Why allow it to continue?

It’s every manager’s job to communicate performance expectations to staff clearly through objectives, performance discussions and other means of defining “acceptable performance” within the organization. Too often, this doesn’t work.

Employees and managers have totally different perceptions not only of the job, but also what is being communicated regarding what it takesto do it correctly.

What causes poor focus and alignment?

  • There is general uncertainty about the role. Even bosses may be unclear about what’s required. Our approach allows differences to be surfaced and resolved, typicallyin a single meeting. Working with one business, we found major problems with a role that existed in several subdivisions. The role was supposed to be the same everywhere — that’s what the job description indicated. In practice, five sub-division heads had wildly different understandings of what the words in the job description meant.
  • Information is given only in hints or oblique messages. People’s minds don’t work that way. You have to be open and up-front, which is a problem if you aren’t all that clear about what you are communicate. Understand the basic drivers of communication. What makes people listen. What stirs their emotions. What turns them away and kills their interest.
  • Expectations for success aren’t set clearly. Expectations determine performance. If someone has the wrong expectation of what must be done, they’ll try to meet it with predictable results.

What to do about it.

Bosses judge performance against their expectations of the role and the person filling it. They think the employee understands what they want, but they’re often wrong. They have no agreed way of communicating, clearly and simply, what they require. The result is confusion on all sides.

Putting it right is essential — the difference between success and failure is often a clear understanding of what is required for success. With PNA, Inc., expectations are set openly, clearly and objectively — so no one is in doubt.