Love you all, praying for you,
I just love God’s Word. It is wisdom for life, the standard of excellence, instruction for success. And it is so very practical. Have you ever been responsible for leading a team, with one or more members underperforming? That experience probably started in high school, when the teacher assigned a ‘group project.’ Of the four kids in your group, two of you did all the work, the third did little but tried to take credit, and the fourth never even showed up. Didn’t seem fair that everyone gets the same grade, but welcome to life. You could get upset and do nothing and get an “F” on the project, or you can do more than your share. Because if you don’t, the project just won’t get done. Remember the life rule: The ball is always in your court. But in an adult world, career, or organization, how do you address underperforming team members if you are responsible for the team? Why do people underperform? 1) The standard hasn’t been defined. So no one knows what excellence is, they follow their own definitions, or don’t even think about it. 2) The standard hasn’t been communicated. People don’t know the requirements. They don’t know what excellence is, what is expected and required – it’s never been clearly and regularly communicated to them. 3) They don’t have the capacity, maybe physically or mentally – they lack the skill or ability required. They are misplaced, better suited to other things. 4) They don’t want to. They now know the standard and expectations, but they don’t agree, or their work ethic or commitment to excellence is lacking - it doesn’t match the performance standard of your team or organization. So what is the remedy? What must you do to ensure success? You will either secure the standard, or fight fires. Someone asked me recently what I would do to handle an underperforming team member. We’ll call it a Countertop Company. An important client was upset because their desired unique piece of granite was sold out from under them. The customer service person who was serving the client said they didn’t pay on time, so the supplier sold it to another customer. The customer was irate, the service rep said it was the customer’s fault. And the leader had asked them multiple times if everything was going ok. Obviously it wasn’t. The customer was not informed of the consequence of their delay, nor encouraged to get their payment in, so they lost their material selection. Not their fault, the company’s fault – if we want happy customers. So what do you do? First fix the fire, then fix the problem. You will either secure the standard, or always fight fires. There is a silver lining of an irate customer. It forces you to better process, or better people. You might not be able to salvage this relationship. Sometimes you screw up and lose customers. This is your company’s fault, your employee’s fault, ultimately your fault, you screwed up. If you’re the leader – it’s on you. Ultimately – it’s your responsibility to ensure that customers are served with excellence. So first things first – save the deal. The silver lining, while it’s unlikely to retain a customer after a major company fail… If you do, if you can turn them around., customers you turn around often become extremely loyal customers. That’s the opportunity. But the real problem is your leadership. You either secure the standard, or you’ll always fight fires, and lose customers. So how do you secure the standard? #1: Define it. #2: Communicate it - clearly and regularly, once a year won’t cut it. #3: Assess continually. #4. Celebrate and reward excellence. One thing to note: Some people aren’t cut out for this job. Sometimes you have to let people go who are not capable or not willing to adhere to the standard of excellence that God has called you to. They’re better suited to other things. The best thing you could do for them and your company is to let them go, so they can find success at the level they feel comfortable with. Then - once you get the right team in place. Communicate regularly the standard. Next how to secure the standard? Anticipate challenges – an O Schmidt meeting - what could go wrong – before it goes wrong and mitigate it. And finally celebrate success, the more recognition and reward you give to those meeting and exceeding the standard, the more the entire organization is focused on excellence, and can share in the reward of it. Everyone benefits! Customers, company, profits, and employees. Everyone wants to be excellent. No one really wants to be insufficient or subpar. Help people - by defining the standard, communicating it regularly, assessing often, and rewarding success. Employees who operate with excellence are not only more productive, they are happier, more satisfied, they’ll even come up with better ways to be excellent. No job is perfect, every job is hard. But if you focus on excellence your pay could increase, but the intrinsic reward of being excellent – makes you a better and happier person. People want to be a part of excellent teams. It makes work worthwhile. Excellence is a testimony, it’s really worship to God. Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as for the LORD, not for men, knowing that from the LORD you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the LORD, Christ whom you serve. Daniel was excellent. He was ‘neither corrupt, nor negligent’ His habits were excellent. Praying that you will create environments in your life for the excellence of Christ to be on display – so you can help people grow and know the joy of a job well done, people well served, and God well pleased.
Love you all,
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Kelly Kamentz - Jesus follower, husband, father, and friend, helping others surrender time, thoughts, money, and testimony, to fulfill their purpose!