What’s Your Performance Strategy?

I suspect your organization has a strategic plan, the plan of how it’s going to get from here to where it wants to be. If you’re like many organizations, it also has a marketing strategy, a sales strategy, a pricing strategy, a product development strategy, a human resources strategy, an R&D strategy… all of which rolls up into your overall strategic plan.

But does your organization have a performance strategy? You know, a strategy for ensuring that each and every individual and team performs at their best?

A number of years ago a study (“Public Agenda Report on Restoring America’s Competitive Vitality,” Yankelovich and Immerwahr, 1983) reported that only 23 percent of the workforce in America felt they were performing at their best. That means that 77 percent felt they could do more, and be more productive. In fact, 44 percent admitted that they do just enough to keep their job. And those were just the ones that admitted it!

While the study was conducted decades ago, it is consistent with my own informal surveys where I ask employees to rate their current performance on a scale of 1 to 10. At least 90 percent of the people I’ve surveyed rate their performance at no more than a 7.

Imagine if these employees were in your organization. Imagine if 90 percent of the people in your organization stepped up their performance from a 7 to a 9. What impact would that have on the overall performance of your organization?

One thing I know for sure is that hope is not a very effective strategy! Hoping that the individuals on your team and in your organization will improve their performance is really just wishful thinking. Unless there is a strategy implemented to make improvements, things will carry on just as they have in the past, no matter how much you or anyone hopes they will improve.

Oh, this applies to you, too. If you want to improve your performance, you need a strategy and a plan to implement it.

In these economic times, performance is more important than ever. It used to be that improving your performance was necessary only if you wanted to see some kind of promotion. Today, performance improvement may be the only thing between you and the long unemployment line.

From an overall corporate perspective, performance improvement may be what keeps your organization alive.

So, what’s your performance strategy?

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