Performance Standards

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“I’m noticing that some of my key staff are beginning to come in later than they should. It’s not by much, sometimes half an hour late. However, these same staff members are known on occasion to work back. The thing is, other staff members are noticing and are beginning to creep in a little later than they should. Should I address this with both parties, or just those who haven’t put in the extra hours?”


Let’s start up-front with a BIG concept …

One of the dilemmas that leaders face is this ⎯  if you see something occurring in your business that is unacceptable, and you choose to say nothing about it, by the mere fact that you’ve said nothing, means you have now condoned that behaviour!

Scary isn’t it.  When coaching business leaders there are always things happening in their businesses that are unacceptable.  You see, the challenge is that the first time something “little” happens it doesn’t seem like a “big deal,” so you say nothing.  The challenge is that this new (unacceptable) behaviour can fast become the new norm in your business and then it becomes even harder to change.

So what’s the answer  … 

In my research on highly effective teams, there are ten characteristics that are consistently present in performing teams. Here let’s talk about one of those characteristics and that’s Values and Performance Standards.

Every high performing team I’ve worked with has surfaced their values as a team and they have a clear set of standards.  These values and standards have been communicated, reinforced and understood by everyone in the team.

Let’s take a sporting team.  Everyone on the team plays by the same rules.  One of the things I aim to instil in business leaders is to think of their employees like a sporting team.  And that means developing a strong ‘working together’ culture where EVERYONE realises that supporting each other allows the team to achieve more.  Rarely in business can one person achieve the result.  It’s a team effort that makes it happen.

Can you imagine if one of the key players in a sporting team showed up late for the game – even if they had to do an interview the night before?  I don’t think so!

So this issue is a perfect opportunity for you to have a team meeting and discuss the standards you and your team are going to work by.  Now once these are in place, you need to reinforce them and honour them.

Now here is a BIG contradiction in what I’ve said above … without knowing your specific business, it does depend on whether you have an outcome focus or an activity focus in your business.  For example, in a sales role is it more important that the salesperson achieves the outcome of selling or that they are there at 8.30am everyday?  Well in a retail situation, the answer is both are incredibly important!  However in other businesses, the hours are not as important, the activities they are doing when they are at work is the key that will drive results.

Also, the workplace is becoming more flexible today than ever.  So staggering start times (if that will work for your business and clients) could be a great way creating flexibility and potentially extending the overall hours you can service clients.

My final point is to sit down with the key people first and explain that they are leaders and you have expectations of them demonstrating leadership qualities to the rest of the team.  Let them know what they are doing great and key areas you’d like to see them improve as well as the process you’re about to take with setting team standards.

At the same time, it’s a great opportunity to ask your key people what they think you could improve to further enhance the performance of the business.  Enjoy making it happen!

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