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Help your people ‘wanna,’ in 3 steps

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

It sounds so easy: Expect high performance and you won’t be disappointed. Expect so-so performance and that’s what you’ll get.

Reality is more difficult to nail down. Start with these three practices to define what you mean by higher performance, lay out how you expect your people to attain it and inspire them to go for it:
  1. Involve them in setting goals. Never assume you’ve got buy-in. “This is what I think we can achieve together,” Bob Senatore, executive vice president of a New York staffing firm, tells his people. “What do you think?” He then negotiates his expectations.

  2. Keep the goals realistic. You may want to lay out every detail, or you may find that too detailed and limiting. Ray Bedingfield, president of a Colorado search firm, merely tells his recruiters he expects them to pull in six figures. But even clearly defined goals aren’t enough. The goals need to be difficult, desirable and doable.

  3. Hit their buttons. As manufacturing titan Jack Stack says, “You gotta wanna.” People have their own motivations; find out what they are.

    Examples: the will to win, enjoyment of teamwork or a higher mission like helping customers fulfill the American dream.

    Express the overarching vision, and then let your people figure out how to make it happen.
— Adapted from “Great Expectations: The Key to Great Performance,” Lauren Keller Johnson, Harvard Management Update.

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