Leaders, Who's Evaluating Your Performance?

At the beginning of each New Year, leaders look to the previous year and take stock of what’s transpired and make predictions on what is to come. I have done exactly that and recognized that, while 2010 was a challenging year for me on a lot of levels, it was also gratifying beyond measure. I’ve never been a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, nor do I think that guessing how the future will transpire will tend to bear any fruit.

What really matters in the New Year is that organizations take stock in their performance during the previous year. Leaders ought to ask themselves, what did our business learn this past year?  What can we do differently to be more effective in the future? Many businesses give lip service to the “learning organization” concept. Yet, if businesses took the time and invested resources into learning how to be more effective in the future, they would be more efficient, and therefore more effective.

Organizational Development professionals spend a lot of time analyzing and assessing organization behavior and change. Would it not make sense to boil this down to its barest component by just asking three simple questions: “Where are we now, where do we want to be, and what do we have to do to get there?”

These simple, yet profound questions can lead to a wellspring of deep and effective knowledge. While business leaders may do this solely amongst their high level business authorities, it is crucial to ask these questions to people on every level; people on the shop floor, in administrative positions, and front line supervisors. The view from the top is limited. There is an iceberg of ignorance that blinds leaders from seeing what’s happening on every level. Wouldn’t it serve us well to reach out to all the people in our organizations and subsequently enlist their feedback? Companies don’t have to invest in elaborate employee satisfaction surveys to get a birds eye view. For example, leading organizations are setting up informal networking sessions across and throughout functional areas. The more we communicate with our internal talent, the stronger we will be.

What I am offering you is food for thought as you begin your New Year. These five tips will help you gauge success in the upcoming year.

1. Sit down with yourself and your employees. Examine the “As is, To be” equation. Look at where your organization is. Determine where you’d like to be.

2. Assess your Organizational/Workplace Culture. You can do this by conducting a gap analysis. What measures can your leaders support to make the necessary changes?

3. Design a simple plan to address the gaps that block organization effectiveness. Make sure it’s realistic and attainable.

4. Don’t invest time and money in a survey and a plan, and then ignore and not act upon the suggestions. Make time to get a few goals accomplished and follow through.

5. Execute! Take action on your findings. Baby steps are better than no steps.

Make a conscious decision to infuse compassion & care into your workplace culture. It’s not enough to put the “human” back into human resources – Instead let’s put the “humane” back into our organizational cultures.

What I am suggesting here is basic, and even simple, yet it is often these basics that leaders miss. Keep these five tips in mind and you and your company’s performance will flourish during the New Year.

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