Pathways and consequences 

So let's get real for a second.

These tough convo's are not a time for high lunches and devonshire teas. They're hard work and time consuming. The stakes are high too. In the washup, these conversations are all about performance. Both theirs and yours.

So a few quick tips on seeing them perform at their best as they head down the yellow brick road of success.

Give them time to deliver

Be reasonable. If they haven't been doing the desired behaviour in the past, you've got to create the necessary space for it to occur. Take away the excuses of existing work demands or competing priorities. Now before you say 'but they were slacking off in the first place!' We're not talking about months of inactivity. Quite the opposite. Just a few days of reducing the clutter and getting them focused can create momentum. Then you can load them back up in good time.

Encourage them to build momentum

So now you have got them working on the new behaviour change, it's so important to make small comments that show you're witnessing the change. You've got to nail these feedback loops!

Make every effort to 'catch them' doing good. The time investment to do so will pay off big time.

Show them a pathway to come if they're uncertain

It's pretty rare for someone to step into a new way of behaving and nail it first go. Most of the time it might be a couple of steps forward followed by the occasional step back, sideways or even a temporary inertia where results aren't coming. So in these cases, do this:

Frame up that this might just happen. If it does, you'll be ready for to help, and will be there to advise them on how to handle it better, or restart again. The more you can outline the potential pitfalls, the less of a surprise these will be for them when they occur.

Outline what success and failure look like

This is a critical factor many managers will hastily overlook; letting people see what a future state will look like. The cool thing is if this is done well, people will steer their own behaviour towards the positive outcomes if the pathway is clear.

How do we do this? Great question. And here's a great answer. You need to ask them what they think a good outcome looks like, as well as what they think a bad outcome looks like. Too many bosses just tell people, rather than let them find the answers themselves. And by asking, you let them effectively create their own psychological contract...and that equals awesome.

So there you go, a few handy hints on how you can keep the performance train a-hummin'

The next thing we'll look at is the importance of finding the wins. See you there.