Updated: May 19, 2022
I want to use the mid-week post to discuss performance planning and why it is crucial. If you are not familiar with the whats and the hows, let me run through this. It usually unfolds in a few steps at a high level, and hopefully, your organization has a good and meaningful process for this. First, your company's executive teams will define the overall initiatives for the year based on the company KPIs or some performance metric. Those are pushed to your department heads and then down to your individual business teams. Then, at the line-of-business level, the team managers will work with you to pull organizational and team-specific goals into your Plan. If your company uses a performance planning tool or template, you'll get access to begin building your Plan. You will add your content (your goals, development opportunities, and strengths). Once you're complete, you and your manager will huddle up and discuss, usually to review and refine, but specifically to approve and activate the Plan. Whew!! What I just described is the 50 thousand foot view. It will vary depending on where you work.
But, I don't want this post to focus on how and where the goals come from. But instead, I'd like to highlight why this activity should be important to you. So, let's use this mid-week post to highlight your performance plan's importance and how it helps you grow. Before jumping in, I'm sure I'll harp on this in a few posts, or at least I hope to (insert shoulder shrug). Okay, I'm back with my signature three bulleted lists...here we go.
Your Plan articulates your strengths - Early in my career, I struggled to explain what I did well. It wasn't that I didn't know; I just didn't know how to explain it. Your Performance Plan helps you map your strengths to performance goals or quality metrics defined in your planning tool. One of the many benefits of this feature is understanding how to position yourself as a subject matter expert or show how you deliver value. The Plan gives you the tools to explain what you know and how you used that knowledge or experience to support the business, delight a customer and support your team. This part of the Plan should always reveal your accomplishments.
Your Plan identifies development opportunities - Another great feature of your Plan is that it helps identify areas where you have room to grow. This makes learning and corrective action a judgment-free zone. Depending on the tools used at your company, you can select from a range of categories from hard and soft skills, specific tools or technologies, or business acumen that will result in you developing in those areas that you were underprepared.
It's YOUR PLAN - The biggest misnomer is that the Plan is all about company goals, metrics, and needs. The business goals are based on the company's performance. But the performance plan is about YOUR performance. Your development, accomplishments, and your assessment. As a result, it is vital to intentionally map goals to your strengths and development needs. The Plan helps pave the way for your next opportunity, and it lends itself to decisions around incentive pay, salary increases, and promotions. It will also help you figure out your career path, if you are in the right role for your skills or if you even enjoy your job. But more importantly, the Plan is about you. What you've done, how you've grown, and everything you have accomplished.
I agree that planning is the most challenging part of the process. But keep in mind that the Plan benefits you. If you're unsure, your leadership and management team is there to help. Again, this is part of the process. Also, find someone to act as a mentor or accountability partner. It can be difficult to set goals and hit milestones on your own, so pulling in someone you trust to give you the extra push and support can be a game-changer. Ultimately, a well-developed plan is one that you should craft with purposeful intent. If you are determined to develop yourself and achieve your next milestone, the challenges are worth the rewards, and you are worth the effort. So go for it.
As always, you have permission.
These are absolutely my thoughts...