Part 1: When great performers go bad

In my previous post I relayed the story of the business owner who was lamenting the lack of passion and purpose among his employees. He couldn’t understand the drop-off in productivity and performance from employees who had previously been super-stars. This is the true nemesis of the business owner. Poor performance is poor performance and there are mechanisms to deal with that but what happens when great performers go bad? Why does it happen? How long does it last? How do you fix it?

In my day-to-day consulting activities a substantial part of my discussions with business owners, CEO’s and HR managers focus on people performance issues. Most often these focus around a few common themes which, along with the example above, include the following:

·     Why is there so much politics? When we were a smaller group we had less and accomplished more.

·     I don’t understand why [insert employee name] is so difficult to get along with. It was easier when we could all make decisions together.

·     We made more money and we were much more innovative when we were smaller and less of a “business”.

·     When we were a smaller group everyone just worked well together, we were going to take over the industry and reshape it. Now we battle to get everyone to work together even if we have the skills.

·     Why is everyone waiting for a handout? What happened to everyone’s sense of ownership?

My personal feeling is that as business people we are very good at scaling businesses and ensuring the basics are covered. We make certain that there is enough cashflow, the correct infrastructure is in place, we have enough employees to cover the increased workload. In common parlance the latter can be referred to as appropriately scaling headcount. My sense is that we are failing at scaling “heart count”. We are good at ensuring that we have employees available to do the work but we don’t scale companies in a way that ensures that those employees can bring their hearts and minds along for the journey.

If the above sounds familiar I would like to ask you to think of a time before things changed. A time when everyone was optimally productive. Was it a time before rapid growth in the business? Was it a time before a major shift occurred in the business’s offerings? Was a new management structure coming into place? If so, could that have been the cause of the change? My workshop focusses on what goes wrong when we don’t scale “heart count” along with businesses, but simultaneously I can tell you that some of these issues occur at other phases of growth as well.

This is what my Passion and Productivity workshop is about. It asks how we can ensure that great performers don’t go bad. How do we ensure that they have purpose and passion as well as productivity while we continually scale our businesses in a variety of ways. View the short introductory video. (A shout-out to Urvesh Rama from www.urphotography.co.za for the video footage.)

Over the next few weeks I will continue posting snippets from the workshop, both in video and in blogs, to help you find out how you can address this issue in your organization.

Have you had a similar experience in your workplace? Let me know via email or in the comments below. To learn more, visit www.performforward.com.

 

Author: innocente@performforward.com

My company, PerformForward, has allowed me to focus on assisting businesses in unlocking potential and performance capacity in employees using a results-based forward focused approach. The methodology rests on the four pillars of performance management, employee engagement, organisational culture and leadership. Optimising alignment across these areas not only allows for improved performance across the business but also assists in getting companies ready for rapid growth and addresses some common pitfalls around the scalability of business functions.