Musthafa Ebadi
Actions (Performance) Speak Louder than Words
by Musthafa Ebadi on August 25th, 2011

Friday, December 10, 2010

We have all heard the phrase that actions speak louder than words and it can be implied in various situations. One area that I apply this consistently is at my work.

Throughout my career I have been and I still am a big believer that in business your performance speaks louder than your words and/or anything else. A tip that I share with every member of my team, some of my colleagues, and most of my friends is that if you perform to the level that is expected out of you, you will always be successful, will be given every opportunity to shine, and will never have to worry about looking over your shoulder.

So when Alex Kovalev of Ottawa Senators comes out today and says that he is being picked on or is a scapegoat or is a victim of blame game after being dropped to the fourth line it makes me think that if he performed to the level that is expected out of him he would still be playing on the first line.
To give a bit of context to the Kovalev situation for those who are not hockey fans or don’t follow the Ottawa Senators, on July 6th 2009 the Ottawa Senators signed Alex Kovalev to a two year $10 Million dollar contract which at $5 Million dollar per year made him the second highest paid player of the organization.

When an organization signs you as one of the important pieces of the puzzle and they pay you like one it comes with a big expectation. The expectation is that you will contribute like a top employee and do it consistently. This is not just true in NHL or is something new; it’s like this in every business and it has been this way throughout the history.

An organization’s responsibility is first and foremost to communicate the expectation to you and ensure that you both mutually agree on what is expected out of you. Second they should give you all the tools and opportunities so you deliver to the agreed upon expectation. As soon as those two criteria are met the onus is now on you to perform. If you are not meeting the expectation then they will have to hold you accountable for your performance or lack their off.

Now a few exceptional and outstanding organizations will take the time to communicate proactively if you are not meeting the expectation before holding you accountable, will try different routes to motivate you, and will provide you with a lot of coaching and training to ensure that you perform to your level of capability. And if you still are not then they will ultimately hold you accountable.

If you are part of the team and if you don’t do your share of the work, it creates more workload for the rest of your team members, they have to work harder, and they have put more efforts because you are not performing to your ability. Holding you accountable when you are not performing is called team fairness.

Similarly the Ottawa Senators have given Alex Kovalev every opportunity to perform and perform consistently. From giving an opportunity to play with elite players of the world like Daniel Alferdsson & Jason Spezza, to playing on the line with fast and energetic young & talented players, to playing on special teams, to playing with two playmaking centers, time and again they have given him every opportunity to succeed and play at the level that is expected out of him.

In return what Alex has accomplished in 30 games in only 7 goals 4 of which came in two games where he scored two goals each. So in 28 other games he has only scored in three games which means 25 games where he has not scored a goal. To analyze it a bit further 83.3% of the games Alex Kovalev hasn’t done what is expected out of him. He has only contributed in less than 17% of the games he has dressed up.

How many of us can go to work and not do what is expected of us 83% time or more than 4 days of a 5 work day week and not being held accountable? How many of us can work for the 17 hours of 100 hours that we are paid for and expect that we be treated as a top employee?

Now according to me Alex Kovalev can take care of all this issues, disappointments, and frustration if he performs to the level that is expected out of him and does it consistently.
When the coach and management sat him down and told him that he has to be better as a player he didn’t care to improve and when he was called out in front of the media that he is one of the players that is expected more out of he didn’t pay any attention so what other choice did he leave for his manager (in this case Coach Clouston) but to hold him accountable and put him on a 4th line. If his performance doesn’t pick up anytime soon Alex could find himself watching the game from pressbox instead of playing it on the ice.

Every organization and every manager require their top players to be their top performers. Most of the managers including yours truly reward their top performers by giving them every opportunity to keep up the performance or exceed the. We all try to keep our top performers motivated, satisfied, and upbeat so they continue their dominance. We also hold our bottom performers accountable albeit first giving them every opportunity to improve including coaching, training, & support they need.

My philosophy and coaching tip that I could pass to Alex Kovalev would be that instead of showing your disappointment and being frustrated for being held accountable you control your destiny.

So Alex, my friend, perform to your level of expectation and earn the opportunities instead of being inconsistent and demanding it. Perform to the best of your abilities and don’t worry about being “picked on” or being a “scapegoat” for actions (performance) speak louder than words.

I personally believe that by holding Alex Kovalev accountable for this lack of performance the Ottawa Senators organization are not only doing the right thing but they are also being fair to the rest of his teammates who are working their tails off to succeed.

Do you agree?

Thanks for reading.

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