There is a consistent communication pattern small business cultures fall into that cost companies money, limit revenue opportunities and ultimately kill cash flow and profits.
Aspects of this communication pattern are recognized at various times by various people yet few small business leaders have a system for addressing it in a way that has a positive impact on company performance and company personnel.
Three contexts of communication make up this pattern, which is an epidemic in the small business environment.
The pattern looks like this:
- A failure to set specific, measurable performance expectations for employees’ roles, responsibilities and results to be achieved,
- Causes supervisors, managers and company leaders to put off, procrastinate and/or avoid all together
- Engaging in direct and candid conversations with employees regarding their individual performance.
This cycle is difficult to break and so I’ve dubbed it The Poor Performance Perpetuation Spiral.
It perpetuates a culture of poor, or underperforming, employee performance creating low trust throughout the organization.
It is virtually impossible to provide employees with effective direct, candid feedback regarding their performance if expectations and standards for that performance have not be clearly articulated on the front end of the relationship, and then consistently measured and monitored.
Typically, at first, when it comes time for supervisors to provide performance feedback (which is too often, too far and too in-between), the employee becomes defensive, pushes back on the claims, pleads ignorance or blames others.
This creates a very negative interaction that neither the supervisor, or employee, is interested in re-engaging in anytime soon, leading to the avoidance strategies most do engage in.
This scenario is why sports is the perfect metaphor for managing performance in small business.
There are three strategies athletic teams apply when managing performance small business leaders should emulate.
These three strategies will not just improve performance, but they will also improve the trust in the workplace culture necessary to drive enhanced teamwork that will deliver greater performance results.
On sports teams:
- Coaches set clear performance expectations for each player on the team based on the needs of the team and the role they are expected to fill.
- Every day performance is tracked and measured with a scorecard, game performance summary (called a box score). The player, the coaching staff and all teammates know immediately who is performing effectively and who isn’t.
- When clear performance expectations are set early in the relationship, and each team member can trust that everyone’s performance is tracked consistently, and performance and behavior standards are applied consistently across all personnel, performance feedback conversations with individual team members are mutually appreciated and much more effective.
Therefore, everyone is on the same page as to where they stand with regard to their individual contributions and in relation to the performance of other team members.
These three performance management strategies make managing performance easier and more effective.
Implementing these three workplace communication strategies will resolve significant problems with three of The 7 Deadliest Workplace Communication Sins that are causing most of the problems in virtually every workplace today.
There are other contexts these communication mistakes impact and influence, which you will learn about in the detailed report on The 7 Deadliest Workplace Communication Sins. You can download a free copy of that report at:
When small business leaders step up to have conversations with employees early in the relationship that include specific, measurable performance expectations around desired results to be achieved for their role, and have a system for tracking that performance that is measurable and consistent, it is easy to have frequent fact-based conversations around performance.
This system will significantly reduce the communication procrastination around engaging in the candid, direct performance conversations and it will create a high-trust, high-morale work environment that will drive greater results for your company.
Is your small business engaging in this type of championship caliber performance management system?
If not, get started by downloading a free copy of The 7 Deadliest Workplace Communication Sins at www.YourChampionshipCompany.com/pages/7sinsslatreport.
‘til next time, remember, Communicate With Power!