Building a company is not just about a good idea and lots of sales. Executives, managers, and team leaders alike must make the right decisions regarding their people, or the business will stall or regress. The best planning and strategy will be wasted if you have the wrong people doing the wrong things.

Growth guru Verne Harnish brilliantly addresses critical people issues in his new book, Scaling Up (Gazelles Inc., 2015). Harnish provides a whole new suite of solid concepts and tools necessary for getting the right people doing the right things right. In this long-awaited follow-up to Mastering the Rockefeller Habits (Gazelles Inc., 2003), Harnish mentions a Google study identifying periodic one-on-one coaching as the No. 1 key to being a successful leader. Listed below in reverse order of importance are the acivities Harnish recommends you master in those coaching sessions to keep your talent successfully engaged.

5. Hire less; higher pay.

Money isn't everything to an employee but, overall, you still get what you pay for. Harnish believes strongly in using high selectivity to hire the best people and then paying them above average to retain them and motivate them. Compensation tied to performance can really drive your company forward, so make sure you help your employees find the right path to their version of material success. It sounds expensive, but the adage of one good employee being able to do the work of three mediocre ones is absolute truth.

4. Give recognition and show appreciation.

Harnish makes clear that it takes a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative feedback to keep an employee productive and in good spirits. So make sure every time you critique or criticize an employee, you are ready to praise him or her and show appreciation at least three times. Surprisingly, Harnish found through Gazelle's best practices that one-on-one praise is actually more effective than public recognition.

3. Set clear expectations and give employees a clear line of sight.

If the employees aren't clear about where the company is going, they are bound to be inefficient and ineffective. Throughout the book, Harnish stresses clear alignment and daily communication so all workers can be in synch on company objectives and how their roles support the big picture. This is a key focus of Harnish's Rockefeller Habits.

2. Stop demotivating; start "dehassling."

People and processes can demotivate a talented employee. Unnecessary bureaucracy can frustrate top talent who need a clear runway to take off. Additionally, weak players can weigh down strong players, reinforcing the need to hire the best you can at all times. Harnish emphasizes that, as a leader, you need to identify and remove obstacles so your talent can perform at top levels.

1. Help people play to their strengths.

Harnish believes that strong leaders know how to help their employees recognize and focus on their strengths. He points out that, over time, those strengths may develop and change. A great leader will help employees refocus and spend time so they can add the most value to themselves and the company.


Published on: Nov 5, 2014
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