Saturday, September 22, 2012

Improving Performance Improvement Plans

Performance improvement plans (PIPs) should be explicit and clear in scope, intent and language. A PIP that is not understood is worthless (to the employee and to the company). It should reflect data and facts, rather than subjective thoughts. A plan that suggests one thing and means another can demoralize others in the organization who see what is happening and interpret it as disingenuous.

PIPs also need to be timely. Putting someone on a PIP without a triggering event when the person is following what has become a persistent pattern over years may be of benefit, but imagine what could have developed had that PIP been a kernel in the popper after the initial incident or early signs of the behavior pattern.

PIPs should connect the dots between where things stand today and where things need to be sustained in the future. They need to include the problem, desired behavior modification, strategies to achieve the desired state, goals, time lines and check-in dates. They should Point Out Potential -- in  other words, PIPs should POP.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Build on Strengths to Manage Performance

Opportunities abound to incorporate an asset-based approach to managing performance and developing teams – once you’re inclined to that frame of reference. Look back to the organization’s strategic direction (and ideology) to identify clues for expectations, needs and guiding principles. Leverage that information to link people’s strengths with the cultural expectations. Help people find their way to them. Awareness goes a long way, too. Give people tools to explore their strengths. Create a common language through which to discover the strengths of colleagues. Incorporate it into team-based activities and highlight divergent strengths-based contributions in project reviews or milestone celebrations. Make it part of your own management creed and reflect upon your adherence to it. Understand it, believe it, and live it -- such that you can be strong, have hope and seize the day: Perfer, spem habe, et carpe diem.
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