June 17, 2004

Performance = per-form-ance; ‘per-form’ = as per a form, or method, or system… or the form that the output takes, and ‘–ance’ = enhance.  So performance = when you enhance your output as per, and using articulated methods.

When you enhance your activities which have been happening as per form, it becomes performance.

This understanding of performance as enhancing how we perform is interesting in that it includes both of the two jobs we need to focus on, when we think of our performance towards meeting objectives or goals.  The two jobs we all have are:

  1. The job that is outlined by our real role job description (RJD), the job we get paid for
  2. Doing the first job better, the job that gets us more pay

It is the second job that helps us to achieve more, to grow, to expand our competencies and achievements.  In fact it is interesting to note that if we don’t do our second job, we will always be doing our first job!

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Performance has to be such that we rubber band forward into a role instead of having to prove and demonstrate commitment and – before we are given a certain responsibility, and this stretching forward happens in the case of excellent performers who also learn.

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People = (Behavior + Attitudes  + Skills + Knowledge = BASK)… at any point in time.

How effectively we use these together for ourselves, to be better than other people in achieving what we want, is what defines success in our performance.

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Performance Management is key to every individual’s and team’s achievements.  Knowing how to leverage individual potential is key for every good person manager, as this is what helps them raise productivity and output in every endeavor where people do the work.

The tenets of People Performance Management are straightforward:

  1. Tell people what they have to do
  2. Support people in what they have to do
  3. Tell people how well they did what they had to do

Also, Performance Management is about energizing people through all three stages, so as to provide the impetus for improvement going forward, helping them in their 2nd Job, the job of improving!

When we are struggling with managing performance of our people, a good place to start is to review our efforts and success in each of these three aspects – Assignment, Support, and Feedback.  Let’s look why these are important, and what are the key points to consider in each of these.

Assignment – Tell people what they have to do

  • Unless we tell someone what to do, why should/can we expect them to do it?
  • How well do we tell them what they need to do?
  • How clearly do we tell them what they have to do?
  • Do we also get them onboard with their commitment to do what we are telling them they have to do?
  • How firmly do we hold on to what they have to do?
  • How clearly do we tell them of changes to what they had to do, if and when they happen?

Support – Support people in what they have to do

  • How capable is someone to do what they have to do?
  • Have they done this before?
  • Are they the best you know or can imagine?
  • Who is the best and how does someone measure up against them?
  • What is the best method for them to do it?
  • Are the methods clear enough to ensure comprehension and follow through?
  • Who can provide them the best support and are they available?
  • What resources do they need and do they have them?

Feedback – Tell people how well they did what they had to do

  • Unless someone knows how well they did what they had to do, how can they do better?
  • How well do we review achievements vis-à-vis what they had to do?  Often, expectations have changed over time from start to finish, and we don’t review against the original, but the new, unknown expectations.
  • Is the feedback constructive and building towards an improved performance in the future?

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