Tag Archives: success

Revolutionary Performance Management

Most companies spend this time of year categorizing their employees.

  • Far Exceeds Expectations
  • Exceeds Expectations
  • Meets Expectations
  • Does Not Meet Expectations
  • Fire At Will

Okay. Maybe that last one is phrased differently. But the meaning is pretty close.

And because these categories are really developed for legal purposes – as a paper trail to show that income and promotion advancements are based on track records of success, lots of people get miscategorized. If you have eight people on your team and seven of them are stars, four of those seven will likely still receive a “Meets Requirements”.


Because that’s the way the system was designed. It’s not really about how you performed relative to expectations. It’s about how you performed relative to your peers. In a year where everyone on the team excelled, you’ll have 10% in the top category, 25% in the next group, 50% in the middle, 10% in category 4 and 5% fearing for their jobs. And in a year where everyone on the team failed miserably you’ll have the same breakdown by category.

And poor managers everywhere then have to explain to exceptional performers why they are only a “Meets”. Or bolster a moderate performance to look like an “Exceeds”.

Why again?

The answer (at least in part) is we are afraid of an honest conversation about comparisons. The system is created for the sole purpose of making comparisons but we are petrified about discussing this openly. (Even though usually everyone knows. I mean, come on, you know who the best performer is in your team or company or department. Don’t you?)

So here’s the revolution. Tell the truth using two scales.

Keep the Far Exceeds, Exceeds, Meets, Does Not Meet, Fire scale. And don’t apply a bell curve. Actually allow people to be rated as what they really were.

Then also apply a ranking.

“Sally, you were a Far Exceeds and the #2 performer on this 10 person team this year.”

“Jared, you were a Meets and the #10 out of 10 on your team.”

Now we can have an honest discussion. You want to be #1? Here’s what you probably have to do. Of course, I can’t make any promises, because it also depends on what others do.

Of course, this is just a crazy idea from a guy who thinks people actually want to hear the truth.


The Perfect 10 Relationship

Who are the people most important to you and your future?

How would you rate those relationships on a scale of 1-10?

What would a 10 look like for each one?

What are you doing to get to 10?

The Relationship Ladder

One of my clients loves to say, “Your network is your net worth.”

He’s right. I talk to my coachees about this all the time. Which relationships are advocates? Which ones need bolstering? What new ones do you wish to create?

If you aren’t actively managing your relationships, you aren’t building the capital of future career success.

Do this: Write down the names of the 25 people who are most important to your future success. They could be people you already know and have great relationships with. They could be people who don’t know who you are (yet). For each one put them in one of the following categories:

  1. Critic – speaks or takes actions that willfully or unintentionally harm you.
  2. Observer – is neutral, neither acting for or against you and having no strong opinion of you.
  3. Fan – likes you and your work.
  4. Advocate – speaks up on your behalf, recommending you for assignments, raises and promotions.

A critic moves to observer when you reach out a helping hand and build commonality between you.

An observer becomes a fan when you show high quality work.

And a fan turns to an advocate when you ask – Can you help me get X?

So what’s your plan for moving the 25 people on your list to become the advocates your career needs?

I’m Here Therefore I Belong

No matter how often I confront it in myself or hear my clients express their own experiences of it, I never cease to be amazed at how common the fraud complex is. Very simply, this complex is the part of your brain that says things like:

  • I’m not good enough.
  • I don’t know as much as they think I do.
  • What if someone figures me out?
  • What if someone discovers I don’t have the answers and am not as capable as they think I am?

This is an equal opportunity complex. It afflicts young and old, CEOs and line workers, poor and wealthy, failing and successful. In fact, if you are like me and about 95% of the people I’ve coached in my career, it affects you too.

But here’s the thing. You are where you are for a reason. You were invited there. You do belong. You know enough – not everything, but enough. It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay to not have every answer. It’s even okay if they think you know more than you do.

You’re there. Therefore you belong.

And if you are still nervous, just remember this. Almost every single other person in that room with you – all the ones that make you nervous with all their knowledge and ability – all the ones who might uncover you for a fraud at any moment – they’re all wandering around with that exact same fear. The fraud complex is striking them too.

Immune to Failure

A woman described herself to me as being “immune to failure.” This woman is extremely successful. She has achieved multiple distinctions as the first woman to hold particular positions in her company. But she has also stumbled in her life and career.

So how does this immunity work?

What it isn’t:

  • Never failing.

What it is:

  • Seeing herself as a success
  • Never defining herself by a failure
  • Understanding that setbacks are normal
  • Looking for the opportunity in every situation
  • Assuming that success will come
  • Having fun

Strokes of Insight #4

Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight, is brilliant, fascinating, enthralling, and filled with insights to help anyone find greater peace and compassion in their lives. The next few blogs will share some of the insights I gained from this story about a brain scientist experiencing and recovering from a stroke.

Insight #4 – Everyone needs cheering.

Two of the things Jill Bolte Taylor describes needing most in her recovery were for, “people to treat me as though I would recover completely,” and constant reinforcement for the successes along the way. She desperately needed to feel that others had faith in her and that she was making progress.

She is not alone.

We all need to feel this faith from people around us. We can all give it to the people around us.

Today and every day you can tell the people around you how much you believe in them. And you can choose to look for what is going right. Identify successes and express appreciation for them.

Recipe for Success

What is the recipe for success?

Depends on what success is.

Want to be the best? Malcolm Gladwell tells us about putting in the time – 10,000 hours to be exact – to master our craft. Discipline and hard work do pay off. You want that promotion? It’s great if you have the natural talent that just makes you better than everyone else. If not, consider outworking the others to be a pretty good plan B.

Want to have great work/life balance? Step #1: let go of your competitive needs to be the best or to appear infallible. Allow yourself to perform to a lesser standard. Delegate and trust others more. Ask for help.

This doesn’t mean that you have to work the hardest to be the best or that you have to perform poorly to achieve better balance. But at least be aware that those might be in the recipe. So define success with the whole picture in mind.