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Performance Management Made Sexy
March 07, 2017

Is Performance Management Sexy?

“Is performance management sexy?”

I have asked this question to hundreds of managers – and they invariably answer with a categorical, “NO”

There is more …

I have also asked them what are the main Performance Management activities – and 99 per cent of them have no crystal-clear idea about the answer.

In this Newsletter issue – I am going to tell you two things:

First: Why Performance Management is sexy.

Second: What the main Performance Management activities are.

It is VERY easy.

Performance Management has three activities only …

First Performance Management Activity:

“Set goals”

You must make sure your direct reports know exactly what is expected from them.

And in order to do so – you only have to do three things:

First …

You identify comprehensive and strategic goals for each one of your direct reports.

Second …

Once you have identified comprehensive and strategic goals – all you need to do is to write them in good SMART form.

And third …

Once your goals are SMART – all you need to do is to “sell” those goals to your direct reports.

You want each one of your direct reports to not only “buy” such goals but also and most importantly – to genuinely commit to them.

Second Performance Management Activity:


You must monitor the performance of your direct reports.

You must see that your direct reports behave appropriately fulfilling their goals – and that their goals’ progress is on schedule, on time and on quality.

First …

If their performance is suitable – you give them positive feedback.

If their performance is NOT suitable – you give them constructive feedback.

Second …

IF you give constructive feedback three times to one of your direct reports about the same issue – and you do not see performance improvement – you have a performance conversation with him.

And third …

IF you have three performance conversations with him about the very same issue and still you do not see performance improvement – you might want to consider what I call a progressive discipline process (you must ask your HR Department for support and advice in this instance).

I call it “progressive discipline” but different companies have different names and different processes to deal with a low performer.

However – IF you have given your direct report a job description with crystal clear functions to guide him, IF your direct report’s competencies perfectly match his job description’s functions, IF you have given him SMART goals to guide him, IF there are no obstacles that hinder his performance, and IF you have truly helped him improve performance through Constructive Feedback and Performance Conversations – you will very rarely have to consider the Progressive Discipline route.

Third Performance Management Activity:


You must develop your direct reports.

Leaders receive “dwarfs” and deliver “giants”

Here again – you only have to do three things:

First …

Most companies have – once or twice a year – what is commonly known as performance appraisal (or performance assessment or performance review).

Yes – it is true that during the performance appraisal, you review your direct report’s last year’s goals, you assess his overall performance, you set his goals for the coming year, you discuss his training needs, etc.

BUT the central purpose of the performance appraisal dialogue is to help your direct report learn, develop and improve performance.

Do not ever forget it – remember this every time you appraise the performance of your direct report.

Second …

You must have One-on-One or Face-to-Face conversations with every one of your direct reports – once a week.

Here you review progress from the previous week, you review priorities for the coming week – and you review professional aspirations and/or personal dreams (dealing with unrealistic expectations).

Even in a dead-end job, you can help your direct report in this regard.

Third …


If you have direct reports – you must delegate tasks to them.

However …

Delegation is NOT letting go of responsibility.

Delegation is NOT dumping work onto somebody else.

Proper delegation is when you assign a task to one of your direct reports with the appropriate level of authority and the necessary resources – making it crystal-clear to him the level of performance that you expect, and when you need it done.


Simple – isn’t it?

This is Performance Management.

To recap …

Performance Management has three activities only:

  • 1) Set goals
  • 2) Monitor
  • 3) Develop

    And each activity has three tasks:

    Set goals:

  • a) Identify comprehensive and strategic goals
  • b) Write them in good SMART form
  • c) Have your direct reports commit to their goals


  • a) Give positive and constructive feedback
  • b) If necessary – have performance conversations
  • c) Only if necessary – use progressive discipline (with HR support)


  • a) Performance Appraisal
  • b) One-on-One’s
  • c) Delegate

    Once you get into the rhythm of Performance Management …

    You will find it very simple.

    You will motivate, commit and engage your employees.

    You will see the performance of your employees soar.

    And to your amazement – you will find Performance Management to be sexy – truly sexy indeed.


    As always and as with every leadership-related task – performance management is simple – not easy, but simple.

    Questions? Feedback?
    Reply to this Newsletter and tell me what you would like future issues to be about.

    Feel free to re-send this "Leader Newsletter" to your colleagues.

    And click here to see the entire "Leader Newsletter" Archive.

    Most recent 12 "Leader Newsletter" issues:

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    Fantastic feedback tool
    A team’s cornerstone you may NOT know about
    I apologize
    What an ugly name: “Performance Appraisal”
    Leadership compass you can NOT live without

    See you next month!
    Joseluis Romero - Publisher
    March 7, 2017. Copyright: All rights reserved
    I publish "Leader Newsletter" on the first Tuesday of every month
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