Performance Part 1 – performance planning L047

Performance is an important part of any job. If we don’t perform, we probably shouldn’t be in that job. Every job or voluntary role has explicit or implicit things it is designed to achieve. I add the word ‘role’ because not all work is paid and is classed as a job. But some voluntary roles are as important, if not more important than paid work. Some of the best initiatives come from volunteers who decided that the lack of a pay packet wasn’t going to stop them making their best contribution to their organisation or church.

In fact we do volunteers a great disservice if we don’t treat their roles as as important as a paid ones. Volunteers are often deprived of the level of support and good management that would be expected as the norm in a paid role. It’s time we put our volunteer houses in order, and benefit from their great ideas, leadership initiatives, hard work, and persevering efforts.

So how does performance fit into this? Well we all want the satisfaction of feeling we have done a good job; the approval of someone else who can say to us ‘Well done’; the knowledge that our contribution, our blood sweat and tears, have made a difference. Even Jesus when he was just days away from his crucifixion was able to say to his father ‘I have accomplished the work you gave me to do’ (John 17:4)

So where do we begin the process? If you don’t already have one, then a good job or volunteer role description would be a good place to start. But this will only point us in the right general direction. On top of that we need something specific to aim at. We normally call these goals, but if you don’t like that word, then call them something else! It’s what we are trying to achieve over a specific period of time. The well-used acronym ‘SMART’ is a useful addition to thinking about goals. Goals are most powerful when they are:

S – specific, significant, stretching

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T – time-based, timely, tangible, trackable

See ‘project smart’ for further unpacking of these words

Pick whichever words work for you and apply them to your goals.

What is the best way to arrive at a goal? A couple of suggestions:

Firstly look at the overall aims of the organisation you are working for. If there are some longer-term aims, like 2, 3 or 4 year aims, then make sure you are working towards them with your short term goals. Make sure that at the end of the year or season, you will have substantially advanced those aims. If you are working on a smaller shorter-term scale with a pre-existing one year plan or set of organisational goals, then set the goals of your project / department to fit with that.

Secondly, try and involve those who are delivering on those short-term goals in the process of forming them. This will not only ensure you get the benefit of their insights, but will help them to own and be motivated about those goals. Generally speaking the best goals are those that come in part from those who have the overall responsibility for that department / organisation /small group / community, and hence will be more vision driven; and in part from those who are members of that group, those who are more involved in delivering on those goals. They know what is possible; they know what the obstacles may be. Their motivation is key to success. Ignore them at your peril!

Next two leadership blogs will be the follow up to this and will cover

Pt 2 – performance coaching

Pt 3 – performance review

This entry was posted by nic on Monday, November 21st, 2011 at 5:48 pm and is filed under Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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