01 Nov If You Want Action, Stop Repeating Yourself
When it comes to building a team of peak performers, training them appropriately is key to how they will treat you and how they will execute. For example, when you have to continually remind your staff to perform or complete tasks, you inadvertently establish a culture of procrastination. Why? Because over time, your staff will know they you will remind them of their work, and instead of them proactively getting it done, they wait until their final notice from you. Not only does this become frustrating for you and slow down your teams’ productivity, but it is also not sustainable if you are looking to efficiently grow your team.
I had a similar issue, a few years ago with my teams. I set a deadline of Friday at noon for our internal and client reports to be completed. The first week, everyone made the deadline. But, slowly, I started getting reports at 2pm, 5pm, or sometimes not even until Monday morning. Why? My staff knew (or assumed) I would not look at them until Monday, so they made their own extended deadlines. To stop this procrastination behavior, I tied their work directly to a tangible consequence – their paycheck. Friday was payday, so if the report was not turned in on Friday, they would not get their check. Their performance quickly improved, but I still had some stragglers that would not submit reports until late Friday, despite them being due by 12pm. So, I upped the ante and withheld everyone’s paycheck until all reports were turned in. Though this temporarily punished the team members who turned their reports in, I wanted to create a collaborative team culture. If we all didn’t get it done right and on time, then we all were at fault. And, that did the trick. As a team, we begin working together better, we begin communicating on a more efficient level to ensure that all reports were turned in at 12pm, so that everyone could have their check in hand.
Where in your business do you feel like you are continually repeating yourself? What consequences can you put in place to correct the behavior? Once you identify the consequence, you have to stick to it and use it to modify behavior. If you have not set non-negotiable deadlines, then do so. Without a clear due date in place, that your staff knows cannot be missed, you will inevitably be repeating yourself and having to follow-up multiple times before the work is completed.