Performance Management – No Dumping Allowed

Recently I came home to find a note from my apartment management company warning people that dumping trash outside of the dumpster is prohibited. Furthermore, anyone caught doing so would be fined and continued infractions could lead to the offender being asked to vacate their unit. ALL CAPS and red text were used in abundance to indicate the intensity of the message.

tenor

On its face this makes perfect sense. You should absolutely not place garbage outside of the dumpster. Without question. It’s unsanitary and attracts rodents of varying sizes and ilks. However, the complex has 20+ units, several with multiple residents but only ONE dumpster and ONE trash day. In other words, residents aren’t equipped with sufficient resources to achieve the desired outcomes. This immediately made me think of – you guessed it –  performance management.

ominous music

We can talk all day about how the traditional performance management system/process is broken. Too often I’ve seen managers hold their direct reports accountable for outcomes they haven’t provided them with sufficient resources to accomplish. The needed resources could be in the form of money, time, training, assistance or equipment. Missing resources can even be the criteria upon which the individual will be evaluated.

“You seem to be having a problem doing your job. You failed to meet the standards I never explained to you or reach the goals we never discussed.”

“I know you told me multiple times what you needed to accomplish these goals and I never provided it, but that doesn’t explain why it wasn’t done.”

We have to do better. Performance management doesn’t just take place once a year when you do the formal evaluation. Or even twice a year. It is an ongoing process of communication, feedback and coaching. It is understanding what your direct reports need in order to be successful in their roles and providing them with the necessary resources. It is encouraging their professional development and utilizing their strengths. Too often managers think ‘performance management’ is a static function based on using a particular tool. Every interaction you have with your team falls under performance management. Listen to your people. Help them help you, themselves and your organization be successful. Set clear and realistic expectations and provide the necessary training and resources for them to be accomplished.

 

Don’t be like my apartment complex. You know you don’t want garbage (poor performance) strewn around the place. So do what you need to do to keep it from happening. Don’t wait until it becomes a problem.

Life Lesson: Invest in Yourself

investHow many times have you wanted to do something that would you enrich you either personally or professionally but repeatedly told yourself you couldn’t afford it? I know I’ve been in that place SEVERAL times. I look at my bills and my bank account and think “nope- can’t do it.” But if we don’t invest in ourselves, who will?

This year I am attending the annual SHRM conference (paid for completely out of my own pocket – registration, travel and housing) and the WorkHuman conference (thankfully one of my Twitter angels arranged for a free registration for this one so I’m only on the hook for travel & housing.) I SO envy folks whose employers truly invest in their professional development and send them to conferences, etc. I almost decided not to try to attend either conference because it really is a financial stretch for me, but it’s also important to me to learn and grow in my field and to network with my peers face-to-face. Now I may not be eating when I’m there (which will really hurt in NOLA 🙂 ) but I’ll be soaking up great info and meeting great people. I plan to use these experiences (and others) to enrich both myself and my organization. These investments will not go to waste!

When was the last time you invested in yourself? If it’s been far too long ago, I implore you to look into something that will benefit you and figure out how to make it happen. Investment comes in more than one form. It can be money, time or energy (or some combination of each.) Whatever you decide to do, I guarantee you’ll be better off for it – even if it’s a struggle to make it happen.