The one thing that will make a difference to your business

Speaking with a client yesterday, I was struck by how, for all the sophistication of businesses these days – one of the most fundamental skills a business can possess is the ability of managers to talk, truly talk to their people.

It’s as though the legislative environment has frightened us .. That we can’t have those discussions that might actually make a difference .. I’m talking about honest, constructive feedback – of the kind that actually gets the person thinking .. Whether that’s about what they’re doing well and should try to emphasize or areas that they need to improve.  Whether it’s about how they are finding the role, or whether the role is a good cultural, skills and values fit for both the employee and the organisation.

This client was reflecting on the amount of time that is spent trying to ‘teach’ managers how to performance manage. And it’s true that there is a need to know how and when to enact those processes – but I’d argue that good talking in the first place can significantly reduce the incidence of formal performance  management and all the associated angst.

I wonder – what are people scared of? Or is it less about fear and more that people don’t see the value in a good conversation. Or is it that their managers don’t model this behaviour with them so, so there’s no organisational context them to do it.

What do you think? Is it important? And if so, how can we get people talking.

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