More times than I care to admit, I’ve been a part of revamping a performance management process. The most impressive system or process is wasteful without dialogue. On occasion I have been asked about the most effective process of performance management from my twenty-six years prior to starting my coaching practice. My answer shocks most of those questioning; “It’s when there was no process.”
It was my first job after graduating from the university where I worked for an agricultural cooperative. Our corporate offices were on the city block we had purchased and our offices were in various houses that were on this property. My boss, Gene, and I had offices next to each other that had basically been connecting bedrooms. While we could not see each other sitting at our respective desks, we could easily talk due to the doorway that linked us; and that we did.
We talked often and we talked about anything we needed to and everything we wanted to talk about. It was a normal scene to observe Gene in the doorway talking to me at my desk or me in the doorway talking to Gene at his desk. Gene was patient as a trainer and clear with the guidance I needed. I learned quickly and followed-through well. We enjoyed working together. It seems I never wondered where I stood or how I was doing. Our consistent interaction was organic – it occurred as needed, and desired, and it coursed a natural flow. This was our system and process of performance management. There was no formal, written process.
One consultant friend, upon hearing this story, responded, “That is real performance management, a conversation.” Of course I agreed with him. The problem is that this ongoing dialogue is rarely what occurs in performance management as managers focus on documents and deadlines. In the judgment of a timelined process, we can too easily miss the point of real performance management – the development journey.
In your own development journey as a leader, your unique Desire & Intent is a trusted guide. I have learned that intent cannot flourish without attachment to honored desire. I have also learned that intent gives our desire a structure in which to deploy – to be used in the world.
When your personal and professional goals are shaped in light of value and authenticity, Desire & Intent will serve you as you create action strategies to move closer to achieving those goals. Look deep into the flow of your Desire & Intent and find at least three ways to summarize the meaning found there. Then create an action strategy for each category. The test comes when you look into how each action strategy moves you closer to your goals. Allowing Desire & Intent to be a guide assures that you will indeed tell the story you desire to tell on your development journey.
Desire speaks only truth. You must trust it as it opens you to what is unfolding. In the brightness of desire, a present moment consciousness yields awareness as experience is transformed into meaning.
For more like this and the developing series around the 7 skills, see: 21st Century Leadership Skills