Ten Steps to Better Performance

leadership processIf cooking is your thing, you know that you have to follow certain steps for your recipe to turn out right. The right ingredients need to marinate, rise, set, simmer, or blend properly for success in the kitchen.

At Cohen Brown, we don’t teach cooking, but we do support our clients in leading and managing their teams to perform optimally on a consistent basis. So what are the key steps that business leaders and managers can take to coax the highest performance levels from their teams?

The steps are discussed in our Ten-Step Leadership Model:

Vision: Next time you pass one of your colleagues or direct reports, ask them if they know what the company’s vision is. If they don’t, then it’s time to get back to basics. A Vision nobody can remember, or one that’s just mere words on the company website, is as good as worthless. A good way to make the bigger, Company Vision come to life, is by asking “What does this vision mean to me in my role and how does my daily focus contribute to this vision?” People strive when they believe in and own the Vision.

Goals: These are the numerical producers of your Vision. Ask yourself, where do you want to be? And when do you want to get there? Once you and your people set specific Goals, you’ll be compelled to move forward.

Plans: Isn’t it worth planning how you’ll achieve those Goals? I suppose you could completely skip over the planning part and act out all your impulses, but you’ll probably find that you’re experiencing more perspiration than success (or) intended results. Don’t ignore this step. Don’t get too complex with it. Just do it and do it consistently.

Actions: Now that you have your plan, hit that ground running, engage that clutch, do a little dance if you need to. You might be a brilliant planner, but I have to admit the Chinese Proverb says it best: “Talk don’t cook rice.” Or, as Cohen Brown says, “Execution is the chariot of Genius.” Don’t just sit on it. Do something. Engage that Plan!

Results Tracking: You need to find out what’s happening, what’s working, what’s not working, and if you’re reaching your goals. That way, you’ll know what you need to do to refine your Plans and increase productivity. And…you’ll discover Success stories, hence, Proven Best Practices that can be cross-pollinated to others.

Follow Up & Provide Feedback: As a leader, manager or coach, you should provide feedback because that’s what you’re there for. This is your chance to give advice, remind people of their goals, re-direct people who’ve gone off course and show you care.

Motivation: Take it from me, if you follow these steps, you’ll be increasing motivation far more than incentive compensation can do on its own…but getting financial remuneration isn’t too bad either! Just make sure your company’s incentive plan actually reinforces the right behaviours!

Resource Management: Manage your space, budgets, time and people as if they were the last living and non-living resources left over on Planet Earth. In other words, stop blaming what you have or don’t have for not achieving your very best.

Relationship Techniques: You can also manage your work relationships effectively by using these ten steps. Build trust and rapport, know what motivates people, and you’ll surround yourself by those who not only report to you, but truly look up to you.

Well, there you have it. Now it’s up to you to implement these Ten Steps and experience the sweet rewards that come with them. And if you prefer to bake lemon meringue pie instead, don’t forget to add me to your guest list.

Your thoughts?

Neda Bayat is Global Business Consultant for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc. and Breakthrough PerformanceTech, LLC.

Cohen Brown Management Group is the internally recognized leader in sales-and-service cultural and behavioral change, specializing in consulting and training processes for management, front-line, support/customer service units and call centers. Performance Grapevine provides thought leadership insights on sales training, sales management, leadership training, time management, consultative selling, behavior change, organization change, and culture change.


  1. Claudia Irmer 12 years ago

    Thanks for this blog, Neda! I cannot repeat it often enough how important the vision creating is! In my work with international senior managers I observe that the impact of not only having a vision but delivering it to your own team over and over again is absolutely underestimated. In cooking no one would ever leave out step 1, so why does it happen in our working environments?

  2. Neda Bayat 12 years ago

    Dear Claudia, I hear you all the way! Establishing and behaviouralizing the vision ‘in other words’ making it real through the daily actions of the people makes all the difference. I am making that a topic for one of my subsequent blogs. Thanks for sharing your great thoughts.

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