Leadership or Dealership?


Let's agree on two basic issues on Performance Improvement:

  1. Without people we cannot improve performance.
  2. Performance improvement needs real leaders.

If you agree then let's focus on employees' reaction when you ask them to set up some KPIs on their activities to measure their performance and eventually to improve their performance.

Yes. You are right!

They hate it!

Because they assume that from your point of view they are not good enough.

Because they think that they are doing the job with the best results, what else do you expect from them?

And etc.

In such cases, we may misunderstand the exact meaning of leadership. Leadership does not mean to get people on board and not to give them back something! You can make your team members excited to follow you. Probably you get some fake reactions from people that are scared from you but be sure that you never reach to what you want.

They key is here:

When people see a change, naturally the resist. They ask immediately: "What's in it for me?"

If you are able to explain them what's in it for them, then they follow you and they accept the challenge but if you can't convince them, then you will have a tough time.

This is the part that I call it dealership. You get something from them and you should be able to give them something back!

We can't ask them to try more unless they know what they will find in it not in short term but long-term.

Probably these are some replies for the question: "What's in it for me?"

  1. When you improve your performance, you can secure the company and your own job.
  2. You can get more bonus.
  3. Your evaluation system can be more transparent.
  4. Decisions on promotion can be easier and more clear.
  5. You learn how to produce better results in your career life

And etc.

Anyway, try your best to make a fair, acceptable, long-lasting deal, Otherwise both sides loose the game sadly.

As long as people don't know why they should report their KPIs as the first step of performance improvement projects, they will never follow you by their heart.

Don't forget to have acceptable replies for "What's in it for me?"