Are You Cheating at Checkers?

Mr. Tim Connor
February 5, 2013 — 1,064 views  

Confused by the title and its relevance to your career or business?  Take a few minutes and read the following and it will help you achieve greater employee performance and improve accountability throughout your organization.

Remember when you were a kid playing checkers with a friend?  Here are the rules if you have forgotten.  We flip a coin to see who gets to move first.  You win so it’s your move.  After you move, it’s now my move.  The rules are clear I can’t move again or twice.  I move – you move – that’s the way the game is played until one of us wins.  OK got it?  Now, what does this have to do with employee performance?

Why not start playing checkers with your new hires or even your current employees.  Let me explain with a quick example.

When you are hiring a new employee the game begins.

You pace the ad – your move.

Now it’s their move - they respond.

Your move – you schedule an interview.

Their move – they show up.

Your move – you ask them questions and discuss the position.

Their move they ask questions.

Your move – you decide to offer them the position.

Their move – they accept or reject the job.  Let’s say they accept.

Your move – you provide them the support and training they need to be effective.

Their move – they take advantage of the training and learn the skills the position requires.

Your move – you help them continue to grow in the position.

Their move – they keep growing.

The game moves on.

Here’s the issue – what if after you move they stop moving.  For example you offer them the training they need but they fail to use the skills you have given them that are necessary for success.

Back to checkers.

When it’s my move in the checker game and I decide not to move for whatever reason - the game is over.  In order to complete the game successfully we both need to keep moving when it’s our turn until someone wins.  See the connection here?

When one of us for whatever reason stops moving the game is over.  Now back to the example.  If the employee fails to move after you have moved – the game is over.

So, how do managers cheat at checkers?

Typically when the employee fails to move when it’s their turn, for whatever reason, the manager moves again.  The problem is – it’s not their move now – they are not allowed to move twice in checkers they have already had one move so they are cheating when they move twice when it’s the other person’s move.

Why do managers cheat at checkers when it comes to the performance or behavior of their employees?  Simple – as their supervisor they don’t want to take responsibility for the failure of the employee so they just keep doing more than they should – keep moving for the employee.  Here is the fundamental flaw with this approach.  You get the behavior you reward.  So if you keep moving when the employee doesn’t move - what’s the message you are sending them?  Not sure?  Simple – you are teaching them that they don’t need to move and why?  Because you will keep moving for them even though it’s their move..

Want to play checkers fairly with an employee?  Explain to them that as long as they keep moving you will too.  But when they fail to move when it’s their turn – the game is over.

Mr. Tim Connor

Connor Resource Group

Global renowned sales and management speaker and trainer and best selling author of over 80 books including several international best sellers.