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The Midweek Motivator – Performance Punishment

Imagine if a great athlete like Derek Jeter had been so valuable to the (then) Greenville Hornets, they would never have allowed him to progress to the majors and achieve his storied career. Or, closer to your reality, you were asked to accept a temporary move from a morning show role to midday, “only for a few months until we find someone.” A year later you’re still there, promise broken. 

Performance Punishment is as common as fog in San Francisco. It knows no boundary and exists not only in radio but everywhere across corporate America; academia, sports, even in the Military. Best defined, Performance Punishment is the process of ignoring accomplishment while placing disproportionate emphasis on underachievers. It happens in families two: a kid who historically puts little effort into his ‘C’ grades, gets paid for getting the occasional ‘A’ while a sibling honor student is overlooked ; thought to be on autopilot, not needing attention or periodic counsel. 

This obsolescent practice extracts a price in your organization. To ignore or fail to recognize your radio group’s “stars” not only undermines your business potential, it often leads to the vaporization of super stars, leaving you to ask, “How the hell did we let that happen?” 

People usually don’t leave companies, they leave bosses. It only takes a couple of key role players’ departure to injure even a mid-size business, much less an intimate radio setting. And no matter your level of competition, once the élan and dash have passed from your side, it’s virtually impossible to recover any time soon. 

Performance Punishment is stealthy and often unintended, usually occurring in a passive environment a day at a time. What course can you take to minimize this subtle sabotage? 

(1)   Could you be an unintended practitioner of performance punishment? 

(2)   Which of your best performers have you reviewed and reinforced already this year? 

(3)   Do you set a specific window of time to meet with them? 

(4)   Conversely, do you appoint time to review less skilled, less experienced teammates? Some have a way of becoming top performers. 

(5)   As an acid test of “emphasis” versus “outcome” what percentage of your productive output can actually be attributed to each group? 

Your company should never lose someone in the wake of neglect or inattention. The quiescence that seems “routine” is easily mistaken for a silent scream seeking inclusion and recognition. And then…they’re gone.