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I have an employee who is responding very well to late stage coaching. I sat him down and explained to him while he is not in trouble right now, if he stays on his current path he will be. We outlined some specific, measurable, time specific goals and he is responding very favorably to them. However, it has only been two weeks and this employee has a history of doing well when watched, and then slacking off "once the spotlite is off him" so to say.

At any rate, we are sitting down again tomorrow and I was contemplating how the meeting would go and I wasn't sure how to handle it. Positive feedback, some sort of award/gift, or just, thank you for doing your job. Any input is appreciated.

Brad

asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi Brad

Did you mention to him initially that you are aware of his pattern and that these changes need to be permanent, not just for show? I think that urgency needs to be emphasized.

*RNTT

RichRuh's picture

I agree with *RNTT, but I would add that positive feedback is [b]definitely[/b] called for!

Are you doing O3 meetings with this direct? My experience is that this helps a lot in making sure the direct stays on track after the "sword of damocles" is removed- you can remind the direct about the goals on a regular basis. "So... tell me about your recent progress in these areas?"

--Rich

tomw's picture

Definitely positive feedback.

My inclination would be to tell him that he is doing very well and that if he maintains that progress for another month without backsliding, there would be some positive consequence. That would be 6 total weeks of improvement, pretty good for someone who found themselves in late-stage coaching!

bradleymewes's picture

rntt - no i did not specifically say that the improvement had to be more than show. My words were along the lines of "Joe, we are having this meeting because of a number of significant issues we have discussed. They are the following...[list 5 issues]. While you are not in trouble right now, if there is not improvement in this area there will be severe consequences and i would rather that we not get to that point." We then discussed the points with specific focus on what he was going to do to improve his performance.

Tom W I think you have a good point about continued improvement for the next 4 weeks. When we sit down tomorrow I will give positive feedback about the work he has been doing for the past 2 weeks and let him know this is expected to be a permanent change. We will still meet on a weekly basis to discuss performance. The gravity of the situation still be there AND i will be encouraging continued good performance.

Rich, in respond to your question of O3's I do not have O3's with him because he is not my direct, he is one level down. I formulated a late stage coaching plan when my direct came to me frustrated with this individuals performance and wanted to fire him. And no, my direct does not do O3's with his people. He is VERY old school and it is hard getting him to even participate with me on my O3 with him.

I will let you know how it went next week.

thank you for the input.

Brad

tomw's picture

[quote="bradleymewes"] He is VERY old school and it is hard getting him to even participate with me on my O3 with him.[/quote]

It sounds to me like you have more than one person in need of late stage coaching.

WillDuke's picture

I agree with Tom. So what if your direct doesn't want to do O3s. You're the boss. Make him do it. You're doing his job right now saving this employee. It's a good thing to save the employee, but what are you paying the other guy for?

As for the skip, affirming feedback definitely seems appropriate. It also seems appropriate (honesty and candor) to note his tendency in the past to slide. Don't make a big deal of it, it's just feedback and that was the past. Surely the employee is committed to their own success and will enjoy the positive feedback and the the other benefits that come from doing a good job.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]I agree with Tom. So what if your direct doesn't want to do O3s. You're the boss. Make him do it. You're doing his job right now saving this employee. It's a good thing to save the employee, but what are you paying the other guy for?[/quote]

I have to agree with this. You, presumably, have better things to be doing with your time than disciplining his directs (I realize that disciplining is a strong term but in reality that's what you're doing).

Now you've stepped in can you hand back to your direct and instruct him to keep an eye on this person, tell him to perform O3s for all of his directs (maybe sit in on or get him to feedback to you the results of the first few to make sure that he's on track) and make it clear that, whilst you are prepared to offer assistance and advice when needed, him coming to you about issues with his directs may impact your view of his performance.

It is possible that my view here is coloured by my current workplace, where we have several managers who are known for never getting involved in the people management side of their job, they delegate everything upwards to their manager. Part of the problem is that their manager lets them get away with it, I'm not saying that that is the issue here but you will want to avoid falling into that trap.

Stephen

Mark's picture

Brad-

Sorry this took me so long.

First, I think in the first post, I would recommend positive feedback. Why are we all so desperate to threaten someone who is improving? (Folks, if you keep telling someone they might get fired, they feel threatened). If he's improving, tell him so.

Second, of course you've got a problem with your direct, and it's separate from the original problem (or, more precisely, you handle it differently).

I'd recommend you keep coaching the original issue, with positive feedback if warranted, and start giving negative feedback to your direct regarding his failure to conduct one on ones...and one of the impacts for him is that you have to spend time doing his job. I am reminded here of the classic line: "Don't make me come down there and do your job for you."

Let us know how it goes.

Mark

bradleymewes's picture

All,

My sincere apologies for my delay in response. Thank you all for your input, it helped me organize my thoughts and respond in a manner that I beleive was and is highly effective.

In this particular case I responded to the employee with positive feedback. I told him that I was very encouraged by his improvement AND I expected to see much more. Since then my employee has eliminated all of the quality issues we discussed a few weeks ago. Then, approximately a month ago we have also moved on to a new set of goals which is now focused not just on quality, but quality with speed. In the past month he has kept his quality at a rate of nearly zero defects while simultaneously decreasing the amount of time spent to 2.0 hours from 2.9 hours per car.

We still meet on a weekly basis, but it is no longer under the late stage coaching model. We now meet just to keep progress on a weekly basis. This experience has really helped me in becoming a better coach as well as demonstrating to others in the organization the benefits of weekly meetings.

Other additional good news is that another employee went on late stage coaching and is now out of late stage coaching and just in regular coaching now. Similiar situation as above.

Thank you to all of you for talking me through my options. I am sincerely indebebted to everyone in this community for your constant support.

Gratefully,

Brad Mewes

US41's picture

[quote="bradleymewes"] He is VERY old school and it is hard getting him to even participate with me on my O3 with him.[/quote]

I think we now know the source of the problem with this skip you have having trouble with: He isn't being managed. Mark once told me to say to the managers who report to me, "Don't make me come down there and do your job for you!" and to let them know that if their directs did not perform, it is they who would be replaced, not the skip.

...

LOL! I just read Mark's response above.

bflynn's picture

[quote="bradleymewes"]However, it has only been two weeks and this employee has a history of doing well when watched, and then slacking off "once the spotlight is off him" so to say. [/quote]

Brad - keep the spotlight on him. Not sure of his behavior type, but it sounds like he responds when people give him attention. He believes he was flying under the radar and not drawing attention, so he slacked up or didn't push his hardest or whatever. At work, you should always believe that your boss is paying attention to you.

Use frequent positive feedback to remind him that you are. As time goes one, you'll need less and less feedback to remind him that the spotlight is there. It never goes out.

You already know what works for this person. Use it.

Brian

WillDuke's picture

[quote]Brad - keep the spotlight on him ... it sounds like he responds when people give him attention. [/quote]
Isn't that what the O3 is for? :)

And I agree with US41. That employee's manager is not doing his job. Add in that 2nd example, and there is no reason for this guy to not be doing O3s. They clearly work; twice in a short span of time.

Doesn't that make you wonder how that department could be running?

bflynn's picture

I've thought more about this situation and I have to agree with Will. Putting the spotlight (pressure) on this employee led to them performing. The manager needs to keep pressure on them to keep performance up. Taking the spot light off them is another way of saying that you're not holding their feet to the fire for results. Maybe its an uncomfortable thing to do, but its what good managers do.

Brian

bradleymewes's picture

You guys are absolutely right. It is interesting that people "resist" being managed at first, then once they see their performance improve as a result begin to enjoy being managed.

Brad