Welcome to our new readers and my appreciation to those of you who have returned for more! As promised this post is about improving performance by making it the centre of attention through consistent and timely communication.
Executive coaching focuses on helping us find results based solutions through the process of our own growth and skill development. As we evolve we take that new confidence into the workplace and begin to help others improve their performance. It starts with us, and one of the things that executive coaching offers is insight to how we learn and change that will help us in guiding others through their own performance improvements.
I have experienced performance management from many different angles and so many different methods in my career so what I am proposing here based on years of experience, observation, research and outcomes. Optimal performance is critical to the success of any organization, if you get the performance conversation right, the ‘engagement’ factor that is garnering so much attention lately will take care of itself. Engagement is not a program, it is an outcome of a workplace culture that understands and values the contributions of the people who work there. Create a culture of accountability, trust, and consistency and make sure that performance is a natural part of the workday chat.
There are three absolutes that have been consistently proven to create the best outcomes in my adventures in performance management:
(1) Your communication style will make or break effective performance discussions.
(2) Timeliness is not optional.
(3) Participation by all parties is mandatory.
Do the three absolutes resonate with you? Do you practice them consistently at work?
Try this exercise:
- Jot down the number of times you have interacted with an employee in your organization (regardless of where in the organization) in the last three days and offered some form of performance related comment. Consider colleagues, peers, boss, support staff etc. And, jot down when someone else in the organization offered some form of performance related comment to you.
- Who were they? What was the nature of the comment? What response did you get from the employee you spoke with?
- Now think about the last time you conducted (or was the recipient of) the annual or quarterly or semi-annual formal review-what did that communication feel like?
- Did anyone seem surprised by what you communicated? Were there disagreements about your review content? Did anyone express appreciation for how helpful they found your performance communications over the previous period in their work?
- Does performance review time feel like a burden in your workplace? If you were unable to recall even one performance related discussion in your workplace in the previous three days it is time to get started.
How committed are you to changing that going forward?
Even when we work in organizations that have traditional performance review programs we can easily create our own practice that works well despite those programs. The key is within the absolutes, and that is something that you do have control over. It begins with you changing how you view and approach performance results in your work every day. And it requires consistently operating with the core values in mind.
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