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4 May 2014

People Are More Capable than What You Think

People are more capable than what you think.  Whether you are dealing with your staff, customers, suppliers, contractors or children, you should adopt an open mind and do not limit people's capabilities.  Currently you may see low performance, but understand that such performance is determined by causes and conditions set before.  Once the causes and conditions change, performance will change.  For example, Japan's economy has, since 1992, on a decline phase and till today 2014, it has not recovered to its glory days of 1980s.  This is because of the causes and conditions that Japan has, chief among them is its closed door immigration policy that limits foreign talents.  If Japan were to change its immigration policy and attract talents like Singapore or USA, its economy will surely improve.  

If people are indeed more capable than what you think, what causes them to under-perform?  There are 7 key causes and conditions:
  1. No Mood.  Yes, people don't feel the push to perform, they are not in a right mood and they just don't feel like doing anything better.  As a whole the cause is a lack of morale, motivation and inspiration
  2. No Chance.  No opportunity is given to them to perform, for example, they cannot make decisions on their own.  Such being the case, everything will fall back on the bosses, and if they cannot see themselves becoming a boss or get promoted, why would they want to perform?
  3. No Incentives.  We are not talking about monetary incentives like bonus and increment.  In many companies, good performers are often punished instead of being rewarded, while lousy performers get rewarded.  Just look at how companies keep giving difficult tasks to the good guys and ask the good guys take over the difficult tasks from the bad guys and you'll know what I'm talking about.  
  4. No Push.  There is simply no push for people to do beyond their level.   Many managers that I know of are afraid of pushing their people to work hard for they mistakenly think that working hard is hard.  What is hard is not work hard but hard work, which is work that is considered difficult.  To push people to work hard, you need to make the work not hard, i.e. make the work easy, like you provide templates, guidelines and coaching.
  5. No Encouragement.  Many places only mention mistakes and not achievements.  The best encouragement you can give to anyone is to give them a space to perform.  
  6. No Purpose and Meaning.  Without a sense of purpose, there is no meaning in work, thus people don't want to do well.  For the powerful 5 words that give people high meaning in their work, visit our blog at here.
  7. Being Looked Down.  This must be the biggest reason for under-performance.  People feel being looked down whenever you do the following 7 things to them:
  • Scold
  • Label - like calling people slow achievers
  • Make Sarcastic remarks
  • Compare them to other people
  • Generalize, like using the word 'always'
  • Disbelieve that they are more capable than what you think they are now
  • Don't Listen to their explanations
For the next 5 days, I want to challenge you to make your people more capable than what you think they are now by doing the following everyday:
  • Monday - Praise them for achievement in the previous week
  • Tuesday - Set a Goal for them that will exceed their previous achievement
  • Wednesday - Facilitate and help them achieve the goal
  • Thursday - Speed up their momentum and focus to achieve the goal
  • Friday - Tie up the loose ends and make the achievement real.
By Andy Ng of Asia Trainers.  The next 69th batch for How to Be a Better Manager is on the 4 first Mondays of June 2014 from 2 to 5.30 pm.  For those that prefer a one-day course, you can come for How to Be an Effective Manager on 28 May 2014 Wednesday. For other courses, click here.   Other articles on management:
  1. The 7 Tasks that Cannot Be Delegated
  2. How to Use Force and Get People to Follow You Happily
  3. Two Deadly Pitfalls to Avoid
  4. Follow Sun Tzu Art of War in Your Leadership
  5. Everyone is Empty, and You Need to Fill them Up 
  6. No Safety in Safe Strategies
  7. Get People to Work Hard, Not Make their Work Hard

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