Owners and Managers continuously strive for improvements in performance. That could be the performance of individual employees, the performance of the team and/or the performance of the organization. It could be in the manufacture of widgets, the sale of those widgets or handling the administrative duties related to those widgets. Performance Planning is a management tool that can be used to improve productivity and efficiency in all those areas, resulting in improved overall performance.
Stephen R. Covey, in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, uses Aesop ’s fable of the goose and the golden egg to illustrate the relationship of Production and Production Capability. He calls it the P/PC balance. In the fable you’ve no doubt heard, the farmer discovers that his goose is laying eggs of pure gold. He decides that he could become wealthy faster if he kills the goose and gets all the eggs at once. Of course, he discovers that the goose isn’t full of golden eggs and he has now destroyed the source. He didn’t have P/PC balance. He destroyed all Production Capability in his attempt at immediate Production. This is a challenge faced by business owners and managers all the time. Having the right people, performing the right tasks to maximize productivity (today’s “Production”), while maintaining high staff morale and job satisfaction for the future (tomorrow’s “Production Capability”).
For several years, we have been working with businesses and organizations in this productivity area through the use of Performance Planning. In a previous post, we discussed several features and benefits of a PerformancePlanning Program – benefits an organization should expect from the implementation and use of such a program.
Let’s start with a basic concept: “No one should be fired for poor performance or bad behavior and have it come as a surprise”. Most managers are reluctant to release employees, even when there may be just cause; and the recruiting, hiring and training of new employees is costly in time, money and productivity. We suggest that even a basic Personnel Policy will outline the activities and conduct expected by the employer of the employees and also indicate the support the employees can expect from their employer. The Personnel Policy will address most of the issues that normally arise under “behavior”. We have found that the use of four documents will take care of the “performance” part of the equation: Job Description, Orientation Checklist, a combination Workplan and Appraisal and an Employee Career and Training Plan.
Owners and Managers want both Production and Production Capability; they want what a formal Performance Planning Program has to offer:
- A program that outlines basic expectations of both the employee and the employer
- A program that identifies objectives and responsibilities for each position in their organization
- A program that systematically introduces new employees to their duties and responsibilities
- A program that assigns objectives and responsibilities to individual employees
- A program to evaluate employee performance regularly, fairly and consistently
- A program to help employees achieve their full job potential and career aspirations because satisfied employees are more productive
We know from experience that any program is likely to be successful only if it is easy to implement and administer, requires a minimum amount of time and then is used regularly and consistently. There are many benefits of a Performance Planning program; we’ll discuss them in subsequent postings and demonstrate why owners and managers want those benefits for their organizations.