Marcus Buckingham the author of many best sellers that focus on using your strengths recently posted, What if Performance Management focused on Strengths? Here he provides excellent insights on how to update your approach to performance management and make it more relevant in today’s organizations. He offers six characteristics of a new system. We suggest that you try at least one of his ideas and are grateful that you don’t have to await an overhaul of you current system to benefit from what he shares. The six characteristics are summarized below.
1. Real time: give feedback in the moment with frequent (weekly, monthly) check-ins.
2. Light touch: keep it simple and require little documentation. Consider just two questions, what are you doing this week and how can I help. Keep the focus on the employee, their skills, accomplishments, interest, and goals. Be more of a coach than a judge.
3. About the employee and for the employee: the employee drives the process meaning they schedule the meetings, decide what you will talk about, document the results, follow-up as needed and reap the benefits. In the beginning managers may have to coach employees to own this process.
4. Strengths based: significant growth results from focusing using your strengths to be effective. Still address weaknesses but understand that they present the least opportunity for growth.
5. Future focused: Talk about what is expected rather than what has been done. Explore the actions they can take, the skills they can acquire, and the contacts they can make.
6. Local system: use the system to capture local intelligence. Note: we agree that performance management should be local but do not agree that goals should only aggregate up, rather we advise that they move up and down through the organization. Employees are to have a purpose tied to sustaining the organization and they want to create value.
Enjoy the full article especially our favorite quote: “Performance feedback when anonymous is just gossip.”