by Dave Anderson
The quest to find “good people” has become a proverb. We complain there’s a shortage of “good people” and that the people we have just aren’t cutting it. But more often than we want to admit, the good people we seek are right under our nose. Here are a few questions to help you detect the hidden gold currently on your payroll.
Do you have your people lined up with the right job? Often times, poor performers are good people cast in the wrong role. Not everyone has potential for every job. If their talents are a mismatch for the job at hand, quit trying to fix the person and fix the casting error by transferring them to a job requiring their gifts.
Is your environment motivating? People, regardless of how skilled, will rarely perform well in an oppressive workplace. Too many rules, the inability to make decisions, lack of vision, mission and meaning in their work, criticism without coaching, negative superiors, inconsistency and dishonesty from management and tolerating poor performers are just a short list of de-motivators that keep good people down. Clean up your environment or no one will ever stay motivated for long.
Do you know what motivates the person? Most managers try to motivate everyone the same way without regard to the individual’s motivational trigger. Poor performers are often the fault of management because managers haven”t taken the time to discover the motivations of each employee and to treat him or her as a unique individual. Stop your generic approach to motivating others and find what makes each person “tick.”
Do you give feedback often and quickly? People need to know how they’re doing. When they do good work they need to have their performance reinforced quickly. And when they’re off track they must be redirected just as quickly. Deficiencies in feedback are one of the prime causes of poor performance. When coaching people, “no news” is not good news.
Are your expectations clear and high enough? Most people will work hard to hit a standard if they understand it. Too often, managers never explain enough about what is expected or by when: performance targets, skill development goals and the like. And expectations that are spelled out are often too low. High expectations create focus and urgency. They fight off complacency and cause people to stretch. People cannot be aggressive when they’re confused. Specify clearly what you expect, by when and make sure what you’re asking for is high enough to cause others to stretch and don’t induce them to coast or nap.
People are not disposable.They are the most valuable assets in your business and often it is management’s failure to address these five areas that narrows their vision, shrinks their thinking and conditions them to mediocrity. Assume your responsibility as a leader and fix these areas before you condemn others as “non-performers.” The good people you seek for your business may already be on your payroll.
© Copyright 1999-2004, The Dave Anderson Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Dave Anderson is the author of over 50 sales and management training programs and the book, Selling Above The Crowd: 365 Strategies For Sales Excellence. He writes a monthly leadership column for Dealer Magazine and publishes the newsletter, Leading At The Next Level. Dave is president of the Dave Anderson Corporation, and LearntoLead.com, a sales and leadership training organization.
You can reach Dave at:
The Dave Anderson Corporation
PO Box 1119
Los Altos, CA 94023
Phone: 800-519-8224 650-941-1493 (Canada, Int’l)