Chapter 5 Pg’s 135-137 Lead With Love By Gerry Czarnecki
Evaluation is useless if there is no change in behavior or performance, and change takes conscious commitment, effort, and a deliberate plan of action. Planning is not just saying, “I plan to do a better job,” or “I plan to be a better person.” Planning is deciding what the goals are and how to know if they have been achieved. It takes defining specific actions required to make changes, laying out a timetable for doing them, establishing checkpoints along the way, and creating a mechanism to assess if the actions and results are really on track to accomplish the goals. All of that is hard work, and it requires a real commitment.
An associate who has a sincere desire and commitment to improve will continue with the ongoing discipline required to achieve the steps on the journey to success. Without that commitment, most associates will fall well short of their original goals, and you will be having the same evaluation discussion later. That is where a leader can come in. You must follow up on any evaluation. You cannot make the changes, you cannot enforce the commitment, but you can support it. A leader can take several actions to make certain an associate has a reasonable chance for achieving success. First, you can offer to help the individual develop a plan. Helping an associate work to set goals is a logical extension of your responsibility to establish expectations.
By being involved in this process, you are clarifying and enhancing your role as leader. Further, if an associate has not been able to establish a format for the plan, you can help create a structure that works. After it is completed, offer to provide feedback on the plan. One of the many values of being a part of the self-improvement plan process is that it gives a leader the opportunity to validate the evaluation feedback’s effectiveness. If the plan truly addresses the issues raised in the evaluation, then, at a minimum, you can say you have succeeded in communicating the need for improvement.
If the plan does not, then you have an opportunity to refine the process before the associate wastes weeks or months of effort focusing on the wrong issues. This is hard work and requires a leader who feels the sense of love and commitment to the improvement of all associates as they search for their potential achievement level and fulfillment. Second, you can ask associates how they are doing on their personal improvement plan. Simple though that question may be, it can have a profound effect. When the leader asks a question, the staff listens. When the leader listens to the answer and responds appropriately, the staff has been affected. Leaders should never underestimate the influence they have. You are the single most important person in the daily work life of the associate. Your interest in them and your questions to them are powerful. Third, you can influence an associate by acknowledging improvement. We will look more closely in the next chapter at the power of this act, but suffice to say when you recognize improvement, you have reinforced the behavior.