10 Performance Management Ideas

If you’re interested in raising the caliber of performance in your organization, consider these 10 tips to get people to start delivering exceptional results:

  1. No Excuse is an ‘Acceptable’ Excuse Most managers are too tolerant of excuses. Don’t be. An excuse means the job didn’t get done. And if you are truly committed to results, then you cannot be willing to accept excuses. Acceptance allows failure to persist. While it may sound cold and unfair, when you stop tolerating excuses, you force people to deliver solutions.
  2. Think in Terms of Priorities Get people in your organization to think in terms of priorities instead of excuses. The next time you hear, “I didn’t have enough time,” try substituting this excuse with, “I’m sorry, it was not a high enough priority.” This simple change of perspective will help you better manage your time and responsibilities, and eliminate the number one excuse in business.
  3. Make Mistakes Acceptable As a rule, employees don’t like to report bad news because they fear the repercussions. If employees fear repercussions, they are less likely to be honest and more apt to make excuses. People have to feel free to say, “I made a mistake.” So to get excuse-free behavior, make mistakes acceptable and treat them as opportunities for learning. Don’t look to place blame, instead, focus problem discussions on “what” and “why” issues, not “who”. And be willing to praise and recognize risk-takers, even when the outcome fails to achieve desired results.
  4. Create Clear Expectations Establish mutually defined expectations for job performance. Explore what success and failure look like for each position in your company. Ensure that every job and project has specific, measurable goals (more on this topic later in the article).
  5. Connect the Dots People are much more motivated to succeed when they feel connected to the big picture and understand why they need to do something. As a leader, it is your responsibility to show them how their actions have a direct impact on the company’s success.
  6. Acknowledge Responsibility Hold people’s feet to the fire. Require them to commit to their responsibilities in writing. And even more importantly, follow up to ensure commitments are met and to establish accountability.
  7. Plan Contingencies Never ignore Murphy’s Law. Things can and will go wrong. Take time to anticipate potential problems and set contingency plans. A proactive approach to problem-solving virtually eliminates opportunities for future excuses and maximizes the probability of success.
  8. Pay for Performance While it’s fine to recognize people for hard work, reward them for results. Structure reward systems to only provide tangible incentive compensation based on achieving measurable results. Ideally, offer rewards on an “all or nothing” basis. Simply put, if the goal is not FULLY met, no reward is earned.
  9. Create Support Systems Let the employee know where to get help when problems arise. Failure most often occurs when employees don’t know how or where to get assistance. Even superstars need coaching (in fact, you’re often better served by investing more time and resources in improving superstars than fixing problem employees). Provide your employees with the resources they need to get things done. These resources may include in-house or off-site training, formal mentoring programs, and internal “help desks” and “expert directories” listing people who can be called for assistance about specific issues.
  10. Conduct Project Post-Mortems At the end of every project, debrief your employees. If they succeeded, praise them and discuss why the project was a success. If the employees didn’t succeed, turn the failure into a positive learning experience.