The Mystery of High Performance Solved with 3 Simple Questions: A Lego Homage to Peter Drucker
121s, Performance Reviews, Appraisals and other forms of Performance Management Meetings are often despised by employees and hated by managers.
This is because these too-often in-frequent methods of management intervention (at best bi-annual and at worst never) are poorly prepared (by both managers and reportees), can be highly charged emotionally, may involve conflict and may require justification of opinions that impact people's wellbeing (like a bonus payment). They are often conducted 'off-the-top of the head' where evidence is limited to what can be remembered from the last couple of weeks and then referenced on the day of the review, or force the gathering of evidence that needs to be captured and recorded in a convoluted way on a system you don't know how to use very well.
Mix that all up and you have a cocktail of avoidance from all parties. Reportees don't want to get down-trodden and managers don't like the conflict. The result, they don't happen or are poorly executed. This was true when I started training managers 20years ago, and I know from my clients and ever increasing demand for consultancy services on performance that this is still true today. The reason?
Most people have forgotten it is about people, not about task, system or process!
So, I need you to imagine a time when there were fewer layers of management. When, you saw your manager twice, once to get hired and once to get fired.
I want you to imagine you are called in to see your manager and they tell you all the things you are doing wrong, all the things that could be improved about your work. They may even get side tracked and start talking about projects you are working on, and how disappointed they are with progress on other aspects of your role!
Can you relate to this?
Now, instead, I want you to imagine that you are a manager and you ask these 3 simple questions (watch the video). You are only allowed to ask these questions, and nothing else. You are not allowed to judge or comment on them, except to engage in clarification or understanding of what their answers are.
I want you to consider what would happen if you asked these. What sort of feedback you would get. What learning would you have about the person, the team, the business?
Now, consider what you would do with that information? How would you prioritise your work, where should your focus be as a manager (regardless of your level in the organisation).
Once you have considered this I would implore you turn off the computer, put the notepad to one side, prioritise a 121 meeting with a member of your team and ask 3 simple questions, giving them your full attention when you do. Let the magic happen!
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