Managers' Library Home
View all Categories View All Categories

Thursday Insight - Potholes!

Thursday Insight - Potholes!

I have a particular reason to dislike potholes, having broken my foot many years ago by stepping into one whilst wearing some (beautiful) strappy sandals – but that’s a whole other story. 

There is one roundabout near where I live that has caused an unusual amount of interest locally, where the ruts had become so pronounced that there had been warning signs up for months. So, it was a relief to see the road repair people get to work as I headed out for a run one Sunday morning back in February.

When I ran back an hour or so later, I was surprised to see the repair vehicles had already left!

Instead of fully re-surfacing the road, they’d simply poured hot tarmac into the holes and moved on. But, it was clear that the ‘repair’ was already breaking down, and loose stones were scattered around.

Within 24 hours the road was worse than ever! So, imagine my surprise when the following weekend the repair guys were back and applying the exact same patch-job repair to the road surface.

It doesn’t take a genius to guess what happened next… the road surface deteriorated within 24 hours yet again. This time it was so bad, I started actively avoiding the junction.

But guess what? The same thing happened the following weekend! Were Einstein still alive and living in this part of Gloucestershire he would probably have rolled his eyes and reminded us that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

But whilst such apparent stupidity might bewilder us, can these experiences teach us something about being better managers?

Do you, for example, have team members whose performance does not get better when you ask them to change? Are they like the roundabout, where a more fundamental issue needs to be addressed?

In other words is there something we, as managers, need to do to ensure that all our team members have both the skill and the will to do a good job?

I encourage you to make time in your diary in the next few days to go through the Managing Performance Study Guide. It should take no more than an hour of your time, but it will give you a comprehensive plan of action for tackling performance issues.

And what if you see a trend; common areas where a number of your team need to develop their behaviours? Have a look in our Training Activities for some great, quick training sessions that you can run with ease. If the issue is around their Attitude we have some fabulous sessions for you! The same goes for our section on Personal Development.

Or you might conclude that a more extended training or coaching programme may be needed.

Regardless of which option you select, please do not underestimate the importance of your role in this. By itself, training will never be the complete solution. It is about, as a manager, being there to encourage and support your team members as they learn to apply new skills; to catch them doing things well and say thank you. 

Have a great week and remember, the wise words of Aristotle: 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

p.s., Roundabout update: The road repair guys came back and did a full resurface job. And guess what? Taking the extra time and trouble to address the fundamentals of the problem works for roads as well as people…

April 25 2017 Frances Ferguson
About the Author

Add New Blog

Frances Ferguson

No comments have been added. The comments box will appear when you are logged in.

Log In here to comment.

Twitter  facebook

Powered by 

Copyright Glasstap® Limited (1999 - 2017)