Establishing Shared Expectations, Agreement & Accountability
Many times, the root cause of business frustrations is founded in a lack of shared expectations. If the expectations for how something is to be done aren’t in writing or some other format, then the employee has nowhere to look for the standard to be met. This isn’t fair to the employee. If your work procedures are written down, then there is likely some other kind of disconnect going on. Once shared expectations are in place and the employee agrees to those expectations, only then can you expect true accountability on the employee’s part.
#1 Business Frustration
The most common business frustration I have encountered repeatedly over decades is related to producing consistent results through your team that meet your quality standard. You have documentation in place that guides the employee to a good result. You have given the employee training. Even with these measures in place, you may be very familiar with the following scenario
You find that an employee is making the same mistake in the process of making, selling or delivering your products or services. You have told him or her about the mistake and have explained the right way to do it. You leave the conversation thinking you have handled the problem. Then it happens again. You go back to the employee and tell him/her again. This keeps happening multiple times and you are getting more and more frustrated that the situation is not improving. It would seem that the employee doesn’t really care. Or at least that’s what it feels like to you. So you go back to the employee and once again you tell him/her about the mistake, hoping that the employee will finally correct the error that is impacting the quality of your goods or services and compromising your company’s reputation.
Why Isn’t This Approach Working?
What is missing in this scenario is engagement with the employee to find out more details about the nature of the problem. The employer keeps repeating that the mistake happened and not to do it again. The employer hasn’t identified the exact nature of the issue. So there is a questioning process that is needed to understand what would help and whether the employee is willing to do what it takes to fix the issue. As the conversation unfolds, you begin to understand the true nature of the issue which will lead to the true solution.
The Accountability Solution
Here are some questions to ask your employee to get to the bottom of the issue and take steps to resolve it:
- DESCRIBE THE ISSUE
Are you aware that “xyz” is happening? (You need to hear a yes or a no.)
- EXPLORE THE ISSUE
Please describe the best you can, why this keeps happening? If the employee isn’t aware of why, ask more questions to uncover the disconnect. (Perhaps there is a need for more training.)
- CLARIFY THE COMPANY’S QUALITY STANDARD
Let the employee know that the company’s quality standard must be met for the employee to work there. Be sure to explain that help is available.
- GET AGREEMENT
Ask the employee if they are willing to bring their work up to the company’s standard.(You need a definitive “yes” here. If it isn’t a yes, then the employee isn’t the right match for the company. If it’s a “no” and you keep the employee, you are asking for trouble and will pay a high price.)
- ESTABLISH A PLAN
The employee needs to participate in creating an improvement plan and work the plan until the standard is met.
- FOLLOW UP
The manager needs to track the employee’s progress to bring the employee’s work up to the company’s standard.
Once you have shared expectations, agreement and accountability in place, meeting your quality standard consistently is more possible than you may have thought.
Call Janice @ 707-326-5681 to find your path to business success.