Relying on high performers to drive your strategy execution? Think again.
Leadership teams are under a lot of pressure to do more with less and get more impressive results with fewer resources. Traditionally, leadership creates a strategic plan, talks about the plans around the executive table, and relies on the people in their organizations to help reach the goals. Most organizations treat the performance management system as the driver to reach the strategic goals.
This article on LinkedIn reports that in “a public survey carried out by Deloitte, 58% of executives surveyed ‘believe that their current performance management approach drives neither employee engagement nor high performance’.” That’s crazy! If our leaders, the people responsible for driving organizational success, are not seeing tangible business results from an internal process – then why are they doing it?
My answer: Because we’ve been told that if we’re managing the performance of employees – making sure everyone is performing at the right level – then we should reach our organizational goals. If only it were that simple!
Don’t get me wrong – I believe that the right performance management system is an ingredient in creating a system that helps us measure an individual’s progress. However, when it comes to driving the achievement of the goals in an organizational strategic plan, relying solely on performance management to do it is not a sound approach. It’s about activating leaders to clearly articulate the plan and gain buy-in from the rest of the team. We can employ the highest performers in the industry, but if they don’t have radical clarity on “what’s” important and the “why” that drives organization, they’re not going to be doing the right “how”.
However, when we have a team of people operating at their highest level of talent, engagement, and passion, and then we ensure they’re aligned in strategy and direction, we get big results. We drive success and hit our strategic goals. From my experience, there are three key ingredients to executing and activating a strategic plan:
- Radical clarity. Be radically clear with your team on what the organization’s strategic goals are. Then be clear about what part of this plan their department is responsible for (assign accountability). Ask them: what goals and actions do we need to include to meet our responsibilities? For example: What actions are they personally responsible for to help their department to reach these goals?
- Learn how to coach. How often do you find yourself sitting face to face with your team member and you end up directing or “managing” rather than coaching? Here’s a quick way to tell which one you’re doing: Do a silent self-check in your meeting and ask yourself who’s doing most of the talking. If it’s you – chances are you’re managing or directing. Try asking more questions like “Tell me what you’d do in this situation?” and “What would you do differently next time?” or “What did you learn?” There are a lot of great coaching resources out there, but one of the best ways to learn is to be coached yourself. (Contact us to find out how we can help you by being your executive coach!).
- Create accountability. Now that you and your employees know what the expectations are and you feel confident in how to coach them, set up a rhythm of regular coaching sessions. These sessions create accountability to make sure goals stay on track. Here at inVision, we call it “rhythm of accountability”. Weekly, monthly, or quarterly meetings make sure we’re on track to meet our results.
There is a time and a place for traditional performance management systems. But to be innovative, focused, and strategic you need more. The three steps I’ve outlined above can easily be implemented within any organization that has a clear strategic plan. If you don’t have a strategic plan or need help clarifying an existing one, let us know – we’d love to help! If you have some questions on how to execute on the steps above, give us a call – we’ll get you heading in the right direction before the call is over.