How to improve performance
AS we enter a new year you may well be thinking about how you can raise your performance.
In these articles in section one, performance coach Margaret Sands tells you how to determine your priorities and make it all happen.
Margaret works with senior managers and directors to improve individual and team performance through coaching, facilitating events and consultancy.
Her clients have included Cabinet Office, Boots, GSK, Honda, HSBC, Video Arts.
Margaret is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and a member of the Chartered Management Institute.
You can contact her at: email@example.com
The most valuable product you own
SO it can be useful to think of yourself as a product, the most valuable product you own – yourself.
We are all a unique and dynamic mix which develops over our lives. Getting to know and understand yourself and how you fit into the ‘market’ is an essential step in improving your performance.
Valuing your current worth and potential is key to motivating yourself to keep learning and developing en route to achieving those longer term aims.
It’s up to you to decide how you should use your ‘unique product’ to get what you want out of life. It is your choice. You need to have a reason, which makes sense to you personally, to step up your performance. Whatever your employer, colleagues, customers, friends and family suggest, you will not reach peak performance unless you motivate yourself to do so.
You need to step back and THINK about what you want to achieve in the long term and make sure that what you are doing now, in the short and medium term, fits into that context.
Be clear about your goals
BE clear about what you want to achieve.
Consider what you want to achieve, in the medium and longer term, for both your career and your personal life. Then link that to the context of your current business and personal situation.
- Set your long term aims: What’s my top line? That’s where I want to be, in that role, earning £Ks. So I can retire in comfort at such and such a time. Then I would be satisfied.
- Set milestones of achievement to be reached en route.
- Allow some flexibility so that you can adapt your plan to accommodate changes: in you, your career and/or other external influences.
To get there you have to be clear about:
- What you currently do.
- What your organisation expects you to do.
- Any gaps in achievement and how to address them.
- What other people’s perceptions of your performance might be.
- How to motivate yourself en route
Your personal development plan
1. What you currently do:
- Identify what you are doing now, then rate your level of performance. Refer to any information you have to help you: role description, objectives, key performance indicators, as well as ‘soft’ relationship skills (behavioural competencies).
2. What your organisation expects you to do:
- Identify what you should be currently delivering in order to be seen as a good performer. Use any feedback information you have: your own objectives, key performance indicators, competencies and company values. Refer to appraisal documents, role/job descriptions and/or personal specifications.
3. The gaps and how to address them:
- Identify any gaps between what you are actually doing and what you are required to do for your job. If you are not doing something that you are accountable for, directly or indirectly, you may be seen as under-performing. You are ultimately responsible for managing your own performance. Often extra tasks are given out in an ad-hoc way, and it is easy to be distracted by those we prefer to do or to which It may be difficult to say ’no’. If these tasks are likely to affect your overall performance you need to be clear where they fit into the bigger picture of priorities. For example, contributing to a company-wide initiative might boost your longer term career potential and have developmental value. Take any opportunities for learning and development that are relevant to being seen as a good performer.
- Identify the overlaps between what you currently do well and what the organisation expects you to do. Often we are attracted to tasks that suit our natural work preferences and personality types. If you are aware of these it is easier to work them to your advantage.
4. Other people’s perceptions
- Many of the people I have coached at senior manager/director level are brilliant at what they do and they are highly valued, but sometimes colleagues are not happy with ‘the way they do it’. In other words some aspect of their behavioural competencies is causing a problem, possibly creating a barrier to further success, even survival at senior level. Once I have clarified what they want to achieve and discussed the implications and possible impact of their performance on others, they become motivated to work on a personal development plan. Organisations often use behavioural competency assessments as part of the selection process for recruitment, development, promotion and redundancy. They are sometimes labelled leadership, talent or high performance behaviours.
5. How to motivate yourself en route ~ motivation.
- Clarity of purpose is key to motivating yourself to continuously improve your performance. I have often discovered an intuitive desire for continuous improvement in the senior people I have coached. Valuing your current worth and potential will encourage you to keep learning and developing en route to achieving those longer term aims.