A couple of years ago we read a great little book by Brian Tracy called Eat that Frog. The core point was that dealing with difficult situations as they arise and tackling them head on saves time and gets things done quicker. You just have to eat the frog first.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of that book over the course of three separate conversations with leaders who were trying to find ways to pay senior people to leave their organisations. In all instances the person was not performing to the standard wanted, but were to all intents and purposes “good at their job”. Just not good in the way wanted. Some were being offered compromise agreements, while others were being restructured out of the business. Nobody has treated them with enough respect to actually tell them how their performance was falling short. Somehow it was permissible for their managers to not do their job i.e. to have direct performance conversations.
One of our core workshop principles is to talk to people not about them. It’s not easy to do. It requires two things:
Firstly, Skill. It takes a combination of really listening to the underperforming individual so that they feel heard and respected; being firm and clear about what you expect of them; being focussed in the conversation and not getting sidetracked; coming to agreements about what you will both do. And of course this is like reading a book on how to ride a bicycle. You only get your balance on the bike by practising in a safe environment and making lots of subtle adjustments on the road.
Secondly, and most importantly, Courage. In other words not letting the fact that you are uncomfortable about it stop you doing it. It’s your job, and not doing it well lets both you and your colleagues down.
Find out more about how we can help you eat that frog in our 2017 workshops.