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Can't, Won't And Performance Management

By Art van Bodegraven | 11/01/2015 | 2:55 PM

Mijn vrouw, aka The Brains of the Outfit, recently identified a condition sometimes known as Clueless in Columbus, found among those who regularly don't get it. No matter how simple the concept, they just fail to grasp the gist of things.

These unfortunates she refers to as "the gistless". Our workplaces are full of the gistless, and they often baffle their supervisors, who are charged with making the right things happen - on time, under budget, and seamlessly.

A companion condition all too often is included in a package deal with gistlessnes, rendering the subject listless. In classical performance management parlance, these two are known as "can't do" and "won't do". "Won't do" can sometimes be overcome with a Big Gulp of motivation, but the odds are not encouraging, and a sugar high is no substitute, in the long run, for a genuine epiphany.

"Can't do" might be a matter of training, or of finding the right fit of skills and assignment, but can be limited if accompanied by "won't do". The leader's job is to figure out the won't do/can't do balance in the equation, assess and apply remedies and mitigations, and know when to let the afflicted sleep with the fishes.

I hope you got the gist of that . . .



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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


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