Resource for Performance Conversations

Elevating the Employee Experience

Employee engagement. What is it? Where do you start? And how do you go from a place where you are managing attrition to attrition managing you? EY, a global professional services organization of member firms with more than 200,000 employees and operating in more than 150 countries, faced a problem common in the professional services industry: attrition. In past years, attrition of personnel from the assurance practice of the U.S. firm’s central region started to trend upward. Today, the U.S. firm is seeing a decrease overall and, at some levels, more than a 10 percent decrease. What happened? Did people just stop leaving? No, but EY realized success when it began to understand what was behind the attrition in the first place.

“Attrition challenges led EY to re-evaluate its employee engagement and career-planning strategies.”

Connecting the dots: Exit data and onboarding

“We started centralizing our exit data and connecting it to our onboarding process,” says Diana Kutz, a talent leader at EY. “By connecting these dots, we got ahead of risk. We also started conducting focus groups with our professionals on why they stay. Why people leave and why they stay is not always the same, so understanding both is equally important.”

Some of the data captured include whether professionals feel they are using their skills and if they are experiencing and doing the things EY described during the interview process. Personnel also were asked if they understand EY’s vision, how they fit into the vision if they would recommend EY as a future employer to others if they are satisfied with their decision to join EY—and would they make the same decision again, knowing what they know now.

Exit surveys also are telling. The information learned from these conversations fed into the company’s onboarding process, so EY can see at an individual level how one acclimates over a period of time. “It’s all about putting leading and lagging indicators together,” Kutz says.

The firm also started to track if an individual’s departure was a push or a pull. A push means EY had complete control over the turnover, and a pull means it did not.

A typical push could be the lack of honest feedback and be passing the responsibility to someone else to deliver the performance feedback. A pull could be a situation where a professional leaves the firm to care for a sick relative or because of a spouse’s employment relocation to a region where EY does not have an office.

“We directionally look for our push to come down, which indicates our culture is moving in the right direction,” Kutz explains. “Since our journey began, we’ve seen our push come down over 15 percent and it directionally continues to come down over time, which tells me we are moving our culture in the right direction.”

Next, EY introduced an engagement team survey called “Rate My Engagement,” which enables team members to share their experience at the engagement team level in four key areas: team culture, flexibility, client environment/engagement, and communications.

“Collecting these insights enabled us to understand trends at the engagement team level, where our professionals spend over 80 percent of their time in an average week,” Kutz notes. “Rate My Engagement also enabled our teams to focus on their unique needs as a collective team, providing greater ownership into the team’s experience.”

She adds: “Teams are recognizing engagement team efficiencies and, ultimately, achieving better business results, such as higher levels of retention that increases team continuity and other sustainable results.”

Looking back, the best part about Rate My Engagement is how the firm has been able to replicate it. What started as an idea from junior staff, adopted by regional leadership, has been rolled out rapidly across the firm and is expanding globally.

“Connecting the engagement team experience to our exit and onboarding data has given us a deeper appreciation for what impacts the experience for our people while seeing a direct correlation to a team’s business results. It’s been incredibly powerful,” Kutz says.

JournEY Day

Collecting the data from all three sources also helped to inspire members of EY’s workforce who wanted to be a part of the solution. Their inspiration? JournEY Day.

JournEY Day is an annual event dedicated to focusing on key business drivers, learning, and critical issues facing the assurance practice of the U.S. firm’s central region. The theme for JournEY Day shifts each year and often is based on the pulse of the organization and what’s top of mind with EY professionals.

To take the pulse, EY pushes out regular surveys to professionals of its assurance practice, but not just any survey. It’s a gamified “morale thermometer” designed to help the organization understand how employees are feeling on a five-point scale. “The thermometer is pushed out to employees during the busy season, arguably the most stressful time each year, so we can really gauge people’s sentiments,” Kutz explains.

“Our theme for 2015 focused on cars, so we featured a morale speedometer with the scale ranging from ‘My tank is empty’ to ‘Topped off and ready for the long haul.’” It turned out that the tank was empty for quite a few EY employees on the topic of planning and managing one’s career at EY, so career planning became the focus of JournEY Day in 2015. Leveraging the thermometer, EY follows up with team discussions on what the firm can stop, start, or continue doing. Those thoughts are centralized at the regional level so top themes can be addressed. These meetings also allow for innovative ideas to be shared and, more importantly, implemented.

This year, leveraging the car theme, event organizers created and deployed a personal application for employees called “Me, MY experiences” in time for JournEY Day. The tool showcased the many experiences available to assurance professionals at EY and provided employees with a way to sort potential career and personal experiences in the short-, medium-, and long-term categories.

At the same time—and because EY wants its professionals to envision their career journey—employees could rank how they were feeling along the way with road signs such as “Baby on Board,” “Dead End,” or “Green Light—Full Speed Ahead!” The tool enables consistent conversations between managers and their employees and a way to drive dialogue around many important topics.

The personal application was only the beginning. On JournEY Day, leaders and managers gathered face-to-face to focus on career planning and value. Some of the events of the day included:

  • A team building activity that highlighted how a career in audit might look like. They developed a game that challenged employees along their career route, and participants could collect envelopes with tips, similar to tips one might gather from a mentor, to help them successfully navigate their journey.
  • A panel discussion with boomerang employees (those who left the firm and returned), experienced hires, alumni, headhunters, and global exchange employees to allow for varying views in careers. “No two careers are alike, even if the same in the title, so it’s important to share stories of varied experiences as likely many of our professionals have similar questions or thoughts. Our message is ‘Don’t go it alone—have conversations, be curious,’” Kutz explains.
  • Breakout sessions, by level so that employees in each rank could see the next steps and get curious about the possibilities of their future with the firm.

Who am I and what are my options?

To further demonstrate the value of an EY career, the regional assurance group recently added a framework it has coined “Upnext,” produced and developed by the group’s professionals, that enables them to see the peripheral and upward view of the opportunities both inside and outside the firm, including the value of their experiences over time. Accompanying the framework were monthly calls with rotating topics on the various options available at various points in an employee’s career both inside and outside the firm to further develop and expand one’s experiences over time. The topics range from internal service line

Accompanying the framework were monthly calls with rotating topics on the various options available at various points in an employee’s career both inside and outside the firm to further develop and expand one’s experiences over time. The topics range from internal service line opportunities to other service line opportunities, to external opportunities such as joining a board.

Anyone interested can dial in and ask questions or just listen. This framework also helps assurance professionals update their “Me” diary and leads career conversations to better questions about what comes next.

“We are in the business of developing careers,” Kutz says. “Building tomorrow’s leaders today starts with transparency, which builds trust. We can either be a part of their thought process or not, and I’d prefer the former. My hope is that each professional can learn more about who they are and what their options are.”

The winning formula

EY’s quest to reduce attrition is working. During the past few years, the firm’s annual Global People Survey results show that EY’s central region assurance group realized a 12-point increase in its employee engagement index with steady climbing results year over year. And this was achieved during a busy time of year in a highly regulated environment. In addition, the central region assurance group has realized a higher concentration, compared with history, of boomerangs returning to the firm.

So, what’s at the core of EY’s winning formula for increasing engagement and reducing attrition? The people.

“Our people have the answers,” Kutz notes. “You just have to capitalize on the opportunity to get them involved.” Leaders must set the tone and be catalysts for change, but their engagement needs to be fun, not forced. It’s not always about what you do, but more about how you do it. And, when it comes to measuring success, look to build it into existing processes.

“You’ll never be surprised once your analytics are built into the way you operate and offer accountability,” says Kutz.

Finally, success at EY hinges on being consistent for the long haul.

“I am not claiming victory yet. We continue to learn by diving deeper into our success indicators through predictive analytics and other qualitative measures,” explains Kutz. “More importantly, I believe in the power of our people having a voice in the business. Doing so creates an innovative culture that is fun and agile—it’s our culture, it’s our exceptional EY experience.”

“Leaders must set the tone and be a catalyst for change but their engagement needs to be fun, not forced.”

This article is written by Beverly Crowell, for Talent Development Magazine

  Wendy Tan   Jul 03, 2017   Article-Consulting, Engagement, Resource for Performance Conversations   Comments Off on Elevating the Employee Experience   Read More

The Power of Pause

WOMEN REPRESENT ABOUT half of the nation’s workforce yet still make about 83 percent of men’s median wages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They’re also underrepresented in the c-suites and boards across nearly every industry. In other words, women are working just as hard but aren’t seeing the full benefit of their efforts.

As talent management professionals, we work with many of today’s Fortune 1,000 companies. They invite us in to help their employees take ownership of their careers. Our formula is time-tested and successful but only when it’s lived out beyond the classroom and put into practice.

Employees leave our sessions knowing what to do, but the actual doing is quite hard. And it’s a little tougher for women. Why? A woman’s focus is almost never solely in her career. She’s juggling multiple priorities, so intentionally managing her career is an easy one to push down the to-do list.

What does it mean to manage one’s career intentionally? We talk about career management in the context of five critical questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. How do others see me?
  3. What’s changing in the world of work?
  4. What are my options?
  5. How can I achieve my goals?

Answering these self-reflection questions requires muting the noise going on outside and focusing on the inside.

For women, that means not checking their text messages and see who forgot their school lunch, holding off listening to a voice mail from an ailing parent, and not stopping everything to add a calendar reminder to pick up eggs.

But muting is necessary for a process of discovery to unfold. So, if you are a leader of women, help them press mute and concentrate on what’s going on inside the place they work: what’s happening now, what’s going to happen, and what will make them the best professional now and in the future. Then walk them down this five-step path.


What do you hold most dear, what do you do better than anyone else, and what do you really love doing? We talk about these three areas in the terms of having a good career fit.

Being able to be articulate one’s skills is critical. In much of our work, the stereotypes prove true—women have a harder time articulating their specific skills (not just “I’m good with people”) and speaking about them as if they’re owned. We have seen exceedingly skillful women unable to passionately and vehemently defend their almost innate abilities, and we often see women rating themselves lower in their skill sets.

And while women may have a harder time articulating these skills, they inherently possess many savvy behaviors that are key to navigating a successful career. They tend to score higher on their ability to listen well, collaborate, be comfortable with diversity, and build relationships through teams. In build- ing these relationships, however, women can suffer from putting their own interests last. So, while they might know what they are passionate about doing, it’s not uncommon to see the female talent to hang tough and do work they don’t enjoy for the sake of the team or peace at work.

Finally, what about values? What matters most to women? We’ve gotten a variety of answers over the past 35 years—everything from spending time with family and friends to challenging oneself intellectually.What is consistent is how women rate satisfaction with their values given their current work situation. It’s common to see female talent more dissatisfied. Perhaps this is related to their willingness to tough it out for the sake of the team, the organization, or the family. In our own experiences, we’ve put major promotions on hold to care for young children where the value of family trumps the value of a career.

One value we do see more often with women is the desire to feel appreciated and respected. It’s important to them that their tough-it-out mentality is recognized: Hey, can’t you see the sacrifices I’m making here—appreciate me!


The days of having your manager tap you on the shoulder and point you to your next job are over. Today, no one manages their career in a vacuum and no one truly works alone. Even if you work in a remote office, you’re still connected and how all these connections view you is important.

To know the opinion of others requires feedback. And, while women are generally eager for feedback, it’s not uncommon to see them ruminate on it. In fact, one of us is still talking about the feedback we received from a boss in 2005. It was accurate feedback—about pouting in a meeting—but still, stings.

Perspective from others is effective when women keep their emotions in check. We encourage them to stick to the facts and ask for specific examples when the feedback is fresh. Then step back and look for the truth within it. If you’re not sure, ask a peer or mentor. Mentors are a powerful resource; women benefit from learning from someone who’s walked a mile in their shoes.

We’re talking more to women’s groups about the power of personal branding in today’s workplace. It begins by asking the hard questions like “what’s my reputation at work” or “what do people say about me when I leave the room?” If you don’t ask, you won’t know if your brand is getting in the way of the career you want.

“Once a plan is in place and women are excited about it, our experience is that they will pursue their goals with a tenacity that’s often unmatched by others.”


Careers grow and evolve within ever-changing cultures and environments. A critical step in any career management is knowing exactly where you stand amid this changing environment and arming yourself to see opportunities where others may not.

To grow in today’s complex organizations, it’s essential to build a rich and diverse network. The key word here is diverse. We often see women looking more for networks at their own level and not higher-level networks that may help advance their careers and knowledge. Conversely, it’s not uncommon to see their male counterparts being more strategic about who they want in their network. They take the “you never know unless you ask” approach.

Managing one’s network is a conscious responsibility and the prescription for personal and business success. Know what you want, who can help and how, and what you can offer in return.


Here is where we see women in the workplace both thrive and struggle. Typically, we find that women aren’t as upward-focused as men but they do see multiple career options: Up, down, sideways, a little of each, or growing right where they are. The barrier is the either-or mentality they often take. Do they pull out all stops to get ahead or just keep their heads down and hope it all works out? The right answer is yes.

We recently spoke at a Women in Leadership Conference and career options was a highly charged topic. The women in the room openly voiced the concern about saying no to any opportunity that comes their way. By saying no, many thought they were giving into the stereotype that women don’t really want to do whatever it takes to get ahead. The fear prompts many women to say yes even when it may not be the right fit.

Leaders can support women more fully here by realizing that we employ a whole person and that whole person brings to work values, skills, interests, and perspectives that may not align with every opportunity. It’s why self- awareness is so critical. Saying yes or no should begin with who you are, not what others want you to be.


Careers happen, planned or not. You won’t achieve even the clearest, most realistic goals without commitment and focus. It’s this focus—or lack thereof— that can be a real roadblock for women. It requires putting themselves first. They can do so by reaching out to other women as mentors for guidance, form- ing career action teams where they support and hold one another accountable, or even asking for very specific development ideas from people in their career network, including their manager.

Once a plan is in place and women are excited by it, it’s our experience that they will pursue their goals with a tenacity often unmatched by others. But it starts with having the courage to press pause. Do you have what it takes?


“For women in the workplace, the key to continued growth is intentionally muting the noise.”


Written by Beverly Crowell and Beverly Kaye on Talent Quarterly, The Boss Issue.


  Wendy Tan   May 16, 2017   Article-Consulting, Career Development, Resource for Performance Conversations   Comments Off on The Power of Pause   Read More

3As Performance Conversations

In a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, only 20% of the respondents indicated a positive impact of performance appraisals on their performance, whereas 21% felt no positive impact and 59% were neutral. Similarly, 60% of the organisations surveyed by WorldatWork gave a C or worse when grading the effectiveness of their own performance management systems.

The Intent of Performance Management

Human beings innately desire achievement. To successfully achieve our goals, we need to periodically evaluate if we are on the right track.

The intent of performance management is to both appraise and develop the staff. Performance review sessions are meant to provide feedback to employees on how well they are doing in terms of achieving organisational goals. When done well, performance management helps the individual employee experience dignity and meaning at work. For the organisation, performance reviews help to identify the breadth and depth of the talent pool. Sadly, the implementation of the appraisal process often leaves much to be desired.

What Is Really Happening with Performance Management?
image1Too often, managers do not appreciate the purpose of performance management and take shortcuts or simply go through the forms without meaningful conversations. Others may even try to manipulate the system and use it to punish, rather than motivate and develop, their staff.

Some well-intentioned managers avoid giving difficult feedback in order to be “nice” to everyone, and they end up creating confusion and resentment among the staff. In addition, employees are often torn between defending their own performance perception and being open to development suggestions from their managers.

At the heart of this problem, employees lose their motivation when they feel more judged than supported.

What if There Was an Alternative?

image2What if performance reviews have meaning, aspiration, and dignity? Wouldn’t it be great if performance conversations energize staff with a sense of hope and commitment instead of merely going through the paperwork?

The key in making performance reviews meaningful is to adopt a holistic approach. We need to shift how we approach our performance management

  • from judgment and problem solving to meaning and aspiration,
  • from evaluative to appreciative ways of recognizing the individual’s performance, and
  • from focusing on the past to looking ahead.

The 3 As of Performance Conversations


image3One of the current practices in performance management is to set SMART goals. While this is helpful, it often misses the point. What good will Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-bound goals do if they are not the right goals, or if no one commits to them?
Instead, managers need to be smarter about goals. Ask the employee either of the following questions:

  • “What’s the crossroad you’re at right now in your work/life?”
  • “What possibilities have the power to excite and inspire you in this coming year?”

These questions go to the heart of defining meaning and purpose for the staff. They open the door to the employees’ aspirations, so that we, as managers, can connect what is meaningful to them to their work goals.

A director from a global financial institution once shared with me that when the “crossroad” question was posed, it created intense dialogue and understanding between the Chief Executive Officer and one of his direct reports. The CEO was about to assign his direct report to take up a post in Asia without realizing the direct report was facing a major crossroad in his life. So we risk misaligning personal and organization goals we focus only on SMART goals. Instead, we need to bring in meaning, purpose, and aspirations.

In addition, before closing off the SMART goals, managers need to ask the following questions:

  • “To what extent are you committed to doing this?”
  • “Do you have any other concerns or questions?”

This is a test for commitment. Commitment unleashes discretionary efforts to go beyond the minimal requirements. Too often, we assume that our staff should be committed—after all, they are paid to do their work. Granted, it is hard to tell your manager that you are less than committed. But that is exactly why managers need to ask and stay silent as they watch their staff’s reaction. Either way, it calls for a good conversation about what matters to the employee and the organization.


We are often asked the question, “How do we hold our staff accountable?”

Performance appraisal combined with goal setting and achievement rating is a way to hold staff accountable. This assumes that accountability is externally imposed, rather than create space for internally chosen accountability.

What we really want people to do is to demonstrate through their actions a high standard of organizational and personal integrity. While the performance review form acts as an “accountability checklist,” the accountability process flows from clarifying what is meaningful to the individual choosing to be accountable.

So when people talk about what matters to them, ask them, “What will you be committed to?” and “On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the maximum, what is your level of commitment to this project?”

From these questions, we begin to understand what holds people back from making commitments. Commitment comes from having pride in what we do. If we feel proud of our organization and work, we will commit ourselves to our actions.

Commitment does waver throughout the year due to changing organizational and personal priorities and crossroads. Thus, it is important for managers to check in regularly on their staff’s level of commitment.

In addition, during the performance reviews, accountability comes into the picture when managers and staff discuss the actual results of past objectives or key performance indicators. To close this accountability loop, managers also need to have difficult conversations and make necessary decisions about falling commitments and underperformance.


Aligning aspirations and accountability is a good start. However, these without actions are just empty dreams and promises. Action is about the discipline of getting things done, and connects aspirations and accountability to results.

While actions create the impetus towards achieving the work goals, feedback is essential to guide our actions. Managers need to separate performance and development feedback. Both types of feedback are important.

Development feedback is future-oriented, focuses on what employees can do towards realising their aspirations and full potential. Spend some time on development feedback and discuss a clear plan to nurture the needed capabilities.

Performance feedback is past-oriented, focuses on what the employee has done and geared towards correcting mistakes. Give performance-based feedback on the spot when needed, rather than accumulate the feedback and give it all at the end of the year. Adopt a feedback model and be specific rather than use general terms such as “Do better”, “Work harder”, or “Think smarter”.

Both development and performance feedback inform your staff what they need to do to achieve their work goals.

Putting the 3As Together

Aspirations, Accountability and Actions put together means your employees see their work objectives as meaningful to them personally, they choose to be accountable and know what actions to take to achieve the objectives. Think about what you are currently in performance reviews and pick one idea you can use!

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Written by
Lee Kang Yam
Chief Learning Curator

  Wendy Tan   Jun 09, 2015   Resource for Performance Conversations   0 Comment   Read More

Managing Your Willpower at Work

It is a season that employee turnover is beginning to creep up. A talent has just left. The remaining staff are overloaded taking on additional responsibilities. People are stressed, morale spirals downwards and the trickle of talent loss might become a gush if you do not quickly hire a replacement.

Prepare the job description, get HR to broadcast, tap on internal and external network to find a replacement. Everything goes according to plan so far. A list of 5 candidates are shortlisted and it is time to interview them and make a decision. Your options are:

  1. Schedule all interviews in one day from 2-7pm.
  2. Schedule three interviews after 5pm on one day and another two interviews after 5pm the next day.
  3. Schedule three interviews from 8:30am onwards on one day and two interviews after 2pm the next day.

How many of you would select Option A? If you have selected Option A, it would seem most efficient to finish all the interviews in an afternoon. But you may have set yourself up to make an important decision suboptimally. Why? Imagine you are energised after lunch and in the first interview, you ask a lot of tough questions. You are happy as you got some good answers from the first candidate. As the interview process wears on, you are beginning to feel tired and by the time it comes to the 4th and 5th interview, you are tired and hungry. You are also more prone to be frustrated if the 4th and 5th candidates are a little bit weaker in their answers. Because you are drained, you might tend to ask less probing questions to end the last two interviews quickly. You might be less than thorough in the last few interviews.goal

Then you are asked to make a decision on the hire. This is an important decision. It has the potential to affect your team’s productivity, morale and sometimes even your sanity. You need to choose and most of the time you might go with the first or second candidate. In the book, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney, the authors quoted research studies on parole hearing indicated a higher degree of probability for the parole board to grant parole to the first few candidates compared with the last few candidates. The authors goes further to state that sometimes when our “willpower” has been severely tested, we either cannot decide or make suboptimal choices. For an organization, hire decisions can create immense downstream repercussions in terms of productivity, morale and sometimes even the survival of the company.

Let’s consider option B. Is it suboptimal? I believe it is. First, psychological studies have shown that we should not make important decisions when we are mentally and physically depleted. Scheduling the interviews after 5pm might allow us to get some work done in the day but we are required to make an important talent decision just when clear judgment is needed most. Second, we have to shift our thinking about what is “work”. We have a tendency to consider our primary work activities as attending endless meetings, writing emails, brainstorming with colleagues, talking to customers, but when it comes to interviewing key hires, that is sometimes considered a secondary activity. Thus, we schedule the secondary activity after we have completed the primary work activities. Interviewing a potential hire is a primary work activity. In fact, a pivotal role of a manager is to attract, engage and retain our talents.

Think of a time when you snapped at your staff or a loved one, made a bad decision or caved in under pressure. If you reflect on these events, you will find that these poor decisions have been made when your willpower has been severly stretched and strained. We should use our knowledge of willpower to defend ourselves against making poor decisions just when we are mentally or physically depleted. Consciously avoiding situations which will test our willpower is a better strategy than relying on sheer willpower to push through.

So, next time you are about to make an important decision, consider if you are at your clearest and most alert state. It might have serious consequences for your team and in some cases, ultimately your career.

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  Wendy Tan   May 20, 2015   Resource for Performance Conversations   0 Comment   Read More

SMART Goals but Getting Dumber

People set SMART goals all the time but why do they not achieve them? What do we do about them?

In the yearly MBO ritual, managers set objectives with their team. Most organizations use the SMART goal setting or a variation of it for this objectives setting process.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Realistic/Relevant and Time-bound.12

For example, a department has a high level “Corporate social and environmental responsibility” goal and Sally, a staff in this department might set a SMART goal of reducing marketing brochure wastage by 20% over the coming 9 months. This fits the SMART criteria.

However, it misses a critical point. What good would specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound goals be if they are not the right goals or if there is no commitment to it?

People set SMART goals all the time but why do they not achieve them? What do we do about them? By setting smarter goals, being even more specific? What if Sally does not really have any strong motivations for being environmentally conscious?

Commitment unleashes discretionary efforts to go beyond the minimal requirements. Sally needs to feel committed and motivated about a goal she has set. Before getting to the SMART technicalities, the first step of the MBO process should actually be to explore the level of commitment. Managers and staff need to explore any one of the following questions:

– “What’s the crossroad you’re at right now in your work/life?”
– “What do you see as a possibility for the current year?”

 These questions go to the heart of meaning and purpose of the staff. For example, Sally wants to help underprivileged children. By having this conversation, her manager gets a better picture of her aspirations, contracts with her to make a more meaningful “Corporate social and environmental responsibility” goal.

Now, both Sally and her manager create a win-win situation; Sally has an opportunity to help the underprivileged children while the manager fulfils part of the “Corporate social and environmental responsibility” goals.

There is also a positive spillover effect; when Sally fulfills her wish, she comes to work feeling happier. Research on positive psychology by Martin Selig man has shown that this “happiness effect” spills over to work leading to higher energy and commitment.

Of course, there is a chance that a business goal has absolutely no meaning to the staff. However,there will always be some aspects that have meaning. Understand what’s meaningful to the staff and make the connection to the work goals. Celebrated author of Drive, Daniel Pink argues that “purpose” is one of the most important driving force or motivation for success.122

An Organizational Development Director from a global financial institution shared that when the “crossroad” question was posed in a management retreat, it created a tremendous amount of dialogue and understanding between the Chief Executive Officer and one of his direct report. The CEO was about to assign the direct report to take up a post in Asia without realizing that he was facing a major crossroad in life – he is planning to get married and start a family.

True commitment unleashes discretionary efforts to go beyond the minimal requirements. Too often we assume that staff should be committed, after all they are paid a salary to do their work. However, many times we simply get lip service or get totally caught off guard by an employee sudden actions and we wondered why we did not see it coming. So before signing off the SMART goals, managers also need to test for commitment, for example;

– “To what extent are you committed to this in the next six months, twelve months?”
– “Do you have any other concerns or questions?”

Granted, it is hard to tell one’s manager that he is less than committed. But this is exactly why you need to ask and stay silent as you watch your staff’s reactions. Either way, it calls for a good conversation on what matters. As Peter Block puts it in the title of his book, “The Answer to How is Yes” – get to what holds meaning to the staff and the how will take care of itself.

Click Here To Download PDF!

Written by
Lee Kang Yam
Chief Learning Curator
Flame Centre

  Wendy Tan   May 20, 2015   Resource for Performance Conversations   0 Comment   Read More
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