What gets measured gets done! This is a cliché that is used time and time again, but the reality is that it still stands as true today as it always has. Performance management of the team and the individual is such an important aspect of a managers role.
Regardless of the area of work you are involved in there are three key areas of a managers role, firstly they need to manage the individual in the team, secondly, they need to manage the team itself and thirdly they need to manage the performance of the team.
Performance management training is becoming an integral part of every manager’s toolkit and it is vitally important that as managers we manage performance at the right time in the right way with the right people.
Performance management is a massive area, whether it be setting effective goals, giving feedback, managing appraisals, managing poor performers, agreeing on PIPs performance improvement plans, discussing KPIs (key performance indicators) or just in general managing 1:1 meetings with team members performance management is vital.
On a recent performance management training course, someone asked how should we manage performance and what are the key areas we should consider. I think as a starting point we should consider performance management as a cycle with 4 introductory component parts.
- Set and Agree SMART goals
I know by now many people reading this will have attended performance management courses or other management training courses and are possibly fed up with this acronym SMART.
The reality is that the acronym is still very important when it comes to performance management.
We all know the acronym as :
I just also want to add another ‘A’ so as well as being achievable it should also be Agreed. Over the years I have found time and time again if I can get team members to agree on the goals there is a much greater chance of them being achieved.
In many performance management training courses it is said that it is important to get ‘buy in’ and when setting goals it is vital we get agreement and buy-in. When someone leaves my office after a goal-setting session I want them to own the goal. I want them to feel they have been part of the joint decision making and I do not want them to walk away feeling it is my goal and they have to achieve it.
Good performance management starts with the individual taking responsibility to own the goal so gaining agreement is vitally important.
It goes without saying the other parts of the acronym SMART are also important, the more specific we can make the goal the better, it has to be measurable otherwise we cannot inspect what we expect or even use the management method of what gets checked gets done.
All performance management training course will cover areas such as the importance of having SMART goals to measure against.
2. Break the goals down into activities
This is vital and is the best way to try and manage performance, all too often I hear people on performance management training courses talk about the actual goal but rarely do they look at the activities necessary to achieve the goal.
Managing activities is important. Occasionally an employee may carry out all the activities necessary to achieve the goal but because of external influences, the goal is still not achieved.
If we take sales, for example, the goal may be to sell 1000 widgets over a 3 month period from 1st January to the 31st March. Let us assume the goal or objective is achievable agreed and realistic. The next question is:
What does the salesperson have to do to achieve this?
They may have to make 30 telephone cold calls per day to potential prospects, they may have to set up a minimum of 5 face to face meetings per week, they may need to send out x amount of quotes each month etc, these are the activities they need to do to achieve the end result.
The goal is the end result but how are they going to get there?
This is why it is important we break down the goal or objective into manageable activities. Please don’t get me wrong I don’t want you to micro-manage people but it is important when we look at performance management we look at what are the activities and try and set and agree with goals around them.
3. Remove the barriers
This is really important and a lesson I learned many years ago in performance management. Remember I stated earlier we want to get ‘buy in’ and we want the individual to own the goal or objective. This is a way of really cementing this buy in and agreement
I was asked on a recent performance management training course, but how do you do this?
What I would do is agree with the goal with the individual then pause and say something like this:
‘Now that we have agreed with this goal, I want you to just take a minute to think about it and consider what things may get in the way because once we have committed to this I will be expecting it to be achieved so I want you to be totally clear in what is needed.’
From this one of two things would happen, most of the time the person would say no it’s okay, I should be able to achieve this, or the second thing was they may say well I am not sure because…….
If it was the latter that was still okay because my next question was ‘okay if we can look at ways of overcoming that would it then be achievable and can we commit? The answer was always yes but obviously we also had to find ways to overcome the problem or issue.
Most of the time the barrier was easy to get over and we were able to commit, but it definitely meant when they walked away they owned the goal. Performance management training courses are all about ensuring the person responsible for the task and carries out the task at an agreed acceptable level.
4. Agree how when and who will measure and monitor
When we have agreed with a goal with a staff member we need to ensure they have the resources to carry out the task plus we need to agree how we will measure and monitor.
I mentioned earlier managing performance is not micromanaging but we do need to check people are carrying out the tasks to the agreed level so part of performance management is agreeing how and when we will do this.
Of course with this checking also comes the importance of giving effective feedback on an ongoing basis which will be covered in a separate blog or alternatively if you get the opportunity to attend a performance management training course, I am sire effective feedback will form part of the course.