How to Prevent Head Spinning

Spinning Head WEBAn executive tells me he would be conducting performance reviews this week, including an employee we’ll call Betty. I asked how Betty’s performance affected him. He replies, it doesn’t. I probe further, and as it turns out, Betty is a direct managerial report of his who, in turn, manages about 12 employees including a couple of assistant managers.

He continues this dialogue by stating that if it was up to him, he’d clean house and fire everyone because, Betty had given most of her reports a score of two but that Betty is doing a good job. I expect my head to stop spinning sometime next week. I think it’s safe to assume that this executive has no performance management program (PM) in place. What if he did? What would a PM do for him, his reports, and the organization?

Implementing a PM system can provide many benefits. An article by Aileen MacMillan serves to illustrate ow a PM benefits the organization, managers, and supervisors, and employees. For example, the article suggests such elements as accountability, performance, and productivity enjoy higher levels. Clearly, my executive friend could use these and more. So, what does a good PM system look like?

The 30,000-foot view is that a good PM system above all else is:

  • Fair
  • Efficient
  • Effective

However, no matter how good your PM system is, without good management in place, the program will fail. In other words, don’t underestimate the people skills of those administering your PM program. In a study cited by Gallup, programs with high ratings also had high ratings for managers. These managers received high marks for:

  • Clearly commutating standards and roles
  • Placing the focus on the employees’ strengths
  • The PM program is viewed as a vehicle for development and not just for pay and promotions
  • Feedback is given consistently throughout the year and not just at review time

While the people aspect is important consistency is also a key element. Further, some nuts and bolts of a good PM system include:

  • Obtaining data from multiple sources. 360sare a good tool for this.
  • Planning and setting goals. Planning and setting goals applies to both the employee’s individual career goals, but the organization’s strategic goals. If everyone’s goals do not somehow support the strategic planning, there will only be confusion and chaos.
  • Provide resources. This goes hand in glove with coaching, planning, and setting goals. If people have no resources, results will not be forthcoming.
  • Document, document, document. It still amazes me that managers complain about performance, yet have no documentation to back up their claims. Documentation on both good and poor performance is an absolute necessity. Trust me, your memory is not that good.
  • Action plan. Good coaching always includes an action plan and so does a good review.

Implementing a good PM system in your organization and using the elements and tools mentioned in this article, will help keep your head from spinning. Gotta go…really getting dizzy…

Thank you for reading this blog. If you would like some help to keep your head from spinning, give me a call at 404-320-7834, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit

Graphic Credit: Copyright: ra2studio

Talent Management,, Performance Management,, Devlopment,, Review,, Mangement,