“So, let’s look at your description of Phillip,” I prompted. “You said he is probably in over his head. What exactly does that mean?”
Joyce’s brow furrowed. “You know. He is having trouble cutting it. Can’t deliver. Doesn’t know whether to scream or eat a banana.”
I smiled. “I know exactly what you mean. But how do we characterize this behavior so we can improve the situation?”
Joyce looked a little sheepish. “I don’t mean to poke fun. But I really don’t know how else to put it.”
“So, let’s say you fire Phillip and your boss wants to know the reason. Are you going to say that Phillip was terminated because he didn’t know whether to scream or eat a banana?”
“Of course not. I would have to think of something more tactful,” Joyce replied.
“Instead of something more tactful, think of something closer to the truth, something you can be objective about and measure.”
“I don’t know,” said Joyce, backpedaling. She shifted with the uncomfortable question. “I think I would have to go back to his job description and start there,” she replied.
“And if you went back to the job description, what would you find?”
Joyce got up from her chair and paced to the side of the room. “First of all, I would have to find the job description, but I already know it’s just a bunch of gobbledygook. It was written by a consultant several years ago and it’s out of date.”
“So, if I really put you to the test, as a manager, you are holding Phillip to a performance standard that you describe as gobbledygook?”
“Yes, but, I can still tell that he is not doing his job. He doesn’t have the capability to do his job. I know that, even without the job description.”
“So, how are we going to capture what you already know in measurable terms to help us know what to do with Phillip?”
Hiring Talent Summer Camp (online) starts June 20, 2016. Follow this link – Hiring Talent – for course description and logistics. You can pre-register starting today. See you online. -Tom