It’s that time of year again. It seems like everyone has their top this or top that from 2011. Not to be 2011 left out, I thought I would do a little year-end reflecting of my own.

Throughout 2011, I used this blog to shed some light on critical leadership and management issues. The topics ranged from “the vision thing”, to shaping organizational culture, to improving the effectiveness of employee training programs, to building trust, to breaking down communication silos, to doing better presentations, to seeing organizational blind spots, to increasing employee engagement, and more.

Out of all of these blog posts I’ve selected five that seem to have had the most interest for readers. They are:

Hospital Culture Trumps Equipment and Techniques - Culture, with all of its values, assumptions, MP900185154 beliefs, expected behaviors, and norms, is a powerful force within organizations. Culture shapes how things are done. In hospitals, culture has life and death implications. Evidence suggests that health care outcomes are improved when the culture of a hospital encourages trust and honesty among staff and with patients and when people act consistently in accordance with these values.

Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation: A Critique – I explain why evaluating training by Success image.php using a survey that asks trainees questions about each of the “Kirkpatrick Four Levels” is a flawed way to determine if that program is having a meaningful impact on an organization. Although a four-levels survey is a very common way to approach evaluation of training in organizations, it probably will not provide managers with the information they need. I suggest an alternative approach.

Performance Management is Broken - What is intended to pass for performance management in too EmployeesShakingHands many organizations today is the annual compulsory performance review. To label this a “performance management system” is to give the process much more credit than it deserves. A perfunctory meeting between a manager and employee once a year to review a standard rating sheet that lists competencies and goals that are probably no longer relevant, is not a performance management system.

How to Use PowerPoint – Millions of presentations are given every day using some form of slideware, GoodSlide often PowerPoint. It is an important communication tool of managers. Yet, management’s messages are not getting across. I frequently hear that employees didn’t know something that had been mentioned in an all-staff presentation, or that they didn’t realize its importance, or that they didn’t understand what it had to do with them. Apparently, PowerPoint slides are, in many cases, failing to communicate key messages. I refer the reader to suggestions for more powerful PowerPoint presentations.

20 Signs of Employee Disengagement - An important question for all managers is, “Do I have an Survey Qn2 images (1) employee engagement problem in my organization?" You don’t need an organization-wide survey to answer this question. Pay attention to what your employees are saying and doing. Look and listen for the clues. This blog post lists twenty tell-tale signs of disengagement.

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2012!