Employees not performing…why do we tolerate it?

June 23rd, 2011

More importantly whose fault is it? Sound familiar…if it does you are not alone!

One of our clients is fighting to change a culture of creating vague expectations, not measuring performance and not holding people accountable. Trying to make this shift feels like trying to move a glacier with a toothpick! Their biggest challenge is that the business owner is taking over from his father and has inherited a culture of acceptance “as long as you are not costing the business money you’re ok”.

All of a sudden their industry is changing, a new level of competitiveness is emerging and the status quo will not do any longer.

They want to change and respond to the new market challenges but it feels like the company culture is just too entrenched and hard to change. As consultants our first task was to clarify their long term goals…we had them take time away from their business to redefine their strategy. Once they were able to step back and understand where they were going and what specific changes were required to get there, then they were able to begin to execute on that change.

With a crystallized view of where they were going, their managers were then able to create accountability structures (especially for their sales teams) which started the process to define, track and measure their results. The end result was a new found ‘transparency’ which enabled managers to have real conversations about actual, versus desired performance. Clear and measureable expectations along with this new style of communication has raised the ‘performance bar’ significantly. As a result, some people have been asked to leave, and others have left on their own. While this does not sound like the ideal outcome, over the long term the cost to the business of not making these changes far outweighs the immediate discomfort felt by those responsible for making the change.

Our client is seeing positive change within their business …and by their own admission, while it has been along hard journey the results have definitely been worth it.

We are always interested in hearing from you about similar experiences you’ve had!

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