The weak link in working the problem

April 14, 2014 (San Diego)

            Go back to my March 14 blog, extracted for ease of reading

1.       Review the required performance goal with the employee. It better have some performance metrics

2.       State the gap in performance.

3.       Now the painful part: explore why the gap exists. This will take the patience of “Job” but it works. You are going to hear all the whining and excuses. “Tell me more.” More whining and excuses. “Tell me more” ….. “Is there anything else I need to know.” Once you have exhausted their deep reservoir of reasons go to the next step.

4.       Restate the situation to insure you “understand” it from the employee’s perspective.

5.       Keep cycling on station with number 3 and 4 until you get: “that’s it” (understanding) understanding

6.       Now propose one right next step to move out of this slough of despair.

7.       Get agreement with the employee that they understand the step and that the step will start to move things forward. “Hope is not a good business strategy.”

8.       Have a next performance review soon to reinforce that the step is working or that it needs to be revisited.

The weak link in the 8 parts was 3-5. With a group of managers who are learning this skill. To a person at their first go at using the skills with an employee they went from step 2 to step 6. Step 7 was always not totally clear that it happened. Of course they will know when the first step 8 happens.

My coaching: as laborious and time consuming as steps 3-5 are, take the time to gain clarity on why the gap exists with words from the employee.

These are words you can build off of at step 8 for better or for worse. With explicit clarity articulated in step 7 of what the employee agrees to do based on the nature of the “why the problem exists” you as the supervisor / manager can circle right back to those words.

Take the time for your sake


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