Learning Bulb Ideas

Learning and Performance: The Importance of Parallel Goal Setting

You want high performance, so you demand it. But without proper education and support, your employees lose morale. We all know what low morale does to a workplace. Failure to keep employees engaged, inspired, and rewarded creates more of what you don’t want: loss of hope, frustration, and—sometimes—unethical behavior. But a manager who couples performance expectations with learning and process goals is a manager with a winning team.

 

If you focus on results, you’ll never change.
If you focus on change, you’ll get results.” 
–Jack Dixon

 

Winning Managers Simultaneously Craft Two Types of Goals

#1—Performance Goals. These are often “the numbers,” and I warn you, be careful with them. Arbitrarily raising the bar may result in the negative actions above.

“The numbers” are tightly coupled with “forced ranking,” the management process made famous by Jack Welch at General Electric. Enlightened leaders and managers have long associated these archaic methods with Fredrick Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory. Rigorous coaching and development inspires and motivates people, not the pursuit of economic efficiencies at all costs.

 

“What’s measured improves” -Peter F. Drucker

 

#2—Learning/Process Goals. These are the identified competency areas necessary for the person to achieve the performance targets. It’s unethical for management to set performance goals but not provide the knowledge and training necessary for people to achieve success. However, front line teammates experience this shoddy implementation regularly.

Most of us would consider it ludicrous for a tennis coach to demand his player increase her first-serve speed (performance), but not train the athlete on the bio-mechanics (process) that generates more power. Sadly, the sloppy mandating of increased performance expectations happen every day in organizations. Talented managers act like talented coaches when setting performance targets.

Make sure you are nurturing and developing your people, and they’ll stick around longer, be stronger, and help you pave the way to more wins for your business.

 

Keep it Simple, Keep it Focused, and Keep it Inspiring. –Steve

 

art credit: Carlos Sarmento & Gregor Cresnar

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