Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Are You Killing Performance?

.. people are an organization's most valuable resource and that a manager's job is to prepare and free people to perform.
                         - Peter Drucker

I still find it amazing when I come across someone in management who feels it is an employee's job to listen and obey.  Highly paid professionals that end up being nothing more than robots.  There is absolutely no discernible acknowledgment of who actually does the work that keep those high management pay checks from bouncing.

I have a friend who working in Marketing in a fortune 100 company.  Recently they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a detailed and extensive market research campaign around the world.  The total bill was probably closer to seven figures when you add up everything and everyone involved.  From producing test materials to interviews to planing an execution the project took months.  People slaved to meet deadlines and their lives were disrupted with the tight global travel schedules.  So what's the point?

When it was all done and produced the VP looked at the results and tossed everything in the garbage.  She personally preferred another design.

In one ignorant, oblivious move she utter destroyed every ounce of motivation and respect her employees had for not only her but the organization.  Months of their professional efforts - which were significant and produced excellent data - were simply dismissed arbitrarily.

She destroyed their performance.

Never again did her people work as hard on any project, because the specter of it getting tossed in the trash always hung over their group.

If she simply kept  Peter Drucker's philosophy in mind she would have a well oiled machine at her disposal.  Now all she has are people going through the motions.

Training is simply one facet of Human Performance. You have to let your people use their skills to produce excellence, lead them in bettering their skills, and let them loose. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have to have input on every idea? (micromanaging)
  • Do you ever just have a meeting and listen? (respecting your people's professional opinion)
  • Have you ever backed a direction or decision you had reservations about?  (trusting your people to make mistakes and learn)

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