So, you’ve hired the right person for your team.
They have the skills.
They have the character and fit with your culture.
They are ready to work.
How do you build them up and drive performance:
1. Inspire. Create the vision; get them on board with your goals. Being passionate about your work can provide an example for others to follow. People won’t be able to believe in you until you fully believe in yourself. Employees, co-workers and peers are much more likely to go along with what you tell them to do if you’re actually genuinely invested in it. The more passionate you are about your work, the more likely people are to be inspired by your actions.
2. Get others involved in your actions. Ensuring people know that you care about them is a great way to inspire them. They’ll be much happier to invest their trust and time in you if you show genuine interest in what they do and how they feel. Just taking a small part of your day out to talk and listen to other people can help maintain a positive atmosphere.
Asking questions like:
What’s got you excited today?
What concerns or problems are you wrestling with at the moment? What are your ideas for solutions? (What you are effectively doing is what I refer to as “delegating problem-solving.” ) This encourages the employee to own the situation and to take responsibility for finding a solution. It creates a healthy dialogue and sets up ideal mentoring/femtoring when you can either praise the idea and encourage him or her to move forward … or allows you to utilize your wisdom by either adding value to the solution as well as offer new ones.
Don’t be so quick to rescue the situation. Give your employees the ability to develop their own problem solving muscle by giving them the opportunity to be influential in decision making. This skill is essential for everyone on your team to develop!
Playing a “consultative” role helps you keep your people accountable. Be wary of saying things like “let me handle that” too often. If you do, you will end up doing everybody’s job … except your own.
3. Lead by example. Be who you want your team to represent. Avoid using negative and insulting language around people; remember that you’re conversing with someone, not talking “at” them. Even when you’re taking corrective actions or disciplining individuals, learn to use constructive criticism instead of putting people down negatively. Listen to what people have to say and compliment them when good work is done. It’s easy to criticize negative actions but things go right every day and shouldn’t be overlooked.
4. Be clear in communication and expectations. Provide clear directives, with milestones and timelines to meet company objectives; be clear about your standards for success.
Identify 3-5 core objectives that cover about 85-90% of their job. Develop sound criteria that allows everyone to be on the same page in terms of what success looks like. A common approach—and one that we use is called: SMART performance models. If you are not familiar with this model, let me explain.
SPECIFIC: This is how you drive behavior and actions.
- Follow up with every prospect within 48 hours.
- Proposals submitted within 5 business days.
- 15 calls made per day to qualified prospects.
MEASURABLE: This is how you track progress that delivers results.
- Have 200 attendees at the Spring workshop.
- Secure 5 new $10,000 customers a month/quarter.
- Develop one new stream of income generating $100,000 a year.
ACHIEVABLE: This is how you justify what is being done when throughout the calendar month. Your have to ensure that the delivery expectations are considered along with the cycles of other deliverables. Having too many overlapping deliverables can create a chaotic environment. The impact is often sub-par quality and poor results.
REALISTIC: It is important that people feel like they can accomplish their objectives. That said, you don’t want objectives to be a slam-dunk. If you feel you are ready to STRETCH into new growth … then you and your team need to STRETCH your expectations and results.
TIME-BOUNDED: I’ve already spoken to this when I gave you my previous example … Follow-up with every prospect within 48 hours. It’s a well-known fact that “timing” is important. It might not be “everything” as the old adage indicates … but it is definitely important!
5. Implement a Reporting System: Now that you have objectives, don’t let your team stick them in a file or drawer, never to be seen again, until Performance Review time. Instead, keep their objectives alive and well by implementing a MONTHLY REPORT system.
We try to keep our quite simple and it works like this:
Everyone gets a email at the first of the month reminding them that their monthly report is to do their immediate supervisor or manager AND my assistant via email at 9am the fifth of the month (for the previous month’s performance) — NO EXCEPTIONS!
We have everyone send their email using the exact same subject line so that they can be easily searched and grouped.
The reports are generally 1 page, with a few exceptions. We encourage everyone to use bullet points to keep them simple and to use their objectives to report on the following categories:
- Major Activities – Include statistics and quantifiable numbers where possible (in other words, prove it!)
- Key Accomplishments – Give yourself a pat on the back!
- Roadblocks/Obstacles – Yes–you know they exist . . .
- 90-Day Outlook – What is your fundamental focus for the next three months?
- SOPs/Procedure Manual – Update any areas you have documented
- Important Observations – Areas of concern/kudos to team members and field staff
- Business Units Hours – Monthly totaled production hours for the various business units. (The daily data should be submitted for rebilling or reporting, where needed, so for our sponsors.)
6. Performance Review system: Finally, the last area is at the end of the performance cycle, and that’s the Performance Review system. The Performance Review system has two different processes. One is the Performance Appraisal (looking backwards at the last 12 months. The other is Performance Development (looking forward).
Let’s look at the Performance Review system. We use a self-appraisal process.
- Why? No one knows what has been done more than the employee who does it!
- Take each SMART objective and give a Rating: Exceeds All, Exceeds Most, Meets All, Meets Most, Does Not Meet
- It ends with the employee’s statement on what they believe they need to either develop more competence in their current position, or skills they desire in order to move up. This conversation allows you get clear on your future together and garner your support in development and training opportunities. This will ensure that you are creating bench strength as well as a succession plan for growing your business.
There you have it. Everyone wants to know the secret sauce to sustainable success. It boils down to this:
- No one makes it alone.
- What gets measured is what gets done.
- And what gets rewarded is what gets repeated!
Now you have the systems to make this happen!