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The power of consequence: tools to help improve performance.

The art of using consequences to improve poor performance. 

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Recently one of our Software users submitted a question on our website and asked the following, “What do I do if someone in my sales team does not hit their targets each week and has a red dashboard? How do I handle that?” 

That's a good question, and a one we support business leaders to answer frequently.

Most companies attempt to measure key performance indicators within their business, but too often, the numbers they choose to track are historical rather than predictive. Identifying the relevant predictive measures takes some careful planning and clever thinking.  

Then with Business Execution Software, these numbers can be made highly visible and accessible via the internet and mobile applications.  Whilst these tools will help to drive better results, the dreaded “people” issue now becomes highly visible and begging to be addressed.

Former US Secretary of State, Collin Powell made a powerful observation when addressing the 2009 Global Leaders Lecture series;

“Everyone in a team knows who is and who is not performing and they are looking to you as the leader to see what you are going to do about it.”

If you do not hold people accountable and confront poor performers, you will not create a high performance team.  There must be consequences, and the reason for this is to keep your A players, the high performers in your team, engaged. No one wants to be part of a team that accepts mediocrity and if it is allowed to continue it destroys team culture.

Some tools for ensuring there are consequences:

  1. Include teams and individuals in planning and setting their team and individual targets.
  2. Agree one on one with each team member that what they are setting out to do is achievable, and that they are committed to it.
  3. Discuss results as a team, using Business Execution Software to make the Key performance indicators visible on a weekly basis
  4. Manage people individually. Meet with each individual one on one on a weekly basis to support high performers to get better and support poor performers to improve.
  5. Train regularly as a team. Leverage the skills and learnings of the high achievers.
  6. Be consistent. A consequence of not hitting a goal should be that it is confronted each time with a conversation. 
  7. Use Core Values and a simple set of team rules as tools to provide a framework for setting and managing expectations.
  8. You job as a business leader is to support, grow and mentor your team.
  9. Over-communicate your expectations about what needs to be happening.
  10. Ensure the tasks they perform each day actively align with achieving their goals i.e. are they doing enough of the right things to succeed.
  11. Build a culture of winning and hitting goals. Part of this is ensuring the goals are achievable.

There must be consequences for poor performance if a team is to grow and win in business today. Everyone in your team knows who is and who is not performing and are looking at you as the leader to see what you are going to do about it. A sobering thought. Make sure you take action!

Business Strategist - The RESULTS Group 
Kendall Langston

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