Archives for posts with tag: performance management


During my experience of either managing multi-million dollar sales organizations or coaching and training businesses on how to improve their selling operations, there is one belief that I am convinced of:

“Activity Breeds Results.”

Whether it’s executing face-to-face visits, making outbound phone calls (i.e.“dialing for dollars” ), prospecting for new customers, proactively maintaining existing client relationships, or massive quote generation with timely follow-up, the “sales” people who create the most activity are the one’s who tend to be the superior producers.

An obvious performance management necessity for any selling organization is the establishment of quotas or targets, coupled with a reporting measurement mechanism that can “scoreboard” the results for all of the players on your sales team…on a daily basis.

Most businesses will have some form of a CRM (Customer relationship management) system to facilitate this tracking & reporting for their business.

Now here’s the key to actually optimizing this “activity notion”…

“Managed Activity Improves Results.”

Mix in a component of consistent daily performance management, including praising for successes while coaching on those down days, will tend to multiply those results!

In order to accelerate your organization’s selling momentum, promote massive activity and manage it accordingly.


In reference to a prior blog on “The Review”, this process is often challenging and ineffective in terms of generating the desired performance improvement that Managers are seeking.

The traditional performance appraisal reviews past performance, and is often an inaccurate reflection of true performance due to:

  • inadequate preparation or effort,
  • poor documentation or record keeping,
  • any number of biases.

I believe that what really matters to is to provide your employees with input that leads to the development of their skills, which ultimately benefits them personally as well as serving the organization’s future.

There is much discussion in HR circles about eliminating the annual or semi-annual review process altogether. Such a change should foster more frequent conversations and updates about an employee’s performance, which is what most workers want.

ConstantONGOING coaching and feedback is one of the keys toward achieving continuous employee growth and development.

I’m not saying micro-management, but rather taking the time to ensure that every employee:

  • understands the clear expectations surrounding their role and responsibilities,
  • knows where they stand in terms of their performance,
  • and has a vision of how to grow and improve.


Featured image

Years of experience in “enduring” the employee performance review process, coupled with facilitating many training sessions to client businesses on the topic, has validated one common denominator: the Managers and Employees alike involved in this ritual have a general, mutual dislike for this obligatory activity!

Performance management entails a desire to develop individuals who have the necessary competence to achieve organizational and individual objectives.

Performance reviews are one element of this development process, with the ultimate goal being for the employee to improve the quality and efficiency of their contributions to the organization.

If conducted properly, this will serve as a springboard for elevating that employee’s productivity and morale.

The frustration surrounding the review process typically arises from a combination of factors including:

  • seeing the procedure as a task versus a development opportunity
  • unclear expectations surrounding job responsibilities
  • insincere feedback or evaluations
  • poor preparation
  • lack of diligence in documenting ongoing performance
  • inconsistent communication
  • not caring!

Give this some thought during your next round of appraisals to consider if you can possibly yield more meaningful results that will benefit both you and your team.

Welch learning

I’ve been a part of several “learning” organizations that placed great emphasis on competitive analysis and awareness, in the interest of achieving performance improvement.

An executional challenge arises in that during the “press of business”, we tend to become overwhelmed by the daily reactionary activity screaming for our attention.  Before you know it, there goes another day, week or month and nothing much has changed in terms of how we operate.

This quote by Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, sums up one of the major differentiators between successful and “wanna-be” organizations, the ability to effectively transform what we have learned into meaningful action; and do it with adequate intensity to impact performance and results.

Knowledge is potential power” sums it up nicely!  If you are unable to apply what you’ve learned, nothing will change.

The band Astral Projection released their song “Searching for the UFOs” in 1999.

In the business world, especially during any rapid growth periods, my recommendation is for leadership to be searching for the BFOs, aka the Blinding Flash of the Obvious!

Let’s start with the big assumption that an organization has a clearly defined mission, vision, goals and consequently a strategic plan in place to accomplish all of the aforementioned.

It’s amazing to me how often leadership continues to go in search of new and better ways of operating, well before ever giving their original strategy and tactics a chance to work.

The BFOs represent something that should have been very evident all along yet the team was moving so fast, and without recalibration, that solutions to issues and/or opportunities, that were staring them right in the face, were not realized.

Reflection and paying attention can convert what was a confusing challenge into a remedy that has now become terribly obvious!

And by the way, an obvious place to seek guidance in this area is through solicitation of both employees and customers alike.

Capt Obvious



Early on in my retail career, managing a “big box” home improvement center with over 100 employees, I quickly learned the importance of empowering your people to make decisions.

In retail or any other fast paced environment, we are faced with seemingly endless rapid fire decisions that need to be made, many resulting from an unplanned or reactionary scenario.

As my team, one after another would come to me with an issue, I had two options…give them the answer I felt was most appropriate or make them think for themselves.

In order for me to focus on what was most important in my role as General Manager, I would have to surround myself with troops who could think, had good common sense, and were not afraid to make a decision.

When approached for help, I would ask the employee “what do you think we should do?”

If they didn’t have an immediate solution in mind, I would have them come back to me when they did.  Once they returned, unless their idea was illegal, unethical or completely off-base, I would suggest they go ahead and do it.  I frequently closed our discussion with this statement:

“95 % of the time, we’ll make the right decision;  the other 5 % we’ll learn from it!”

In short order, I found myself with an empowered team who could make things happen and did not require non-stop direction from their leader.

Patton Empowerment

Empowering your team is essential for enabling successful results.  My experience indicates that employees with the appropriate passion and commitment will often surprise you with what they can produce, if you give them the chance!

LEADERS…encourage decision making.  Provide clear directions, check for understanding, and then let your people go out to create and deliver.

LEADERS…delegate responsibility and then hold their team accountable for generating the desired results.

LEADERS…coach and train to the extent that is required and necessary.  Your staff can execute as long as they are equipped with the knowledge, skills and abilities to produce what you are asking of them.

LEADERS…openly and frequently solicit input from their people and genuinely listen so the feedback can be utilized to improve overall performance.

LEADERS…expand the roles and responsibilities of their subordinates, stirring them towards enrichment and enlargement.

Occasionally, I need to remind myself to let “my ponies run”, avoiding micro-management mode!  Give it a try…you’ll be amazed at the aptitude, attitude and altitude demonstrated when providing your team with the opportunity to be creative and take ownership over challenging scenarios.

empowerment zone


LEADERS…get things done through influencing others.  Leadership guru John Maxwell professes thatleadership is influence”.

—LEADERS…establish specific expectations so that direct reports are crystal clear on what their contributions to strategic operations of the business should be.

—LEADERS…provide constructive feedback.  Their direction is positive, stimulating, encouraging and reinforcing, versus any destructive form of “reinforcement” that brings people down.

—LEADERS…measure performance & hold their team accountable.  What get’s measured get’s done.

—LEADERS…cast a big shadow.  The influence of the leader on their team is evident as a truly great leader is admired and respected as having an influential impact on the lives of those who he or she leads.

Maxwell influences

OrganizingIn the 1800’s, theorist Henri Fayol, a director of a French mining company, was credited with breaking management down into four primary functions:
Planning, Organizing, Directing and Controlling.

Planning: encompasses the concept of Vision…looking at current state, seeing the future, and then doing the applicable forecasting, goal setting and determination of actions to be taken.

Organizing: deals with designing the appropriate structure, and consequent use of resources to accomplish the aforementioned actions and goals.

Directing: ensures a focus on the correct activities, while leading and motivating the team towards the desired results.

Controlling: observes that the necessary actions are being carried out according to the predetermined plan.

In order to not overcomplicate the management process, this simple checklist serves as a useful tool for any leader to “look in the mirror” and conduct a self-inspection as to whether they are executing on all four of the fundamental functions.

In an earlier “Boltz”, I referenced a monthly performance review process for Managers called the “PDR” (Performance Development Review).

A key component in this process is to seek a genuine understanding of who the players on your team really are.

This is facilitated by having a command of these three knowledge points:
1. What does your employee want to achieve?
2. What do they do well?
3. What can YOU, as their leader, do to help them reach their goals?

Take a moment to reflect on your direct reports and ask yourself if you can answer these three questions about every one of them? If not, you now have an opportunity to vastly improve your relationships, and ultimately, your mutual performance!

The most successful leaders make the time to truly know their people and serve as resource for goals to be achieved.