…. There's a serious disconnect in needs and expectations of employers. Why do so many organizations wait so long to deal with "low performers" on their teams? As a professional coach, I ask myself the same question all the time. The only answer I can really come up with is — they don't really know how to deal with them and get themselves motivated.
Flock Mentality - Most companies believe that any manager should be able to transfer his or her skills to their reps by going out on road with them and coaching them. And, for obvious reasons to cut down costs, they are expected to do this for free. I had seen a manager in my past who did say this exactly— "Why would I be interested to disclose all of my life's accumulated knowledge to some complete strange kid for free?" I did realize the ugly side of corporate ladder. Procrastination in a team is not bottom-up. It seeps from the very top, drip by drip! If you can't bloody devote few minutes a day to care about your little ones, your team will lose people slowly and steadily.
Trying to tell someone to sell more, prospect more or even try harder is completely ineffective in such a situation. I once had a sales manager years ago who came with me for a half day to "assess" my skills. To make a long story short, after our day was over his advice to me was this… "You're doing great, keep it up. If anyone can do it on this team… you can." Again…really? That was quite dis-respectful. Teams deserve respect. That was his best words of wisdom to a young upcoming manager. What a shame! And, thank goodness I didn't work for that company very long, who knows how bad I may have actually become had I stayed.
Don't try to be a Trump - If someone is under-performing on your team, you've got to think of several things before letting them go. First of all, did you hire them or did you inherit them? If you hired them, then you should have had them assessed more carefully before simply taking their word on being successful. Secondly if you inherited them, then you should have had them assessed immediately. In fact you should have ran your whole team through an assessment to measure skill gaps before even contemplating w/tasks. Let me ask you this…
Would you buy a used car from a complete stranger without having it checked out first? Would you buy a previously owned home 10 years or older from a complete stranger without a home inspection first? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you should close this post, but if you answered "no or never" to them, keep reading, there's hope for you yet! You might have a great team and you might have a few people under-performing. Even if your team is making serious profits and great closure, doing something out-of-box for your team is a good idea. Plan a strategy each time you travel half-around the globe to meet them. Make them understand why you'd make the road-trip. Make every mile count.
A good team is contains no procrastinators. A good team is committed, is respectful of one another, supports each other to get things going, knows other team members beyond a professional level, embraces different ideas and opinions, shares openly and willingly. Last but not the least, earns your trust. Overall, say your team is meeting budget, so now what? Keep chugging along and keep doing what you've always been doing and hope that no one gets "sick" on your team. That's an option, but is it really a feasible one? Would you treat your car like that? I don't think so. Experience and many costly repairs to your vehicles over time has taught you to be proactive and understand the meaning of "preventative maintenance". What about your body? Would you not get a yearly check-up even if you're healthy? Most people who get seriously ill always ask themselves why they waited so long to get something checked out. See…the simple things are the things we need to pay attention to in life. The big things will get attention regardless of whether we want to grant them attention or not. Getting your team's skill gaps assessed every year is a simple, yet smart thing to do. It costs very little when you weigh it against the cost of lost sales and profit.
Current skills? If you do nothing else for your team and your company this year, try doing a skill gap assessment. Don't shove your team's weakness on their faces. A team is not a herd of sheep! Make a private note where and what you personally think is a problem for each individual player. If you've ample time, have an private talk. Building up on your team's skills is a progressive process that involves setting up new goals, getting over them and setting new ones beyond that. When you are building up these sets of skills, you will also be gearing yourself up for the goals that are waiting ahead and will test your courage, determination and the willingness to think outside the box when faced with novel issues.
I had explored different options. And, I did consider a lot of ideas. I will be writing about them in my next few posts. Always train people what you think they lack. There are a zillion options today. Online courses? Yes, why not. Its not just easy, but its the best way for remote teams. In contrast to corporate training, it costs quite less per person, which is a very handy for small-biz teams to manage their team to assess the key elements and skill gaps of each person on your team. Discovering these will then determine the specific training required to improve performance and ultimately helps you have a perfect way of work you'd always wanted. Even if you chose not to train them, it gives you a road map to coaching these low performers more accurately and effectively.
Bridging the skills-gap - Establishing a foundation for your team is something that builds you up for better things in the future. Make them independent. Train your spartans to face the future and overcome any obstacles that a biz could ever head for. If you are a manager, train yourselves. For you to create that firm foundation that will last you for long and serve you well, learning the right thing in your own way is the key. Delegation comes later.
Have the know on all the relevant things that will get you on a career path that will enable yourself to change the world and improve the areas you see need a boost. Learning the right thing at the right time is far more necessary. It is all about learning what is relevant, that will keep getting increasingly difficult day by day.
Are you technically illeterate manager? Don't run and hide! Learn new skills and tiny useful habits that build you up into a better you. These challenges might be tough and at times, seemingly impossible but in the end, you become a better person who will be able to tackle issues in the field or their particular industry sector. As you learn to combat concepts and wrap your head around the things that you are learning, you will be able to grasp new ideas much faster, solve problems quicker and with increasing levels of accuracy.
You grow by lifting others up. And you get on to work even faster when you are able to take on challenges that come your way. Careers and job opportunities are only open to those people who can be able to handle the pressure that comes with such roles in society. If you have not gathered enough skills to help you get through a day at work without having to rely on someone else or keep on asking questions, then you will find it difficult to land yourself a job anywhere. Jobs are very lucrative especially when you have been well equipped for the opportunity that presents itself. No wonder, full-stack developers are so buzzing hot now! Its quite obvious, the more you keep learning, the more you have to share.
Every career is full of challenges that have the potential to change your life entirely as well as opening up new avenues towards making it big. It is entirely up to you to choose wisely how far you plan to move ahead, progressively. When you start off on a good note by gaining a useful education, you will have taken a very important first step which ensures that you are on the way to a successful life. The education does not rust or get old, in your mind, the facts, concepts and real-world applications that you picked up will be as clear as daylight.
There are several avenues towards achieving an education that will serve as a springboard to better things in life such as MOOCs, internet-based learning programs that progressively take you from one level to another thus giving you a gradual build-up of skills as well as the valuable knowledge that will open up the industry to you. By obtaining an education that is in line with your future prospects, you will be able to enhance your reach to much more connections, industry contacts and so many other important things in life which can only be revealed to you when you have got an education that is relevant to what you aim to achieve.
I always recall an interesting days I spent how one of my managers who knew what he lacked on his first day. Since did not understand what we spoke, he acknowledged what he lacked. He spent a day to purchase a book out of his own pocket money, and read it like a 3 year old. And, within the next few days my project was saved from being shelved. Thanks to his amazing talent to grasp the technical basics! Seriously, how many MBAs would ever do that? The world is full of new things waiting to be discovered and the best place to start is by getting yourself an education which will empower you for the future ahead as well as keeping yourself open to new opportunities and a completely different way of life.
In conclusion, keeping yourself afloat on the limitless sea is the key to achieving success in life and in your desired career. I try to do a few ideas from time to time. I recently launched this project & keeping a low-pro till we move to beta! We are hoping this initiative would serve you a jumping board to get you to the places you have always dreamed of in life. By getting a proper learning in the right places, you will be able to take up new skills and a whole lot of knowledge that will enable you to face virtually anything that gets in your way. Good luck!
Thanks for reading!