In the third in our series of posts on Creating Alignment we’re going to examine the importance of making sure you have the right skills and people in your business before you get bogged down in action.

Do you have the right skills?

So, you’ve identified your vision for the future, you have a common purpose and you’ve communicated this to your team so they know the direction they are heading in and why.

The next things I want you to think about are the people that you have in your teams and the skills that they possess. Are they the right skills? If not, do you need to recruit someone or develop them to have the right skills?

Do you have the right people in your organisation?

Are they engaged with you? Do they understand what you want from them? Do they want to be there and are they doing the right things?

In theory, if they’re doing the right things, they should be delivering the right results, but in order to be able to do that our people need to have the right skills to do their job, and need to be challenged to grow and perform, rather than just do the same old thing every day. I’m going to get you to think about your team members’ performance and think about the level of challenge and support you give your people and say “actually, am I doing it right? Am I giving that challenge and support to my team?”

Sanford’s Challenge and Support Model demonstrates that when people have too much support –they don’t learn, but when they have too much challenge they end up frustrated and anxious.

So lets’ put this into a work context.

Example 1: You have a team member who has worked for you for 5 years. They do the same job every day, easily, and have plenty of time to chat to their colleagues and don’t seem to go the extra mile for you. Why? Because they are in their comfort zone. You don’t give them anything to do that stretches and challenges them, therefore they don’t learn and may not be adding value to your business. They may even be in apathy, and be damaging your business. This is too much support.

Let’s look at example 2your other employee has been in the role 6 months’, is really keen and you are throwing all the new projects at them. However they don’t have that much experience, plus you are always busy and have little time to spend with them to guide them. Consequently they are not making the progress you are expecting. Why is this? It may be due to lack of skill, but may also be because they don’t have enough support. They are a little out of their depth, not sure what to do, and anxious about telling you this because they are new. They have too much challenge and not enough support.

Finally let’s look at example 3. This employee is your best performer. They constantly take on new projects and challenges, and really deliver results for you. You meet with them regularly (maybe weekly or monthly), to discuss what they are doing. They bounce ideas off you, and you give them input where needed, but let them run with their own ideas too. This person is high performing, and has the right amount of challenge and support.

So my question is – are all your employees being managed in the same way as in example 3?

If not, why not?

Look at what you do as a leader, look at how your manager’s manage their teams. How much challenge do you give your people and do they get that challenge balanced with support? Do you do it well and do you have people who want to be in your business? Do you spend the time with people who can succeed and help them succeed?

Because if you don’t, you’re next step is to make sure that you do this. Yes, it can take time – your precious time, but the results far outweigh the time spent and it’s what you should be doing as their manager.

Look at the people in your business and make sure that you really do an honest appraisal of who you have and what they are capable of doing and actually delivering. Who do you need to engage? Who do you need to spend time with? Who you need to develop? And who will drive your business and make it great and who just doesn’t care?

Find out who doesn’t care, as actually they probably don’t want to be in your business anymore. They have flipped into apathy, and they are no longer engaged with you, and you either need to re-engage them or help them leave. Deal with your people at both ends of your organisation, either develop them or move them out, and then you can move forward.

Next time, the 4th step to Creating Alignment: Do you have the right resources?