Showing up to the field slightly hung over, enrobed in a less than pristine uniform stating that you are putting in effort is a disgrace. The mere act of being present does not equate to commitment, aspiration, and achievement. Accomplishment comes from putting in the work, being prepared, and going all in.
If I sat down this morning to write these words, but simply opened my laptop and stared at the screen, there would be no Reman U this Thursday. If I pushed my mower to the edge of overgrown grass, but never started the motor, the yard would remain a small forest. If I showed up to work, clocked in, and did nothing, I surely wouldn’t be getting a rave review, I’d be lucky to have a job.
Effort is illustrated by action, not intention.
When my now adult daughter was in grade school, her friends convinced her to give soccer a try. She is, and always was strong academically, but natural athleticism is not a trait she embodies. I was proud of her for attempting something new, even if it was due to peer pressure. Her first practice she did the warm ups, wore the uniform (that was clean and complete), and followed the drills as well as could be expected from a newbie.
She hated every moment of it. We continued to go to practice (Momma didn’t raise a quitter), but her investment in the endeavor waned more and more each time the soccer ball hit her square in the face. She was physically present, mentally absent, and entirely checked out.
We did not sign up for the next season.
What can be done with a team member that skates by doing the bare minimum? One that talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk? That guy (or gal) that thinks you give out gold medals just for showing up?
Set the standard: If you are ok with people that take up space, abuse resources, consistently poop on company time, and don’t bring value to your business, then stop reading. Rules and expectations must be communicated from the start and upheld regardless of situation. Letting infractions slide due to excuses creates a slippery slope that leads to laziness and a disregard for the instilled principles. If they don’t want to score the goal, get them off the field.
Uniformity in expectations: If Joey can spend twenty minutes a day scrolling on social media, or pursuing online sales, then Judy can too. There must be one set of acceptable conduct that is uniform across teams and individuals. Creating accountability is only possible if everyone is held to the same expectations. While job functions differ and may allow for some autonomy in certain position’s day to day workflow, there must be intentional effort that leads to success and productivity. If performance enhancing medication is banned for one team, it is banned for all.
Consistent Feedback: If you see something, say something. NOW. It is not rare that a person will assume they are meeting or exceeding the expectations based on their own self analysis or perception. If there is a performance issue it must be addressed before it becomes a habit. Other team members will observe the misbehavior and imitate what now appears acceptable. Once your crew has created their own set of rules, it will be near impossible to reinsert yourself as a leader that upholds process, standards, and one that deserves the respect of the team. Don’t stand on the sidelines, jotting notes of what needs to be corrected. Get up, speak out loud (I’ve been told yelling is not effective), and fix it now.
Be aware of the actions that occur when you’re not directly overseeing things. Do not make excuses for subpar performance and lack of effort. If they wanted to, they would.
People will make mistakes, they will have “off” days, and sometimes they are running on fumes. But your truly committed employees will still show investment even on their worst days.
I managed to get the mower to the edge of the garage this weekend. The intent to mow, will now become the action of mowing. Time to trade the flip flops for some tennis shoes!