"You've got to raise expectations across the board and you've got to do it while people are 'quietly quitting'. Remember, the best way to increase your team's productivity is to improve everyone's productivity. You want to make your 'under-performers' - 'average', your 'average performers' - 'good', and 'good performers' - 'better'. So how do you do that?
There's an old saying that 'no one rises to low expectations'. They never have and they won't now. But the tide is shifting. Six months ago we were talking about the great resignation and pundits were making the case against the hustle mindset. But things are different now. Companies are slower to hire. Some have frozen hiring and some are announcing layoffs. Inflation is here to stay and people are starting to wake up a little. The job they took for granted might now be the job they need. You've got a window of opportunity, but you've got to act now. Now is the time to raise the bar and here's how you do it:
- Deal with people individually
- Raise the bar slowly, and
- Hold them accountable.
Deal with people individually and they'll embrace it as a personal challenge.
Raise the bar slowly and they won't feel overwhelmed.
And hold them accountable so they'll feel more accountable.
When people are presented with a personal challenge, they feel a sense of urgency, and they feel personally accountable, they're going to rise to the occasion. But you've got to be very specific and very focused. Pick one or two opportunities that allow for incremental improvement. Don't ask someone that's 'below average' to become 'good'. Expect them to become 'average'. And don't ask somebody that's 'average' to become 'great'. Ask them to become 'good'.
You want your higher standards to feel attainable and you need the person to buy into the higher standard. Make it a collaborative effort. Help them plan. Help them think through obstacles and coach them around the roadblocks. Don't just raise the bar and walk away. Set some short term goals and commit to timely two way feedback. People tend to rise to positive expectations because they're motivating and they build confidence. So be encouraging and stay positive. When you see progress, celebrate it, recognize it and reward it. Then keep raising the bar, but keep it focused, personalized, incremental and keep holding them accountable.
Remember, feedback is the key. A positive feedback loop is critical because it makes incremental improvement feel good, feel worthwhile and it becomes addictive.
A final point, to raise expectations on somebody else, you've got to raise expectations on yourself. You've got to be more personalized, more specific, more feedback, more coaching. It all takes more of you. But that's your job and this is your window of opportunity."
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