Setting Expections

Sometimes the simplest of solutions produce the greatest results.  We have found that managers could have a profound impact on the success of their companies if they would find time to sit down with their direct reports or team members and agree on expectations.  It is important not only for the manager to insure that their direct reports understand these expectations but those being managed also have expectations for their manager.  It is shocking how often managers hold the belief that, “team members have been doing this job for a long time; they all know what they are supposed to do.”   This discussion includes not just what people need to do such as reach a sales quota but also How they are going to accomplish these goals.

 Is it any wonder why reviews with employees have become so difficult and uncomfortable?  We are charged, in many companies to sit down once a year and provide an annual review.  Often, these reviews are based on a standard that has never been discussed.  It should surprise no one that the manager is uncomfortable delivering an evaluation on an unknown standard.  If managers would have the first conversation, agreeing on expectations and laying out what is outstanding, average, below average, or unacceptable then the annual review would be much easier.

When one understands the requirements of doing a good job, it has been my experience that most people will strive to reach or exceed the goals.  I have not met too many employees or managers who are thinking, “Boy, I cannot wait to do a lousy job today.”  Most are trying to do a good job but they need clear guidance on what that looks like.  If I could get every company to do one thing to increase performance, it would be to follow a process for every manager to set clear, written expectations.  This has to be done every year and there needs to be progress reports on these expectations throughout the year. 

With clearly defined, written and agreed upon goals, organizations have a much greater opportunity to achieve success.  One simple solution to produce greater results.

Leaders Needed

Leaders in almost every company understand that the difference between success and failure in an organization is often the quality of their leadership.  One would think that this understanding would influence decisions and cause organizations to provide development that would ensure the continued health of the enterprise.  Amazingly, companies both large and small often ignore the necessity to develop their next level of leaders.

Many organizations spend a great deal of money creating training programs.  Often these programs are built on large and expensive infrastructures where current employees provide the leadership lessons for their colleagues.   Amazingly, even the U.S. Military realizes that if you want to provide leaders and emerging leaders with new ideas on leadership, it requires those with experience outside of the organization.  That is why many of the military courses at the Senior Leader Institutes are taught by civilians and outside experts.  Why is it that companies persist in the idea that they can train their leaders using only those who are “Drinking from the same trough?”

Clearly, there is a need for training on internal processes that will increase a managers’ efficiency within the company.  This is not the same as developing leaders.  As John Kotter, Harvard Leadership Guru, puts it, “Leadership is about change.”  One cannot train the next level of change agents by reinforcing current practices.  Companies that want to really develop leaders need to find a set of instructors with a program that provides a new view of leadership with techniques that expand their employees skill set.  Real leadership must be about change and the first issue to be addressed is a change in attitude by senior leaders.  A new outside source of training and development might be the best prescription to develop your next level of leaders.