This week’s focus: “You haven’t hit your target again this month,” we say to one of our team members. “If you don’t hit target next month, you and I will have to have a talk!” How many variations of this conversation go down in our organisations every month? And why do we end up repeating this approach so often? I mean, if we keep repeating the approach, doesn’t that mean it’s not working?
Let’s first look at why the ‘scoreboard’ approach, if we stopped to think about it, can’t work; and then let’s look at what we might look at in its place.
Quite simply, why the approach doesn’t work is because we cannot manage a scoreboard. Our approach is like Alex Ferguson (or any other sports coach, since he has now retired) going into the change room at half time and saying “You are 0-2 down” and walking out. The scoreboard is a consequence, an output or result of what happens on the field. We can’t manage it – we can only manage what happens on the field – the inputs, the game plan if you like, and how the players contribute or approach this.
In my previous newsletter / blog, I talked about the components of what I call the Performance Triangle©, namely focus, skill mastery and self-fulfilment, and suggested that these are the areas that our conversations should be concerned with – these, then, form the basis of the inputs we should be talking about.
So, the first Performance Triangle© discussion that we should have relates to what our team member should be focusing on – in order to achieve the target. Most of our team members are responsible for achieving key performance areas, the score for which finds its way to the scoreboard. What are the inputs that would make up these KPA’s? What are the critical variables that they just have to get right in order to achieve them? For any task, for instance, achieving $X in sales figures, there are at least several variables making up the task – for example, how they might generate leads, who the leads should be, how many people they might see per day, the best time to see prospects, the sales process, the way the prospect looks at their needs, etc. In short, we should have conversations with our team member/s that explore the various ways they might optimise and maximise each critical variable pertaining to their role. In this way, we help them to improve their performance on the field of play.
Beats telling them they are down, and walking out, doesn’t it!
Food for thought:
“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” (Tom Peters)
I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts.
In our next edition, we will look at the second conversation in the Performance Triangle©, Skills Mastery.
Until then, best wishes