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One of the things I learned at a recent FA coaching course was not to demand that children do things. Instead, the tutor advised, ask the children if they are willing to have a go; if they will try.

In work, however, I find that managers rarely ask if their people are willing to have a go. But what if you did? Instead of setting incremental improvement targets that both you and your team know can be easily achieved, what if you set a far more difficult and stretching goal and asked them if they’d be willing to have a go; if they would try?

If you’re looking to improve on-time delivery, for instance, instead of asking for incremental improvement of 1% or 2%, what if you asked your team if they’re up to trying to achieve 100% on-time delivery and then gave them a month or two to work out how they could do that? And what if you said that you weren’t expecting that performance level to last forever, but for just a week? As with the FA’s coaching philosophy, by taking the stress of needing to succeed away, you might just find that your team is willing to do things that you hadn’t previously thought possible.

So, what do you think? Are you willing to give it a try?

© Stuart Cross 2014. All rights reserved.