Looking at the ability of employees’ efforts to align with the expectations of the business needs for growth should be a daily occurrence. However, managers themselves are caught up in tactics and focus primarily on their own individual performance so much that they cannot step back and see the big picture. More employers are frustrated by the inability of managers to be relevant to the business strategy and the priorities required for success. Instilling a new mindset about the meaning of management and the ability to see performance through a different lens is required in the workplace.
How do we shift from the mindset that performance feedback, reviews, and planning is only an annual or semi-annual process that interrupts the flow of business to a mindset that includes high-level awareness and clarity about what the team is strategically doing to work together and be successful on a weekly basis? The flow of business depends on the right people performing the right behaviors to be successful. The following steps are defined to be a simple way to change your own mindset about your department and the focus needed for each person so that you can keep easy tabs on strategic progress each week.
Tips to Help Managers Get into the Groove & Create a Rhythm for Effective Performance Planning
1. Understand the business strategies for your department.
While it seems shocking, few managers are actually clear about the specific strategies they are required to achieve for the business in the next twelve months. Be sure you understand what they are. If you are not clear, propose goals and their strategies to leadership to create your own guiding force that will help you hold your team accountable. Once they are defined and approved, pull the team together and review them. Take a few minutes to allow the team to brainstorm the type of behaviors they think are required to achieve the goals. This simple step will give you a baseline for how well aligned the team is with your expectations. Note the difference for improvement opportunities.
2. Sit back, assess, and communicate.
Get a cup of coffee and take one hour to highlight the performance strengths and needs for improvement for each of your employees. Are they aware of the needs for improvement? If you haven’t communicated them clearly, then they are not. Create no more than three clear developmental goals for each employee. Find time to review these as a follow-up to step one above and explain how the improvements tie in to the departmental goals and strategies for success. Set a time each month to check in for 15 minutes with each employee on their progress of the development goals.
3. Journal weekly activity.
Assign yourself 30 minutes at the end of each week to log your performance observations for each employee. Log them into a spreadsheet or a performance management system like BLOOM® so that you can share the observations with the employee and ask any questions for clarification in your next meeting. By committing to this journaling process each week, you will be instantly more aware of what your employees are doing at a higher level and will be taking time to compare notes with your expectations. This will not only keep you relevant in the eyes of your employees, it will enable you to see the trial for success rather than letting the year slip by without understanding where things went wrong if you didn’t meet your goals.
By focusing on performance and goals at shorter, regular intervals you’re better able to reward progress and to head off disaster. You’re empowered with up-to-date information about your team and can use this knowledge to more easily adapt to new situations and ultimately to more clearly see how your team contributes to the organization’s success.
Share Your Experience
Have you found a successful rhythm for performance/talent planning? How does it compare with what we've outlined above?