Performance Requirements Planning

The purpose of this article is to continue the theme of leadership development. The premise is that leaders (managers and supervisors) need more than training to be effective. It is imperative that the top leaders of an organization create an infrastructure to support and elicit desired leadership behaviors. One way to do this is through performance requirements planning.

Performance requirements planning begins by providing a clear definition of expected outcomes for a given position and continues by identifying those behaviors (best practices) and/or competencies that will lead to those outcomes. It defines the cross bar for individual performance and serves to:

  • Measure individual (leadership) performance
  • Provide individual performance feedback
  • Develop personal improvement and progression plans
  • Create and deliver management training/development programs and coaching

At a high level, here are some steps for making this happen:

1. Identify key performance areas for a given position (between 4 and 6).

KPAs are not metrics or behaviors but broad categories over which an individual has accountability and which are critical to his/her success. Some examples of key performance areas for a call center supervisor may include:

  • Business metrics-financial, customer service, internal operations
  • Relationships with customers
  • Self management
  • Team and leadership behaviors

2. Conduct interviews and/or focus groups with star performers and their managers to identify “best practices” or core competencies related to each key performance area.

Once broad areas of accountability have been established, you identify sub-categories. For example, for the key performance area self-management, sub-categories might include initiative and responsibility, integrity, adaptability and flexibility, and continuous learning and improvement.

Once sub-categories have been established, you then conduct interviews or focus groups to identify specific behavioral practices of the organizations top performers in each of these areas. If doing this for the sub-category of self-management, the specific behaviors might include:

  • Self starter
  • Takes responsibility beyond scope of current position
  • Displays a sense of urgency
  • Takes ownership for getting the job done and complying with deadlines
  • Does not blame or make excuses when things go wrong
  • Follows through on projects and commitments
  • Pays attention to details
  • Manages time well Finds a balance between the urgent and the important

3. Write and administer a 360 survey based on these best practices.

These practices, taken from your highest performers, are then converted into a 360 survey that can be administered to every person in a given role.

4. Provide feedback and develop personal improvement plans for each person.

Once survey results are tallied, a manager (and perhaps HR professional) should sit down with each individual and provide them feedback as well as help that individual identify areas for improvement and create a personal development plan.

5. Develop tailored training to meet specific developmental needs.

Training and coaching can also be developed, from the results of this feedback, to help individuals improve in areas of weakness. This training is not “blanket” but pertains to the deficits of specific individuals or groups of individuals within specific roles.

Performance requirements planning grounds good leadership/management practices into specific and measurable skills which can become a roadmap for helping anyone who leads people know where they are, where they are headed, and how they will get there.

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