Ten Sure-fire Ways to Maximize Employee Performance
1. Let people know what you expect. If people know what’s
expected of them, that’s what they’ll do–if they don’t know
what’s expected, they’ll do something else. Communicate
clear and unambiguous performance expectations and hold
people accountable for their achievement.
2. Be a systems thinker. Remind people of their
interconnectedness and that something happening in one area
affects all other areas. If people know how what they do
impacts on others, they’ll try harder to do it well.
3. Keep people informed. Don’t assume that others can read
your mind. If there’s something going on, let them in on it.
Without information people invent it and the human tendency
is to think the worst. A well-timed word can prevent a lot
4. Let people “own” their jobs. Remember your first car and
how you felt about owning it and how hard you worked to keep
it clean and in good running order? Well the same hold true
for people’s jobs. If people feel ownership of their job,
the harder they will try to take care of it and do it well.
5. Establish a feedback culture. Things go wrong probably no
more than five or ten percent of the time yet we spend
ninety percent of our time belabouring those few things. We
probably only spend ten percent of our energy talking about
the ninety percent of things that are done well. Spending
more time providing feedback about the positive outcomes
makes it easier to talk to people about those that are
negative. Passing on a good word about someone or providing
deserved praise or recognition doesn’t diminish you in any
way. It doesn’t take any light from your candle to light
someone else’s. Feedback truly is the breakfast of champions
and people who feel like champions act like champions.
6. Share your power. Invariably when I ask people in my
training sessions who has power in the room they point to
me. To an extent that’s true. I do have power but only if
the group gives it to me. When we’re given power, there is
an expectation that we will use it responsibly. People who
use power responsibly shun manipulation and intimidation and
focus on what they can give to others rather than on what
they can get. They share their power, giving others the
opportunity to influence events and situations. And, like
the biblical direction about “casting your bread upon the
waters,” the return is a thousand fold. Those with whom the
power is shared give it back in greater measure and the
mutual ability to influence is enhanced. Simply put, power
shared is power gained.
7. The coach, not the players get fired. When a sports team
performs poorly, the coach is fired, not the players. And
the players, not the general manager, fire the coach. How
does all of this work? Quite simply, the coach fails to
provide the conditions that motivate players to maximize
their performance and, as a result, they play just hard
enough to keep their jobs. “Spoiled athletes,” you might
say. “The money they make should be enough to motivate
them!” Which leads to eighth key:
8. Money only keeps them coming back. Take it away and they
won’t come at all but more of it will do nothing to make
them work or play harder.
9. Treat your people like volunteers. Have you ever noticed
how hard volunteers work, how dedicated most of them are,
how much time they give to their volunteer organizations?
Why is that? Well mostly because others recognize and
appreciate their skills. Often volunteers are given
important jobs that carry large responsibility. Recognition
and opportunity are what drive volunteers. Treat the people
who work with you like volunteers and the results will amaze
10. And finally, remember that happens while you’re there
doesn’t matter–it’s what happens when you’re not there that
Dr. Tom Olson 2004, all rights reserved Dr. Tom Olson is the author of Don’t Die With Your helmet On. Visit
http://www.Dontdiewithyourhelmeton.com for more information
about Dr. Tom, the book and his work.