I hear the above statement frequently from business owners and senior leaders when I ask a question in response to their question about why their team is not performing as expected. My question is always, ?do they know what?s expected?? and the answer is usually some version of absolutely.
In nearly every case when I can go out in the organization I find that people at different organizational levels have differing views of what is expected of them and in most cases, they are doing whatever they think is right. It?s reasonably easy for me to ask to see a person?s written goals. If they don?t have any it?s a real problem. However even if they do have them if they don?t clearly understand everything about their goals and how to go about achieving them and why they should it?s a real drag on performance.
A good performance management process successfully implemented will eliminate this lack of clarity problem that sucks the life out of performance. There is no reason for any person in any organization to have any lack of clarity about what is expected of them, how success will be measured and how what they do makes a positive contribution to the success of the business.
Implementing a performance management process that supports a high performing organization is easy to talk about but requires leaders to take proactive action with continual follow up to get a good process in place. So, its simple but not easy. Another challenge that always comes up is comments from leaders about being crazy busy and not having time for this stuff.
Somehow installing a performance management process and holding everyone accountable for performing against clear aligned business goals gets separated from doing real work. The reality is; assuring that everyone in the organization is clear about where the organization is headed and why and specifically how they can contribute to that success is the real work required to support the success of the organization and take some of the crazy out of crazy busy.
If you are a senior leader or business owner and you are experiencing performance shortfalls and you don?t know why, go a level of two down in your organization and start asking people to show you their goals and how they are doing. You may be surprised to find a larger clarity gap than you anticipate from your vantage point.
An organization that is aligned from top to bottom has a significant performance edge over their competitors. Check it out, you may find that they aren?t quite as clear about what is expected as you thought. There is much more to having a successful performance management process in place but start with curiosity and clarity throughout your organization and make sure you are solid in that area and then we can talk about additional steps.