4 Reasons Good People Produce Poor Results
A team of average players with great leadership will defeat a team of great players with lousy leadership.
When Good People persistently produce poor results they have ineffective leaders.
4 reasons Good People produce poor results:
- “Good” is context specific. Good organizational fit enables Good People to perform.
- Bad organizational culture sucks the life out of good people.
- Ineffective systems and processes hamper results.
- Good People can’t overcome lousy leadership. Exceptions are rare.
5 questions that help Good People succeed:
#1. What will be different if we make progress?
Foggy wins frustrate Good People.
Energy Leeches laugh when you waste Good People’s talent and energy.
#2. What behaviors will likely produce progress?
Prioritize how you treat each other. The most important thing about you is the way you treat each other while you do the work.
- How and when will we execute behaviors that help us win?
- How will we honor people who execute winning behaviors well?
#3. What behaviors will likely hinder success?
Give teeth to question #3 by asking, “What will we do when we see behaviors that hinder progress?” Don’t settle for something vague like, “We’ll point out behaviors that hinder progress.”
- Give each other permission to practice candor.
- Role play candor. “Hey Barney, we agreed to keep our office doors open in the afternoon. Can you get back on track tomorrow?”
- Don’t ask, “What happened,” unless you want an excuse.
- Ask, “What will you do differently next time?”
#4. What will we NOT have done if progress stalls?
Wilma answers, “If progress stalls, we won’t have tracked results.” Establish a system to prevent potential slippage.
- What results do you want to track?
- How and when will you track results?
- What will you do when results go up or down?
#5. What relevant lessons have we learned from past success and failure?
What prevents Good People from making progress?
What might leaders do to help Good People Succeed?
Great post Dan! One thing I say that my people now repeat to customers and each other:
“I’m here to help you get it right, not catch you doing wrong.”
The “gotcha game” sucks the life out of people so they stop trying.
So true Duane. You don’t want Good People walking around on eggs. Thanks!
You hit the nail on the head. It really matters how we treat each other while doing the work! Great read!
This concept is everything. If you spend more time trying to figure out if Leadership is supporting the Team or undermining the Team — there is no achievement to be had. Candor requires a culture that knows how to express it respectfully, appreciate it sincerely, and act transparently. If and when the inevitable favorites arise — leaders need to be sure they never act on them as such in business dealings. Nothing is more demoralizing that someone achieving results with little to no recognition, while another receives recognition for little to no results.
Thanks Mary. I feel a lot of emotion in your comment.
I thought you were going to say that a culture of candor requires safety. But you went way beyond that. I really like how you bring acting transparently as part of the candor formula.
So many takeaways from this post! “Don’t ask what happened unless you want an excuse! Bad organizational culture sucks the life out of good people. The most important thing about you is the way you treat each other while you do the work.” Each one of these points could be it’s own post/lesson. Lousy leaders may actually be trying their best, but they need some coaching too. Do we give them permission to fail/ask for help within our system?
“Good People” in these situations act with their feet and leave.
So true Jim, as they are employable.
So glad I work for an organisation with a strongly embedded culture of ‘excellence’ – CORE values are communication, openness, respect & empowerment. Every manager and leader works to promote workplace harmony and there is mandatory training about how to have difficult conversations. We recently had a brainstorming session identifying ‘above’ and ‘below’ the line behaviours around our CORE values. All of us left feeling we were playing a role in the creation of a positive workplace culture. Love this employer. Feel safe, valued, respected and personally challenged to raise the bar!
Well, I am v.interested in learning more after reading this article-loved it! I recently had ‘nervous breakdown ‘and did not ‘recover quite enough. I am now on disability.after being ‘terminated’(dark term!). For 12y I had this job. I loved it/job! I considered myself a good worker: high productivity, won a couple of awards,etc. Then our leadership changed. New boss was/is a ‘punisher’. Accidentally clocked out 1”too soon&was docked a full hour;15 min breaks taken away (even tho part of job dealt w/cust service which I think works better if u can recharge urself a bit thruout day),lunch docked by 30min, schedules tightened no room for normal delays life brings,etc. I watched a once happy place (both in my heart&in work surroundings)become tense, angry,petty,finger pointing entity. I fell apart,couldn’t keep up the pace, reprimanded often. I ended up to where I am now. I blamed myself, judging my ineptitude, hateful cringing whenever I looked at mirror.
This article kinda opened my eyes a bit—helping me see my failures in context of the environment in which I was trying to be effective. Grateful I saw this piece and for author!