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Improving Business Performance through your team – 9 must do actions and 7 to avoid!!

Posted on 20/02/2013, 10:54

So just what makes the difference between two businesses which on the surface look very similar?

They use the same technology,

They are in the same market,

They have a similar products and customer base?

Yet by all accepted measures one is clearly performing and the other is not…

The answer lies in the team that execute – from the most junior to the most senior.

The people, and how they perform will explain the difference.

Technology and products are easy to copy – a long term consistent approach to Improving Business Performance through your team is harder if not impossible to copy!

If you need convincing pop into two similar stores next weekend and experience  and observe the service – think about what you SEE, what you HEAR and what you FEEL about the two experiences.

Do you think these two organisations recruit, develop, retain and value their team in the same way?

Here are just some of the things we often hear from business leaders and owners we meet:

“Our people are our most important asset”

“The mysteries of getting the best out of our people – well it’s beyond me!”

“I’m great at what I do but getting others to do it as well as I do ……..”

“Getting the best out of my people… umm,.. well……”

So how easy is it to achieve Performance Improvement through your people?

A major survey* identified 106 different performance drivers businesses regularly do with the intention of positively impacting the performance of their teams and their business.

These were grouped under a number of themes:

  • A performance management “system”
  • A performance “culture”
  • Manager- Employee interaction
  • Formal performance reviews
  • Informal performance feedback
  • Day to day work
  • Job opportunities

Interestingly only 9 of these 106 result in a significant positive impact on an employee’s performance – an increase in performance of more than 25% in fact.

Performance here is measured by taking into account both direct things such as productivity and quality and indirect factors such as “discretionary effort”, “fit with the role” and “commitment”.

7 of the 106 actually adversely affect an employee’s performance – one of them leading to a reduction in performance of a staggering 28%!

So let’s look at them and decide how well you currently do the 9, and if you are not doing them yet, how difficult they would be to implement in your business.

Then we’ll finish of by looking at 7 deadly ones…. the ones to avoid or STOP doing.

Here’s the 9 you need to be doing well and significantly better than your competition:

These will all greatly improve the performance of team members through a combination of greater commitment, and greater understanding and fit.

1. Ensure  that each member of the team clearly understands the required PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.  So just what is expected? Don’t leave it to chance.

2. Ensure your INFORMAL FEEDBACK to your team member is both FAIR and ACCURATE – they know what they have been doing – do you? Put yourself in their shoes – if “the boss” was giving you some informal feedback would you want it to reflect what you know you have been doing?

3. When  having a more FORMAL REVIEW of an individual’s performance  ensure the EMPHASIS is on PERFORMANCE STRENGTHS.


5. Focus YOUR FEEDBACK on things that will HELP THEM DO their JOBS BETTER.

6.  What is the quality of COMMUNICATION between leaders and owners and the team members – they need to feel PERSONALLY CONNECTED to their work and their organisation.

7.  Give them the OPPORTUNITY to WORK ON THINGS they DO BEST.

8. The opportunity of working for a strong management team will of itself improve the individual’s performance.

9. Operate in a way that TOLERATES RISK taking.

Remember these have been shown to improve an individual’s performance by at least 25%.

Were you shocked by any of these?

So the 7 deadly ones to STOP or AVOID.

These have all proven to reduce performance from individuals…

1. Make frequent changes to Projects.



4. When having a more FORMAL REVIEW of an individual’s performance  ensure the EMPHASIS is on PERFORMANCE WEAKNESSES

5.  When having a more FORMAL REVIEW of an individual’s performance  ensure the EMPHASIS is on PERSONALITY WEAKNESSES

6. INCREASE the number of FORMAL REVIEWS each year

7.  Insist on RANKING individuals in order of “performance”

So all of these are within your control – clarity about roles, responsibilities and expectations, better planning, better communications and more thought about how to understand what each team member needs to be doing to make your business more successful and catch them doing it brilliantly and recognise that through feedback.

The QUALITY and FOCUS of feedback given to individuals throughout your business will have a demonstrable effect on the SUCCESS of your business.

Talk to us at Pro-actions if you would like advice on how to implement Improving Business Performance through your team.

Martyn Levett

Want to talk further with your business coach?


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