If you want to grow your business, you can’t do it by yourself.
You must have a team.
When it comes to building a High Performance team, one that is coordinated and effective, performance management and reviews are paramount. Now is the time! Be open with your team about your goals. Tell your people, “with our growth plans, we need motivated and ambitious achievers. If we don’t have these types of people, we are going to be in big trouble.” You want to know who is going with you because we have to saddle up and ride. Giddy up!
Back in 1990, I remember preparing for a performance review – where my boss was reviewing me! I was really worried. I was about to be picked apart by my supervisor – the good and bad exposed. I dreaded the meeting…..even though my supervisor and I got along extremely well and was succeeding in implementing great new ideas. I’ll never forget it. I sat down across from my boss and he said: “what’s wrong with you? You look like you’re about to go to a funeral”. I said, “Well, I’m just not used to being examined so closely, so I’m worried”.
He let out huge smile and said: “You should never be surprised walking into a performance evaluation. Haven’t I been telling you all along about your performance? I want to focus on the future,” he said. “Let’s quickly review the last year, but spend most of the time talking about what you’re going to focus on this year.”
I immediately relaxed and took note of two very important lessons about performance management.
- Be careful not to surprise your employees in a review session. As a manager, you job is to provide continual feedback to your employees. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone that they did a great job on something. Just as important, provide constructive feedback to a person when warranted, as close to the event or situation as possible. Do not wait for the annual “sit down” to deliver a bomb shell.
- Focus on the future. Yes, definitely take time to review history. Spend 75% of the meeting discussing the employee’s goals. Then, help them to see the areas they need to work on to get there. Let them know their role in helping the company achieve its vision.
As a business owner, you know the importance of setting goals. You are forward thinking and plan ahead. As the leader of your team, you also need to help our people set goals, and be forward thinking. That’s why performance reviews need to be about the Future, not the Past.
This is a great time to get individual input on your company vision. Ask your key people what they think about the company’s future and next year’s priorities. Discuss their role in the company’s success. Look to see that they “get it.” Not all will. For those that do, look to get them involved.
Challenge each individual to do a 5-year personal vision and share it with you. If they don’t want to stay with the company forever, that’s fine. An honest open conversation is the way two people should treat each other. Ask them also for one-year goals. Encourage them to think about vacation schedules. How much money they would like to earn. Talk about opportunities that exist that they might be able to take advantage of. Remember, they may not have done this before, so be patient. You are teaching them to be thinkers.
You can also discuss areas in which they would like to develop better skills. For example: technical skills, like general painting, faux finishing, carpentry or paperhanging; or leadership skills, like time management, job planning, customer service and delegating.
Here are some things to do:
- Write down as much of the discussion as possible
- Keep a file on each employee
- Tell each person the meeting will last 30 minutes
- Make an appointment with each person so they are prepared.
Consider asking employees the following question at the start of a performance management sessions:
- How is it going?
- Are you happy working here?
- Do you have any goals that you would like to talk about?
- What is in the way of achieving these goals?
- How can I help?
- How about your personal goals?
- What are you greatest assets?
- What areas do you need to work on?
- What would you like to be doing in five years?
So where do we go from here?
Let’s discuss your plan for the next year.
Lastly, look at their job description and offer suggestions on getting to the next level. Point out areas of improvement that you both can agree on. Talk about how the company can reward people financially that perform at a higher level. Make a deal to talk again in six months. At that time we will review the previous six months to see if they are staying focused and achieving their goals. If they are well along on achieving their goals, maybe some financial rewards can come their way. Rewards should happen only after the goals are achieved.
Break thru your growth ceiling by building an all-star team. Hopefully, you are excited by reading this article. If so, Gung Ho! Keep in mind two things along the way: One, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It will take time to engage employees and a lot of employees may not last. Two, stay focused on the small successes along the way – not the failures. Remind yourself of the great goals that lie ahead, and how powerful it will be to have a great team to share the company’s success with.
All the Best