Here’s a question being posed to one of my colleagues. Your organization has many employees who have been with the company for 10+ years, and who have always been loyal, hard-working, good ambassadors of your company. But your business has evolved significantly over the years. In many respects, you’re a very different company today. These people helped you get to where you are now, and you truly appreciate their contributions. It’s not their fault, but some of these people are no longer a good fit for the company as it is today. What do you do?

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In my last post I took the position that leaders should adopt a zero tolerance stance toward behavior that deviates materially from the organization’s core values. In this post I’ll address issues involving behavior that deviates from policies, procedures and processes that are not part of the core values.

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A simple, yet critical exercise a manager can do to improve performance is to clearly define the expectations you have for your employees. This suggestion is often a revelation to managers. Why? Because managers often assume that their employees know what is expected of them. If you’re going to assume anything, assume they don’t know, and to be successful they need to know.

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The practice of completing formal performance evaluations is so deeply institutionalized that few people seriously question whether they are worth the effort.

I’d love to hear some responses to the following question: In your experience, how frequently has a performance evaluation resulted in a material improvement in the person’s performance? In my personal experience, the answer is: almost never.

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Let’s start this discussion by acknowledging that failure is a necessary part of life. Growth as a person, growth as a professional, and growth as a company all involve striving to become, striving to progress beyond one’s current state. Growth inherently requires the possibility of failure. Leaders who go too far in their efforts to prevent failure are preventing growth.

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