Business Tips – The Man (or Woman) in the Mirror

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Ken Blanchard says “If you want to know why your people are not performing well, step up to the mirror and take a peek”.

This one really made me smile –  you see I recently attended a seminar where Billy Selekane was one of the guest speakers and he said that Michael Jackson’s song “Man in the Mirror” was singularly instrumental in changing his life and I guess if you listen to the words properly you will hear something which explains the profound impact that the song had on him – it goes something like this:
“I’m starting with the man in the mirror,
I’m asking him to change his ways & no message could have been any clearer,
If you wanna make the world a better place,
Take a look at yourself and then make a change!”

I guess half the battle is firstly to recognize that there is a problem and then to get clarity on exactly what that problem is.  Only then will you be in a position to make a decision on how to go about finding the correct solution to that problem and in my experience, nine times out of ten it is lodged somewhere between “Perception, Expectation, Assumption and Interpretation!”

Those four words for me are the most dangerous in the dictionary because they very seldom meet reality!

Often the lack of good performance is a lack of understanding of the communication and then the employee assumes that they understand what needs to be done and the employer assumes that the employee knows what needs to be done and the result is chaos, resentment, angst and hurt feelings.

Then of course the perception on the part of the employee is an emotional one of “I get no appreciation for my efforts” and the expectations on the part of the employer are not met and there is an emotional “the staff are not performing properly because they are lazy and ungrateful” and the reality of course is that neither statements are even remotely correct,

Perhaps the better option would be to ascertain whether or not they have understood the instruction correctly the first time around.  The reality is that often our interpretation of something is completely different to the next person.

When I am facilitating workshops, I have learnt that it is not enough to just ask people if they understand because usually the answer is a resounding yes!  I have learnt to take it one step further and ask them to tell me what they understand from what it is that I have just told them.

The first time I did this, I was absolutely astounded by the different answers that I got around the room.  The delegates themselves were amazed at the different responses, the different interpretations, the different viewpoints and perceptions.  It was an extremely profound moment and one that had a huge impact on all of us.

So for the sake of your sanity and for the benefit of your relationship with your employees make sure that everyone really does understand the requirements and that you are all on the same  page.  You’ll be amazed at how much your employee’s performance will improve.

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