Have you ever stopped to wonder why some people in your business always perform better than others? Has it ever crossed your mind that you can do something about this? What image is conjured when you imagine a high performing individual? I bet most of you thought of sporting heroes or high-profile business people, right? But the image of high performance no longer just lives on the sporting field or in a corporate boardroom. When you look around your office, can you see any untapped potential?

If you are to survive in any market condition, you must be driving performance to its highest levels. With some challenging times ahead in 2018, will you and your team manage to take advantage of the challenges and opportunities on the way?

Performance management is a set of ongoing management practices that help ensure employees get the direction, feedback and development they need to succeed in their roles. Use it in your business to drive growth, personal development and staff stability with the following tips:


Ensure that your employees clearly understand what is expected of them. They need to know how their work contributes to the achievement of organisational objectives and goals. No matter what their role, each employee must understand how the tasks they perform fit into the overall picture and why their responsibilities are so important.


Cultivate the organisational and job-specific competencies each employee needs to be part of a successful high performance team. High performers are nearly twice as productive as poor performers, so by increasing the success rate of your high performers plus identifying and managing the areas that require improvement in your poor performers, you will immediately start to increase core competencies and overall organisational success.


Help employees develop and improve so that they can be successful in their role: facilitate activities that increase their knowledge, skills, experience and capabilities, and enable progress in their careers.

The most expensive problem companies deal with today can be solved, or at least diminished, with a better understanding of the people in your business. People with tremendous potential and ability are hired and promoted every day into positions that waste their talent. Knowing who you have working with you, capitalising on strengths and understanding weaknesses are critical components to the success or otherwise of your business.


Invite each employee to take responsibility for their own performance, development and career progression, while also contributing to the organisation’s success. When you look at your team, remember that successful people normally have a number of basic shared characteristics. Some of the simplest ones, such as persistence, positive thinking and being a habitual goal setter, will set your people and your business apart from the competition. Successful people have fun in life, but are also disciplined, self-aware and never pretend to be something they are not.


Encourage regular dialogue between staff and yourself and/or your managers about expectations, progress, accomplishments, and development needs. Discuss where your revenue streams come from and why they are or are not performing. Is it related to product, people or a combination of both?

Develop a clear understanding of each stream, the people working within that stream and why some may be more profitable than others. Make sure that you have the right people aligned to the right product or revenue stream, so that they can accomplish tasks, be successful and enjoy what they do every day.


Have you ever seen a high performing team that does not have a coach? It is so important that you and your leaders provide regular feedback, advice and guidance to your team. I encourage regular short sessions to review each employee’s performance against their personal scorecard. This can be supported by a group meeting, say monthly or quarterly, to review the overall business performance. Regular reviews will also allow you to adjust direction on the run rather than ending the quarter to find that you missed the goal.

I also suggest having at least one formal annual review to collate, review and document the results of the ongoing dialogue about expectations, performance and development.


Ever heard the saying, ‘someone just walked over my grave’, when you get a cold shiver down your spine? Mentioning Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to some people has the same effect. But it doesn’t need to. KPIs don’t have to be complicated, they help increase productivity, efficiency and skills, lower costs, eliminate duplication of effort and waste, and facilitate the execution of your strategy. Start by understanding which elements of your business make it successful. Set targets around these performance measures and record them in a simple scorecard. Take the same targets and apply them to your team so that each employee participates in achieving these goals. You will be surprised at the results from this simple exercise.


Finding talent can be difficult at the best of times, even more so if you do not have a clear picture of the skills and experience you are looking for or the right type of person that will fit your business. Take the time to understand the type of people that perform best in your business and you will significantly increase the rate of employing high performers when you next recruit leading to further business success.


About David Esler

David Esler is the Director of Kaizen Executive. With over 25 years experience at a senior management level, David delivers high quality recruitment solutions that are tailored to meet the needs of individuals and corporations alike. David also provides management consulting services in sales force effectiveness, sales excellence training, performance management and customer and market strategies.





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