Issue: A department manager at a large Washington, DC trade association felt that staff did parts of their jobs very well, yet fell short in other ways. The manager didn't know how to address the issue without creating an even greater management problem.
Challenge: The first step was to define the problem by articulating the desired performance and seeing how current behavior differed. The second step was to define the problems factually in a clear list: what were the specific performance shortcomings. In this case, as the process unfolded, it became clear that employees had the requisite skills and the resources to accomplish what was expected, but they were not aware of management's performance goals.
Solution: Willingness to change
is a personal issue. We achieved results by helping
the manager change the situation, the consequences,
and the employees' views of the current situation.
First, with the assistance of affected employees,
we updated and clarified position descriptions; second,
we suggested that there be regular mid-year and annual
reviews; and third, we worked with managers to coach
them on ways to provide sufficient motivation for
employees to behave in the expected manner. Lastly,
we helped management involve employees, inviting input
from staff so that they became part of the problem-solving
process, rather than just being required to conform
to policy changes that emerged. And after all this
was accomplished, we reminded the manager to say "thank
you" more often, and mean it.