Improving Team performance

Performance Improvement is Possible – if You Can Answer These 15 Questions

Barbara Brown, PhD asked:

So you want your employees to work faster, smarter, and harder. But how do you make this happen?  You make this happen by always having ready-made answers to most or all of the following 15, spoken or unspoken, questions employees will ask:  

1. Why should I care?

2. Why should I improve?

3. Why is this important?

4. Why should I do this now?

5. Why should I do this at all?

6. Why should I do this your way?

7. Why does my performance matter?

8. Why should I continue to work here?

9. What does my performance impact?

10. Who does my performance impact?

11. Why should I continue to do my best?

12. What value do I bring to this organization?

13. What difference do my contributions make?

14. How do I contribute to this organization’s success?

15. How does this organization contribute to my success?

Why THESE Questions?

These are the questions you need to answer because employees do not give their best to managers who just distribute assignments. Employees give their best to managers who both distribute assignments and who also explain the value of doing those assignments well. This means that you can’t just distribute assignments and “expect the best” or “hope for the best.”  You have to be ready to explain to employees why giving their best is important.

How Do You Answer These Questions?

First, you don’t answer these questions with responses like:

1. This is the way it’s supposed to be done!

2. This is the way it’s always been done!

3. This is what I want done!

4. This is what the Boss wants!

5. This is the best way to do it!

6. This is in your job description!

7. This is what you get paid to do!

These responses are not very motivating. You do answer these questions by giving responses that highlight benefits for employees and benefits for the organization. At the organizational level, your responses might emphasize achieving team goals, fulfilling the organization’s mission, or improving customer satisfaction. At the employee level, your responses might emphasize increased personal productivity, faster resolution of problems, or learning opportunities.

Developing your responses is easy. To determine what’s important to employees, think about their personal goals, professional goals, and workload goals. To determine what’s important to the organization, think about how employee performance impacts people, practices, processes, and procedures. Use all this information to compile a list of ready-made responses you can use to either give a reason for performing well “after” employees ask a question or “before” employees ask a question.

Your Answers Can Lead To Performance Improvement

It is not impossible to motivate your employees to improve their performance or to continue giving you great performance.  The key is to not take their performance for granted.  Sure, employees know they get paid to do a job. But that does not mean they will do that job well, consistently and continuously.   

You can encourage a high level of ongoing performance by knowing what’s important to your employees and to your organization.  Then use this information to emphasize the mutual benefits of doing a great job. Start your performance improvement process with these 15 questions.  Your answers can make a difference.

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