Friday, 6 November 2009

Of Teams and Mediocrity II


Tanveer said :

Well, Everywhere this is the same thing going on...it is because of impotent recruitment process.
A Interviewer don't want to hire a person better than him, a manager give preference to a candidate from his community, People who refer candidates set out as well as break out the interviewing process.
That is what people say that only because of few team members this project is actually driving.
So finally you left with one choice i.e. - 4th choice.

Does Mediocrity start with someone joining or even before joining? The answer is Yes to a certain level its about the hiring process... but finally the mediocrity takes its path only with mediocre team... In a previous post on How to find the right guy I mentioned some things about hiring process... but thats not the core of mediocrity...its the environment, culture , its the surrounding that pornshows mediocrity...

Ending Mediocrity is the only choice if You, Your Team and Your Organization has to grow... YOU is the important part in finishing mediocrity... I write more details about the same as you follow this post... but the question is can you end mediocrity? Well No you cant... The Leaders can to a certain level.. but the values of the Team can definitely kill it....

"I am up for it, lets make it work"
"We did a good job, I think you were fantastic in it"
"Hey Guys I am gonna make this work over the weekend so you dont waste your Monday on it"
"I love Facebook too, but you know I love to make my product better than it"
"So what if I get paid less, I love my Job "
"Lets finish this and then go for Lunch?"

When you start hearing this it means that the end of mediocrity is introduced... its the Team that can kill it.. and we all leaders and managers have to play a role in it... How?

Sense it , Feel it , Penetrate it and Remove it...

Well I am not defining the procedure to seduce here, instead its the way you choose to handle mediocrity...

Sense It
1. Find out all the behaviors that lead to mediocrity, dont think of how to change them... just observe them.
2. Individualize the behavior, a Team can have a common mediocre behavior but there is a lot of individual set of items in it.
3. Pull out the common points , plug them into individual elements.

A common set of mediocre behaviors are :

1. My Job role doesnt define this
2. I did my task and now I go home, so what if he is stuck
3. I think its not something that is easy, it has X, Y and Z problems.. I would solve them only like others do...
4. I work longer, I should be paid more? or I work less...
5. I am the only hard worker here? why???
6. I think they are not so good...I can do it in 5 mins they take ages for it.. so I would too take ages

Feel it

Now since you know whos and whats of mediocrity target independent elements...feel them, be with these problems... try to understand individual reasons to problems...

sometimes you may hear...
1. The last train home is at 5, I have to go
2. I cant work long hours, I have family to take care at home
3. I have never worked on it before and thats not my interest area too
4. I was looking forward for XX , but I got YY and that doesnt motivate me
5. We used to work differently , here it is different so I cant be very productive

Penetrate it

Now since you know the causes and reasons of mediocrity.. try to penetrate it...

1. Pick the Best lot , put them on worst tasks
2. Pick the worst lot , put them on the best tasks
3. Be with them, let them own it and see what they do...
4. Bring them into situations of war of the lords and see what they do and how they handle it...
5. Show them how you do it, and what you do.. let them follow.

Remove it

Now its time to get rid of mediocrity.. but there are lot of precautions to be taken..

1. Introduce them to step into the processes... One at a time.. if you start multiple things in one go you will be killed...and the Change will be mediocre itself
2. Tell them what needs to be changed... and why and how it will benefit them
3. Be specific... let them understand what needs to be achieved..
4. Get suggestions, Get recommendations, ask your teams to suggest...
5. Confront non-performance. Make sure your team knows that continuing in the old, mediocre behavior is unacceptable. Enforce this if needed..
6. Ask for feedback and also involve them in change processes.

Prepare yourself to celebrate the change in Mediocre behavior.. remember you also need to explain the Team on why they dont get some facilities.. its only because they have to get rid of the mediocre behavior.