Many organizations struggle with how to get their good performers to become great. I like to look outside the business world for examples and ideas that provide valuable perspective. One of my favorite examples is what George Solti; conductor of the Chicago Symphony did when he wanted to create a world-class orchestra. He didn’t try to raise the skill of the entire orchestra, he targeted the best. He essentially ignored many great musicians to focus attention on his 20 most exceptional musicians, men and women with a passion for excellence and a willingness to grow by challenging themselves. Solti’s idea of building on people’s strengths instead of trying to remediate weaknesses may appear to be counter-intuitive but it works. When time and resources are scarce, devote your time, energy and assets to develop your best people, so that the entire organization benefits. In other words, lavish attention on your best performers.
Many organizations are creating internal mentoring and coaching programs. This is a great way to engage diverse demographic groups within the company and it is also a great way to tap into various groups or individuals with specialized knowledge and skills.
Sometimes the best solution is to look outside the organization for a coach to work with a problem manager or underperforming employee. Consider hiring a coach or seeking outside intervention for employees who:
- Are technically skilled but have poor interpersonal skills
- Have low E.Q. and communicate poorly with colleagues and clients
- Have 80% of what it takes to advance and require assistance to reach the top
- Need a wake-up call from third party that is not restricted by internal politics and personal history with the person
- Have been ignored or undervalued and would benefit from support and acknowledgement
In some situations, a senior employee who has a significant deficit – arrogance, conceit, anxiety, intransigence, pompousness – may require senior management to deliver an ultimatum: “We won’t tolerate your behaviour. Get help – we’ll pay for it – or get out.”
Coaching, which invests in people, can have significant pay off. When good people get better, company, colleagues and clients all reap the rewards of an engaged, self-aware and positive team member.
For an employee to reach their full potential, consider providing coaches or mentors both inside and outside of the organization. It is impossible to maximize abilities and skills working in a vacuum. Perhaps you want to consider coaching and mentoring your staff to help them develop to their full potential. In the process you may discover that you will learn as much as they do!
“No man is capable of self-improvement if he sees no other model but himself.” – Conrado I. Generoso