"........When Change is the Challenge."
Laurie Weiss, Ph.D.
How do you tell an employee that
s/he is doing unsatisfactory work? Herb did it badly. Each time his
bookkeeper, Sandra, promised to get the new system installed, and didn't,
Herb would listen to her reasons (excuses). Then he would repeat how
disappointed he was that the new system wasn't up and running and get a
new promise of a completion date.
Herb fumed inwardly and complained to me about how
he couldn't get the financial information he needed in a timely way. I
suggested that he tell her what he would do if the work wasn't done.
Sandra looked busy, but the work still dragged on. Finally he told her
that if it wasn't completed by the end of the month, she was fired. She
finished transferring the data to the new system and produced a report
within hours of her deadline.
A week later, Herb was still waiting for the
additional reports he needed and Sandra was giving him a new set of
excuses. We concluded that he needed to talk to his CPA. In an emergency
meeting with his CPA she told Herb that he could send the data to her
office electronically, and get all the reports he needed within 24 hours.
Herb then fired Sandra and hired a new data entry clerk at a much lower
salary. The entire frustrating process took nine months to complete.
Herb wonders if he had made poor business decisions
for months because he lacked the data he needed. His CPA told him that
Sandra obviously did not understand what she was doing, and that the
installation would have been completed in days by a competent person. What
if he had given Sandra firm deadlines in the beginning? Would they both
have discovered she lacked the skill to do the job? He wished they had, it
would have saved both of them a lot of grief.
Herb was afraid to confront Sandra because he did
not want to appear unreasonable and because he had no real understanding
of her job. We discussed the value of talking to employees (and anyone
else) about small dissatisfactions before they grow into unmanageable
messes. He believes he will be able to do so. He also plans to get expert
help when he does not understand a technical issue well enough to
supervise it intelligently.
People are reluctant to confront others because they imagine the negative
consequences of the conversation. They often forget the negative
consequences of not having the conversation.
Coaching Tip: Life
planning for retirement is just as important as career
planning before retirement.
Copyright 2001, Empowerment Systems. May be
transmitted or reproduced in its entirety only, including
this copyright line.
Jonathan B. Weiss, Ph.D. and Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. have
helped thousands of people make significant changes in their
lives. Working together at Empowerment Systems for 29 of
their 40 years of marriage, they maintain a coaching,
consulting, and psychotherapy practice in Littleton,
· Colorado · 80120
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"Committed to helping people use all of
their inner resources
to create satisfying and fulfilling