If you’re like most business owners, you desperately want your company to be an efficient, high performing operation, and most businesses also want to cultivate a fun and friendly culture. A lot of companies miss the mark by focusing so much on the performance that people feel like commodities, or else by bypassing performance and focusing solely on the perks, hoping to attract the best and brightest with the misguided expectation that this will alleviate the need to manage performance. Like most things in business and life, the reality is much less like a magic bullet, but great results are achieved through planning, perseverance and consistency.
I am a raving fan about utilizing applied behavioral science (OBM, or organizational behavior management) in organizations to identify and achieve your goals, but I’ve also become an ardent advocate for pairing it with Purpose. This was never a part of any OBM projects I facilitated before, but as I grew in my coaching and leadership expertise, I realized that it needed to be added to truly build a world-class culture and organization.
I was inspired in this by thinkers such as Michael Hyatt and Simon Sinek. The gist of it is organizations, and people, do better and last longer when they have a compelling purpose driving their actions. Sure, you might have an organizational outcome of hitting $250 million in the next five years, but if there’s not a compelling reason why, you and your team will experience burnout and disillusionment along the way.
So how do you identify your purpose? As I mentioned to a group I was speaking to last month, you’re probably getting warm if you feel a little embarrassed at first talking about it. Not because there’s anything wrong with it, but a great purpose should be WAY bigger than you feel like you’re capable of. As I told my group, when you have hit on your purpose, there will always be that little voice inside (or even outside, if you’re hanging out with scared people) that say ‘who are YOU to think you can do this?’ If that’s the case, you’re probably onto something.
Having a huge, audacious purpose does (at least) three things for you: It creates a rallying point for your team, it creates context for your financial goals, and it mitigates that letdown that can happen when a goal is reached. Essentially, the purpose breathes life into your goals. And goals, and achieving them, are what performance management is all about!
OBM is an application that can unequivocally launch your organization into a high performing one, where workers are crystal clear on what the goals are and how to achieve them, and are contributing directly to the success of your company. Because of this, they are getting recognized and appreciated for their efforts and managers are spending far less time writing people up or replacing them, so efforts are spent on more positive endeavors. The result is a successful company, populated by successful people who feel supported and encouraged by their managers.
Sound good? It is. The principles of performance management are very simple, but launching it isn’t easy. There are some things you must be careful to do in the beginning, or you can waste a lot of time and energy pursuing the wrong things. The most important step is the first, targeting. This step takes the most time, but arguably brings the most value to your organization regardless of what you do next.
The purpose of the targeting intervention is to clarify the organizational outcome, the accomplishments that support it, and the team, then the individual accomplishments feeding those. At the bottom lie the individual behaviors that produce the accomplishments. During a targeting intervention, we see that any organization is ultimately a collection of behaviors. Often when going through this process, one realizes some dysfunctional processes that are impeding efficiency. The end result is that a clear pathway is lined out leading to the outcomes.
The danger is that if this is not done thoroughly, or if the right people are not included, or if incorrect assumptions are made, you can be pursuing (and achieving) milestones that aren’t the key drivers of your success. That’s the main reason why I always recommend guided targeting sessions even when launching a ‘virtual’ performance management intervention. An outsider’s perspective on your processes is critical, because we don’t assume anything ‘has’ to be a certain way. Not knowing your history, we can ask the questions that haven’t been asked in a long time.
So yes, get incredibly clinical about your targeting and your performance management, but infuse it with the passion of purpose, and you’ll be unstoppable!
Next time, I’ll expand on the subsequent interventions of performance management. If you want a sneak peak, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Carrie Maldonado is the founder of Today’s Leadership Solutions, a Seattle-based consulting firm providing comprehensive organizational development solutions for companies who are growing and who truly value their people. With certified Executive Coaches, Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) practitioners, SPHR-certified HR professionals, and Organizational Development Specialists, Carrie’s team brings a unique perspective and a cross-functional approach to providing workplace solutions that work. Carrie can be reached for consultation at email@example.com