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Defining a framework for winning

October 30, 2012 -  By
Headshot: Bob Coulter

By Bob Coulter

As 2012 comes to an end, it’s exciting to see many organizations that have made significant improvements and had solid goal achievement. At the same time you hear people say, “Our quality is not where it needs to be, we are not able to get to our customers on a timely basis, our margins are slipping, our revenue is not what we want it to be, we don’t have time to get to get everything done, and we are working too many hours.” The most important ingredient that determines whether companies are winning or losing comes down to people.

 Winning leaders have seen the quickest way to get everyone on the same page is to have clear, defined goals and performance expectations. When we all know what a win is for the company, we can get energized about where we’re going. Successful leaders have seen the importance of achieving balanced results with customers, employees and financials. These goals need to be spelled out in an objective manner, so we can be clear about how we’re doing in each area. To win as a business we need to translate the company goals into the specific goals for individual employees. Each leader needs to understand what’s expected of them and what goals he or she need to achieve in his or her specific role. The individual expectations should tie back to what a win is for the organization.

 Many people ask me what the most impactful things are they can do to improve their conditions and reach their objectives. The road map for success revolves around the concept of performance management, so each employee is able to own his or her area of responsibility and have consistent achievement of his or her performance deliverables.

 This five-point plan provides us with a framework of really winning:

1. Form a win-win agreement with all members of your team. You have to know what a win is for them, and they need to see how they can reach their personal goals by making the right contribution in their role.

2. For each position, ensure you have in place guidelines, boundaries and rules of the game. Do this by defining what a win is ,and how employees can earn an A with specific things they need to accomplish.

3. Give them what they need to succeed. Each supervisor needs to equip his or her employees with the tools, resources and coaching they need to master their roles and put them in a position to earn an A in their areas.

4. Cultivate a culture of personal accountability. This will come from supervisors holding up the mirror so that all employees see themselves clearly, and we each inspect our own work to ensure it’s right. We can’t be trapped in looking at the tasks; instead, focus on the results that are achieved. We need to have ongoing measurement and scorekeeping to foster accountability.

5. Monitor (and take action on) results. There needs to be natural consequences in place for individuals who achieve great performance, and natural consequences in place when people fail to live up to their commitments. Start with coaching; document what takes place and then move on if they don’t improve.

Performance improvement is clearly a journey. No company can just throw a switch and elevate its play. It’s important that you work on how you can improve your individual performance and the performance of your organization. Each role needs to have deliverables, and every person needs to know what they have to accomplish.

 Leaders should focus their energy on helping people understand the behaviors they need to have, and then follow through until the habits are formed. The management team needs to model this for the rest of the company, and then work the process with everyone in the organization. It starts with the senior members of the team. You must model the right things to facilitate change and gain performance improvement as a leader. Leading with performance deliverables accomplishes both better company results and fulfillment for your people.

Coulter is a consultant with JP Horizons. He will present “Establishing Deliverables and Measurables (SOPs)” and “Coaching and Team Building” on Dec. 5 at the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation Conference and Show in Columbus.

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