Clear the Path

iStock_000001765937SmallHow easy is it for your team members to deliver consistent performance? How easy is it for them to act as great corporate citizens?

It’s possible that your work environment has hurdles and hindrances that inhibit team members from doing the right things the right way the first time.

I would go so far to say that it’s probable that your work environment suffers from some of these hurdles!

Clients report a number of things that get in the way of consistent performance by teams and members. The most common hurdles include:

  • Skill gaps – team members do not have the knowledge or skills required to deliver the products or services that have been promised
  • Resources – the right raw materials aren’t available when needed, or unrealistic deadlines frustrate team members, or there are too few team members to carry the load
  • Systems – policies and procedures are inefficient (at best) or downright broken (at worst)

Clients also report common hurdles to great corporate citizenship. They include:

  • Teamwork – team members don’t get along, don’t trust each other, and don’t cooperate
  • Incentives – individual compensation plans cause team members to ensure that they win while their peers lose
  • Tolerations – rude behavior between team members (and bosses and even customers) is not addressed; it continues because it is tolerated

There are dozens of things leaders and teams can try to address these hurdles and hindrances. What many clients have found beneficial is a change in perspective: don’t try to address all the hurdles – simply create a formal pathway to high performance and values alignment.

Make it Easy to Stay on Track

Imagine a wheat field, ready for harvest. The plants are thick, strong, and tall. Walking through that field would be difficult! The footing would be uneven. You’d have to push plants out of the way to make any progress. You’d struggle to walk on a straight line; you’d be focused on each step, not on the direction you’re heading.

Now imagine a smooth, paved path through the heavy wheat field. You’d easily traverse the acres. The direction you need to go is obvious. You’d not waste time or energy on the journey.

You’d rather stay on the paved portion than veer off into the plants. The paved portion makes your journey easy.

This is exactly what #GreatBosses do, every day. They smooth the path for teams and members towards consistent high performance and consistent great citizenship.

They smooth the way by:

  • Clarifying, communicating, and reinforcing their team’s purpose, values and behaviors, strategies, and goals, every day.
  • Engaging with team members frequently to gauge performance progress. They listen and learn about performance hurdles and hindrances, and address them promptly if the team isn’t already doing so itself.
  • Modeling the team’s purpose, values, and behaviors in every interaction.
  • Celebrating team member’s demonstration of the team’s purpose, values, and behaviors – and coaching or redirecting misaligned behaviors.

What do you think? How clear is your team’s path towards top performance and great citizenship? What hurdles and hinderances do you see your team or team members facing today? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Get your free copy of my ChangeThis manifesto, “What? Your Organization Doesn’t Have a Constitution?

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

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