Making Demands: Skill Assesment

Source: High Impact Consulting, Robert Schaffer

Demanding Better Results and Getting them:
A Self-assessment Exercise for Senior Managers.

Think of one or two recent situations when you asked your people to accomplish something and you were disappointed by the results.  maybe they had a “good explanation” for why it didn’t get done; maybe they thought they had responded but really hadn’t.  Keep these experiences in mind as you fill out the following questionnaire.  use your own definitions of “sometimes” and “too often.”


Selecting and Defining Goals
Expectations need to be clearly defined and focused.  Accountability must be assigned.  there should be very few top-priority goals.  Do you ever do the following? Never Sometimes Too Often
1. Establish too many goals?
2. Define expectations in vague or unmeasurable terms?
3. Set target dates too far in the future?
4. Fail to clearly assign accountability for results?
5. Fail to check to make sure the recipient’s view of the goal matches your view of the goal?


Negotiating Expectations
Getting people to fully commit to performance targets requires toughness, resiliency, faith, and perseverance.  Do you find yourself adopting any of these patterns? Never Sometimes Too Often
6. When my people insist “It can’t be done,” I ease the goals or give them more time.
7. I accept goal trade-offs.  (Sure, boss, I can accomplish goal A, but you’ll have to forget about goal B”)
8. I accept vague agreement (“Sure boss, I’ll give it a try”)
9. I signal that the goal should be achieved “if possible” (versus saying “it must be achieved).
10. I hear myself offering inducements to get people to do what they should be doing anyhow.


Making Sure Goals Are Actually Achieved
It is necessary to have a work plan, with a timetable, and to review progress regularly.  Do any of these statements ring true? Never Sometimes Too Often
11. I don’t insist on written work plans that state how people will achieve their goals.
12. I do not review progress regularly.  Mainly I do it when we get near the deadline or when I feel something is going wrong.
13. My people don’t really believe that there are significant consequences for success or failure.
14. I do not forcefully confront people when projects go astray.


Mastering Your Doubts About Asking for Higher Performance
When people don’t see how to deliver greater results, they may resist.  you need to be sympathetic but also firm in your insistence that it be done.  Do you find yourself acting out any of these statements? Never Sometimes Too Often
15. I feel very uncomfortable asking people who seem stretched to do even more.
16. Unless I can actually see how a result can be accomplished, I hesitate to ask people to achieve it.
17. I worry that people will quit and go to a competitor.
18. I feel guilty about making my people work under pressure, and so I do some of the work for them.


Primary Goals sits at the intersection of three core ideas about communication:
  • Leaders create vision by communicating a compelling future to their teams.
  • Teams create success based on how effectively the communicate and coordinate with each other.
  • Entrepreneurial ventures are successful only when they communicate value to people with a concern that the business can take care of
In all cases, it’s about Conversations for Committed Results.  That’s our Primary Goal.  



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