I have questions for you:

  • Did you start the financial year with agreed, written objectives? 

(by the way, the year starts on day 1 not in the middle of month 2!)

  • Do you personally get the right levels of support to help you deliver?
  • Have you had regular one to ones to review progress? 

(by the way, reviewing progress is not a quick, “so how’s it going?”)

  • Do you believe you will benefit if you deliver against expectations?
  • Do you believe there will be real consequences if you don’t deliver?
  • Does everyone in your business answer these questions the same, positive way?

These questions matter. Because, if the answer to even one of them is No then I think there’s a good chance that you, your team or business are not delivering the highest performance possible.

I’m starting to believe that creating a high performing business (one that does everything that it hoped for, and then some more) is about having a laser focus on executing four things, which I rather cunningly label EIRC (I know that sounds a bit like a nuclear research centre, but bear with me!):

1.     Set clear Expectations about deliverables, change and behaviour

2.     Investments in people to help them meet their objectives

3.     Regularly Review progress against those specific deliverables

4.     Have rewards and other Consequences for meeting/exceeding expectations

Of course, you can add to this plenty of detail like: 

  • Make sure expectations are mutually agreed, stretching, but achievable, set before the period not in the middle of it .. should I go on?
  • Regularly adjust expectations as things change (very few of us work in 1 year cycles any more, most are in months)
  • Ensure consequences are explicit as well as psychological (people often fear being fired more strongly than it is likely to happen, but sometimes also need other negative consequences spelled out like impacts oil their reputation, advancement etc.) 
  • Linking objectives to form a co-ordinated whole

But, do you know what, if you just did these four steps consistently, to a high level, with everyone else buying in, then you’d be a long, long way towards high performance. Right?

Simon Cooper


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