5 Steps to Stellar Year-End Reviews

It’s mid-year review time and if you’re like many people, you haven’t thought about goals in 5.5 months. Not a great moment for manager or team member, but it’s a common one. Mid-year reviews are a painful reminder of how far apart work and goals can drift and how little traditional performance management helps people perform at their best. Just 7% of employees understand their goals and what they need to do to achieve them. The disconnect creates a lot of anxiety: “How could that have happened?” “Why wasn’t I just more disciplined?” and “How will I make up the lost time?”

Then when you do look at the goals, frustration: “This has nothing to do with what our team has been focused on the last 3 months.” “Why didn’t we revise these when we changed strategy?” “How can I possible be measured on these things when they don’t matter anymore?!” and “What’s the point of this whole process — it’s so far removed from our real work.”

While it’s tempting to forget the goals, that thought is quickly followed by a reminder message from HR that you need to go through the motions by end of the month. Then there is the self-realization that it’s more fulfilling to aspire to something larger and that your performance and compensation are fundamentally intertwined.

The performance process doesn’t support great performance.

We live in an always-on world, but the typical approach to goals is “mostly off”. Chances are your company’s performance approach provides you little value and plays little or no role in how you manage. According to Deloitte, only 8% of companies believe their process is high value. Process and people fail when:

  • Your business changes faster than your goals.
  • Operational or business goals are divorced from individual goals and you focus on the former at the expense of the latter.
  • Your corporate performance system is for goal data entry — enter once, forget promptly.
  • You’re not as effective as you could be centering your week and your team on goal achievement so the day to day rush overwhelms bigger intentions.
  • You don’t have goals and no metrics for success exist.

Don’t leave your performance to chance (or somebody else)

Don’t leave your performance to chance (or somebody else).

Instead of setting and forgetting goals or relying on out-dated process, take control of your own career trajectory and support your team’s. Use a continuous performance process that includes setting smart objectives and empowering you and your team to achieve them. These five steps will help you be more successful and get more recognition:

1. Recognize the power of goals.
Goals are a pre-requisite to success. A goal is how you define what you’re striving for and what success looks like. They are powerful drivers of personal growth, which accelerate success over time. Think of it this way: You and your goals must be present to win. In fact, people with goals out-earn people without them by more than 10x over 10 years according to a Harvard study.

2. Understand the ROI of demonstrating achievement.
In addition to greater focus on achievement, people with goals earn more because they define then demonstrate success. It’s impossible to achieve a goal you’ve forgotten and difficult to win a debate about what “success” is after the fact. Make it easy for your boss to advocate for you by providing continuous performance facts about progress on agreed-upon goals. Facts make a huge difference in employee ranking and the pay and promotion pipeline – but very few managers are really disciplined about cataloguing them for their direct reports.

3. Design goals into your work week.
Change your process – not the company’s — to make goals a true part of your work and week. Goal-driven teams use Workboard to take ownership of their performance. Workboard supplements HR systems used to centrally manage company-wide goal setting with a “local” app to enable goal achievement. It brings business and individual goals together with tools to manage real-time priorities, actions and tasks on Web and mobile. Goals and work are always connected, wherever you or your team are.

4. Refresh goals when they’re stale.
If a goal is no longer worth pursuing, change it! It’s a huge disservice to you, your team and the company to be assessed against an irrelevant goal. You can only refresh goals when you realize there’s a gap; they need to be integrated into your weekly work to see when execution priorities and goals are misaligned then determine whether the goal or execution needs to change. By resetting and re-communicating goals upline and downline when change is necessary, you get the motivational and professional benefits.

5. Measure success more frequently.
There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of achievement, so set metrics and milestones in smaller increments to enjoy that satisfaction more often. If you’re a manager, driving toward goals will become habit much more quickly when they’re present in your work and you’re getting frequent satisfaction from progress. It’s just as powerful to recognize your team member’s progress and achievements every week – it’s a natural propellant. 83% of employees say recognition is more rewarding than cash!

You don’t go to work to fail, so get serious about success.

Define goals, objectives and metrics for success then bring them into focus in the work you do every week. You’ll enjoy more success, satisfaction and alignment, and you’ll enjoy the year-end review moment even more.

Want more info on setting inspiring goals and leading your team to great achievement? Check out this video and companion infographic.



3 Tips For Managers To Achieve Business Goals

It’s a few weeks into a new quarter of a new year, so now is a great time to self-assess accomplishments on last quarter’s goals and double down for great execution the rest of the year. Beware three behaviors that undermine goal achievement: 1) too many goals to come anywhere close to achievement, 2) too little attention to goals after they’re set, and 3) inability to compare the value of goals set with new requests and opportunities that arise.

After a few quarters, this can create a cycle that makes goal setting seem fruitless and work less fulfilling for leaders, managers and their teams. Achieve more next quarter with these 3 tactics:

1. Set Fewer Goals

It’s easy to add bullets to a PowerPoint with goals but incredibly hard for a team to achieve more than 2-3 truly material results in a quarter. In Q3, ruthlessly prioritize and hone in on the one thing that really must be achieved to make your year and your quarter. Add the second most valuable outcome, one stretch goal, and stop there. Resist the pressure to list anything that is immaterial, that you can’t come close to achieving , or the team lacks the capacity (or discipline) to achieve.

2. Quantify Results To Set The Bar For Your Time

Use revenue, customers, profit, market share or other clearly material metric to define goal achievement. How much does achievement of these particular goals matter? These metrics quantify the value of goal achievement, and that becomes the bar that all other activities must exceed to get your time and your team’s. If other activities aren’t quantifiably more valuable, don’t take time away from goal achievement. Check out this manager’s tool kit on defining and communicating goals and metrics; it can help prompt thinking through the goal setting process and provides a ready-made template for communicating to the team.

3. Go From “Agreed To Achieved” Every Week

Messages and distractions overwhelm even the best teams; without relentless focus it’s easy to devolve into executing on our inbox instead of our goals. To break this bad habit, schedule weekly meetings to reiterate goals, agree to truly important work that week, and report status at the end of each week… relentlessly. It’s much easier to hold each other accountable and share common intentions when everyone is clear on the goal and how their work ties to its achievement. Use status reports rather than staff meetings to communicate progress made; in weekly meetings, celebrate prior week achievement, adjust course and clarify the next tranche of work.

We’re all measured by our execution against goals, so focusing your time and efforts is essential.
There’s so much noise in email, chat, irrelevant alerts and personal social media, goals are harder than ever to see and achieve. This quarter and next, try committing to fewer goals but laser-focused execution — it may be a shift in habit and some may resist, but the rewards of achieving goals with a wholly engaged team will be gratifying for all.

Here’s to a great quarter!

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