You can’t leave your organisation’s performance to chance. I have seen many really good and truly poor performance review routines in my work with many of the world’s best-known brands and governments. If you want to create a culture of fact-based decision making and drive performance, then I would recommend that you consider creating four types of meetings to discuss performance in your organisation.
- Strategy revision meetings
- Strategic company performance preview meetings
- Operational company performance improvement meetings
- Personal performance improvement meetings
One thing they all have in common is that none of them are called ‘review’ meetings. That is very intentional, because although it is necessary to look to the past to understand how to move forward, the focus of these meetings should be about how to improve performance in the future.
To better understand how each of these meetings can drive performance, let’s look at what they are, who needs to be involved and how often they should be scheduled.
Strategy Revision Meetings
What: As the name would suggest, strategy revision meetings are used to revise and renew the strategy—the high-level objectives an organisation needs to achieve to be successful. This time is dedicated to challenge the strategy in light of new information that might be available through strategic assessments, competitive reviews etc.. It’s also the forum to challenge any assumptions that are in the foundation of the strategy. The objective of these meetings is to agree on or create a new strategy that can be translated into a plan-on-a-page. Everyone involved should consider if the current strategy is still valid and will remain valid one to three years from the meeting date. As much as possible, any choices should be grounded in evidence, not speculation.
Who: Executive team, directors, corporate performance management team and analysts.
When: Usually one strategy revision meeting per year is sufficient for most organisations. Schedule two per year if your market is volatile or experiencing a more rapid rate of change. I recommend these meetings be held off-site to avoid interruptions and to invigorate the discussion.
Strategic Performance Preview Meetings
What: This meeting is all about how to better execute the strategy that was agreed upon. Strategic performance preview meetings are essential for revising strategic goals and their deliveries, including re-allocating resources and re-focusing on various projects. In my experience, strategic performance preview meetings are often skipped by many organizations, but they are essential to creating a fact-based culture and delivering on your strategic plans.
Who: Executive team, directors and all heads of departments. Also, it’s good to have members of your corporate performance management team and relevant performance analysts in attendance so they can provide answers to any data or analysis queries.
When: These meetings should be held once a month and should focus on performance between one to six months ahead.
Operational Performance Improvement Meetings
What: Operational performance improvement meetings provide the opportunity for department heads and the teams that report to them to tackle and discuss short-term operational concerns. The “burning issues” of the day, specific operational performance issues or project performance are the typical items on the agenda. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are used during these meetings to illuminate problems which can then be discussed and solved quickly.
Who: Department heads, functional supervisors and personnel.
When: These take place on a daily, weekly or twice weekly basis depending on the business and should be concerned with operational performance a week to a month ahead.
Personal Performance Improvement Meetings
What: Personal performance improvement meetings are one-on-one meetings where employees and line managers discuss their strategic priorities for the next few months. This is where the personal performance of each employee is aligned to the strategic objectives of the company. When people understand what they do matters, and how their job fits into the organisation, then they usually become more engaged with their work.
Who: Employees and line managers.
When: Usually held on monthly or quarterly basis with a time focus of the next 3 months to the next 12 months.
These four meetings will help to transform and improve the performance management and performance review processes that take place in the organisation and help to create a more fact-based culture that gives people more freedom to learn from the performance data available. Instead of reviewing the past people will spend more time discussing and making decisions about the future of your business.