It is vital that organizations go through a process of introspection, self-critiquing, and quality assessment. For many companies, this kind of analysis is conducted during a Strategic Planning session. The issue is that not every employee gets to attend those meetings. But they still need to be informed about the organization’s performance and benchmarks and time must be carved out to have this important discussion.
Here are 3 suggestions on how to make this process more meaningful:
Start with the positives. When reviewing performance, a lot of businesses make a mistake by starting the discussion on what went wrong. That’s not a very good way to begin. Think about it- do you like it when someone starts a conversation with you by telling you that you didn’t get the job done? Of course you don’t. Your employees don’t either. Now you might be thinking, “Well, we eventually get to the good things…” That may be true but, unfortunately, your people will still be thinking about the bad things and may miss the well-deserved accolades that you are rendering to them afterward. If, however, you start the discussion by focusing on all of the positive aspects of performance, your people will be bolstered and encouraged and will be more receptive to the next part of the discussion that will deal with areas of improvement and shortcomings.
Write it down. It is very important that when you conduct this analysis that you provide your findings in writing to the people that will be involved in the discussion. Countless scientific studies have proven that thoughts, beliefs, and goals become more “real” to us if they are written down. That’s why anyone who talks about goal-setting (including me) will tell you that your goals will be useless unless they are written. In addition, you will be providing a point of reference to the people in your organization or on your teams. It is also crucial that you appoint a scribe when you gather everyone together to discuss the findings. This person’s job during that discussion will be to capture as much of the discussion as possible and compile what is discussed into a well-written summary that will also need to be distributed to those who participated in the discussion.
Respect this process. This kind of critical discussion isn’t something that you “fit into” a regular staff meeting. It isn’t something that you just send out in an e-mail. This is an important process that needs to be appreciated by your employees. This meeting needs to have a feeling of urgency and importance. Set the date/time for this discussion that is different than your usual staff meeting time. And remember that this is a mandatory meeting – employees will only be excused in very special circumstances.
Again, it is critical for organizations to go through this process of informing their team members about performance. It has to be productive and meaningful. It has to be respected. It has to be mandatory.
It has to happen….period.
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