Somethings are so easy. One click, one call, one spoken command. But, as always, not everything is easy. When we begin to assume that everything should be easy we lose track of the reality that some things DO require discipline. You can't one-click your physical work-out. You can't one-tap your organizational realignment. You can't one-command your new, improved, work-ethic inspired workforce. Things of value and projects of worth still require engagement, discipline, and the relentless willingness to try, fail, and try again.
In any workforce you'll find performance problems. There is no magic wand to make these problems turn into performance. It takes attentive leadership that cares about team members and provides the development they need to prosper. It also takes the open and dedicated willingness OF those team members to make performance progress happen. We, as leaders, can't do THAT for our team members. Without the willingness, they are truly helpless.
It's a contract. Leaders must provide all of the patience, persistence, and problem-solving skill development needed and workers must simply agree to work long and hard at it, without the expectation that it will come easy. Success is NOT one-click, one-tap, one try to the victory line. It's a long haul, and sometimes the road gets rocky.
Problems with performance remind us that progress requires our attention and effort. Improvement is not automatic.
Performance improvement is hard work. Ignore the work and you don't get the improvement.
The next time you are dealing with a team member's performance problem, ask openly and honestly: do they want to improve? Are they willing to make the extra effort? Or, would they rather work someplace else?
-- doug smith
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