Magazine article New Zealand Management

Growing Pains

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Growing Pains

Article excerpt

Q Our company has expanded over the past few years. Everyone used to know what they were meant to do but people are not sure what their objectives are anymore. I don't have a good feel for how my managers are performing. How can I measure their performance effectively?

A Performance management is one of the cornerstones of good management and leadership, and you should definitely spend quality time on it. People often think it's about the manager reviewing an employee's actions and outputs to see whether they are performing or not, and then dealing with any shortcomings.

This attitude generally results in problems for the reviewer in deciding how to set objectives, review performance effectively and tell people they are not up to scratch.

In reality, good performance management is much more positive and is the process of linking the people in the organisation with its strategy and business plan.

Go back to your company's strategic and business plans. These form the foundation for future action and planning. The plans must show clearly the organisation's goals and, on a practical level, what the organisation intends to achieve in the current 12-month cycle.

Next, hold a personal planning meeting with each person who works directly for you and ask them to identify key actions in the coming year to help the organisation achieve its aims. This should be a two-way meeting with you asking questions, probing and coaching.

The end result will be an agreed set of objectives that have resulted naturally from the discussion and with a clear commitment from each of your managers. They should have identified approximately 8-10 key objectives. This ensures both you and your managers keep focused on the important things to be achieved during the year.

The objectives must be directly linked to the organisation's strategy and business plan. They must also be specific, measurable, have target dates and the manager must be able to influence the outcome.

Then hold regular meetings with each of your managers, (I would recommend at least monthly), where you can both review progress, discuss issues and update the plan as appropriate.

Performance management is not about the manager reviewing the employee's performance, but a series of opportunities for both people to work together and ask "how are things going in achieving our plan?", "what is working and what isn't?", and "what needs to be done?"

By prioritising performance management you will get a far greater understanding of progress against goals, leading to improved organisation-wide learning, handling of change and development of people. …

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