Well, I’ve finally cracked it…getting my other-half to do the housework, AND to an excellent standard. The most amazing thing was, with hindsight, it was so easy. Can’t believe I haven’t tried this before.
So, what is my amazing secret?….. Ask directly, be specific and give a timescale.
Now, what needs doing in the house is obvious to me, and I’ve always assumed it was obvious to everyone else. This was my first mistake. To ‘hint’ that the housework needed doing never got any response apart from me being frustrated and annoyed 6 hours later when nothing had changed. My second mistake in the past was to ask in general terms. ‘Could you do the housework?’ means completely different things to different people. When I stated specifically what needed to be done: “dust the lounge, hoover the stairs, clear the kitchen surfaces”, I provided a clear and simple outcome that was to be achieved, and my beloved had a mental ‘tick list’ to work through. My third common mistake was to assume he would apply the same level of urgency as me. Wrong. This time, I said “Whilst I take the kids to get the shopping, will you dust the lounge etc”.
I came back from shopping to a house that was in better shape than it has been for a month!
Of course, the same ‘problems’ occur in the working environment: We assume people know what is expected of them. We assume that they know exactly what to do, and have the knowledge and skills and commitment to achieve the standards that we have in our heads (and rarely share). We assume they will attach the same level of importance and urgency to things as we would.
And here lies the root of many performance management problems. Those expectations and standards have never been properly discussed. Both ‘sides’ are making assumptions about what is needed, to what standard and by when. This can result in both parties feeling frustrated.
Recently, I’ve written a lot of performance management training for a number of different clients. All of it different, but all with the same underlying thread: Be specific about what you want, communicate this clearly, get commitment to it, monitor progress, keep talking and recognise/reward achievements. It’s not rocket science.