We’ve talked a good amount about the criticality of having organizational clarity (vision, mission, goals and strategy) and alignment (what is most important right now, and why/how this links back to the bigger picture). So, you get it, right? Yet, these things still happen (I know this to be true, as our clients tell us these exact things when we start working with them):
- Employees say that team meetings are pointless and unproductive
- 1:1 meetings are held inconsistently, if at all. When they do happen, the employees find little value in them
- Performance reviews are little more than a “check the box” activity, that holds no value other than knowing what, if any salary review/increase will take place
Ok – we can all agree that all of the above does not increase engagement, productivity, employee or client retention, or business growth. The next step, then, is putting in place a system of management to ensure that your business realizes the impact and intent behind your core strategies. One of the realities is that even with clarity and alignment, sometimes, organizations still fail to successfully execute on the strategies, resulting in uncaptured revenue, shrinking margins, decreased employee engagement, and higher customer attrition. Often times, this occurs because people get distracted by competing priorities, mixed messages, or just a lack of sustained focus. Let’s face it, it takes consistent time, energy, and effort—and investment—in our people to ensure they are equipped and accountable for executing these critical strategies. So, you’re asking what the recipe is for a robust system of management that works—it could look like this:
Performance reviews: Should these be conducted annually? Yes, at minimum; semi-annually is even better. In setting goals, these should be a blend of performance goals that link to the overarching departmental, business unit, and organizational goals, personal development goals, outlining the areas where the employee will focus (learning and development) to improve skills and capabilities, and business competencies (leadership, influence without authority, navigating the organization, as examples). Goals should have specific target dates, along with people/resources needed to assist the individual in hitting the goals. Who owns this meeting? The person being reviewed. She should book the meetings, and chair the discussions, as they are her goals. Should the direct supervisor be ready to contribute, have specific feedback and provide guidance? You bet.
1:1 meetings: Also owned by the employee, these discussions should link directly to the annual performance goals, which link to the organizational goals. A portion of this meeting should be covering key accomplishments, main areas of focus, as well as any barriers that stand in the way (and, what the person is doing/has done to eliminate the barriers). If help is needed, this is a great time to coach. A check on personal development goals is appropriate during these sessions. Having a clear purpose to these meetings increases the value, and will ensure that these sessions don’t get bumped. Few things cause disengagement more than a supervisor continually missing 1:1 meetings.
Team meetings: Whether you subscribe to Cameron Herold, Patrick Lencioni, entreQuest, or someone else’s specific methodology, everyone agrees that team meetings, when done right, provide high value to individuals, teams and organizations. In a highly productive system of management, team meetings have a clear rhythm and cadence – they are not a “pot luck” or mix of all possible topics in the one hour a week the team spends together. Rather, they are highly focused, with a specific purpose. For example, the first week of the month could be a quick look back at last month’s performance, while getting the team’s observations, key learnings, and course corrections, and also then focusing on a specific aspect of the business. At eQ, an example of how we do this is by having one of our departments—talent acquisition or consulting practice teams—report in to the rest of the team. Another week of the month could be held to discuss/review the status of business development and marketing efforts, combined with client service updates. Once a month, the topic could be specifically on decisions that the team needs to make. Segmenting the meetings in this fashion allows people to give clear focus and intent to the matters at hand, as opposed to having to switch gears three to five times during a single meeting—very hard to do successfully, and not recommended. Also, once a quarter, the meeting could be of a more strategic nature—big picture thinking—which also shouldn’t get mixed into meetings that are more tactical in nature.
Putting a system like this in place serves as a critical partner to the clarity and alignment components needed to build a high performing organization, and shows employees that YOUR organization is serious about investing in, and elevating individual and organizational performance.
Andrew Freedman, Principal at entreQuest, specializes in helping eQ’s clients grow by creating well aligned company cultures and strategies that result in remarkable client and employee experiences.