I’ve got a problem I thought I’d never have – an over-enthusiastic employee. He regularly goes above and beyond what he is meant to be doing, causing confusion for our clients and anguish for me. He’s very entrepreneurial himself, I suppose. What can I do?
Sell him the company and go live on a beach. No, seriously, you need to harness the energy for both your sakes.
Communicate with him. Anguish and confusion are not words you associate with success!
I would recommend you ask him to list some objectives for the next 12 months. These must be measurable and relevant to the company.
I like to stress that they must be areas where he can make a difference. Areas where he has some control to genuinely deliver a marked change.
Make or break areas if you will, that will help build the company and deliver on strategic elements of your business plan.
He must author these objectives, but you can amend, edit, make reasonable changes and then mutually agree on the plan.
You must communicate that you appreciate his enthusiasm but unbridled enthusiasm is dangerous and can be confusing for clients and workmates.
Set a reward or incentive in place to allow him to be recognised for his great (positive) contributions.
In one company we introduced the ABCD awards. This stood for “above and beyond the call of duty”, but we were very clear what was required to be achieved.
It was measurable and was not only what, but how goals were achieved.
One other area of over achievement is often seen where an employee delivers to a client services, over and above what they have commissioned your company to do.
This situation must be addressed as often this is not budgeted for and is unbillable and unfunded.
It is critical to demonstrate to the employee that they are eroding margin by over delivering.
Additionally, they are setting a dangerous precedent for future client interactions.
Did I mention communication?
Essentially it is your responsibility to nip things in the bud.
I live my life by the expression: “What you accept you approve.”
By not communicating you are condoning his over achievement and the implications that go with it.
So step up. Communicate.
Have him reset some objectives and then use the KPIs that fall out of the objectives to have regular conversations.
If all else fails go back to plan one and sell him your stake. I’ve heard there’s still value to be had in Airlie Beach.