Performance v’s Feedback

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timeFor those working in supervisory or management positions, the reminder of conducting Performance Reviews is most always met with, “oh, do we have to?” Similarly for the person on the other end of this process, there is an equal level of trepidation. Why has a fundamental form of feedback lost its intended purpose and become relegated to the lower echelons on one’s To Do List.

There are a number of factors contributing to its current status. One has to do with the frequency in that it has become this annual event; surely if it was important, it would happen more often. Secondly, it is viewed as an administrative activity and, for some unknown reason, important to have in the individual’s file. The third is because HR needs it done and while it might hold relevance to them, its value to those performing it has become lost. Finally, all too often it is linked to pay, and performance can be quickly forgotten in the discussion if there is some dissatisfaction with pay. After all whoever feels like they are being paid enough?

This discussion is quite ironic because everything done in business is about optimizing performance; whether it’s higher sales, new product introductions or improved operational efficiencies. People however are not quite as tangible and unique talents and qualities often make it difficult to assess their contribution. Notwithstanding, there can be no denying that employees need to receive feedback relative to their performance. In order to make this process more effective and embraced by all, the following might help.

  • Performance should be reviewed on an ongoing basis. If something really good or bad happens, let the person know there and then and, if appropriate, let their file reflect it.
  • “Good” is something to build on and “Bad” is an opportunity to learn from – professional development and coaching is therefore key to managing and enhancing performance
  • Ensure the above is consistently happening throughout the organization. It can never be the responsibility of HR to ensure people performance is managed; that makes no sense. Equally it cannot be the remit of selective members of management; it needs to be a cultural expectation.
  • While pay and performance are intrinsically linked, they should not be part of the same conversation. Per 1 above, performance is an ongoing discussion, pay should be annual.

Performance and feedback are intrinsically linked. By doing it often and adapting accordingly, the performance trajectory can only be upwards and that’s all that matters.

5 Keys to Building Confidence

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According to world renowned sports psychologist, Dr Bob Rotella, golf is simply a game of competence and confidence. The competence piece we can all relate to and most would contend that this is something you can continuously build, but the confidence piece feels a lot more elusive. For many there is something very innate about this and you either have it or you don’t.

golfIf you were to align with some of the work of Carol Dweck relative to mindset, there might be some hope. She contends that people can have a predominance towards either a “fixed or a growth mindset”. The former essentially assumes that the skills and talents you have are fixed with little or no change over time. However the latter contends that whatever transpires can be a learning opportunity and people with this mindset see potential for growth rather than limitations.

This is a critically important distinction and has a tremendous bearing on how to build one’s confidence.   Being of a fixed mindset has a tendency for fueling a results orientation which creates a clear distinction between good and bad, success and failure. This can play havoc with confidence and is not ideal in the long run. However being process oriented, you tend to see the outcome either as confirmation of what you have been working on or an opportunity to learn something new; either ways it’s positive. With this in mind here are the 5 keys to building confidence in whatever you do:

  • Identify desired outcome – then plan / prepare accordingly
  • Trust the process – believe in your preparation
  • Stay totally present – forget about past events and future possible outcomes
  • Execute to the best of your ability – focus on what you want to have happen
  • Make necessary adjustments – learn as you go

Whether its golf, other sporting endeavors or some aspect of your personal / professional life, these are all applicable. Confidence is something that can be developed, but like most things in life it requires constant attention and practice.

Optimum Performance

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When you consider any personal, professional or organizational success you have had, your performance leading up to this is obviously a significant factor. It’s also fair to say that one’s desire for success is directly proportional to what you put into it; let’s call this effort. However effort alone does not guarantee success. To increase these odds, one needs to achieve Optimum Performance.

performanceLet’s consider this relative to where an outcome was less than desirable. Perhaps you lost a big customer or you hit 10 shots over your golf handicap or you had a big row with your teenage daughter. In all cases it is most likely that the intent going in was to achieve a positive result; every effort was made to achieve this, but sadly the result did not reflect this. Why is that?

In most cases, the “knowledge” is typically ever present and fully utilized, but there’s a key component called “energy” that is often seriously lacking. Optimum Performance can only be achieved through a critical balance of Situational Knowledge and Personal Energy.

Situational Knowledge is defined as the intellectual or physical skills required to engage in a meaningful way. Based on the examples above this would relate back to understanding the selling process, the ability to swing a golf club and skills of appropriate parenting respectively. These are the basics or fundamentals and can always be enhanced through experience, training, reading, practice, etc. However it only serves as the sketched outline if we were to use the metaphor of a picture.

Success is more assured if Situation Knowledge is coupled with Personal Energy. The latter is defined as the positive level of motivation and engagement presented in a given situation. It’s about how you show up with authenticity and commitment. It builds on the Situational Knowledge and is truly the illuminating color that brings to life the metaphorical picture mentioned previously.

By achieving this blend of knowledge and energy, optimum performance is assured and consequently success is more likely.

Employee Engagement = Optimal Performance

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When an individual is first hired there is typically some form of orientation to familiarize them with the company, its values and mission, polices and what is generally expected. They might also get to meet other staff and members of management and from this they slowly get a sense for what is the culture of the organization.

However the bulk of their training is more skills based. What are the tasks associated with the work they have been assigned to? What are the expectations associated with that? Whether this is classroom based or on the job they become familiar with the tasks because that is what will drive their performance. This is correct, but only up to a point. This will allow them to achieve a level of performance that is described as functional. This could be classified as minimum expectations, staying below the radar, executed safely and nobody is complaining. Pay me a fair wage and I’ll do my job. Read more