Managing “C” Performers

Managing          Companies have a formal performance measurement process. We find that in practice, the missing link is often the failure to manage average or “C” performers. If you want to step-up the organization to sustained superior performance, leaders must set stretch goals, discuss interim performance against plan, and communicate rewards and recognition throughout the organization. Without equal emphasis on managing the “C”s, the entire team’s performance is LESS THAN IT CAN BE. The corollary: if the “C” performer is at the C-level, it will be difficult to recruit and retain high-performing new people. Consider this:

If you want to change performance, you must be BOLD … you must

Set the Stage:

  • Stretch Goals involve everyone. Consistent with company values, they quantify the leader’s vision for each functional unit. Their presentation should be a lively, fact-filled exchange to support aggressive, creative, stretch objectives.
  • Measures & Metrics are best when timely so managers can change the trend, significant to show only meaningful gaps, and have realistic comparisons to avoid quibbling. When ranking is consistently too high, raise the bar.
  • Rewards & Recognition encompass the gamut of celebrations and have value for both recipients and also-rans. The corollary is that consistently poor performers must be replaced to achieve significant, continuous improvement.

Manage the Plan:

  • Interim Performance Review encompasses the monthly (or weekly) operating results. At least twice a year, a dialogue must occur with each key leader about her/his personal performance as manager and as leader: gaps, development program progress, implications.
  • Specific Improvement/Development Tasks are the things this leader must fulfill this year in order to grow. They imply tasks for the subordinate but also tasks for the leader: to mentor and monitor progress and to communicate observations and their implications.
  • Action each leader must take is the tough decision to remove the manager at any level who by year 2 end is still a “C” performer. It signals everyone that performance measure is real and consistently applied.

What We’ve Found:

          We’ve Found: REAL turnaround performance demands that managers dedicate time throughout the year to their leadership responsibilities of improving or removing their “C” performers.

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