Innovative Solutions For Your Trickiest People Problems

By Jessica Wishart

People Performance

Talent management - or simply put, dealing with people problems - is one of the top challenges facing CEOs today. These issues can pop up in many different forms, but they typically look something like one (or all) of the following:

  • Accountability Issues - Nobody seems willing to step up and remain accountable to commitments or owning results. When goals or deadlines are missed, nothing happens.
  • Churn - Good people are leaving for other opportunities, or maybe checking out, job searching on the side, and you don’t find out until it’s too late. You’re spending a lot of time and money recruiting and training their replacements.
  • Poor Return on Payroll - This is especially painful for leaders. If you have leaders or managers on your team who aren’t performing well or aren’t a good cultural fit, you are losing out on more than just their payroll. Every team member who reports to a poor leader and every project and customer they touch is not as effective as it could be with a solid leader in place. The domino effect of this on your bottom line is scary to think about.

If any of these people problems sound familiar, you need to look deeper than traditional people management solutions. Traditional solutions often index heavily toward practices that have proven ineffective - like administratively burdensome annual reviews with complex calibrations that make people feel like they are just cogs in a corporate machine, or conversely, a one-time “team-building” event designed to help with morale but too disconnected from the daily work to make an impact.

Effective solutions for people problems need to be integrated seamlessly into your organization’s practices, should closely align with your company’s strategic goals, and must be ongoing - a journey, not an event. Technology is a key part of the solution, but if implemented poorly, it can hinder rather than help. Many companies are already suffering from system fatigue, so piling on a new people management software to the tech stack could do more harm than good.

3 Surprisingly Effective Solutions

Role and Goal Clarity

The baseline for building accountability is clearly defining each person’s role. Suppose everyone has a clear understanding of what they are responsible for delivering, and what success looks like for each of those responsibilities. In that case, they can focus their efforts on the key results they own. Without clear ownership and goal definition, people are left to guess who’s accountable for what or where to put their time. Give the team the gift of role and goal clarity to foster accountability. 

Here are some practical and innovative ways to do just that:

  1. Job Scorecards - this tool is simple and powerful, and it’s the best way to provide extreme clarity for each person in the organization. While it may be simple, it’s not always easy to come up with some key aspects of the Job Scorecard. If you or your managers struggle with what the purpose of a role should be, or which KPIs a particular job role should be responsible for, this is the perfect opportunity to leverage technology. Using Rhythm’s Ask Patrick AI Business Coach, you can generate suggestions to help:
    job scorecard

  2. SMART Goals - saying someone is responsible for “hiring” isn’t enough. Writing clear goals with success criteria is essential to getting aligned on the expected results. Again, this is easier said than done. Our AI Business Coach is able to generate suggestions for clearly written goals and even Red-Yellow-Green success criteria to ensure the result is specific and measurable from the start.
    SMART goals

  3. Connect to Strategy - this is a huge one. We consistently see companies who do the first two things pretty well miss the mark here. If your team has clear goals, but no way to know how those goals impact the bigger picture of your business, you’re not capitalizing fully on the work you’ve done so far. To maximize the impact of your people’s performance, their goals should be clearly linked to the company’s strategic goals, and each person should have line of sight into how their work is moving the needle for the business. Inspire your people to contribute their best work and ensure your performance improvement efforts aren’t wasted on initiatives that don’t align with your company’s longer-term success. Again, technology like Rhythm software is a powerful tool for linking and visualizing how individuals’ goals fit into the bigger picture.

Ongoing Feedback and Visibility

Establishing a Job Scorecard with SMART goals for each role in the company is a great place to start. But, you can’t leave it at that and hope for the best. Your people need ongoing feedback and visibility into their progress. Waiting for an annual, or even quarterly, review cycle to raise potential performance issues is a huge mistake. 

Avoid uncomfortable surprises and give your people every opportunity to solve problems before they impact the company’s results. We recommend all of the goals should be updated weekly and discussed in either the team’s weekly adjustment meeting or the individual’s 1:1 meeting with their manager. The manager and the team member should both be able to see the goal progress at all times and collaborate together on goals that are stuck or off track.

Having these goals on a dashboard where both the manager and individual can see the progress at a glance is ideal. This is another great opportunity to leverage innovative technology to pinpoint issues and address them quickly.

This way, once your people do engage in a performance review cycle, nobody is surprised by the goal performance results, and the majority of the time can be spent on discussing career growth opportunities. Reducing the administrative overhead and making these reviews more engaging for the entire team is a huge win.

If you are using Rhythm to track goals and 1:1 meetings, our simple 4-step process for reviews can save your managers about half the time it takes for a traditional review cycle, increasing their effectiveness and helping them spend more energy on higher-value projects.

Performance Reviews

Coaching for Managers

Establishing clear goals, holding team members accountable, and providing real-time feedback is challenging. We ask a lot of our managers, and too often, they are not well-equipped with the skills they need to be successful.

While software can help shine the spotlight on issues that need to be addressed, it’s not enough to help managers have the right conversations. This is where coaching comes in. Working with a professional coach is a powerful way for managers to gain confidence in their interpersonal skills; a coach can help them leverage the data they’ve collected on team member performance and make tough decisions about how to best handle issues as they arise. 

Giving managers support, skills, and tools to succeed has the reverse effect of the return on payroll scenario we started out with; great managers are multipliers who can have an outsized impact on the company culture, individual performance of their team members, and successful execution of the company strategy. Investing in coaching for managers is one of the best ways to tackle people's problems.

In conclusion, addressing people problems, a significant challenge for CEOs today, demands innovative solutions that go beyond traditional methods. Our journey into effective talent management unveils three surprisingly effective solutions: clarifying roles and goals, providing ongoing feedback and visibility, and investing in coaching for managers.

By establishing clear job scorecards with SMART goals linked to strategic objectives, organizations foster accountability and alignment. Ongoing feedback and visibility ensure that issues are addressed promptly, avoiding detrimental surprises. Leveraging innovative technology, such as dashboards, facilitates collaboration and problem-solving.

Moreover, investing in coaching for managers equips them with the skills and confidence needed to navigate interpersonal challenges and make informed decisions. This investment not only mitigates people problems but also cultivates a culture of success, enhancing individual and team performance while driving strategic execution.

In essence, by embracing these innovative solutions, organizations can transform people problems into opportunities for growth, efficiency, and sustained success.

To learn more about our solutions, visit


For More Helpful Resources on Performance Management, Read Up On The Following Articles: 

Peak Performance Management: An Essential Part of Successful Businesses

3 Rhythms to Drive Success

Culture of High Performing Teams: How to Create a Team Rhythm for Success

How the Rhythm System Does the Work for You and Accelerates People Performance

How Does a Business Operating System, Like Rhythm Systems, Help Me Grow My Company?

Jessica Wishart


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images