It's Time to Recalibrate Your Performance Goals

March 13, 2014
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Every year in the gym, it’s the same annual ritual. Empty machines in December, a packed house in January, fresh with newly resolved gym rats, followed by slowly thinning crowds in February and March.

Every year, some people stay on the treadmill and fly by their New Year’s resolutions, while others don’t make it to January 2nd, let alone the first day of spring.

Whether you’re setting goals for yourself, your employees or your company, it can be easy to get distracted and lose focus of what you planned to achieve at the start of the year. As the first quarter of the calendar year comes to a close, now is a great time to assess your progress, for better or worse, and recalibrate. 

Now is the time to check the progress of the work that’s important to you because you’ve likely hit a good sweet spot for spotting trends and changing course. If you assess too quickly, you may not have enough data to make an informed decision. Wait too long and you may miss opportunities to take advantages of trends or a rapidly changing situation.

While this philosophy is useful through many lenses – self-improvement, corporate growth – it is often ignored in the case of employee performance if frequent reviews are shunned in favor of the traditional annual performance review. The missed opportunity will not only deprive your employees of a chance to improve with useful feedback, but also can be a drag on morale.

As the weather gets warmer and the days start to get longer, take a look at your performance plan, and determine if you need to renew, refresh or reset your goals.

Consider these three sets of circumstances: 

Are you ahead of schedule toward achieving what you wanted to achieve this year? Did you underestimate what your employee was capable of accomplishing? Is your company performing at an unexpectedly high level?

Renew your plan and set the bar higher.

Were your original goals too ambitious for you or your team? That’s okay. They might just need an adjustment. Sometimes, initial goals can be formed by insufficient data or poor assumptions.

Refresh your targets with realistic expectations.

Do you need to head in a different direction than you originally planned? Has the situation with your employee changed due to a new project or responsibility? Are your chosen metrics no longer relevant?

Reset your goals to reflect the new reality.

Whatever the situation, recalibration is a natural and necessary exercise, and an important part of any performance management process. How do you recalibrate goals in your organization?

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