Magazine article Supervisory Management

How to Turn around Department Performance

Magazine article Supervisory Management

How to Turn around Department Performance

Article excerpt

Improving performance is not the mystery most managers make it out to be. In working with my friend Bob Lorber, an expert in productivity improvement, we've tried to narrow the essential elements for improving performance to five important points captured by the acronym P.R.I.C.E.: Pinpoint, Record, Involve, Coach, and Evaluate.

Practicing P.R.I.C.E.

Pinpoint. All good performance starts with clear goals. Unfortunately, all too often when you ask managers what they expect from their employees and then you ask their employees what their managers expect of them, you get completely different answers. This doesn't have to be the case.

When it comes to improving performance, you need to specifically pinpoint what exactly you want improved. The clearer and more specific you are when setting goal, the better the chances the goals will be reached. Knowing what "success" will look like serves a practical as well as a motivational purpose.

Goals need to be clear yet attainable without being too easy to achieve. Ideal employee goals to me are those "stretch" goals that have a 70 percent chance of success.

Record. You next need to have a system for monitoring how you are doing against your goals. This step involves establishing key indicators that you can use to track success toward your goal. Using these indicators, you need to establish a baseline of data and then a system for routinely measuring progress against the indicators you have selected. Like with goal setting, the process of recording will in itself increase your chances of improving performance.

A lot of people tell me they work in jobs that have responsibilities impossible to measure. To them I reply, "If that is really true, let's eliminate your position and see if it is missed." The fact of the matter is, almost any type of performance can be measured--and if you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

Involve. In order to have goals that are meaningful to those individuals who must achieve them, you must take time to involve your employees in setting them, thereby helping to obtain their commitment to reaching the goals.

A participatory management style can help to draw out the best effort from those people you manage. Employee involvement will improve your operations and efficiency while at the same time create greater commitment on the part of those individuals who make suggestions for improvements. Increasingly, involving employees in decisions that affect them is a requirement, not a luxury, for managers today--the expectations on the part of today's employees are too great to do otherwise. …

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