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If people are an organization’s most important asset, then why do so few organizations actually implement programs that help individuals achieve their potential?
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Performance Management Training Program

A System for Continually Increasing Individual Performance and Organizational Productivity

Introduction
Consistently successful companies create high expectations, set highly demanding goals, and consistently achieve excellent results. In order to fulfill its vision and ambitions, it is vital that an organization execute to the highest standards.

Performance Management is a defined process for aligning organizational, team and individual goals, and for continually improving team and individual performance.

About Dr. Resnick’s Performance Management Services

Dr. Resnick has developed a unique approach to performance management. His system is described in his newest book, "Energizing Workplace Performance," which can be purchased through this website.

In addition to the availability of his book, Dr. Resnick consults with selected organizations to help them design, develop and install their own performance management system, customized to the needs and requirements of their business environments.

Dr. Resnick also provides both training and coaching to executive and senior management in the implementation of this system, providing them with the tools and skills needed for them to serve as organizational role models as the system is rolled out throughout their organization.

Finally, Dr. Resnick’s approach and support materials can be customized and converted into "Train-the-Trainer" materials and workbooks for implementation by managers at all levels of an organization.

The following sections provide a brief overview of some of the core performance management concepts and principles of this approach.

The Performance Management Process

Performance Management is the essential process that enables leaders and employees to set priorities in alignment with the organization's mission, and subsequently maximize individual, team and organizational performance. Alignment within the organization, from executive level management, to functional groups, to work teams, all the way to the individual contributor is facilitated with a performance management process.

The process is also a tool that enables employees to know exactly where they stand and what they need to focus on to improve their own performance and to grow within the company. This can only occur when leaders and employees work together to define each individual’s purpose, core responsibilities, results-based goals, measures, and stretch targets against which performance can be monitored.

But it is not enough simply to monitor progress against established objectives. Progress must be communicated by the leader to the employee and support must be provided in the form of coaching and counseling to improve performance on an ongoing basis.

In an organization without a performance management process, leaders often base their performance reviews on annual meetings in which judgment or opinion form the basis of the discussion, rather than actual results based on performance. The review and feedback sessions throughout the performance management process enable leaders to base their performance reviews on results because of the clarity of goals and measures that have been set. Feedback sessions, whether about productive or nonproductive performance, are important opportunities for communication and improvement.

A performance management process enables leaders, teams and employees to perform more effectively, thus improving the performance and business results of the organization as a whole.

Performance Management Process

Goals of the Performance Management Process

  • Focus the entire organization on business goals, create alignment to these goals at all levels of the organization, and provide a direct linkage for every person’s individual work to those goals.
  • Serve as a tool for translating the organization's vision, values, and guiding principles into defined principle-driven behavior at all levels.
  • Enhance performance results by providing clarity regarding purpose, responsibilities, goals and measures and the requisite freedom of action (empowerment) to achieve these goals.
  • Build ongoing feedback, coaching and counseling as an integral part of the relationship between leader and employee.
  • Provide a basis for measuring performance and improving the performance review process.
  • Serve as a basis for improving each employee's performance and contribution to the organization for current and future business requirements and individual employee professional and career growth.
  • Establish a communications linkage with the organization’s compensation system so that rewards and recognition can be tied to performance.

Performance Management is based on the following principles:

  1. The purpose of performance management is to reinforce and create the mutual success of both the employee and the company.

    • This is not a process designed to control behavior and play "gotcha" with people.

    • This is not a process whose primary purpose is to drive compensation decisions.

    • The performance objectives for each employee must be tied directly to the business plan of the organization.


  2. Employees should know what is expected of them at all times.

    • These expectations are a combination of both relatively consistent core responsibilities and frequently changing and evolving goals.

    • The process must be flexible and adaptable so that it can be modified easily for an individual as goals are modified to meet business needs.


  3. Expectations must be based on an employee’s real work - their purpose in the organization.

    • A performance management process must deal with the real substance of the business and focus on real-time, day-to-day priorities, not an administrative tool that adds paperwork.

    • An employee's individual contribution should define his/her total contribution to the business. It must focus on both the quantitative results and other very real but less measurable qualities that are essential to the success of the business (such as customer satisfaction or enthusiasm brought to an assignment that sparks a team).


  4. The key outcome of the performance management process must be improved performance (effectiveness) and professional growth for each employee every year in his/her current work assignment.

    • The focus of the process is to manage and reinforce performance in the employee's current work assignment.

    • It is not primarily a career development tool. Career development is a separate activity to be conducted by the manager.

    • The process must have a strong developmental component, focusing on improving the performance of each employee every year.


  5. Performance criteria are not the same for each person in the same job title or role. Expectations are based on experience, skill and other factors, as well as personal qualities brought to the job by both the employee and the leader.

    • Not everything in the performance management process is objective and measurable.

    • There are performance criteria that are subjective, and demand the sound judgment of the leader.


  6. The process is two-way between the employee and his/her leader.

    • Communication and feedback must be two-way.

    • Both must participate in the setting of mutual expectations if mutual trust and support are to be developed.

    • Employees should receive ongoing performance feedback to enable them to develop and improve.


  7. Performance management is a yearly cycle that typically ends with a formal evaluation. Results are recorded and contribute to the employee’s future assignments, career development, and compensation.

    • Single event-driven models that focus on annual performance reviews tend to be subjective and add little value to future performance.

    • If the cycle is implemented throughout the year, managers conduct regular one-on-one feedback and coaching sessions with their employees, and performance corrections and enhancements occur throughout the year.

    • If performance management is implemented as a cycle, the end-of-year review is little more than any other regular meeting, with a future-based focus on increasing performance goals for the next year.


  8. The organization's recognition and reward systems must be loosely tied or linked to the performance management process.

    • The results of the performance management process inform the compensation process to the extent that it should differentiate between outstanding performers, those meeting job expectations, and those not meeting expectations.

    • It is not a tool designed to influence or drive compensation decisions or recommendations at a more detailed level.


  9. The process must be simple to use and administer so that it contributes to the effectiveness of both the employee and leader.

    • It cannot be an "overhead" process that detracts from the real work of the organization.


The Performance Curve
The performance curve may be one of the most useful diagrams a leader can use with an employee to come to a common understanding of that employee’s current level of performance, and the need for continued development in a position.

Once the performance baseline standard has been reached, it is essential for the employee to recognize that the baseline is just that – a minimum baseline. It is not the measure of ongoing successful performance. The expectation is that the employee now continues to progress into the competency zone.

This zone, shown below, reflects a path forward for ongoing performance growth and increased competence over time. The expectation of movement along the performance curve through the competency zone is the reason why employees who have been in a position for a while generally earn more compensation than those newly assigned to the job.

Performance Improvement Curve

This is a very critical concept and often not articulated as clearly as required. Many employees have an initial negative reaction to this concept – perceiving that advancement in the competency zone is supposed to mean longer hours or simply work faster and faster or harder and harder. That is not the case.

There certainly is an expectation of increased efficiency with additional experience. But often performance improvements are more qualitative – the ability to provide greater strategic inputs, develop new technologies or coach and mentor other employees. There are many ways in which performance should continue to improve over time – as reflected in the variety of core responsibilities established for the position.

Specific competency growth goals should be established with every employee every year. They may be reflected in some or all of that employee’s responsibilities. But in all cases they should be both specific and measurable.

Many leaders also establish stretch targets with employees in the competency zone. They agree on what is expected and then agree on how far the bar might be raised beyond these goals. Stretch targets can be established as the goals for such added incentives as bonuses, or for identifying fast track paths to help employees who would like to advance their career more quickly.

The Performance Curve also shows that there is a mastery zone beyond the competency zone. Mastery recognizes that this employee has achieved the highest levels of performance in this position as an individual contributor. Very often continued growth at the mastery level is reflected in developing and coaching others, providing cross-functional interfaces, strategic initiatives, process improvement, new technology development, etc. These are all examples of ways a job might be enriched both for the personal continued growth of the employee and the continuation of added value for organization. If there is no continued growth or contribution once the mastery zone has been reached, the employee’s compensation will similarly reach a cap. This is generally not good for either the employee or the organization.

The time it takes for an employee to travel through the competency zone is a function of the employee’s skill and desire and the complexity of the position. For some jobs mastery can be reached in a matter of a few months. Other positions may require years of development and growth. This progression plan should be developed by the leader and employee together.

The Organizational Potential
The performance curve may be one of the most useful diagrams a leader can use with an employee to come to a common understanding of that employee’s current level of performance, and the need for continued development in a position.

The research evidence of the impact of performance management on individual performance, organizational productivity, customer satisfaction, and enhanced bottom line profitability is compelling. This research evidence is described in Dr. Resnick’s book, "Energizing Workplace Performance".

The following diagram shows how a shift in employee performance of one standard deviation has an overall 34% organizational productivity impact.

Performance Management Training Program & Solution

There is no other system or tool known that can have a similar impact on organizational productivity, individual performance, customer satisfaction, and the creation of an organizational culture that performs its work with unparalleled passion and energy.

Organizations interested in exploring this system further may contact Dr. Resnick via this website for further discussions.