Equipping Your Staff to Succeed with Holistic Performance Management

The purpose of Performance Management is to enable individuals make their best contribution to the organization as self-directed team members.

Part 1 of a two-part series on Holistic Performance Management.

Who do you know that got up this morning and made it their objective to fail in their assignments or job? Yet every day, regardless of industry or role, talented people struggle to make their best contribution to the organizations where they work or volunteer. A better understanding and application of the principles of Holistic Performance Management likely contains the keys to more fulfilling careers everywhere.

A Model for Holistic Performance Management

Many people think of performance management as the process of addressing someone’s poor performance or behavior. That’s akin to saying that an automobile is just an engine attached to wheels. Both descriptions leave out many of the most important parts.

The Holistic Performance Management model above shows how related activities can be used to equip and develop self-directed performers, and to correct performance when it gets off track. It’s a progressive model that is divided into two zones:

  • The Equipping Zone, where individuals learn and master skills and knowledge, and
  • The Correcting Zone, where individuals who have mastered skills and knowledge correct occasional shortfalls.

The Equipping Zone

This is the area where managers and supervisors should spend 80% or more of their time. It assumes that the right people have been hired and placed into the right roles.

A building is only as sound as its foundation. Likewise, the foundation for sustained high performance must be made sound. These five activities associated with the Establish quadrant are typical foundational activities (but not the only ones):

1. Job Descriptions not only help guide an effective hiring process; they also serve to outline key job duties and responsibilities.

2. Goals & Objectives serve as destination points for the job’s duties and responsibilities, against which performance will be measured, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

3. Setting Expectations requires clear and concise definition, in order to align someone’s efforts with his or her goals.

4. Teaching New Skills and knowledge is essential training to elevate someone’s capability to perform his or her duties at a higher level. The “teacher” is responsible for assuring the “student” understands what has been taught, and for observing the correct application of the new skill or knowledge.

5. Assigning Work includes what is to be accomplished (quantity and quality), when it is due, why it is important to be done well, what resources are available, and how and when progress will be measured.

These five activities are not an exhaustive list, but representative of Establish activities.

Once the appropriate Establish activities have taken place, the Coach quadrant helps people master what they’ve learned:

1. Observing Performance is the first step to making sure that people are performing what is expected. It’s the way to catch them doing things right.

2. Coaching & Feedback are essential to guide people in perfecting what they’ve learned. The best managers spend nearly half their time in coaching and providing feedback when interacting with staff members.

3. Working in an ideal Motivational Climate is vital for people to want to do their very best. Since each person is driven by their own set of motivators, it is essential for supervisors to leverage staff members’ personal motivators when assigning work or projects.

4. Evaluations – letting people know how they are doing against a set of standards and expectations – should be done informally along the way, not just as an annual event.

5. Solving Problems is a way that people master an area. The most effective managers lead staff to solve their own problems instead of doing the problem solving for them.

There really are no shortcuts to the Equipping process. If you invest your time in Equipping properly, you’ll spend so much less of your time Correcting.

We’ll cover the Correcting Zone in our October 14th blog. Until next time…Equip your staff for success!

Boyer Management Group works with employers, organizations, and job seekers alike to help them become more successful. For employers, we offer world-class talent management, acquisition and onboarding tools and programs to help employees and volunteers achieve consistent, optimal performance. For job seekers and universities, we offer tools, assessments, books, and curricula to help connect people with careers. To find out more, please visit us at info@boyermanagement.com, or call us at 215-942-0982.


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