The More You Give, The More You Get (A new strategy for performance management in 2013)

watching out for the environmentIt’s that time of year when we get together, give gifts, and rekindle relationships with people we haven’t seen since last year.  No, no—not the holidays—I’m talking about the ongoing performance review season.

For the past several weeks (and several weeks ahead for procrastinators) managers around the world have been meeting with their direct reports to review last year’s goals, measure performance, and determine pay increases.

If you are in the middle of performance reviews with your people, here are two radical ideas inspired by a recent article Scott and Ken Blanchard wrote for Fast Company, The Best Gift Managers Can Give Their Employees This Season.

In the article, Scott and Ken identified that two of the most important ingredients missing in today’s manager-direct report conversations are growth and considering the employee’s agenda.

In some ways, that’s not surprising considering the cautious way most companies have been operating during our slow, tepid economic recovery.  “Just lucky to have a job,” has become institutionalized after four years of a weak employment picture and little or no growth in many industries.

But 2013 feels different.  There’s a small, but flickering sense of optimism in the air.  (Maybe it’s because that Mayan calendar scare is over—it is, isn’t it?)

Are you ready to move forward?  Here are three new ways of thinking.  How could you add these components into your next performance management or goal setting conversation either as a manager or direct report?

  1. Think growth.  Yes, GROWTH!  It’s time.  People can only tread water for so long.  Eventually, you have to start swimming somewhere.  Developing new skills in your present job—and seeing the next step on your career path are both important factors that lead to happiness, well-being and better performance at work.  What can you add to your list of skills during the coming year?  What move can you make (even a small one) that will get you one step closer to your next career objectives?
  2. Think connection. Who can help you along the way?  There is only so much that you can do on your own and left to your own devices.  We all need some help.
  3. Think helping others. The late Zig Ziglar (who passed away earlier this year) was famous for identifying that, “You can get just about anything you want out of life as long as you are willing to help others get what they want.” But it has to begin with you.  Who can you reach out to this week or next?  Who can you help take the next step toward their career plans?

In their article for Fast Company Scott and Ken Blanchard share an important paradox for anyone in business to remember.  The more you give, the more that comes back to you.

Add a little bit of giving into your work conversations in 2013.  Talk about growth issues with your direct reports.  Find out how you can help.  You’ll be surprised at how much comes back to you during the course of the year.

8 thoughts on “The More You Give, The More You Get (A new strategy for performance management in 2013)

    • Joseph,
      Setting goals as an employee is not too different than setting goals as a student negotiating a degree; you need an advisor. My academic advisor was instrumental in me achieving my goal. As an employee, your direct report manager is instrumental in helping you achieve your next career goal. Collaborate with him/her to discuss your ambitions and what opportunities exist. From there you can make a rough map of how to make things happen. There will be adjustments that will be made along the way, mistakes made, milestones achieved. Stay focused on the goal and you will get there.

  1. Your role as an employee requires you to help the business achieve its goals. Joseph is right. The direct manager must guide the process of employee setting individual objectives.

  2. I think that is what separates the exceptional managers from the average managers, employee collaboration. The ‘annual review’ should be a conversation, not a directive. It’s a time to see what has transpired and what lies ahead and then brainstorm for ways to get to the next milestone. Negotiate that milestone with your manager. Hopefully you know your day-to-day job better than anyone. The performance objective for the coming year require your input to make them meaningful, reasonable, and relevant. It should be challenging, yet not unachievable.
    Be an active participant, not a tool or pawn. That is how you take some control of your own destiny. Whoa! That may be getting a little too heavy for this forum. 🙂

  3. What tools are best for creating the ongoing development/performance conversation in a world where low context (less f2f) and more collaboration (diverse and dispersed) takes place?

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