CFRs - Lasting Change

by Sean Foster | February 18, 2021 | Newsletter

Achieving a 20% profit improvement in many businesses is relatively easy, however, creating lasting improvement requires a different mindset and a higher level of attention to the human factor in your business. Here’s how: 

From my experience, the majority of SMEs do not run formal performance reviews with their staff. The perceived need for these diminishes the smaller the team, and the closer they work together. For corporates and the larger SMEs, annual reviews have been the go-to tool to check in on how the individual is performing. 

The relationship with subcontractors is quite different and depending on the nature of the work, these ‘performance’ relationships are often based solely on meeting specific project standards. 

Here is where it has gone wrong, and I can also confirm why annual performance reviews are no longer used by many leading organizations: 

  1. Annual reviews are too historically focussed and do not have a great impact on future performance. 
  2. Even for high performance-based work cultureyour soft skills as a business owner are what count in creating an impact at the individual level. 
  3. Many of the traditional sub-contractor relationships should be treated as if they were employees – after all, they are just an extension of your human skill expertise in your business. 

A couple of years ago I was exposed to some of Patrick Lencioni’s work and took a shine to it. I have taught the principles and encouraged business owners to adopt CFRs into their daily practice. CFRs being: Conversations, Feedback and Recognition. 

The logic of the principles makes 100% sense, however, I found many struggling to implement these changes when, after all, they were talking to their staff many times a day, every day. So, they ended up at the status quo: “Yeah, I get it, but how do I implement this?” 

Do you remember when you were back at school and you had to do your class presentations? You were taught to write down just a few bullet points on cards and then create a little flip deck of cards. These would prompt your memory and help you along with your speech. Well, I have created this same thing for you, so that you can better direct and hold meaningful conversations with your team members (employees and subbies!) 

So here is the deal: This is just a NewsBrief, and I have to keep them brief, but you are welcome to download your cheat-card here. If you would like to book a call with me to run through how to manage these conversations then message, email or leave me a voicemail, I would be happy to run through this with you. 

How to use your Cheat Card: Print it out (or ask me for a pre-printed one), and keep it with you when you have your ‘formal’ conversations with your staff: this could be weekly or even monthly. Don’t keep it a secret- in fact even show the card to them so that they understand your reasoning and structure. Follow this approach and you will be surprised that some of them may even say something like: “today can we talk about XYZ …” That takes all the pressure off you and ensures that you have complete buy-in. 


Let me know how you get on. This is the fastest, surest and most satisfying way to develop meaningful, productive relationships in your business. It costs nothing and will directly correlate to your bottom-line results.