What do you do if your Team is Underperforming? Part 4 – Measurement; Reward and Recognition

Hitting the TargetSo far in this series of turning around team underperformance we have  covered Leadership; Creating the Urgency for Change; Re-Aligning the Focus; Training and Education; and Ongoing Mentoring and Coaching…. ‘but there’s more,’ as the famous ad line declares. It’s now time to focus on Measurement and Reward & Recognition. First Measurement… 


As the saying goes, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”  It never ceases to amaze me how organisations both large and small hold their people accountable for bringing in the results each month but don’t actually measure the things that are critical to their performance, or if they do, then the measurements that are chosen are not specifically relevant to the activities and behaviours that lead to the right results. Invariably they tend to measure the outputs and not the inputs. KPIs stand for exactly what they mean – “Key Performance Indicators,” not ‘Key Result History-Staters!’ KPI targetsInvariably when proper measurements are not in place, underperformers manage to slip under the radar, the wrong people are recognised, the wrong market circumstances or events are used to explain away poor results, and underperformance is not addressed at the source and whether the activities that lead to sustainable results are being adhered to. So what are the categories of metrics that need to be considered in order to give objective feedback on what should be addressed and how it should be addressed?

Productivity or Income-Generating KPIs

First there are the lead indicators that deal directly with productivity and delivery of the key results pertinent to the role. And if the role involves income generation for the business, then those KPIs should not just focus on the numbers but also the relative value of each client’s business in relation to where the client sits on the relational profile in terms of long term value to the business. There needs to be allowance for activities leading to the generation of new business, as well as activities and performance resulting in current business growth of existing client groups. Every business is different, so it is important to focus not only on what are the critical and most insightful KPIs for your business, but also the relative ability of your Management Information Systems to deliver those numbers in the form you want and to the level you need. Too often company leaders know what they need to measure but their systems have not been designed or adapted to deliver the goods. And as I have discovered when interviewing top performers in a role, they intuitively know what the ‘real numbers’ are that indicate they are on track, but their own organisation is just not able to objectively measure the same things and so often their individual work is going unnoticed.

There are also two other forms of measurement that I would like to draw your attention to which are not KPIs relating to productivity or income generation, but I believe are equally important if you wish to gain a more balanced view of performance. One set of figures are the CSI indicators, or ‘Customer Service Indices’ and the other set are the ‘Team or Culture-focused Assessments.’

Customer Service Indices

It is fairly obvious that any role which involves direct external customer interaction such as sales, call centres, service departments and the like should have measures that show how your people are performing at the critical point of customer interface, but have you considered that the rest of your people have internal customers for which the work they do has an impact on your organisation’s financial health and wellbeing also? During my days of leading world’s best practice study tours overseas to Europe and North America where we studied the best of the best, every top performing company in its industry that we visited had developed ways of measuring internally how well each person was performing on that score, with appropriate measures of feedback and service delivery.

Team or Culture Focused Assessments

There is no poison more insidious and dangerous to the culture of your organisation, than the person or group of people who get the results but do so by abusing your company’s codes of behaviour or disrespecting the goodwill of their colleagues. While they may achieve short term results for you, ultimately the resulting disharmony created within the team environment will lead to personal acrimony among the players and potentially team dysfunction. As Jack Welch, the much respected CEO of General Electric says, ‘Having top performers who are abusive of your company values and culture should be weeded out before their behaviour sends the wrong message as to what is acceptable for the health of the culture.’ Whether your measurements in this area are in the form of team or cultural surveys; values assessments; 360 degree feedback or other means of measuring personal behaviour that leads to respect and support of others, be aware that without addressing this aspect of performance measurement you might never be able to achieve the goal of creating a champion team.


Reward and Recognition

It follows that for effective reward and recognition, first you need to address the issue of performance measurement, as I have above. So now it is important to consider how the people whose activities and results which drive the success of your team or organisation are being encouraged and rewarded to perform to the best of their abilities. It is a consistent premise of human behaviour and motivation, that in order for lasting and impactful change to occur you must reward the behaviour you want.  The two key behaviours which are critical to your business success are team focus and individual performance and achievement.

If for example, your income-generating people are only rewarded when the team hits its targets as a group then there is no incentive for those individuals to achieve or over-achieve should that be their desire. This can potentially create an environment where mediocrity is the norm. Conversely, if only high performing individuals are rewarded for reaching or surpassing their targets, then there is no incentive for individual members to support each other in a team-based environment, and those who have no hope or expectation of achieving any rewards personally, may reduce their efforts. This can potentially create an environment where either mercenary behaviour or complacency is the norm.Recognition

The key to sustained excellence at both the individual and team level is for the measurements and subsequent rewards to address both aspects of team success and individual excellence. If this is not currently the case in both or either of the above two aspects of recognition and reward then I recommend that you give thought to addressing both these items as an integral part of your overall programme of change and development.

In my final blog in this series on Performance Management, I will cover the aspects of Celebration, Performance Management and Individual Capability, to complete the picture.

I look forward to your comments and input to this series on Performance Management, and if you know of anyone whom you believe would benefit from these topics, please forward this on to them. I would love to hear from you directly with any questions you may have, so email me at brian@precisionprofiling.com.au  if there is anything in this series you would like me to clarify further.

Until next time… Let’s seek to understand more and judge less. – Brian

Precision Profiling – What Makes You Tick? Through ‘Motivational Fingerprinting’ we uncover what you do, how you do it and why you do it, and most importantly, the hidden patterns that lead to your success, and that of your staff… plus – all those things that are holding you or your staff back from getting the results you truly deserve.

About Brian Clark

Brian Clark is the principal director of Precision Profiling®.

He is a renowned practitioner, writer and speaker on building total customer cultures; values driven leadership and world best practice strategy and implementation.

He has been a guest lecturer on world best practice for the executive management programme at Monash University’s business college (Mt Eliza campus); an adviser to and key note speaker for the Singapore Productivity Association and a consultant to many major Australian and overseas corporations and government departments.

Read more about Brian Clark Here


  1. I found exactly what I have been looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  2. Hello there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    • Hi there -yeah my Twitter account is BrianJohnClark Thank you for the interest you have shown. Each week when I upload my blog post it also links to Twitter as a feed, so you will always receive the most current to read (and hopefully enjoy) as well as retreat if it takes your fancy. Warm regards – Brian

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