Performance problems in your team? Fix it in 60 seconds with 7 points to guide the way.

Performance problems in your team? Fix it in 60 seconds with 7 points to guide the way.


You have sixty seconds set the scene for a performance conversation. Here is a seven point plan to deliver your message in 60 seconds:

  • Name the issue
  • Select a specific example that demonstrates the behaviour you want to change
  • Describe your emotions about this issue
  • Clarify what is at stake
  • Identify your contribution to the problem
  • Indicate your wish to resolve the issue
  • Invite the other person to respond

Try it, you will be amazed. I was! The glazed over look melts into willing cooperation focussed on fixing the problem. The key to this technique is hitting every point in the list in the correct order.

Set the scene

Let’s see how this might look in practice. First, let me set the scene. I closed 4 branch sites, brought staff together into one location and replaced their familiar production systems with a totally new platform that impacted on everything they did. I knew the team were excited about the new way of working but I also knew that the hard work is just beginning. I bought them together; I expect there will be conflict. Once we sort it all out, I know we will emerge on the other side as a more efficient, unified team.

Set the expectations

I repeatedly told my team what to expect on the journey, how tough it will be and how important it is to play nicely in the workplace together. I told them I will have zero tolerance for anybody who treats others without the dignity and respect I model. I tell them that I expect to treat everybody the way they want to be treated themselves. Respect becomes my mantra. As I predicted, some conflict occurs between two staff members and as their manager, I learn of this. John treated one of the others in a way that breached the clear expectations I had set. I can’t ignore it, I told them I wouldn’t, so I must act.

Deliver the Message

After learning the facts, I prepare for a difficult conversation. I write out what I want to say and call John into my office. Here is what I said.

“John, I want to talk to you about the way you have been treating others team members disrespectfully. I learnt that you were so rude to Mary that she ran out of the room crying. I am concerned about this and the possible consequences to our sense of team spirit. What’s at stake here is that we all must work together to get our work completed on time. If we don’t, our reputation will be damaged and the company might consider outsourcing our function so we will all be looking for a job. This is what I want to resolve with you John, the affect this behaviour is having on our team. I want to understand what is happening from your perspective. Please talk to me about what’s going on between you and Mary.”

I watched John stiffen as I deliver the reprimand and was amazed at how constructive the ensuring conversation was. I quietly breathe a sigh of relief and watch on in amazement over the ensuing days how much impact my conversation had on the whole team.

Can you identify the seven points in what I said? Tell me in the comments below how you have used this powerful technique. Did it work for you?

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