How Small Business Leaders Create Consistent Championship Employee Performance

May 19, 2015

shutterstock_194209577Being a lifelong sports fan and a season ticket holder for the New York Rangers National Hockey League team, has provided me with a lot of opportunities to compare success in sports to success in business.

Recently, my focus has been on comparing how sports teams manage the performance of their athletes versus how employee performance is managed in most small business work environments.

  • It’s like night versus day.
  • It’s like black versus white.
  • It’s like the difference between having a dog as a pet versus a cat.

Here are three employee performance management strategies small business leaders should adopt from athletic team coaching and integrate into their workplace today:

  • Provide clear performance expectations immediately upon hiring an employee
    Each position on a team in sports has a role to fulfill so that the team can be successful. Within that role are certain specific performance results expected that relate directly to others on the team so the team can fulfill its strategy and schemes. This strategy comes with the pre-supposition that the performance expectations will be thought out and developed in advance of the hire.

  • Create tools and systems to manage accountability performance results
    Every sport has a way to keep score and track overall team performance, usually in wins and losses. Additionally, each also has a scorecard that creates a box score tracking the individual team members’ performance that contributes to the overall team effort. Consistent feedback and coaching is provided to bring sub-par performance to an acceptable level, or to enhance and improve already acceptable performance results for continued team member growth and development.

  • Change the lineup sooner rather than later
    Not one of my clients in 15 years has said to me, “Skip, we let that person go too soon, look what he’s doing for my competitor!” No, what they have all said is, “Gee, Skip, I wish you were here to tell me to make that change six months ago (or even six years ago). Sports teams don’t waste time making changes in the lineup if athletes are not performing to expectation. Even though small business leaders can not (nor should they) be as draconian in making decisions that impact employees’ livelihoods, they must be better at making firing decisions sooner rather than later. As such, they must also have the human resource systems in place to do so ethically, compassionately and legally.

Do what you need to, to put the performance management systems in place to integrate these three Championship Company strategies into your workplace, and you will have a much more positive, productive and profitable company in just a few short months.

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