Managing performance—regardless of industry—is a fundamental aspect of facilitating long-term growth and change. It means developing a clear vision and executing a strategic plan to help an organization or institution successfully achieve its goals.
But here’s the thing: Managing performance is not as straightforward as it might seem. It’s more complex than merely communicating goals and expecting results. It’s an active, engaging process involving several moving parts. When done well, managing performance can successfully drive results and boosts employee morale. However, when done poorly, it can wreak havoc on culture, performance and the bottom line.
If your goal is to effectively manage performance within your organization, consider the following tips to help you simplify the process and produce the results you seek.
1. Set clear expectations. Ambiguous directives lead to undesirable results. Avoid this outcome by first creating an objective standard of review. This is necessary to effectively evaluate performance down the road. Next, communicate specific strategies for execution (including related metrics, such as a timeframe) that align with this standard, comprehensively and unambiguously. When expectations are clear from the outset, all parties are in the best position to contribute to and experience the kind of unbridled success that effective performance management can produce.
2. Assess, provide regular feedback and support. Because skills and experience vary within a given workforce, performing an initial skill assessment is an important component of the overall project management strategy. It helps determine who should do what, as well as whether further training and development is necessary for individual team members. Once performance begins, team member should receive regular feedback, including any advice on how to improve performance. Where appropriate, incentives can be a beneficial means of increasing performance—they should not be overlooked. Additionally and throughout the process, there should be point persons who can provide high touch support whenever the need arises.
3. Be flexible and adaptable to change. Once a process gets rolling, it can be easy to get comfortable with it. However, things can change at a moment’s notice and more often than not, they will. Go into the process knowing this and being open and adaptable to change, which can help you manage any stress associated with it. This also means communicating this possibility to team members at the outset. Though it may seem like a minor statement, it can actually help them to remain flexible when any change comes down the pike. One key strategy for helping everyone deal with change more productively, is simplifying the communication and the process. Keep this mind before conveying any new information or instructions about the way forward.
Are you prepared to manage performance within your organization? If not, these three tips will provide the context for your success and help you work towards the results that you and your organization seek to achieve. Managing performance may not be an exact science, but when you are keenly focused on a process that drives results and supports success, everyone wins.
To your success!