Monthly Archives: October 2009

“Easing the Pain” — Annual Performance Management Conversations

What would you rather do? — visit the dentist or have complete annual; performance reviews. With all apologies to the very noble dental community, a manager we were working with recently eluded to the fact the chair would be a better option for her.
Why are discussions difficult for people? Two reasons usually surface to the top. 1) The Forms. A form-driven process with deadlines for completion and sign-offs gets in the way of the true reason for performance reviews. Change the lens you look through — a form should not get in the way of having a robust discussion about performance and development. It is not about the form! Anyone who uses the form as a driver for a discussion about performance is out-of-touch with their employee. Ongoing discussion around objectives and development should not be a surprise during the annual review. It should be summations of the conversations that have taken place between the manger and the emplyee during the course of the year. 2) A conversation focused solely on performance and not development. We encourage our clients to purposely change the name from Performance Management or Appraisal to Performance Development. We are looking for people in organizations who come to work trying to lose money for the company they work for — and we have yet to find them. We believe everyone has strengths and opportunities for development. It is only by focusing on both that people can contribute and do their best.

Think Performance Contribution and see what happens

Think Performance Contribution and See What Happens

     Leadership comes from anywhere in the organization. Leadership is about looking into the future – creating something that you put in place to enhance people’s contribution. Leadership is about co-creating a future where people are allowed to contribute and make a difference. We were working with a client yesterday and much of our conversation centered on their “Performance Management” process. We talked about how people dreaded the first quarter of the fiscal year – because it was “performance management”
     What would happen if we changed how we framed the conversation during the performance review process? My colleague Dr. Barry Stein of Goodmeasure, often talks about “performance management” as time to speak about “performance contribution.” Think about it, how would leadership in organizations be impacted?

The External Boss

Who is the boss?

It is a beautiful fall morning in Connecticut and I just took my car through the local car wash. It is one of those places where you have an assembly line of workers who vacuum and dry off your car after it has been washed. It is 8:10 and my car is the first one through this morning.
      I walk up as it is being finished and hand my receipt to the crew supervisor. I thank him and tell him the car looks great. He comments on how glad he is to be able to serve me so efficiently this morning. “We are working with a skeleton crew again this morning — yesterday our customers were furious, we had the same number of workers, but unlike this morning, we were very busy. People were waiting over 20 minutes for their cars. I don’t schedule the workers, I just supervise the one’s who are here. The scheduling is done in the front office.”
     As I drove away, it struck me how often we come across this in business. We see someone who is the “face to the customer” working to satisfy their needs without the ability to influence the outcome. Sometimes a “boss” gets in the way. Doesn’t everything from a three- year plan to every customer touch-point make a difference? P&G’s former CEO A.G. Lafley had mantra for that help to crystallize how every should think about the business — The consumer is boss.

Who is your boss? How to relate to internal bosses to serve external ones?