Given human nature, most managers, when faced with the harsh facts of substandard performance, tend to soften the truth with their direct reports, so as not to offend or upset them. They tend to avoid mentioning mistakes, missed dates, an incomplete project, unacceptable quality of work, and the like. Then, if the problem becomes egregious, the manager may suddenly overreact with a contentious confrontation that results in little long-term behavior change. Or else the manager will try to work around the substandard performance, shifting the workload to top performers on the team rather than addressing reality directly with the person concerned. Bodaken and Fritz provide a step-by-step approach for continuous improvement, in which managers deal with performance issues early on, to help employees face the truth without being made to feel denigrated, inept, or incompetent -- which would only defeat the desired goal of improvement. Moreover, this approach also greatly enhances the manager's own career success.
When managers understand and use this practice, they can produce more top performers and add from 25 to 40 percent more actual capacity to their organization. At Blue Shield of California, for example, more than one thousand managers have been trained in this approach, with impressive, measurable results, helping the company become one of the fastest-growing health care plans in the state. Other companies, all at the top of their industries, are now using MMOT with great success. As widely acclaimed author Peter Senge notes in his foreword, "This is not a book with just a bunch of 'good ideas.' It is a call to a simple but transformative practice, vital to building an organization truly worthy of people's highest achievement."