Four Attributes of an Effective Performance Management System in the Workplace

The year is about to end and it’s time for the preparation of documents for the performance appraisal of each employee for the current year and for each employee’s performance targets  for the ensuing year.

The Human Resources Glossary defines performance management as the process of creating a work environment or setting in which people are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities.

Likewise, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management defines performance management as the systematic process by which an agency involves its employees, as individuals and members of a group, in improving organizational effectiveness in the accomplishment of agency mission and goals.

These two definitions are geared towards the attainment of company goals and targets through partnership with the employees.   As managers and leaders, you are encouraged to have an effective performance management system to meet this challenge.

Here are the four attributes of an effective performance management system in the workplace:

1.  Use of Simple Formats.

Not all managers like performance appraisals.  This activity requires a little extra work and competes for their attention to the many other business demands and concerns.  They do not want to waste time interpreting difficult formats.  Simple formats give them more time to discuss work activities of each employee.

2.  Meeting with the Employee at least Once every Two Months or even more Frequently.

Frequent meetings with the employees will enable us to assist them in addressing their performance concerns and needs in order to improve their performance.

In the book, First, Break All the Rules, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman says: “If you meet only once or twice a year, you are forced to drop your criticisms on the employee all at once, like a bomb.  When the employee inevitably recoils, you then have to dredge your memory for examples to support your argument.  But by meeting frequently, you can avoid this battle of wills.  You can introduce areas of poor performance little by little over time, and each time you raise the subject, you can refer to recent, vivid examples.  Your criticisms will be easier to swallow and the conversation more productive.”

A manager is conducting a performance meeting with her employees.
A manager is conducting a performance meeting with her employees.

3.  It is Centered on what the Employee can Achieve in the next six months  or one year.

Although, you assess the past performance in the first few minutes of the meeting, the rest is dedicated to what the employee could be or could do in the next months.

4.  The Employee is asked to Record his or her Accomplishments and the Lessons Learned

This will make the employee feel that his or her work is important to the company.  The employee shall record his or her goals, accomplishments, lessons and skills learned and breakthroughs.  This makes the employee responsible and accountable to his or her own performance.

This record will enable you to identify which area in the employee’s performance needs improvement.

If applied, these attributes will make performance management system in the company effective.

If you have more attributes to add, please do so by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Who Else Dares to Apologize?

When I read the “The Heart of Business Strategy: 56* Things That Matter” by Tom Peters, one of the strategies which caught my attention is “Apologize. Even if “they” are “mostly” to blame.”

Apologizing is one of the hardest things for us to do because it means the swallowing of our pride. It means that we have to take the risk of being accepted indifferently, coldly and  in an absolute hostile way. Sometimes, we worry of what others may think of us when we apologize.

One night, I received a call from a peer, his voice was somewhat upset, asking why his name was deleted from the salary payroll.  Early next morning, I called the supervisor concerned who was surprised why the matter was brought to my attention, as an agreement to address the concern has already been made the other day between her and my peer’s wife.  I expected an apology from my peer but nothing came. So, I just understood his side and forgot about the incident.

Tom Peters says: “I regard apologizing as the most magical, healing, restorative gesture human beings can make. It is the centerpiece of my work with executives who want to get better.”—Marshall Goldsmith. Strong language from the master of executive communications. Apologize if you are 10% to blame. Apologize especially if it hurts, if the person you’re apologizing to is an “enemy.” Measure it: set time aside weekly for “three-minute calls,” mostly to apologize: I contend that for every ruptured relationship there was a time when a “mere” three-minute call would have gone a long way toward turning things around.”

In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey suggests these words to apologize sincerely:

“I was wrong.”

“That was unkind of me.”

“I showed you no respect.”

“I gave no dignity, and I’m deeply sorry.”

“I embarrassed you in front of your friends and I had no call to do that.  Even though I wanted to make a point, I never should have done it. I apologize.”

In reality, apologizing quickly is not an easy task.  It needs a lot of timing, humility, courage and internal security.

Who else dares to apologize?

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Leaders Pay Attention to the Details

“So pay attention to the details. Sweat the small stuff (like crazy). Commit to OAD: Obsessive Attention to Detail (the best people and organizations do; think Apple, Ritz Carlton, Amazon and The Mercer Hotel in NYC). Because the little things are the big things.”          Robin Sharma

There are projects which fail due to the leader’s failure to be attentive to details.  Details are like dominoes because when you neglect one, it will cause the falling down of the whole task which may even lead to  catastrophe.

If the Doctor does not pay attention to the details of the patient’s sickness, this may cause a wrong prescription and  perhaps the patient’s death.  If the Engineer does not pay attention to the details of the construction materials, chances are, the building constructed shall be of substandard quality and may even collapse in a few years.

A leader must pay attention to the little things including his or her own appearance.  He or she must be neat and must be dressed appropriately.  His or her office must be clean and organized.  Restrooms must be clean and odorless as this signifies that the leader cares for people.  Immaculately clean restroom is a mark of a world class organization.

A neat personality as well as a clean and an organized office will give an impression to the customer that the quality of the company’s products and services are above standard.

A leader shall keep a checklist to avoid missing the details.

Ray Croc, McDonald’s founder, focuses on the little things.  He says, “I emphasize the importance of details.  You must perfect every fundamental of your business if you expect it to perform well.”

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Top Ten Leadership Gurus

Many of us want to be good leaders.  To be one, we seek guidance from leadership coaches and experts.  We read books written by leadership gurus and professionals and even if we haven’t met them face to face, learning from their writings and books makes us feel being coached by them.

I am sharing with you my top ten favorite leadership gurus whose books and writings have influenced me in my struggle towards good leadership.


1.
JOHN MAXWELL

guru_john_maxwellJohn C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 13 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of INJOY®, Maximum Impact, ISS and EQUIP. Every year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and organizations as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point and the National Football League. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell was one of 25 authors and artists named to Amazon.com’s 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. Three of his books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Developing the Leader Within You, and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader have each sold over a million copies.

2. ROBIN SHARMA

guru_robin sharmaRobin Sharma is an internationally respected leadership expert and author who has worked with executives globally for over 10 years with exceptional results. Robin’s books on personal and professional mastery have sold millions of copies.


3. TOM PETERS

guru_tom petersFortune called Tom Peters the “Ur-guru” of management. The Economist tagged him the Uber-guru; and BusinessWeek’s take on his “unconventional views” led them to label Peters “business’s best friend and worst nightmare.”

4.  STEPHEN COVEY

guru_steven coveyDr. Covey dedicates his life to teaching principle-centered living and leadership to individuals, families, and organizations. Holder of an MBA from Harvard and a doctorate degree from Brigham Young University, Dr. Covey is author of the international bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century, and other best sellers that include First Things First , Principle-Centered Leadership, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families.

5.  MARCUS BUCKINGHAM

marcus buckinghamMarcus Buckingham is Internationally renowned and celebrated, He is the go-to consultant in his field, a sought-after speaker, and a New York Times bestselling author. Challenging accepted and entrenched social theory, Buckingham pioneered a revolutionary concept: that people will be dramatically more effective, successful, and fulfilled when they play to their strongest skills rather than attempting to improve their weaknesses.

Marcus Buckingham has dedicated his career to helping individuals discover and capitalize on their personal strengths. Hailed as a visionary by corporations such as Toyota, Coca-Cola, Master Foods, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, and Disney, he has helped to usher in the “strengths revolution,” persuasively arguing that people are dramatically more effective, fulfilled and successful when they are able to focus on the best of themselves.

6.  KEN BLANCHARD

guru_Ken BlanchardChief Spiritual Officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies®, an international management training and consulting firm that he and his wife, Dr. Marjorie Blanchard, founded in 1979 in San Diego, California. Ken is the Author of the Best Selling One Minute Manager Series that has sold Millions of copies around the world.

7.  WARREN BENNIS

guru_Warren BennisDr. Warren Bennis (Antioch College, Class of 1951) is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on organizational development, leadership and change. Since 1979, Dr. Bennis has served as University Professor and Distinguished Professor of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He considers that he has entered a truly generative stage in his life, one in which he pursues his greatest joy, writing, while also mentoring and taking pleasure in “people growing.”

8.  BRIAN TRACY

guru_Brian Tracy_biggerBrian Tracy is a recognized expert on business and leadership. He has studied, researched, written and spoken for 30 years in the fields of economics, history, business, philosophy and psychology. He has consulted for more than 1,000 companies and addressed more than 4,000,000 people in 4,000 talks and seminars throughout the US, Canada and 40 other countries worldwide.

9.  MARSHALL GOLDSMITH

guru_Marshall GoldsmithMarshall Goldsmith Partners LLC is a leadership development firm that delivers consistently superior executive coaching as well as other leadership development services to clients globally. We bring together the behavioral coaching expertise of Marshall Goldsmith, renowned executive coach, and the power of Katzenbach Partners LLC (KPL), a leading organizational performance consulting firm.

10. ANTHONY ROBBINS

guru_tony robbinsBorn February 29, 1960, is an American self-help writer and professional speaker. He became well known through the use of firewalking in his seminars. He initially studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming but went on to develop his own methods. He is now considered as the Leader of Leaders and the world’s best success coach.

I know you also have your own list of favorites and I invite you to share it with the other aspiring leaders by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

As a Leader, How do you Boost your Capability to Implement the Business Plan?

In less than two months, the year will end and it’s time to prepare the business plan for the ensuing year. A business plan is prepared by the leaders or the management team of the business entity.  Whether well articulated or not, a business plan aims to improve the products and services of the company.

But, what usually happens is that the employees don’t know about the plans  or doesn’t fully understand the details of the business plan.  So, the year ends with the unimplemented business plan and this same plan is again used in the subsequent year.

Employees, who have been in the company for a long time, have their practices.  Younger ones are often inexperienced or  deficient in  business outlook which could give them insight.  New hires often bring old routines developed in a previous work culture.  To improve productivity and optimize company’s performance, the company must have a shared, well understood plan .

To boost  the capability to implement the business plan,  do these ways:

1.  Distribute the business plan. Employees must know and understand the plan.  They must be helped and coached and then held accountable for attaining the necessary skills to lead others in implementing the plan.

2. Conduct a planning session for shared understanding among the managers and employees of the company. It is necessary that the leader shall clearly discuss with the employees what roles they are to play in the plan and the criteria for solving cross-functional conflicts.

There is a need to measure performance against the plan and the planning process as a whole, for the organization to most likely  benefit from a shared understanding across the leadership team.

Once your plan is out there, encourage questions.  Each question a chance to address the issues that build and uphold inefficiencies. Seek indirect feedback, like a suggestion box or whatever methods to show employees that you value their perceptions.

A planning session conducted by a management team.
A planning session conducted by a management team.

3. Set Performance targets of employees towards the execution of the plan. Align work activities of the employees with the business plan.

If you see some employees struggling to comprehend what needs to be done, or that they lack the know how to do it well, there is an opportunity for follow up or coaching.

Conclusions:

All businesses have plans to be flourishing.  Leaders can boost their capability to implement the business plan by distributing the plan, conducting a planning session and setting performance targets of employees towards the execution of the plan.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes