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- We can shout at them and tell them that their work isn't good enough.
- We can try and figure out why their work isn't good enough and try to help them improve.
- We can articulate what good looks like and help share with them some principles we want them to work to.
The last point, sharing with them the principles of how you want your team to run, can be invaluable not just for your under-performing team members but for the wider business.
Let me give you an example.
I worked with a business that was struggling to keep up with their client projects. We looked at a number of their failings and came up with handful of 'performance principles' that included:
- We don't do surprises - if something bad happens tell your team mates immediately and work on a plan together.
- Walk don't run - if the pressure gets too much don't do the 'headless chicken' dance, slow down and think!
- Preparation equals productivity - if you haven't prepared, don't start.
I'm sure that you get the gist. These were reminders of the way that we wanted to work and were written in a way that helped the team to periodically focus on how they wanted to act and behave so that they could adjust their management and leadership style for the deliver of their projects.
Performance principles are another way of sharing a standard with your team. If you do it right then you will be able to get the team involved with defining the standards and the principles and get even more buy in to this approach.
The business that I mentioned before came up with ten principles and they now regularly score themselves out of ten as to how many of the principles they are living and breathing. This is also one of the strategies that I share in my book Losing the Cape; it is a great way to help your business shift away from re-active firefighting and into proactive work on improving the performance of your business operations.
If you haven't defined and shared something like this with your team is today the day to put pen to paper?
About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.