So you’ve gone to great lengths to create your vision, mission, strategies, and values. You’ve communicated them (or at least you’ve tried!) to those who will perform the work – your managers and employees. After a while, you start to wonder…
- Why can’t they execute the strategy?
- Why is there conflict between groups?
- Why can’t we manage to stay within budget?
- Why are we lagging in sales performance?
- Why are we losing our talented people and keeping our malcontents?
Why? Not to oversimplify this, but the missing link between your strategy and the ability of your organization to execute the strategy is often feedback. And we’re not talking about the annual performance review type of feedback. We’re talking about feedback based on relevant, company-specific behaviors associated with role-specific requirements. Feedback from a variety of people who experience a colleague’s behavior first hand. Feedback that illustrates the gap between self perception and the perceptions of others. Customized 360ºfeedback.
Tim was hired to manage a team of marketing specialists. With a college degree and over five years of relevant experience, he seemed like the perfect fit for the job. Great references. Impressive interview. After a year, Tim’s group appears to be in trouble. The marketing campaigns have problems. Team members point fingers. Tim hasn’t smiled in weeks. Why can’t Tim perform effectively in his role? He knows how, and he wants to do well…so what is the missing link?
When given the opportunity to provide feedback on the skills, knowledge, and behaviors associated with Tim’s role requirements, several people who work with Tim on a regular basis said this: Tim is smart, he’s a good problem solver and critical thinker, and he understands the market cold. He’s open-minded and innovative. What is the missing link? He can’t prioritize work assignments – he takes on too much, gives too much weight to certain types of projects, and has trouble shifting gears.
Can this manager be saved? The answer is yes! If Tim accepts the feedback (if it’s accurate and delivered with respect, most people do) and is given the opportunity to forge the broken link in his management performance…he may even bring his team up to peak performance.
Avoid making assumptions about why your managers and workers can’t perform as they should. Ask the right questions – relevant questions that clearly connect with your company’s requirements….not what some consulting firm thinks all managers and workers should be doing. And ask people who experience their colleagues from a variety of perspectives: boss, peers, direct reports, suppliers and in some cases, customers. Then offer the feedback in a variety of forms – raw data, comparative charts, narratives, and thought-provoking questions and action plans to help individuals and groups tighten up the links in their performance.
What feedback practices are working in your organization?