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Is Performance Management Killing Performance?

“Goals without a vision are just a task list.”  ~ Ken Abrams, Top Coach Consulting

We set goals to take us somewhere greater, and without that strategic plan, we’re just chasing after to do’s on the road to nowhere.

Photo by Terry Shuck

Photo by Terry Shuck

It’s getting to be that time of year when many groups and individuals within groups are looking ahead to 2009 for goals and objectives. One of the more frustrating exercises for me, back in my corporate management days, was pulling goals and objectives out of thin air and then having to make some more up for my staff.  We always said we’d come back to it once we knew a little better what would be funded, what the projects would look like, and then we got to busy and never did.

Some years it was taken seriously.  Most years it was yet more work to do that didn’t contribute to the bottom line.  And, the way we did it, it didn’t contribute anything towards our success or failure.

In the lucky years, I had my manager’s plan to try to fit my team’s plan into.  It was kind of like a puzzle.  In the unfortunate years, we just made it up.  Sound familiar?  I hear it all the time froom my network.

Either way, once management had rubber stamped the plans, we all put them away in the drawer and forgot about them in favor of the real work that needed to be done.  Then, at the end of the next year, in a collective “oh crap” moment, we realized that most of the things we spent time doing on a daily basis in no way matched our written objectives.

In the lucky years, we hastily rewrote out objectives and rated our teams and selves accordingly.  This was another waste of time, because performance management (a.k.a raises and bonuses) were based solely on someone else’s opinion of how well we and our groups performed or didn’t regardless of what any of us said about it.  In the unlucky years, there were no raises and bonuses.  In the really unlucky years, there were layoffs.

The real bummer was when someone installed Peoplesoft and we couldn’t modify our ill-thought out and mostly fictional goals and objectives.  Talk about a serious collective “oh crap” moment.

This doesn’t seem like a very intentional or efficient way to run things, now does it?  In a nutshell, instead of setting goals to improve the focus and performance of their teams, most organizations have set up this de-motivating paradigm that contributes to the lack of engagement of their employees.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  I lead my clients to reach for more, and you can have more, too.

I have the solution, and I invite you to set up a meeting with me so that you can create something new, better and more motivating with your teams.  I also invite you to sign up for your FREE Daily Leadership Coach so that you can focus on improving your leadership skills every day.

More tomorrow.  Until then, take care,


p.s. – You have an opportunity to create a vision and set a strategy that *takes no longer* than your traditional SMART objective sessions.  In fact, it may be less expensive to partner with me than to go about it in the same old way.  Contact me today to find out how.

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Terri Schepps

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