Most of us have encountered this situation: a teenager’s performance at school is not up to par. You know they can do better, but they seem to fall short. The grades come out, the discussions get heated, nothing changes and everyone is aggravated. We’ve all been there and have the tee-shirt.
This article is about applying what I learned as a Manager of Training for Walmart Logistics. This was my house where the teenager was not performing well and something had to be done. When it’s personal, we get motivated. This sweet, smart, beautiful teenager needed help, and because I love her I did something about it. I used the same principles I had learned several years ago when I worked for Walmart Logistics. At that time, they had about 75,000 employees and were the largest logistics operation in the US besides the military (still are). They perform well, no doubt about it. walmart wire
Walmart Logistics is a complicated operation, but not when it comes to people development. It’s simple: here are the rules and expectations. We’ll get you to where you need to be over a period of time and hold you accountable along the way. The employee is expected to embrace the expectations and perform well. Leaders are expected to develop employees in such a way that they will WANT to perform well. That’s another article. For now, let’s discuss the accountability piece.
Performance reviews (which occurred often in the beginning of the employee’s onboarding) included three questions:
- What went well?
- What didn’t go so well?
- What will you do differently?
I asked my granddaughter these three questions every Friday at our ‘performance review’ meetings right after school. At first, she rolled the eyes and seem bored. After the third review, she was wanting them early because she was anxious to receive feedback. Humans crave feedback – not criticism, true feedback. Each week, we looked at the grades (performance data) and discussed the three questions above. She wasn’t being told what was wrong or what needed to be done, she reflected on it herself. She was able to be autonomous in choosing to perform better. You and I both know this is very important to a teenager. She also defined a goal… college which would not happen unless the performance was in place.
Six weeks after starting the performance reviews she was making As and Bs. Not only did her grades improve, but she became more SELF accountable, which of course is our hope. She was always capable of the work, but other things had become a distraction. She needed direction, a goal and accountability.