Striking Out on Setting Effective Performance Goals? Fewer is Better!
Ever thrown a baseball? If so, you may have noticed its seams. They not only keep the ball together under impact, but also help pitchers put a spin on the ball that achieves the ultimate goal or mission: evading the bat.
When it comes to the game of performance management with a team of employees, the secret to hitting your target isn’t much different than a baseball. You, your team, their targets, and your organization’s targets must be tightly stitched together to keep your operation in sync.
In short, your objectives and job performance goals are inherently intertwined – and the fewer, more effective goals, the better. This means a manager of any team, just like in baseball, must analyze and weigh team members’ strengths and weaknesses on the way to building a winning roster. Of course, a great coach must also help those team members hone or advance their current skills.
Instill a Winning Attitude
Firstly, every player on your team must strive toward the bigger picture than that of their own desk: the organization’s common mission. After all, “managers are never truly successful unless their employees are,” says the editorial director of HR Specialist, Pat DiDomenico.
To achieve this understanding across their staff spectrum, managers must gain access to learning the goals of other departments – much like a baseball manager must know his hitters as well as his pitchers to come up with a winning strategy, one with which all players’ strengths and personal performances align.
A manager must mentor his or her staff to focus on the team’s most important goals. Again, it’s imperative to remember that a few strong performance goals will take your team farther than a long laundry list of them. Pursuant to preening a mission-oriented team, a manager must also be an excellent communicator when doling out responsibilities to his or her staff. These responsibilities must be assigned in accordance to an employee’s abilities and ambitions. It’s not a winning formula, for instance, if a baseball coach asks his first baseman to go to the mound and start pitching with no prior experience.
As a manager, you must track the progress of each player on your team in order to ensure you’re not straying out of bounds when it comes to your mission.
According to performance management professionals, the hardest part isn’t making yourself available for updates and progress from employees. It’s the adroit ability to note the progress unseen by the employee. Let your employees know when they’re accomplishing something that is a bit intangible to them, like how they are vitally contributing to the overall mission when simply paying diligence to a new responsibility or duty.
Once employees learn how to see or envision the otherwise intangible, they will become more skillful at fine-tuning all their duties toward the overall mission.
The distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate is just over 60 feet. Know the distance between the select few goals assigned to each employee and the overall performance goals of your organization. Keep detailed notes in your scorebook when employee and team milestones are achieved. Conversely, keep notes on when members of your team strike out or muff an easy catch. Sometimes such missteps are to be expected, but a manager with a particular outcome in mind needs to know when and where to apply the pressure it takes to win.
When a baseball manager needs a relief pitcher to take over for the starter in a critical game, he will assimilate the two or three best relievers on his team based on their performance statistics. As DiDomenico states, the practice of articulate note taking “will teach managers how to set up subordinates for success.”
Listen to Other Coaches
Compare your notes and your employee assignments with other coaches around you – and other departmental managers. Make sure the upper tier also remains on the playing field and not in foul territory.
Again, a baseball needs all its stitches to reach its target. No matter where on the hierarchy of your organizational chart, all employees must remain tightly intertwined with each other and highly tuned into their select few performance goals to successfully make it across home plate.
April 6, 2017
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