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  • Lauren Douglass

Employee Performance Improvement Plans may indicate challenge somewhere else.

I’ve been requested to build a talk on accountability. This is anecdotal, but I’ve noticed a pattern.


Leaders who don’t like using some structure of a PIP (performance improvement plan) may be a leading indicator for uncertainty in how to ask for needs and be heard.

A PIP sets standards for clarity on desired behaviors and gives an opportunity for the other person to meet those clarifications. Without it, expectations are murky on both sides. It’s unfair to your team member not to use these.


Being able to ask for what you want and then waiting for the other person to respond (or not), is risky.


They could leave.


But… what if they stay?

Misunderstanding you or the team as a whole is much more dangerous and costly.

Years ago, I injured my ankle. The physical therapist asked if I had had a hip injury in the past. The pain was here but originated there.


Asking about PIPs and how they are used is one my discovery signals. The root pain may be somewhere else.


Do you have a PIP process (written or not) at your company?


If not, it may be time to get clear on:

What you need.

What they need.

How to communicate those needs.

And how to followup on those needs.


It’s how you get from here to there.


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