"You'd better make this investment worth our while. You're asking us to give up the equivalent of five years of our senior leaders' time to learn how to have better performance conversations. That's a big ask."
I'm not sure I've ever met anyone as sceptical as this director of an engineering firm I worked with a couple of years ago. And I certainly left that particular Board meeting with his words ringing loudly in my ears.
He, along with three hundred of his colleagues, was about to participate in one of our programmes on how to have better performance conversations. And he was convinced they all had better things to do with that time.
All the senior leaders were about to learn our PEC process. The acronym stands for Precision Engineered Communication, and it gives leaders the tools they need to have over 90% of all their workplace conversations – whether specifically about performance or not. And we're often told it significantly improves a good percentage of conversations at home too!
Several months later, when we had completed the roll-out of that programme, I reminded the director about his early warning to me and asked if it had indeed proved to be a worthwhile investment.
He laughed and said he didn't remember making that statement, but he also confirmed that he felt the experience had been invaluable. It had actually improved the way leaders talked to each other, as well as to their teams.
But I'm not mentioning this just because it's nice to recount success stories ;-)
No, it's because I'm trying to answer the question I asked in my previous blog post – how do we get leaders to take ownership of performance management?
The secret is all about making it easier for leaders to have these conversations and to recognise that, really, every conversation they have impacts performance.
The fact is, when you're somebody’s boss, there's no such thing as a neutral conversation. Either it's damaging the performance of your people, or it's improving it. And that goes for short informal interactions as well as more formal 'performance' ones.
If an employee has a good conversation with their manager, they'll come out feeling motivated, engaged and productive. They won't have had a 'conversation about performance', but that good conversation will improve their performance.
And if they've had a bad conversation with their boss, they'll be fed up and unmotivated. They'll spend time going over and over in their head what they should have said, and take up colleagues' time talking about it too. Not so good for performance.
That's where CommsMasters' PEC process comes in. It gives managers a proven process to use in every interaction with their team – a process that will make every conversation one that builds performance.
It can be used to give feedback, to coach, to have everyday task-related discussions. It can even be used in more formal settings such as monthly one-to-ones and work planning sessions.
It becomes a natural part of the way they work, making it easier to talk about performance in both formal and informal settings.
So PEC makes leaders' lives easier and usually saves them time too.
If you'd like to find out how, just drop me an email and I'll tell you more.
[Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]