Those that know and have worked with me understand the passion I have for creating alignment throughout an organization, and the most important form of alignment to me is of an employee to the overall mission and vision of an organization. Co-missioning is a critical way to capture the head, the hands, and most of all, the heart of the individual, to ensure they are committed to the same goals as the rest of the organization.
One of the reasons I enjoy helping to create alignment within organizations is to help ensure a high level of engagement amongst staff members. For this reason, I plan to write a monthly blog speaking to things we can do as leaders to assure increased engagement with your staff.
For years I have used Gallup’s Q12 as a way of measuring engagement, and setting actions for improvement across teams and organizations. I have appreciated the simplicity and clarity these twelve questions bring to the discussion of engagement. While at Carlson Companies, I managed the process across five business units and over 185,000 employees that measured the Q12 data every six to twelve months, along with the collection and interpretation of the Business Impact Analysis (BIA) that gave the data deeper meaning and value.
Over the next twelve months I will review a question related to the Q12 monthly, expanding on it and offering my own insight, in hopes to help and improve your role as a leader.
Question #1 – ‘I know what is expected of me at work.’
It is clear what the question is asking, and there is a reason why it has the highest average score of any of the questions. If we are paying someone to do a job, they ought to know what is expected of them, and as leaders, we need to do everything we can to assure they have this knowledge. But what else is needed to ensure success with this question?
I like that the word ‘what’ is used. The ‘what’ is the specific deliverables for the role. Now when you think specific you may also be thinking volume of activities, but that isn’t the case. The trick here is to come up with the three to five objectives that are the big rocks – we don’t want all of the little stones listed here. For example, it may be my role to lead the Talent Acquisition area. As you can imagine there are dozens of measures that could be used to define success, and in fact those measures are critical in the use of a dashboard (more about those in another blog), but for the purposes of performance management a simple statement that encapsulates the meaning and intent is all that is needed: To manage the talent acquisition process for the IT function ongoing throughout 2016.
Next, we need to answer the question, what are the critical measures of success that will be used? Again, as we mentioned, there are dozens for this process that will be listed on the dashboard, but what are the ‘top box’ measures that provide a clear indication of success? We typically look towards five types for process related goals: cost, quality, time, satisfaction, and impact. Having a specific measure of each of these would help to assure a balanced approach to measurement.
It is one thing to have the goal and measure, but it is another to have clarity around what success actually looks like. This becomes one of the biggest issues at the time of final reviews and calibration sessions when I lead them. There is often conflict in these discussions because they were not being talked about throughout the year or discussed in detail at the start of the year. It is important to take the time to talk about what good looks like. What does poor and unsatisfactory look like? What does great look like? By doing this you have just created the various thresholds for measurement, and a level of clarity that help the discussion throughout the year, and into the final review.
Next, what needs to be added is the ‘how’. The ‘how’ are those behaviors that are critical in accomplishing whatever goal you have come up with. Again, there are dozens that can be used here, but it is the critical two or three that are the ones that matter most. So finding them, and again being extremely clear what good and great look like, will make all the difference in the performance talks you will have throughout the year.
Lastly, it is all about alignment. Every goal that is crafted needs to be clearly aligned. Every time a goal or an objective is given to an employee to accomplish, the question always needs to be asked by either them or the leaders: how does this align to the overall goals of the department and organization? Creating that line of sight is critical, and it assures the aspect of co-missioning.
In summary, the ‘I know what is expected of me at work’ question gets expanded into:
- I know WHAT the expectations are to doing great work.
- I know HOW I am expected to deliver on those expectations.
- I clearly see how these expectations ALIGN to goals of the organization.