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Article -> Frequent Feedback is Critical for Success

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Date Added: November 2007

The best approach to annual reviews is to remove the annual part.
When people are emotionally engaged in their jobs, they know how they impact the organization’s bottom line every day they come to work. Yet, less than 40 percent of employees say they feel valued.
Research shows people want continual feedback from their direct leader. Lack of communication from a direct leader is the No. 1 reason they will leave the organization. Since proactive communication is the leader’s responsibility, start with the basics when providing employee feedback: Who are we? Who are our customers? Where are we going? How will we get there? How will you help?
People who understand and believe in the corporate objective (and are committed to its success) are easier to lead. Knowing the organization’s strategies helps clarify people’s individual goals.
Setting individual goals should be collaborative. An interactive Ask, Listen, Learn and Act (AL2A) process with the organization’s people evaluates their current reality and determines goals. As part of an overall communication plan, AL2A can also establish which communication methods work best for employees.
Studies indicate setting detailed corporate goals improves productivity – as much as 30 percent. The problem is people frequently do not understand the link between corporate goals and individual goals.
To be effective, a comprehensive performance management system includes:
Strategic Plans. Create a corporate plan and communicate it well. It should be in SMART format and continuously reviewed.
Intervision (Department) Goals. Link corporate goals to functional areas and their leaders. Next, communicate goals to teams.
People Goals. Work with people to create individual goals which help achieve intervision and corporate goals. Measure performance through a line-of-sight measurement system.
Measurement. Monitor goals for people, intervisions, and the organization. Track progress and alignment with corporate goals from the strategic plan. Feedback can also be gathered through the AL2A process.
Communication. Cascade information to all levels. People who understand the organization’s strategy are more productive, maximizing productivity and profitability.
While constant communication is essential, it does not have to be complex. A simple system of green, yellow and red lights – a “Dashboard of Measures” – can display the achievement of goals.
When it comes to feedback, leaders should err on the side of over-communication. As the organization’s best brand evangelists and salespeople, people should never be surprised when receiving feedback. With clear and regular feedback, people always know where they stand.
This article was published in the Green Bay Press-Gazette on Nov. 18, 2007.
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