3 Pieces of Advice in Performance Management
Interim executives step into companies often at times of crisis. Facing challenges and solving problems is what they’re good at. They are available to step into companies on short notice to fill a sudden gap in leadership, and to run a key initiative which provides specialized skills and knowledge for a temporary periods of time.
Scott Coolidge, a long-time interim executive, shared his experiences in the Cerius Business Today podcast and gave 3 pieces of advice.
PICK GOOD LEADERS
Any business owner or executive can attest to the fact that success depends upon leadership. Whether you look at big companies, small companies, or start-ups – it’s all about leadership. Not just at the top, but at all levels; be it supervisors, mid-level managers, directors, or executives. All leadership positions within a company greatly impacts its performance.
According to Coolidge, “So often the default position is to take the person who’s your best technician who has grown up through the organization. They are technically the best at what they do. They are then selected into these leadership roles, but often they’re simply not well-suited for management or leadership roles. That’s not to say they can’t be developed into that, but often times it’s a situation where they’re just not effective leaders. Taking the time to build out the selection process in order to identify and put people into leadership roles at all levels, I would say is the most critical thing that any CEO and management team could do.” Just remember, often when someone is the best at what they do, it is instinctual. They never had to work hard to learn it. Putting them in a position where they then need to lead and teach it becomes a problem since they never went through the learning process themselves. They are being asked to teach something that is instinctual to them.
HAVE A SOLID PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
Performance management requires not only measuring employee output and productivity, it requires feedback and corrective measures. A performance management framework can be viewed from two perspectives:
- What are you focused on in terms of overall business performance, and what are the metrics?
- How does that translate into the performance management process?
The performance management process used for employees is to get people to focus on the right things, have them working optimal levels in order to achieve their personal and organizational objectives, and building alignment between business objectives and people objectives.
This once again goes back to the leadership issue and is strongly correlated with it. Because no matter what kind of a performance management framework you have, if you don’t have managers who are capable of providing feedback on a regular basis, it won’t be effective.
“We all know business, particularly in this environment, changes almost every day and therefore the performance that you’re expecting from people at all levels is going to change constantly,” said Coolidge. “You have to have people in place who are effective at providing feedback, both positive and negative, and getting people to change direction, encouraging them and having the right mechanisms in place to reward them.”
REWARDS AND RECOGNITION IS IMPORTANT IN PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
Coolidge lastly advises taking a look at your reward and recognition programs. Regardless of the size, companies need to recognize the importance of having a program to reward and compensate employees.
So many businesses, fail to pay attention to compensation through a structured program including base compensation and bonus compensation. It is also highly important to have recognition programs in place, because people want to be openly recognized. Coolidge states, “Having the programs and practices in place that allow your effective leaders to pay and recognize employees is absolutely critical.”
The program should also be tied to your performance management system. It reinforces the priorities of the company and helps employees know what to focus on.
Finally, the more the program is communicated and the more public the recognition is, the more successful it will be.