Does your team’s potential out weight the results? It is not uncommon that those you are so excited about when you hire them come up short in employee performance. It can be frustrating when a manager is completing performance reviews because they know their people should be doing more.
I call this the “Paradox of Potential”. We get so excited about the opportunity of the smart people we hire, but the long term actions do not seem to match up with our expectations.
The paradox is wrapped up in the realization that potential is not enough. Knowledge is not power. It is potential. But the actions people take are much more important than their inner potential. A job description connected to a person with a great resume will not have any real predictor to how this employee works.
Work ethic can often trump a college degree. There are many young people who will graduate from top colleges who will not reach their potential. They will get jobs and their bosses will be disappointed. Their employee performance will come up short. Meanwhile there are thousands of workers who will never finish college who will have amazing success in their careers.
Communication and Discussion
The best way a manager can improve employee performance is to have ongoing communication with individuals and with the team. When people feel their boss is on their side and sees the potential inside them, they are more committed to doing their best. Continued dialogue will ensure that people feel they matter and that the boss is helping them improve.
Companies that invest in training often see better employee performance, but all training is not the same, US companies spend over $90 billion on training (according to the 2017 Training Industry Report). Sometimes the training has a positive impact, but not always. Too often employees are engaged in the training and there is no long term goal.
Many managers, entrepreneurs and CEOs are constantly exposed to high level training and education via their networks. They belong to groups like Vistage, EO, YPO, etc.. and have their peer-to-peer forums that are always keeping them focused on results, performance and growth. The problem is that their employees do not get the same level of exposure to the same information.
I recently spoke to a business group and one CEO told me after my presentation that while he understood the concept of the “Paradox of Potential” he was surprised by the impact the speech had on his two team members who were at the conference. He said “you hit a reset button inside them”. The message got his people to look at the personal ownership needed to for an employee to up the game of their performance.
When I speak at a team meeting I am very clear that I cannot change the world with a single presentation. I succeed in helping a company improve employee performance when my lessons are part of an ongoing goal oriented culture within the organization. Each person (managers and employees) must realize that their results are both individual and tied to the group.
Each person has different issues that hold them back. We cannot build a single bridge across the gap between potential and results, as there is not a single answer. We instead need a company to view the path as a scaffolding where each person can cross the gap at their own level and at their own pace.
If you team is read to face the “Paradox of Potential” and move together toward better employee performance, let’s chat about a one to three hour speech or workshop that will be a “reset button” to get people moving. Peak performance is possible, but we have to have everyone on the team on the same page. Start the conversation today.