Five Reasons People Don’t Perform

Norb Schwarz

Perhaps the most difficult job I had as a manager was to complete timely and constructive employee evaluations. As I struggled with the process, it struck me that there were five primary reasons people did not perform satisfactorily in any job. 

  1. They did not know what to do. This is a shortcoming of communication within the company.
  2. They did not know how to do it. This tends to focus on shortcomings in the training area.
  3. They did not have the resources necessary to do the job. This is a matter of allocating the proper resources within the company.
  4. They did not want to do the job. This is simply a matter of appropriate motivation. And,
  5. They couldn’t do the job if their lives depended on it.

Nearly all of my employees who were not performing satisfactorily were in the first four areas. Management shares responsibility with the employee in the performance of the first four shortcomings. It will require a joint effort of management and employee to bring performance up to satisfactory standards. If an employee fell into the fifth category, the handwriting was on the wall. The employee had to be let go for the benefit of both the employee and the company. 

Once I began to see the performance management process in the light of a joint responsibility, it was much easier for me to utilize the process as a productive tool for the growth of both the company and the employee.


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