Category Archives: Press

New Demo Video Showcases Painless Performance Conversations

The new year is always a good time to refresh and refocus. That’s what my new demo video is all about. This new video showcases the latest keynote presentations I’ve made for groups across the country. From human resource professionals to sanitation managers and from college and university leaders to municipal executives, the Painless Performance Conversations message is resonating at all levels. And now, as a newly minted Certified Speaking Professional, I’m more confident than ever that I can make your next meeting one that is memorable and meaningful. Take a look at my latest clips and let’s talk about how I can add value to your next event.

Marnie Green, CSP, Speaker on Public Sector Workforce and Leadership (Demo)

Be Clear – Create an Ownership Culture

Do your employees act like owners? Or are they merely renters?

Job renters are not fully engaged. They’re non-committal. They may contribute for awhile but then they move along.  Owners, on the other hand, choose to take full responsibility for their performance, embracing the full result of their efforts regardless of the outcome. You may even describe owners as “accountable.”

Accountability sounds like a reasonable expectation for employees, but be careful… Accountability is often done TO employees, rather than with employees. Ownership, on the other hand, represents how an employee approaches the job–with integrity, creativity, and energy. Simply put, when employees own their work, accountability is the result.

So how can you begin to establish a culture of ownership? Here are a few practical tips:

  • Share big-picture and organizational plans early and often.
  • Enlist employee participation in goal setting for the work unit.
  • Conduct regular “keep interviews”-conversations about what will keep the employee motivated, engaged, and retained.
  • Give employees ample opportunity to own their assigned projects and progress.
  • Communicate reasonable expectations and check with employees to make sure they are clear on those expectations.
  • Give frequent and immediate feedback so employees know when they are meeting your expectations.
  • Give specific and timely feedback when employees are not meeting your expectations.
  • Ask employees to make recommendations for addressing ongoing organizational challenges.
  • Seek customer feedback and share it directly with employees in a timely manner.
  • Break away from micromanaging. Set expectations and allow space for employees to learn. Learn to let go.
  • Create a reward system to reinforce ownership behavior.

Every day you are creating a work environment filled with renters or owners. Creating an ownership culture is one of the four mind-sets for a painless performance conversation.  Learn more about creating a workplace full of owners in chapter eight of my new book Painless Performance Conversations.

You can also read about the four mind-sets for painless performance conversations in a  recently featured article on American Express OPEN ForumOPEN forum.
4 Ways to Motivate Detached Employees.

Communication and Workplace Performance Conversations

Frequent performance conversations, rather than annual performance reviews, produce quicker results and happier team members. In organizations, success depends on employee performance, yet many leaders struggle with, and even avoid, providing honest feedback to those who need it most. Listen in to this archived episode of Communication Nation, hosted by the Impromptu Guru, Jill Schiefelbein: My conversation with Jill will lead you to having more “painless performance conversations” where both you and the employee benefit. In the interview you will learn three timely tips for managing performance conversations, as well as hear Jill’s provocative perspective on employer-employee communication.



I’m finally a CSP!

What’s a CSP?  CSP is the Certified Speaking Professional® (CSP) designation, conferred by the National Speakers Association (NSA) and the Global Speakers Federation (GSF), only on accomplished professional speakers who have earned it by meeting strict criteria. CSPs must document a proven track record of continuing speaking experience and expertise, as well as a commitment to ongoing education, outstanding client service, and ethical behavior.

On July 27, 2013 I will be awarded a CSP medal (yes, like an Olympic medal!) at the annual NSA Convention in Philadelphia. A big huge thank you goes out to all of the Management Education Group clients over the past five years who contributed to this honor.  You trusted me with your training needs, and I am grateful.

Established in 1980, the CSP is the speaking profession’s international measure of speaking experience and skill. Fewer than 10 percent of speakers who belong to the Global Speakers Federation (GSF) hold this professional designation. This year only ten US-based speakers were awarded this honor.

You can read more about the designation and NSA in their recent press release:

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4 Ways to Motivate Detached Employees

The four mind-sets for painless performance conversations was recently featured in an article, 4 Ways to Motivate Detached Employees, on American Express OPEN Forum.
You will also find the article below.

By Vivian Giang
Careers Reporter, Business Insider
May 28, 2013

Are your employees struggling with their work? Here are 4 tactics to revive their excitement.

It’s not easy to talk about performance with employees. It can be awkward and downright tough to focus on someone’s weaknesses. But every leader has the opportunity and responsibility to be a catalyst for change within his or her organization, and that starts with knowing how to motivate and inspire employees.

Marnie Green, principal consultant at Management Education Group and author of Painless Performance Conversations, says that performance conversations should happen regularly, not annually. It takes practice to handle them well. “Managers fail at these conversation because part of it is [having the right] skills,” Green tells us. “There is a definitely a skill to it that can be learned.”

For managers, it’s important to have the right attitude before having these conversations. According to Green, there are four critical mindsets that every leader should embrace:

1. Lead With Behavior

Don’t let emotions get in the way. Take a more methodical approach. Identify the problems you’d like to discuss and then explain how the employee’s behavior affects company culture and productivity.

Green says that rather than telling employees what they should stop doing, focus on what you expect from them instead. “It could be that you expect a higher level of production, a faster response rate or higher levels of productivity from the entire team,” she says. Whatever it is you expect, verbalize this clearly and never let your own attitude toward the employee get in the way of professional communication.

2. Eliminate Judgment 

“When you have the conversation, you need to hold your judgment and focus on the performance issue instead,” Green says. “You can’t change an employee’s behavior unless it’s specific and something you observe. If you lead the conversation with ‘I don’t think you care,’ it won’t get you anywhere with the other person, because they’re immediately defensive.”

For example, instead of asking, “Are you overwhelmed? I know your work hasn’t been as good as before,” say, “I noticed your work has been different. Is this the case?”

Green also says it’s important to determine whether the issue you have with your employee is a pet peeve or something that actually affects the work environment.

3. Ask Solution-Oriented Questions

The savviest leaders allow employees to come up with their own solutions. “The idea is that you have to create space for the employee,” Green says. You can do this by asking questions that will lead to a solution both of you can agree on.

Once you’ve both identified and discussed specific behaviors, ask your employees why they think they’re adopting these behaviors. For example, say, “Why do you think you haven’t been speaking up during team meetings?” or “What do you think has been different between last month compared to this month?”

4. Give Them Ownership 

Through these conversations, you want to help the employee feel a sense of ownership over his behavior and capacity to change. Putting the ball in his court gives him a greater sense of control and responsibility. That’s why asking questions—and getting feedback from an employee—is the smartest way to go. Managers can troubleshoot, but they don’t always have all the answers.

Rather, employees know themselves best and may come up with the most reasonable, innovative solution that benefits everyone. Managers, as catalysts for change, can help facilitate this by continually making expectations and goals clear and consistent and striking up these performance conversations regularly.

“Managing employee performance means you are leveraging your resources,” Green says. “If you could do it all yourself, you would. But you can’t. It is critical to develop trust with your employees. Allow them to excel. As a manager, your employees’ success makes you look good.”

Painless Performance Conversations Podcast

I recently sat down with fellow speaker and NSA member Craig Price to talk about Painless Performance Conversations as part of his popular podcast program, Reality Check with Craig Price.

The link to the episode file for you to download is here:


You can also access the full interview on Reality Check with Craig Price.

Marnie Green Discusses the Launch of Painless Performance Conversations

Author Marnie Green Discusses the Launch of Painless Performance Conversations

As the second in a series of interviews with Mix clients, I spoke with management education consultant Marnie Green. Marnie has recently published her second book, and we’ve been working with her team to promote it. I asked Marnie some questions about her experience:

Q. Why did you select to write and publish Painless Performance Conversations?

A. After publishing my first book, Painless Performance Evaluations, it didn’t take me long to learn that what was really painful for leaders were the day-to-day workplace conversations with employees, not just evaluations. So first and foremost, the book was driven by a need I saw from my clients. But also, the book is a tool to leverage my consulting services. It establishes credibility and market presence for myself and my company.

Q. What steps did you take in marketing your book to present a brand that’s consistent with your company, Management Education Group?

A. It started with the content itself: everything in the book supports the principles I teach in my workshop, so the book links back to my business. As far as design, I provided the publisher with my brand’s fonts, colors and other design elements to consider when designing the cover of the book, so it felt consistent with my company’s branding.

Q. How is marketing this book different from the last you published in 2006?

A. I put a lot more into the marketing of this book than the last one, partly because the publishing world has changed and now there’s an expectation that the author will sell the book. Part of it is what’s available now, too. We’re marketing this book in social media, it has its own web page, there’s a video trailer on our site and on YouTube and we published it both in paperback and as an e-book.

Q. How is book marketing different from marketing your business?

A. The difference is that this is a tangible product, so I have to think about price and partnerships with others to provide incentives. I’ve never had to do that with my business, which is service-focused. Yet, both rely on websites, e-newsletters and social media strategy to add value and create a following.

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Marnie E. Green, IPMA-CP, is principal consultant of Management Education Group, Inc. and the go-to expert on development of public sector leaders. 

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Creative Mix  – Mixer interview

Q&A with Marnie Green, author of Painless Performance Conversations

I’m excited to share this interview discussing my new book, Painless Performance Conversations, published by Wiley in a recent press release!

1. Why did you decide to write a book about workplace discussions?

After the release of my first book, Painless Performance Evaluations: A Practical Approach to Managing Day-to-Day Employee Performance, I received feedback from the managers and supervisors who attended my training sessions. They told me that while they dreaded the annual performance evaluation, the real pain was in the day-to-day conversations with employees, especially when the employee’s performance was not up to par.

I began to chronicle the conversations they indicated were the most painful and developed tools and approaches to boost their confidence in tackling the toughest discussions. After testing these ideas and approaches in workshops with managers, I learned that the concepts were sound and applicable in any work environment.  Writing them down and illustrating them in Painless Performance Conversations was a way to honor the hard work these managers do every day. Leading a staff is not easy and managers deserve simple, practical tools that will make their lives easier, while boosting the performance of employees.

2. Who is the target audience Painless Performance Conversations is written for?

Painless Performance Conversations will speak to anyone who provides feedback to others.  Leaders wishing to create a culture of accountability, in private sector organizations, as well as in public agencies and non-profit organizations, will find value in these concepts.

3. What is a painless performance conversation?

A Painless Performance Conversation is with a person you care about concerning an issue you are concerned with where the outcome is uncertain and the situation requires your influence. In essence, painless performance conversations are the discussions that managers use to help employees make a shift in their performance.

4. Chapter 2 is titled, “Have the Guts” – why are managers often reluctant to have the hard conversations with their employees?

Over the years I’ve captured dozens of reasons why managers put off critical performance discussions. Many of these reasons are listed in the book.  A few of the most common reasons include concern for how the employee will react, a fear of the unknown, and a lack of confidence that they can manage the conversation productively.

5. What do you hope readers take away after reading this book?

My hope is that readers will find practical tools and approaches to use in their most uncomfortable workplace discussions.  From setting expectations to using questions that engage employees in problem solving, the book is filled with dialogue, phrases, and sample conversations that will help managers better approach their next performance-related conversation. Using these ideas will help managers create a culture of ownership that allows employees to perform at the highest levels.


Wiley Press Release for Painless Performance Conversations



Featured on

Author, speaker and consultant Marnie Green was recently featured on, the number one self-improvement site on the internet. 

In her article, “Painless Performance Conversations—Focus on Behaviors,” Marnie gives several examples of how to conduct successful workplace discussions by focusing on employees’ observable behaviors.

“When you focus your approach on the person, you risk touching on their character, their value, and their worth as a human being. When you focus on observable behaviors, you’ll find more success,” states Marnie Green in the article.

See the full article at