It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate. When you accept poor performance and there is no consequence then it becomes the new standard. This is a downward spiral that plagues individuals and companies on a daily basis. Chapter 2 of Extreme Ownership focuses on this lesson.
It’s the Leader’s Fault
The examples from the book mention that there are no bad teams, only bad leaders. If a team or team member then the leader needs to be a better coach. Coaching is something can be implemented at all levels of an organization. Employees at the same level and even those in different departments can coach one another on how to perform better. Coach-ability is a quality that is on the radar for most recruiters and hiring managers. It’s not that those people are looking for blank canvases to paint the organizations culture and lessons on. It’s more on how open a potential team member is to accepting new ideas and concepts. This is a great measure of a person’s ego. If a person is set in their ways they are often not coachable. In the fast changing world of startups that mindset can be deadly.
Identify Performance Issues Early
The best way to identify poor performance is to conduct a review. Once a project is complete, or even a measurable portion of a project is finished the team should review what went right and what went wrong. It’s also a great idea to get the opinion of someone unfamiliar with the project who can add further insight.
Do Reviews, No Excuses
It’s easy to make excuses for not doing a review. People are busy. The team needs to move on to the next project. Clients don’t pay for internal performance reviews. Teams assume everything is fine. It’s easy to tell which companies are not conducting internal reviews. They consistently get poor reviews from customers. If they are getting positive reviews then it is often about soft-skills such as communication (‘They always kept us up to date on the process’), or friendliness (‘It was a joy to work with them’), and not measurable data such as downloads / revenues / or engagement.
Reviews help teams identify the root cause of a problem and update processes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. As a leader, make sure you recognize that poor team performance is your fault and make time to conduct reviews in order to identify how you and your team can improve performance.
Here’s are links to what I learned in other chapters of Extreme Ownership: