Running a company isn't easy, yet many CEOs actually make it harder than it needs to be. They create obstacles to their success and plant the seeds of ongoing problems. Now that we are into a new year, it's time we resolve to stop doing things that are detrimental to our success. Over many years of coaching CEOs, I have found that there are five fundamental practices that they continue to do, despite overwhelming proof that they don't work. 2016 should be the year that we resolve to end these bad management practices.
Here are the top five New Year's resolutions we need to follow religiously. We need to STOP:
Trusting the untrustworthy - There are people who work for us that aren't trustworthy. They blame others, they lie, they cheat, they take credit for others work, or they even steal from us. Yet, for some unknown reason, we keep them around, allowing them more opportunities to screw us. We just can't seem to bring ourselves to admit that we can't rehabilitate them (not that it's our responsibility anyway). Stop trusting these untrustworthy people. It's time to rid ourselves of these liars and cheats.
Defending the indefensible - More times than I can count, I have seen CEOs defend a mistake that they, or one of their employees, made. When things go wrong, we find it so difficult to step up and say we blew it, apologize, and make it right. Instead, we deny that it happened, try to hide it, or make outrageous statements that simply aren't true, yet give us some cover. It's a "circle the wagon" mentality. We end up "doubling down," making the inevitable hit on us much harder. Great CEOs know when to admit a mistake was made, ask for forgiveness, and try to fix the problem. It doesn't matter if the mistake hurt an employee or a customer...it needs to be acknowledged and corrected. Stop defending things that shouldn't be defended.
Training the untrainable - Let's just admit that there are some people, who, no matter how much training we give them, are never going to improve beyond where they are. They have hit their "Peter Principle." Trying to teach them new skills or techniques isn't going to make them work harder, faster, or better. We spend a lot of time, money, and energy, attempting to turn a mediocre employee into a good employee, and we are continually let down. We have to admit, at some point, that no amount of heroic effort on our part is going to make them better at their jobs. It's time to let go of hoping, face reality, and decide if we should keep these people on our payroll.
Rewarding the undeserving - I saw several CEOs giving year-end bonuses to new employees, who had only worked in their companies for a few months. They hadn't earned it...they haven't even been around long enough to actually accomplish anything that's bonus-worthy. However, the CEO wanted to "incentivize" them. I also saw CEOs giving bonuses to employees who didn't hit their goals. Giving unearned bonuses to employees isn't an incentive - it's a gift. Over a decade of executive coaching, I have seen CEOs give promotions, raises, and/or bonuses, to employees who never earned them. Wanting to appear fair, trying to keep morale up, or hoping to give employees a reason to achieve more, are not good reasons for handing out undeserved rewards. Think of the impact this has on the people who actually worked for their promotion, raise, or bonus! How do they feel about these other, less deserving co-workers, getting something for nothing? Stop being a charity, and reward only those who earned it.
Relying on the unreliable - I am amazed at how often I see a CEO ask someone to run a project, manage a major initiative, or develop a new program, after that particular person has failed in every other initiative he was ever assigned. The person is completely unreliable. He can't get things done on time. He can't follow simple instructions. He can't manage people. And he can't solve simple problems. The person can't be relied on to do the job, yet we still continue to give him important projects, promote him, or give him additional responsibility. It makes me crazy! The guy is unreliable, so stop relying on him! In fact, it's time to make him available to the industry.
These are the five resolutions that you need to make and keep this year to help push your company to new levels.