What to do About Individual Performance Problems

I am often asked to look at people in key positions who are not performing at the level expected.  Often, management already has in mind the solution:  “He needs training,” or, “She needs coaching.”

Before jumping to an alternative solution, it’s important to understand the cause of the performance issue.  The key question to ask is this:  Could the person do the job if he/she absolutely had to?

  • If the answer is no, then you have either a training/development issue, or an inability to learn the job.
  • If the answer is yes, then it is an issue of volition — the person could do it, but doesn’t want to.

Those are two very different situations, each requiring very different solutions.

Be careful about how you diagnose performance issues.

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