High Performance Checklist for Leaders

Let’s talk about high performance teams.

Spend some time reading Frederick Taylor. Taylor (1856-1915) as you may know is considered to be the father of ‘scientific management’ – a philosophy focused on the belief that making people work as hard as they could was not as efficient as optimizing the way the work was done. Taking some of his principles and adapting with some of my own experience, let me offer a quick checklist of things managers should do to ensure optimum performance in their work teams.

Here we go:

  1. Hire the right people
  2. Train them
  3. Tell them what is expected of them
  4. Hold them accountable
  5. Pay them fairly

Sounds simple enough. Consider these five things the core around which everything else pivots. These are the ‘must haves’ to high performance. Thereafter there’s other stuff – sure. Things like culture, systems and process improvement, performance management systems and so on. But typically, when things go off the rail it’s because at least one of these 5 things is not being done.

We’ve all made mistakes in some of these 5 areas I imagine. For example, if we don’t hire the right people nothing else matters. Or, if we tell them what’s expected but then don’t properly hold them accountable – well you get the idea. What I like about these ‘5 things’ is that they are easy to audit. It’s fairly easy to hold yourself up against these ‘5 things’ and critically grade yourself as to how well each of these is being attended to. The idea is to find the items that are not being done well and fix them. Performance will improve and you’ll raise your game as an effective leader.

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