Improved quality of performance management meetings

Background:
A major international company wished to raise the quality of the performance management meetings held by its managers. Formerly, these meetings were deemed by the employees to be more like interrogations, or as mere un-empowering, grade-setting appraisals.

Process:
Management training: We and the customer got together to design a day-long training programme for all managers with a focus on changing the “climate” of these meetings and on giving access to and training in the basis skills needed to support employees. The programme included:

Practical training in effective coaching conversations that help employees find and generate their own solutions to problems (including their own development) and in helping employees take a genuinely proprietary approach to the deliverables (results and goals).

Practical training in giving effective and empowering feedback that drastically improves the employees’ work and performance.

Employee seminar: A three-hour seminar for all employees was linked to the managers’ training programme in order to provide insight, tools and training as regards how employees can help to lift the quality of their own performance management meetings. The seminar dealt with such areas as:

the value of their seeing these meetings as their own conversations so that they don’t just “consume” what they’re like as employees, but start to “produce” and take responsibility for quality

the importance of the meetings having a clear purpose and of having the employees help to create a shared view of what’s relevant

the importance of the employees’ way of BEING and of how they come across at the meetings, of understanding the unhelpfulness of being “too demanding and critical” or “too compliant and cautious”, and of appearing more “professional” (as someone fully responsible for what they deliver).

Results:
To date, we have held training programmes in Sweden as well as China, Japan, England, Taiwan, the US, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Germany, France and Dubai. What was particularly interesting and exciting was that the training we did in China and Japan worked just as well as it does in Sweden. Cultural differences didn’t, as one might think, intrude on training coaching and feedback. So far, 60 or so managers have participated, and given the programme an average score of 4.7 on a 5-point scale.

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