicate relative goal importance. In this short article Dick Grote explains why goal-setters should avoid being overly influenced by the SMART test, be cautious about the use of cascading goals, and avoid using percentage weights.

Every Manager Needs to Practice Two Types of Coaching
Harvard Business Review –– September 2016
Companies today haven’t abandoned performance appraisals, despite all the buzz in the media. What has changed? The expectation that managers will do a LOT more coaching. Dick Grote explains that there are actually two kinds of coaching—scheduled and spontaneous—and provides some practical tips on the best way to do each one.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Firing Someone
Harvard Business Review — February 17, 2016
Years ago I heard the statement, “Discharge is the capital punishment of organizational life.” What nonsense! If our metaphor for termination is capital punishment, no wonder organizations and their managers are so hesitant to fire a poor performer. The appropriate metaphor? A no-fault divorce. As painful as divorce may be at the time, it allows two people to correct a mistake and move on to a more satisfying future. Handled well, termination works the same way. In this Harvard Business Review article, Dick Grote explains how to handle a termination successfully.

How to Handle Negative Feedback
Harvard Business Review — August 2015
What should you do when you’re the target of criticism (even if it’s unjust and unfair)? The conventional wisdom is correct, but unless you understand why it’s correct, you will not be prepared to respond appropriately.

The Danger in Self-Appraisals
HRM Asia Magazine — March 2015
Asking employees to rate their own performance has been a common part of organizational performance appraisals for many years. Dick Grote explains why self-appraisals may actually cause more harm than good, and then proposes a far more effective way to get the employee’s input.

Preparing for the Appraisal Meeting — July 26, 2011
In this article Dick Grote helps managers prepare for the performance appraisal meeting and explains why the preparation is different when the discussion is with a marginal performer.

SMART Goals: Bad Idea
Training Magazine — June 29, 2011
Most managers are familiar with SMART goals — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. In this article Dick Grote explains why teaching SMART goals is a bad idea.

Helping Managers Hold Difficult Conversations
International Personnel Management Association-HR News — October 2008
In this article, Dick offers proven strategies and practical tips for two of the most common areas in which the need for a difficult conversation arises — performance appraisal and performance improvement discussions.

Passing Judgment
The Conference Board Review — September/October 2008
In this cover story article, Dick explains that the reason performance appraisal programs fail is typically not because of shoddy forms, bad data and clumsy discussions. The real problem is that most people involved with the performance management process believe a set of myths that actually prevent their performance management procedures from operating successfully — no matter how well the managers have been trained and how expertly the forms have been designed.

Pay for Performance: A Public Sector Puzzle
International Public Management Association HR News — March 2007
Though most individuals agree with the pay-for-performance theory, managers in public sector organizations sometimes base salary adjustments on factors other than the employee’s performance: future potential, length of service, or recompense for lack of promotional opportunities. In this article Dick Grote explains how to create a pay-for-performance system that is effective and fair. And he explores what pay can and cannot do to promote job satisfaction.

Employee Discipline: Building a Culture of Commitment
International Public Management Association HR News — July 2006
The long-established progressive discipline system is the last remaining vestige of the adversarial 1930’s labor vs. management attitude in the modern organization. Traditional discipline approaches may indeed convince some problem employees to shape up. But punitive tactics can’t produce employees who are genuinely committed to the goals of an organization. In this article Dick Grote describes Discipline Without Punishment, a non-punitive, responsibility-based performance improvement system that solves performance problems promptly and permanently. And he presents survey results from the State of Georgia that compares the effectiveness of the Discipline Without Punishment system to the former program of adverse action.

Should We Bother With Performance Appraisals?
The Conference Board Review — June 2006
This article is a lively email debate on the value of performance appraisals, commissioned by The Conference Board Review, between Dick Grote and Steve Scullen, Associate Professor of Management at Drake University. Are we expecting too much—or the wrong thing—from performance evaluations? Can they be made fairer, less intimidating, a better experience for all concerned, with better results? These were among the questions in an e-mail dialogue between two men who, while not on opposite sides of the fence, have different takes on the value of many aspects of performance reviews.

Forced Ranking: Making Performance Management Work
Harvard Business School Working Knowledge — November 14, 2005
In this article Dick Grote describes how forced ranking is the antidote to the problem of inflated performance appraisal ratings and how a forced ranking system can help bring the truth into the performance management process.

Driving True Development
Training Magazine — July 2005
Creating development plans is a critical component of a successful performance management effort. In this article Dick Grote explains how to create a development plan that actually works.

How to Solve an Attitude Problem
HR Magazine — July 2005
Managers are consistently confronted with dealing with employees who have “attitude problems”. Trying to fix the “attitude” without focusing on the specific behavior associated with it is a hopeless endeavor. In this article, published as “Attitude Adjustments” by SHRM’s monthly magazine, Dick Grote explains how to drill down to the real problem and how to effectively address the issue with the delinquent employee.

Forced Ranking: Jumpstart Your Development Process
Executive Excellence — ­­ July 2003
Charlie’s better than Sam but not as good as Mary. In this article, Dick Grote explains the operating dynamic behind forced ranking, a system that requires managers to assign people into categories based on past performance and leadership potential.

Performance Appraisal: An Ideal System, A Perfect Form
Executive Excellence — December 2002
This article explains the four elements of an ideal performance appraisal system and the five components of a perfect performance appraisal form. It also argues for linking a company’s performance appraisal system with its mission statement and vision and values.

Forced Ranking: Behind the Scenes
Across the Board — November/December 2002
Dick Grote argues in this article that forced ranking, when well-conceived and well-executed, can be a powerful force for upgrading the organization’s talent bank. Then he goes “behind the scenes” to describe the actual forced ranking procedure he developed for a major consumer goods company.

Discipline Without Punishment
Across the Board — September/October 2001
An obscene message written on a potato chip triggered the development of an innovative performance management system that is now rapidly replacing America’s traditional “progressive discipline” system as the most effective way for organizations to deal with problem performers. In this cover story, Dick Grote explains the operation of a responsibility-based approach to discipline that replaces compliance with commitment.

Is There a Perfect Appraisal Form?
HR Briefing — February 15, 2001
Yes, there is a perfect performance appraisal form, Dick Grote answers in this interview. Dick explains what the perfect form contains, discusses how the rating scale should be constructed, and argues for the importance of including the organization’s mission statement directly in the appraisal form itself.

Discipline Without Punishment
Labor Relations Bulletin — November 2000
Since its development in a troubled Frito-Lay plant a quarter century ago, a growing number of organizations have replaced their traditional “progressive discipline” systems with a discipline-without-punishment approach. This brief article by Dick Grote explains the basic elements of the Discipline Without Punishment® system and its advantages in improving labor relations.

Performance Appraisal: Solving the Toughest Challenges
HR Magazine — July 2000
Most of the time, performance appraisal works like it ought to. Rater and ratee talk about how the past year has gone. They discuss aspects of performance that require both cheers and correction. They set some goals for the upcoming year. But, how do you handle the troublesome issues training programs don’t address? There are good answers for all of performance appraisal’s toughest situations and Dick Grote’s article provides them.

Secrets of Performance Appraisal: Lessons from the Best
Across the Board — May 2000
In 1999, Dick Grote served as the subject-matter expert for a national benchmarking study of best practices in performance appraisal sponsored by the American Productivity and Quality Center and Linkage, Inc. This article presents the finding of the study and recommends best-practice procedures from America’s most admired organization, both public and private.

What Do We Buy When We Pay for Performance?
Benefits and Compensation Solutions Magazine — June 2000
What does “pay” pay for? Dick Grote’s article, the cover story in the June 2000 issue of Benefits and Compensation Solutions magazine, answers these questions: Just what is it that our salary dollars buy? Does money motivate? And how do we manage compensation systems so that we get the most from our money?

Rules for Revolutionaries: How to Implement Change
Not-for-Profit CEO — June 2000
In this feature article, Dick Grote explains how to become adroit in managing change, whether internally generated or imposed from the outside.

Public Sector Organizations: Today’s Innovative Leaders in Performance Management
Public Personnel Management — Spring 2000
This comprehensive article explains that today, it is America’s public sector organizations that are leading the pack in developing and implementing new approaches in performance management. The article describes how municipalities, states, and federal government agencies are generating highly effective people-management systems and installing them with remarkable success. Details of many of these approaches and data on the specific results that have been achieved are provided.

One More Time: How Do You Motivate People?
Not-for-Profit CEO — February 2000
Echoing the title of a classic Harvard Business Review article by Fred Herzberg, Dick Grote explains why recognition, challenge, autonomy and the work itself genuinely motivate, while such critical items as pay and benefits and enlightened policies actually have little motivational impact.

Performance Appraisal Reappraised
Harvard Business Review — January/February 2000
Surprisingly, some of the most innovative work in developing new approaches to performance management is being done these days by organizations in the public sector. In this article, Dick Grote reveals that if you’re looking for breakthrough thinking and best practices, your best sources may now be state agencies and city governments, federal bureaucracies, housing authorities, and your local pardons and paroles board.

Staff Performance Advice for CPAs
Journal of Accountancy — July 1999
Aimed at CPAs who often are pressed into service as de facto personnel managers, Dick Grote’s article serves as an overview of new approaches organizations are taking in performance management. It provides an overview of best-practice approaches in performance appraisal, explains the benefits and mechanics of establishing a “peer review” grievance procedure, and describes why organizations are abandoning traditional approaches to discipline and installing a Discipline Without Punishment® approach.

Painless Performance Appraisal
HR Magazine — October 1998
This article provides practical and realistic information and advice that will help both HR and operating managers set goals, determine a core message, conduct an effective appraisal discussion and minimize defensiveness.

Dealing with Jerks: A Training 101 Article
Training and Development Magazine — October 1998
Most training program participants attend in order to learn the material being presented. But every so often a noisy and troublesome adversary — a jerk — presents himself in the classroom. Dick Grote’s article describes the methods that trainers can use to neutralize disruptive participants before they start acting up, and concludes with an escalating series of steps any trainer can use when a participant’s objectives are disruption and mischief instead of learning and growth.