In my last post, I listed the top 10 reasons for poor performance. In today's post, I will discuss the first reason -- people don't know what they are supposed to do -- in some detail.
At first glance, this may seem like a no brainer -- many leaders say "of course people know what to do, they don't need me to tell them".
Effective leaders go to great lenghths to ensure that their people know exactly what is expected of them. If you're not specific about your expectations, you can't blame the people who work for you if they don't meet them. You can blame only yourself.
Setting expctations and making sure that people know what they are supposed to do doesn't need to take a lot of time. In his famous book, The One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard calls it One Minute Goal Setting. In all fairness, it takes more than a minute -- but not much.
Effective leaders are very clear on their expectations. They make sure that people know 3 things:
- What needs to be accomplished,
- The deadline for accomplishing it,
- What successful completion of the goal or task looks like.
For example, if you're a sales manager, you probaly have exepctations regarding call reporting. You can convery this information to your sales people in a few simple sentences. For example:
"Joe, I expect that you will see at least 25 customers a week. This works out to an average of five per day." (1. What needs to be accomplished.)
"I want to receive your weekly call reports for all 25 of the calls by Friday at 5:00." (2. The deadline for accomplishing it.)
"I want the call reports e mailed to me. You should use the standard call report form. Make sure you complete all the form accurately -- especially when you're updating the customer contact information. Don't forget to provide at least one or two sentences of narrative about the call. It's not enough to just check the boxes. I want to see what's going on with the customer, so I need you to complete the narrative part of the form too." (3. What successful completion of the task looks like.)
Armed with this information, Joe can plan his week. He'll need to budget time for making call, and for reporting on those calls. Most likely, he will realize that call reporting is as important as making the calls. Without this information, Joe might assume that making calls is more important than reporting on them, and he might let his call reporting slide.
Joe's boss is doing him a favor. He's helping Joe to succeed by telling him exactly what he should be doing.
The common sense point here is: If you don't tell people exactly what you expect of them, they will decide for themselves. You're better off telling them, than letting them guess.
In my next post, I'll discuss the second reason for poor performance: "People don't know why they should be doing what they are supposed to do."
Thanks for reading. For more common sense advice on leadership, log on to my website, www.BudBilanich.com.
I'll see you around the web.