Surrounding Incompetence

Image: eventplanner.tv

Image: eventplanner.tv

Facing the obvious in front of us

A few years ago, I was coaching a gym manager that was desperate to learn how he could bring his team together to improve the business. He highlighted the need for better client orientations for new members with quality follow ups. We set a plan for the manager to communicate this, track it, and monitor progress. In the coming months this was a struggle for a few reasons:

1. No matter how many times the manager re-enforced the importance of orientations and follow ups, the team still didn’t seem to make it a priority.

2. The simple smart-phone-friendly reporting we set up for the team was not being done on time and in full on a weekly basis.

3. The people that were doing well in general did this easily. The rest struggled to engage with this simple initiative. It illustrated the Get Its vs the Don’t Get Its within the team.

At the time we discussed all sorts of approaches to break the poor habits seen in some team members. But there was one glaringly obvious factor we did not consider… Some team members were incompetent.

This initiative was a part of everyone’s original job description. The reporting was easier than sending a text message. The manager was overly available to support every individual. We speak of motivation and inspiration and emotional intelligence, but there was a simple lack of ability to do the straight-forward tasks in the role.

I am seeing this more and more, and feel it is important to call out. If someone has to chase a contact to get info by the end of the day and it is not done, this is incompetence. If a report has to be completed by the end of the week and it is not done, then this is incompetence. If a body of work comes back riddled with errors, this is incompetence.
 

“One of the best uses of your time is to increase your competence in your key result areas.” – Brian Tracy


If this is happening in your team, it is worth re-assessing. Listing out the competencies in each person’s role sets a clear expectation. A quick chat/meeting can cut through costly ambiguity. Communicating through this can be difficult, which is where Social Competencies come into play.

Categorisation of High Performance Competencies. When all are clear and operating at a competent level our productivity increases dramatically.

Categorisation of High Performance Competencies. When all are clear and operating at a competent level our productivity increases dramatically.

Social Competencies are great fun and learnable for all. But first, I encourage everyone to stop the denial that everyone is competent in the basics. Over the last decade I have seen it time and again.

By surrounding the incompetence with precise and explicit expectations we can lower the amount we are surrounded by it (leaving us pulling our hair out!). And by doing so, we can save 100’s of hours a year in frustration and business costs.



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