Staff Performance: Six Single Syllables For Continued Success


Six single syllable words! That’s all it takes! Six little words formed into a question to ensure that our repeat successes and don’t repeat failures in staff performance.

The Six Single Syllables

What did you learn from that?” Who hasn’t got time to ask that question? Or are you just too busy: or too preoccupied with day to day problems to form these six single syllables into a telling question?

Self Interest Symbols

The six syllables are a potent example of positive management self interest. Look at it this way:

The sooner that you’re confident that your staff are competent, the sooner you can concentrate on your main work: running the business. The less distractions you have from day to day problems and irritations, the more benefit you’ll gain from using the six single syllables.

Workplace As A Learning Environment

The workplace is a centre of learning. It lacks classrooms and teachers and most of the accoutrements associated with learning. But huge amounts of learning take place. New staff learn their jobs. Other staff learn new methods. All staff learn how to work effectively together and how to gain respect and recognition. They learn how to discuss differences, satisfy customers and resolve work related problems.

The Problem Is …

You and your staff are often so busy doing what you’re paid to do, that you forget that you’re learning. You make the same mistake twice because you learnt nothing from making it once. No one asked, “What did you learn from that?”

The Support Questions

The six simple syllables is only the first question. It opens the door to other questions such as

  • “Do we need to change or review any systems?”
  • “Does that mean that our system worked well?”
  • “How can we avoid making this mistake again?”
  • “Was the customer satisfied with the outcome?”
  • “Who else needs to know about this?”

Why Start With Six Syllables

It’s preferable to seek employee input before continuing with support questions. You want them to develop the habit of regarding the workplace as a learning environment. Ultimately they should be asking the Six Syllable question themselves.

Using The Six Syllable Question

Use the question whenever a project is completed, a problem is resolved, after events such as a product launch or the introduction of new systems. And encourage staff to ask it constantly about their own performance.


Outstanding staff performance isn’t as complex or difficult as some specialists would have you believe. Sometimes, small, well chosen words do have a very important place in your management repertoire.

What To Do Now

Please email a comment or contact me direct with a specific question. And feel free to pass on this post to a friend or colleague. Most importantly, start using the Six Single Syllables today.

Please remember to click on the “Resources” tab in the navigation bar to find out how else we can help.

3 Responses to Staff Performance: Six Single Syllables For Continued Success
  1. Matthew Searle
    February 2, 2012 | 5:16 pm

    Hi Leon, another great article.

    In order to learn from mistakes, we need to give our people some room to make them in the first place (within reason). For example, within a training environment, letting people make choices that lead to consequences (good and bad) that they (and others) can learn from.

    Too many times we show people the ‘one’ way, deem them competent, and then wonder why they can’t handle variations in real life.

    Thanks once again for your great contributions.


  2. Leon
    February 4, 2012 | 8:04 pm

    G’Day Matthew,
    I agree that some freedom for error can be useful for exploring consequences. But I have known trainers and managers who use the technique to show employees how smart they, the trainers and managers are, and how “dumb” the employees are. We need to maintain employee self esteem. Pleased to see your comment.
    Best Wishes

  3. Matthew Searle
    February 9, 2012 | 4:40 pm

    Hi Leon,

    Absolutely, I’ve seen trainers do that as well and when that is their motivation, they’ll do more harm than good.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL