Category Archives: #OrganizationalDevelopment
People have an intrinsic value that the best leaders know how to ascribe or give notice to.
In some instances a leader can devalue a skilled employee yet that same employee with the right boss can be edified where their talents and contributions and intangibles are noted.
A mined gem can look rough and the layperson can say that it may have some value, but it takes a skilled gemologist to see the gem for what it really is. Once its true inherent value is attached that gem is now known for what it has always possessed.
Think of the basketball player who doesn’t put a very good stat line but the intangibles they bring are highly coveted by the coach. They may be a fantastic team player, committed to their craft and helping their teammates get better without regard to their own numbers. Their presence on the team and value given by their coach will pay more dividends than someone who is deemed below average by the coaching staff.
I personally know of three executives who each were brought aboard their respective companies poised for growth. In each instance, they dismissed the majority of their entire staff’s input because they felt that hardly anyone had the experience or intellect that they did. And in each situation that led to a mass exodus of talent. One company never recovered and sold to a competitor. One downsized and is still struggling to be relevant today. And another is stagnant and slowly loosing footing in the marketplace.
All because those leaders did not find a way to value their people and the talent that was laden within them,
It’s what leaders see, and how they bring that out in their people, that can make or break an employee. And many leaders unfortunately devalue their people. Some even devalue everyone who doesn’t fit a certain profile, or make the boss feel good, or have certain background.
And many of those “outlier” employees seek elsewhere for those leaders who know how to truly value their gifts and talents.
How leaders can give or import value onto others can make a tremendous impact on your organization. Everyone you’ve hired has a value, and a good leader will find it and bring it out in their people.
You have an employee who is not performing up to standards. Now you have a decision to make, whether or not to let them go.
This decision point tends to be a watershed moment for the leader as much, and perhaps more so, than for the employee in question.
When a situation like this arises, the leader does not have a default binary “Should they stay or should they go?” choice, but a different choice that can transform a culture and ensure your leadership – and the future of the employee – pays greater dividends all around.
That choice should be:
Decide To Groom Them Before You Broom Them.
If you were to search for the top reasons for employee turnover you will find every study points to one of these reasons in their list:
- Lack of Growth Opportunities
- No Talent Development
- No Vision
- No Connection to the Culture
- Employees Feel Stuck
- No Enough or Proper Training
Employee turnover is not just voluntary, initiated by the staff member. Involuntary reasons such as lay offs and especially termination define what turnover consists of as well. This means as leaders we cannot turn a blind eye to either one of these, because how we train and provide deeper meaning to our people impacts whether staff leave on their terms, or on other terms.
When a leader is faced with the decision to fire someone, they should ask questions along these lines to themselves first:
- Did we give the employee consistent view of the vision of the company?
- Have we connected as an organization to the individual, making them feel valued?
- Have we listened to their voice, and taking their feedback for us to improve?
- Did we show them everything they need to do their job?
- Did we understand their individual learning needs, and not just try to move them up the productivity chart when their learning curve was slower?
- Are the tools they need to accomplish their job working?
- Are the systems they use too complex?
- Do other employees complain about the same issues this person seems to be struggling with?
- Are they willing to learn and are committed to our culture?
- Did we just train them once and assume full competence?
- Did we continue training and development every day to ensure they – and all staff – continue to improve at their jobs?
Many years ago I had a team of supervisors approach me that a certain individual was not performing to standards after 5 weeks on the job. They suggested that I look to let her go.
My response to them were the following questions:
- “Did you show her everything she needs to do her job?” (Their answer – “yes we did”)
- “Did you truly show her EVERYTHING?” (Their new answer – “well, not really”)
- “Did you see if she needed help on anything you showed her? Did you spend extra time after her initial onboarding to help her understand everything?” (Answer – “no, not really”)
- “Do you think she learns slower than others?” (They replied – “yes”)
- “What are her best traits?” (They said “pleasant, punctual, clean, doesn’t stand around”)
- “Is she willing to learn or does she give you attitude?” (Their answer – “she listens well and seems eager”)
By this time they got what I was saying. they agreed to double down on her training, give her some time to learn, and keep pouring attention into her development.
4 weeks later the supervisor team came back to me and told me what a great job this employee was doing, and that she is starting to stand out as one of the better employees.
I then replied “And we were ready to let her go. What did we learn?” They learned that it was better to ensure we groomed our team before we decided to broom them out.
There are far more times people leave due to our failings as leaders than we realize. Grooming your people must take priority to ensure the role is understood, executed, and aligned with your culture.
The resulting outcomes speak for themselves. If an employee needs to leave involuntarily, then we know we did everything on our end to provide necessary training and can be protected in that decision. If they leave voluntarily, then most likely it’s because they found a great opportunity and are leaving a good culture and role for a better fit for them.
And if they don’t leave but stay with your organization you have benefited by becoming an employer of choice and are giving your people those things they need and want in the workplace.
Groom before you think to broom.
The one thing that prevents a company from growing is, quite simply, the company. In micro, the same can be said for leaders as well.
While a leader’s scorecard is measured in large by the performance of the company, in many instances the leader creates, incidentally but sometimes on purpose, barriers that stunt the growth of their organization.
Whether your company wants fast or more sustainable, long-term growth, creating a balanced synergy over the four P’s of Purpose, People, Process and Product will ensure your organization focuses on the core priorities for growth without getting bogged down or sidetracked.
PURPOSE. Having a defined purpose for why your organization exists and what is proposes to do and become is the core thread for everything else. Your purpose needs to be clearly defined, written out, spoken at every turn, and infused in all system Processes, People development and Products (or services) offered. Defined Purpose keeps all things on track and should be the ultimate measure (above profits, shareholder ROI, or market share) of how your organization is performing.
PEOPLE. Investing in People gives you the best ROI of any dollar you spend; far beyond what equipment and marketing campaigns will ever generate. Instilling your People with a deep sense of your Purpose, training them and giving them the necessary resources – and autonomy – to execute their jobs according to the Purpose keeps them engaged. And their future development will give you an exponential resource to improve Process flow and Product needs as they grow with the organization.
PROCESS. Ensuring all systems, all Processes, align with the execution of your Purpose through your People will keep your company streamlined and primed for any rapid growth opportunities. Processes so aligned will ensure a higher rate of productivity, reduces wasted resources and speeds growth. Profit, while notably absent from these 4 P’s, is merely the by-product of proper Processes that create that bottom line contribution, which should be invested into the organization’s other four P’s.
PRODUCT. Products, and services, must meet the needs of your People (most notably your customers) as defined by your Purpose. Product that defines your Purpose the best will meet that need and create greater demand in filling those needs. Having Product that is aligned will also keep an organization from chasing after products that abandon it’s purpose in an effort to solely grow sales or customer; these product steal resources from other aligned needs and slow down the company’s ability to sustainably grow.
Growth in necessary in every company, but being able to grow strong and quickly when needed requires leaders to make sure everything is lined up and nothing impedes such growth. But more importantly, a leader should make sure that nothing encroaches on the ability of these four P’s to manifest and support each other symbiotically to allow them to grow in harmony.
Know how each focus feeds into each other and ensure your organization monitors their progress in some capacity every day.
(image: pixabay; inforgraphic: paullarue/canva)