As you set out to evaluate and review your managers, please consider this Skill vs Engagement Matrix. Each manager (in fact every employee) should be identified and categorized. Once you classify the person on this chart, you will have a sense of what type of improvements are possible.
The objective of this exercise is not to measure financial performance, but to take stock of the individual and their potential. Using this Matrix as a guide… your objective is to identify the Skill/Engagement box that describes each person reporting to you.
Once this is determined, the goal is to encourage them to move up and to the right in the matrix. When successful with this approach, you will have a team that is improving all the time and financial results will follow.
Is the manager (or employee) a “Problem Child”; demonstrating no inclination to expand their skills? Is their engagement with their area of responsibility passive; lacking motivation? No apparent skills or engagement.
Is the manager a “Star” performer exhibiting exactly the opposite of the Problem Child? Is this a staff member always looking to improve their skills, knowledge of the job? Staff members who are Stars are your highest value employees.
Engage them by:
Delegating important tasks. Then let go and see what they can accomplish.
Providing “stretch” assignments. Your Stars will almost never be happy with just doing the same tasks day after day. Give them an opportunity to shine and give them public recognition for their successes and initiative.
Having them work outside their primary area of responsibility. Seek opportunities to have them take on assignments beyond their job descriptions. Cross training is good for the dealership, but great for the Star. Again, make sure their abilities and performance are recognized and appreciated.
Mentoring them one-on-one. This Star may one day fill a more important role in your organization. Spend time with them discussing their job, performance and aspirations. Then encourage them to do the same with their reporting staff.
The Engagement/Motivation Axis:
Moving to the right from “Problem Child”. The Plodder does her or his job, but without much enthusiasm. You might describe them by saying they check all the boxes… nothing more and nothing less. It’s a job and not a career to this person. They show up but lack anything but basic skills and knowledge.
The primary difference between the Plodder and the Striver is that the Striver wants to excel… but may not have the tools, or skills, necessary to make this happen.
For your Strivers you want to encourage and provide learning opportunities. They need to know that expanding their knowledge and skill set will help them advance… both in the organization and for their own self-actualization.
Now let’s move up the Skill Level axis
Like the Plodder, the Idler has some skills, but no engagement or motivation. They have enough skill to get by. They may even obtain reasonably successful financial results. The fault is that they are just not trying to improve or grow in his or her position. Whatever they did yesterday… good results or not… is also good enough for today. They earn their salary… but just. No extra effort.
The Coaster has achieved an excellent skill level, but like the Idler is not motivated enough to put these skills fully to work. He or she coasts on the realization that they are pretty good at fulfilling the functional elements of their responsibility. The fault is in that he or she is not challenged to greatness. They are literally coasting on their superior skills.
Now Let's Take a Look at the Near-Stars
All are just a step away from being Stars. What types of things do they need to do to advance to the premier level of performance? What would make them among the most valuable people on your team.
As the Matrix tells us… it could be an improvement of their motivation and engagement. Or... it could be that they need to further expand their skills and knowledge. Or... maybe a combination of both skill and engagement.
What is true is that spending some time and effort with team members in the Jogger/Cruiser/Performer classifications, can pay huge dividends. Remember, these dividends are realized to both the company and the individual.
Keep in mind that these evaluations are independent of financial results or their ability to hit forecast goals. Financial performance can be impacted by factors and circumstances outside their control.
Negative financial performance may not be a good indicator of this person’s value to the dealership. It could be beyond their control.
Same goes for positive results. Pay Plans based solely on financial results often result in paying extra when the windfall had nothing to do with the individual's contribution… rather, it's a case of the higher tide raising all boats.
How to Steer Your Team to Become Star Performers:
Use the Skill/Engagement Matrix to score everyone that reports to you and let them know you are doing so. Show them where they fit in based on your observations. Coach them on how they can move up the grid and get closer to and, achieve “Star Status.”
Help them along the way by providing ample opportunity to gather the knowledge and skills that will enable the desired growth.
Employ One-on-One Coaching Sessions to encourage each person in their quest for skill and engagement. As a senior manager with responsibility for the entire enterprise... or as a department manager… you all have a responsibility to help create “Star Performers.”
This simple Skill/Engagement Matrix can provide an easy to follow improvement process.
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