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3 coaching experiments to increase performance

We’re in the 6th month of WFH, and some teams are starting to feel the pain. (FYI – I’m constantly hearing about motivation issues)

How’s your team doing?

According to new research. The pandemic workday is a different beast:

  • We’re working 48 minutes longer.
  • We’re attending more meetings with more people.
  • And, we’re sending (and receiving) more email.
  • [UPSIDE] – The additional meetings are shorter.

As a leader, you need to keep experimenting with different solutions to see how you can help your team sustain forward momentum. Today I’m sharing three that work well.

Experiment #1: Offer to reprioritize

Successful employees strongly agree with the following statements:

My manager helps me set work priorities ✅
My manager helps me set performance goals ✅

We have years of data that proves employees whose managers help them set priorities and goals are more productive.

​I encourage you to meet with your employee and go through their priorities not in a micro-managey way but in a “Lets-look-at-it-together-way can be cathartic.

Experiment #2: Offer more control

One effective motivation strategy is giving your employees more autonomy and control over their day. Experimenting with simple questions like the following will go a long way.

  • Does our current 1:1 time still work?
  • What would you like to change about your current work schedule?
  • Are there any projects you need me to step out?

Agency over our lives is a powerful drug. When our bosses step up and give us more autonomy – we get a boost of motivation.

BTW – Please keep doing your 1:1s with your managers. The following data is showing 1:1s are decreasing the time employees are spending at work (Increased efficiency)

Experiment #3: Optimize for quick wins

If your employee is struggling, try giving them tasks that come with quick wins. You’ll be surprised how a word of encouragement and praise can get them going again. If you see something good, say something good.

Encouragement remains undefeated in the workplace.

Your employees want help and coaching more than ever before. These experiments are worth your time. You have nothing to lose.

Good luck,

How to maximize remote performance

A number of leaders are struggling to figure out if their employees are performing. Here’s what I recently heard from a frustrated manager:

“I’ve no idea when my employee logs in and out. I don’t know know what to do.”

This is a typical case of misattribution. Instead of optimizing for visibility, we need to optimize for performance.

Gone are the days when we’d look at the door and silently judge when our employees walked in late or took off for a long lunch.

ICYMI – Google and Facebook are not bringing their workforce back this year, and Twitter’s going to let some employees work from home indefinitely.

Here’s the CEO of Box talking about the same trend:

In the new world, leaders will need to optimize for more sophisticated metrics such as trustconnection, and quality of output versus vanity metrics like “time clocked in“. I think this is a welcome change.

Leaders and founders will have to double-down:

  1. Clarity of messaging (Hi-fidelity)
  2. More storytelling and innovative ways of sharing it (visual and bite-sized). Some CEO[s] are opting for video messages versus company-wide email announcements.
  3. More goal-setting and measurement. (This needs to happen across all levels)
  4. Leaders will have to establish boundaries for themselves and lead by example for the rest of the group to follow.
  5. More humanity and empathy (one can only hope).


Change is coming and it’s coming fast. I see some bumps, but I’m optimistic.

Hope you’re well


Telescopes and Microscopes

As a leader, realize that your vantage point is different than your direct reports. You have a telescope (vision) and your employees have a microscope (details), hence they see and hear things you’re unable to and vice-versa. For you to lead a successful team, you can’t rely exclusively on the information that you possess.

For optimal decision making, you have to listen to what’s being surfaced from your team and find a way to marry your information with theirs. This allows for a richer outcome and, in all honesty, a better world. You have the ability to look far and wide, your team has the ability to zoom in.

The service is good enough

On my flight home somewhere over the Atlantic, one of the passengers commented “The service is good enough” and that triggered the following response and my dislike for the words “Good Enough”.

  1. Good enough is not good enough anymore
  2. Good enough is a sign of complacency
  3. Good enough is taking shortcuts vs putting in the reps
  4. Good enough is not courageous
  5. Good enough is mediocre
  6. Good enough is the enemy of great
  7. “Good enough will never change the world” – Usain Bolt

60 second reflection:

What one area do you want to stop settling for “good enough” and challenge yourself or your team to reach higher?


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