Category Archives: #OrganizationalDevelopment
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)
Change is hard.
No one likes change. Especially leaders who know change is needed in order to be more successful.
Change is not just a new set of goals, processes, workflow or behaviors. It’s a turn in culture that starts with reassessing what’s needed to make progress.
Redefining vision, mission, goals, KPIs and behaviors are necessary, but if the mindset and thinking of the organization aren’t addressed, even the best planned strategies will fall short of lasting change.
It can be an overwhelming feeling when you realize change needs to happen. As with everything else, leadership must not only change it’s processes but thinking as well to lead change.
It’s essential to to start the path to real change with a renewed clarity on vision, goals and processes,
but change only starts when the organization as a whole starts to think and see differently.
So here are 9 steps to start the process of real culture change, starting with you as a leader.
First and foremost:
Admit you as a leader need to change the culture. If your organization is not where it needs to be, take responsibility. Your leadership has allowed certain behaviors to manifest and take root that has led you to where you are currently. Don’t blame, but admit your faults and determine to be accountable for the change going forward.
The Road to Culture Change Starts with You.
Reveal and/or remind the vision. Sometime your people need to be reminded of the vision. You may also find out some where never quite aware of the mission at all (again take ownership for this shortcoming). The key is to talk up the vision so everyone can start calibrating their thinking on what the objective is.
Set the expectation. Let everyone know that they as individuals need to be on board with the vision. There should be essential (non-negotiable) behaviors that align with the culture, and flexible (negotiable) behaviors that allow people to be themselves while still operating with the cultural framework. Set the non-negotiables firmly but encouragingly.
Individually coach. Let your people know that you’ll be their biggest cheerleader and give them what they need to succeed or further grasp the renewed vision. Let them know immediately when they fall short, and show them how to get there. Ignoring behavioral shortcomings will only dilute the progress you’re trying to make, which is most likely why you ended up needing to change culture in the first place.
Hold accountable the cultural behaviors and performance. When an individual won’t engage or align themselves with change, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to correct. If they are still unwilling, then separate; you cannot risk drag factors that hold culture change hostage.
Yourself as a leader:
Be open and admit that you are changing as well. It’s easy to tell others what to do. It’s an entirely different leadership that shows it to your people. Let others know that you’ll be changing the culture within yourself, and that it starts with you. It sets them off of the defensive and sets you up to be the standard bearer for change.
Have others keep you just as accountable. The next necessary step after admitting you are changing as well is to allow others – everyone – from all around the organization to keep you accountable to stay the course and manifest the change within and without. When people know that there is mutual standard and they are allowed to hold everyone on the team to it, there will be more openness to allow change to occur. This prevents leaders from making the change all about others and only partially committing to it themselves.
Daily preach culture behaviors and the larger vision. Unless you are willing to start over with an entirely new team, you need to dilute and over time replace the old culture. This can only occur by focusing on the new mindset not just everyday, but at every interaction throughout the day. Conversations, emails, texts and even external communications are essential means in which to let the new culture grow roots. The more you focus on talking about change, the deeper it grows into everyone’s mind and the DNA of the organization.
Look for willing mindsets to be culture champions. No leader can effect culture change by themselves, so you need to identify those who adopt the new mindset – the renewed vision – and allow them to positively infect the organization. Leverage their enthusiasm and the shared vision to stimulate faster, more committed change and engagement.
Once these underlying steps are in place, then the culture, goals and strategies you’ve identified can start to take hold.
When a group of people have a common vision and commitment to make change happen, the results speak for themselves. Many books on business and history will attest to the incredible changes made when a group of people had the same vision and mindset to effect progress and make their company, their country, or their communities better.
Leadership is about shaping mindsets that change behaviors that eventually transform a culture.