Why is the People Stuff Hard?

mikerothThe following is a guest article from Mike Roth, President of Reventus, LLC and Certified EOS Implementer.

I meet with a lot of business leaders as I network in the business community. People management is always a fascinating topic. Do any of these issues sound familiar?

  • We can’t find the right people.
  • We can’t get the people to do what we want them to do.
  • Nobody takes ownership of anything.
  • The people don’t care.
  • Everyone’s just there for the paycheck.

If these statements resonate with you, I suggest that you take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself these questions.

  1. Have I written on paper what it means to be the “right person”? The definition of the right person is someone who fits your culture and aligns with your values. If you can’t articulate what that means, you have a problem. You can’t possibly be effective at interviewing for the “right person” if you haven’t defined what that means and developed questions to screen for it.
  2. Have I written down and shared with my people what their highest responsibilities are and where they fit into the organization? In EOS circles we create an “Accountability Chart”. In simple terms this is an organization chart where every position in the organization is shown AND the five most important roles of each position are bullet listed right on the chart. With this, every person in the organization can see where they fit and what their contribution is expected to be.
  3. Have I written down and shared metrics of performance with my people? Everyone deserves some objective measure(s) of their performance. They need to know, “Am I delivering what is expected?”. It’s unfair to be frustrated with someone for not doing enough of something if you never shared what you expect and measure it regularly.
  4. Am I doing my part to communicate with each of my people? Everyone is unique. Some of us need more direction (or reassurance) than others. As managers, it is our job to connect with our people and find out what the right cadence is for each of them. Whether it’s 5 minutes a day for one person or a half hour once a week for another depends on them, not you.
  5. Am I providing an open communication opportunity each quarter? In EOS we recommend that you meet with each of your people for 30 minutes every 90 days. We are all attention deficit to some degree and 90 days is about as long as we can go without realigning. The conversation should cover things like:
    • Feedback on fit with the culture
    • Feedback on performance with respect to the highest job responsibilities
    • Feedback on goal achievement
    • Asking them what they need (resources, training, time, etc.) to make them more successful
    • Listen, listen, listen.

If this sounds like too much, it might be YOU that’s the problem. I often hear “I don’t have time to spend a half hour a quarter to meet with my direct reports”. Seriously? The goal of hiring people is so that you can ELEVATE to your unique ability and DELEGATE the rest. If you have 8 direct reports (which is usually on the high end), we are talking about investing 4 hours a quarter to get everyone on the same page.


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