How To Extract Superior Performance From Your People

by Ashok Grover
What do you do when your team does not appear to be performing in spite of your pushing it to the limits? What are the options available to you? What is the right approach?
As a business leader do you face the situations when your team does not appear to be performing in spite of your pushing it to the limits? In fact, when the desired results do not happen, the tendency is to become aggressive and push more and more. It all may lead to, apart from sub-optimal performance, frustration for you and demotivation for your team members. Once in that negative spiral, pushing further only deteriorates the performance more.
If you are struggling to get out of this hopeless situation, and are clueless about the actions that can make a difference, here is a practical approach leading to solutions that work! It starts with a deep analysis to find out the root cause for the mess you have landed in. Basically, there could be three reasons for it:
  1. People are not capable or competent enough to deliver what you are expecting from them. To understand it clearly, you need to define what is expected from the role a person is supposed to perform. In other words, it must be seen not against competence in general; but against specific competencies required for the job.

  2. Another reason could be genuine work overload consistently, occasional occurrences excepted. In such cases, in spite of possessing required competencies, people may not be able to handle the extraordinary workload. It simply means the issue of capacity rather than capability. And remember that even though individual capacities differ, it is safe to base your working considering an average performer.

  3. While everybody wants to perform as a human nature; in some cases, individuals may have negative mindset or may be demotivated to such an extent that they do not even try to give out their best as far as capability and capacity are concerned.
One might say that the reasons don’t really matter as far as end result is concerned; because you are not getting the desired performance. Yes, undoubtedly bottom-line is the end result. However, reasons do matter when you need to take some corrective action.  It is so simply because these actions will be drastically different depending on the reasons cited above. No single pill to cure all even with the apparently similar problems! In the first case, competency mapping will reveal the gaps, second situation is tackled through job evaluation and balancing and the third condition may require some unpleasant, drastic steps (if everything else fails, of course.) 
Unfortunately, in real life situations, the cases may not be pure black or pure white. Quite often, you may have a combination of these reasons, which makes the situation quite complex. On the other hand, fortunately there are proven tools available to identify and measure the gravity of these issues.
So next time, when your team is not delivering, don’t just get into the blind temptation of pushing them hard. While it may be required quite often, proper assessment and analysis will certainly form the basis of a targeted action plan that can give you sustainable results on long term basis.
Ashok Grover, Founder CEO of Ashok Grover Consulting is an expert in people assessment and focused executive / leadership coaching. He is also Director at Skillscape, a company with a vision of Value Creation by enhancing people and organizational competencies.

His last assignment was with the JBM Group as Corporate Chief Human Resource Officer. He has four decades of experience in operations, materials, information technology and people development with Parle Group, Mohan Meakins Group, Hawkins Cookers Limited and JBM Group.