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Make It Easy to Move the Piano

Steinway Welte-Mignon reproducing piano (1919)Image via Wikipedia

Sam Ewing said, "Hard work spotlights the character of people. Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some don't turn up at all." Of course, those who "turn up their sleeves" receive most of the rewards in life. They produce. They get things done. They work hard. As managers, we know we can consistently count on them and are more willing to cut them some slack when they're in a bind.

In the workplace, there's really no substitute for getting things done. It's the bottom-line of organizational life. Don't we wish that everyone on our team consistently met production goals, project deadlines and job responsibilities?

Sure. But what if they don't?

Once not getting things done surfaces as an issue, it's awfully easy to begin to look for reasons, and to begin to find other problems -- either real or imagined. Next thing you know we've villainized the person and feel like giving up on them. We don't have to let that happen.

Here are three things a manager can do to make it easier for others to work hard and produce results:

  1. Identify mission-critical priorities. Help the under performer find the three to five things that most need to get done to achieve their goals. This provides focus, and focus helps achieve results.
  2. Set measurable goals. Make them clear and specific so there is no doubt on anyone's part what "results" and "success" will look like.
  3. Set mini-deadlines. Ensure that progress is being made, unlike a rocking horse which keeps moving but doesn't get anywhere.

It's been said, "Too many people are ready to carry the stool when the piano needs to be moved." Don't let someone get by with only picking up the stool. Make moving the piano easier.

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