Managing performance

"Getting good results is never just a matter of having a plan and letting everyone get on with it."

At the very least the Director will want to monitor results systematically, discuss them with the team and decide on how improvements can be made.

A team that can have transparent and candid discussions about their combined and individual results in a constructive way – can hold each other accountable – is a very powerful team. (Unfortunately it is also a rarity. Several reasons for this, and ways to overcome them, are discussed in the uniting the team section.)

The first requirement is reviewing progress - measuring results and presenting them to the team frequently and well. In this way data becomes a taken-for-granted foundation for the team’s discussions and decisions. Getting the right data and summarising them in a way that highlights the key numbers can take a great deal of effort. (I work with a company who have people devoted solely to data presentation for monthly Board meetings. Their Excel charts are a genuine delight. Board meetings are sharply focused and data-driven and company results are brilliant.)

The second requirement is having a proper data-driven decision-making process. Setting down criteria for a successful decision, evaluating options, revising them and re-assessing until you have a set of criteria and a decision you are happy with. Then, for safety’s sake on big decisions, devoting time solely to what might go wrong, modifying the decision if you need to and putting contingencies in place.

Finally the Director inspires people to manage performance properly. To be clear what is required from the start, to be resolute and reasonable in finding out why performance isn’t up to scratch and to doing something about it.