IF YOUR EMPLOYEES lack the right focus, you’re losing performance, innovation and engagement.
Steven Covey in his classic book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, suggest we should focus on “important but not urgent tasks”. But I wonder: Even if we do, doesn’t performance suffer if those activities don’t inspire us, or we aren’t good at doing them?
We all know that performance goes down over time when we don’t find some enjoyment in the things we’re doing, and an unskilled employee creates more work for others.
To build on Covey’s suggestions: Before assigning your employee a project, find out what conditions make them perform well. Here is a great tool from The Extraordinary Leader. It’s a model called: C.O.P, which stands for Capability, Organizational Need and Passion. When an employee is doing a task that overlaps all three, they have discovered their “sweet spot”; a focused set of conditions resulting in motivated performance. Here is an exercise that follows this C.O.P model in search of the sweet spot. (I’ve reassigned the order to P.C.O. in order to be consistent with the following steps.)
1. Create a long list of things you’re passionate about (P).
2. From your list of passions, which do you also have a high degree of capability (C)?
3. From this new list, which are needed by the organization (0)?
Employees are focused on the right things when they are doing things they are passionate about, are good at, and are valued by the company.