Merge's Blog

Tag Archives: performance improvement

Employee performance = ability X motivation

employee performanceI often address the issue of problem employees on the blog.  In the past, I’ve talked about the difference between performance, behaviour and attitude issues, the importance of articulating the problem, and the single most important question to ask yourself before you ever raise the issue with your employee. It’s always worth stepping back and taking a big picture perspective.   Let’s focus on what makes up employee performance, both good and bad.

Employee performance consists of two components

Employee performance is a function of two things – ability and motivation.

Performance = ability X motivation

Ability is the physical, intellectual or emotional capability of your employee to get the job done. Is your employee even able to do what is required in the job?

Motivation however has to do with desire and commitment. Does the employee WANT to do the job at the level and competence that is required?

Why should you care?

Why does this matter? Because you need to assess both factors when trying to get at the root cause of a performance problem. Someone who is highly motivated but at a reduced level of ability can often achieve above-average performance. Unfortunately the opposite is not always true. But don’t be fooled into thinking that motivation can overcome ANY lack of ability – the two are still necessary requirements for exceptional (or even adequate) employee performance. In my experience, you can operate tolerably at 50% ability, but anything less than 75% motivation will get you nowhere.

So what do you think? What are the minimum required levels of ability and motivation to have an adequately performing employee?

What will it take for a rattlesnake to bite itself?

In his landmark book Rattlesnakes: Their Habits, Life Histories, and Influence on Mankind, respected herpetologist Laurence Klauber describes what happens when a rattlesnake is prevented from escaping out of the hot sun. A rattlesnake is exothermic which means that it normally controls its body temperature simply by moving into a cooler area. But if it is unable to do so, its body overheats and within a matter of minutes, death results. As the temperature rises, the rattlesnake gets more and more agitated, trying everything it can to get away, including biting itself in the final minutes of its violent efforts to escape the torment. Essentially, in desperation, the rattlesnake contributes towards its own ultimate demise.

“People perform better under pressure,” is a refrain I often hear when talking to managers and supervisors when they are justifying the fast-paced and stress-filled nature of their organizations and departments . Continue reading

How to create a high-performing work team – live audio event on November 16

Diverse personalities and working styles can be the source of immense conflict OR the foundation of team effectiveness! It depends on your perspective AND what you do to capitalize on the differences. If your workplace team is dysfunctional (and driving you crazy), then it IS possible to stop the suffering! It IS possible to turn the differences into highly productive strengths!

Join me, Merge, for one fast-paced and content-rich hour in which you’ll learn in-depth, step by step, how create high-performing teams.

Click here to register now.

Even if your people seem to be working well together, there is always room to make things even better.  Learn specific and practical tools to take your team from storming to performing.  And if you act by November 9, you can take advantage of early bird savings!

Here’s some of what you’ll learn:

  • An in-depth understanding of the four essential working styles that are fundamental to a high-performing team
  • Three definitive actions that YOU can take build and support your high-performing team
  • Why lack of conflict on a team often points to team ineffectiveness AND how to get past the pitfalls that accompany too much conformity
  • Two easy questions to ask yourself to quickly determine what strengths (and weaknesses) each of your employees brings to the team
  • How to pinpoint exactly where you are on the team development life cycle (and why it matters)

Join me on November 16, 2011 at 11 AM MST. Early bird pricing in effect ONLY until this Wednesday November 9!

Click here to register, or for more information.

What’s stopping you from creating a high-functioning and high-performing work team?

Aaah … a team of talented results-oriented people who are tight-knit yet self-sufficient; resourceful and imaginative, yet keenly focused on your departmental and organizational goals; collaborative, yet openly welcoming of healthy conflict.  Only a dream you say?  Why?  Why can’t it be a reality?

On Wednesday November 16, I’m leading a live Audio Conference on exactly this topic — how to create a high-performing team in YOUR workplace — and I’ll be opening the lines for questions. So tell me — what is your biggest challenge when it comes to creating a dream-team in your workplace? Go to to ask your question and I’ll answer as many as I can on November 16.

And while you’re at, be sure to complete the self-scoring evaluation — Do You Have A High-Performing Team? Find out how you’re doing right now.  Just click on the link on the bottom left of the screen.

Do you have a high-performing team?

Just imagine … a team of talented and results-oriented people who are tight-knit yet self-sufficient; resourceful and imaginative yet keenly focused on your departmental and organizational goals; collaborative yet openly welcoming of healthy conflict.

Only in your dreams you say? Not at all … it IS possible! But … it takes skill and planning by a strong leader to make it happen. To get there, you first need to know where you are today. This self-scoring evaluation will give you a yardstick by which to assess your current status, as well as a means to measure your progress towards the ultimate goal – the highly productive and top-performing team!

So … what is your secret to cultivating a high-performing team?  Or … what’s getting in the way?

Seek out specialized skills to solve workplace problems

Legions of army ants swarm in extended colonies (as many as 200,000 in one colony) over the forest floor in Central and South America catching anything they find in their way. In a testament to social cooperation, army ants do not eat each other, but instead overwhelm their prey (usually non-army ants or larger arthropods) through their sheer force of numbers. In an intriguing 2006 study, Bristol University researchers Scott Powell and Nigel Franks observed that some ants took on a specialized role in order to benefit the colony overall. Continue reading