Food for holidays lists, Gifts for family, gifts for co-workers and the biggest list for most people, the New Year’s resolution list.
What many individuals or businesses will labor over are the 10 things that they would like to change this next year. I applaud the effort. Performance Management change is good BUT when you create this list, you need to remember a few things:
1. Be honest with yourself. Look at what you did or did not accomplish.
2. Don’t play the blame game. It is not about why it did not happen.
3. Be specific with what you want to happen.
4. You will never change everything on your list.
It won’t happen. It sounds great to have these things to talk about, or show others in staff meetings but in reality we never change multiple things. Time is too tight and it is too hard. Change takes effort.
You need to focus on the ONE thing you want to change. Ask yourself as you look over the list, “What is the one thing I or my business cannot spend another year dealing with?”
If you could change that one thing, how good will you feel? How will that impact the rest of your life? Or your business?
Do you see how changing this ONE thing will build momentum and demonstrate to yourself and others that you can make changes and commit? Leading you to change other things on the list?
So how can you make that performance management process happen?
1. Be specific on what results you want to change. No wiggle room, no miss-understandings. Give it a numerical value if possible. That focuses everyone.
- I want to lose 10 lbs.
- We want to increase website traffic by 10%.
- I want to read 15 books this year.
- We want to cut expenses by 15%.
2. Give yourself a specific time-line. Lasting change does not happen in a short period of time. Is it 3 months? 6 months? A year?
3. Map it out. Write down short-term checkpoints of where you want to be each month. I heard an interesting breakdown of how a marathon runner looks at the race. In their mind it is a series of 26 one-mile races, not one 26-mile race.
4. Action Items. Each day, ask yourself, “What is the one thing I/we can do today to move me/us along the path”. Focusing on one task is simple; trying to do every task at once is overwhelming.
5. Track your results. When you write things down, or are responsible to demonstrate results to others, it forces you to make sure you are doing what you have committed to.
6. Adjust where needed. Change takes time so don’t get swayed one way or the other with initial results but make sure to allow yourself the ability to change things if they are not working.
This process will allow you to be one of the few who achieve your goal instead of taking on too much, burning out and then revisiting the same list of things to change at the end of 2011.
Remember that the journey is the most important part of the change. You will learn a great deal about yourself or your team during this effort. You will be surprised how addicting the new behavior can be, once you get past the initial discomfort of breaking old habits.
Embrace change but be smart and patient.