Setting Expectations On Behaviors You Value: 5 Pointers

Just about the time that I was thinking about behaviors that impact quality of our outcomes, I read the following quote:

“You get more of the behavior you reward. You don’t get what you hope for, ask for, wish for or beg for. You get what you reward.” – Michael le Boeuf

As a manager or business leader, rewarding the behaviors you seek is a matter of constant choice. You can reward meeting the deadlines, or you can reward meeting the quality standards. You can reward by results, or you can reward by how those results were achieved. You can reward a person who talks a lot about work, or you can reward a person who lets his work speak. A lot of what you build as a part of your organization’s culture is a result of what you have rewarded over a period of time.

Whether you are a project manager or a business leader, here are a few actions you can take to set the right expectations on behaviors you value.

  • Identify your core values and behaviors that are important to your organization. (e.g customer orientation, respect for others, integrity etc.)
  • Constantly communicate the values and behaviors you expect from people. You can also set their KRA’s accordingly to cover specific results and generic behavior.
  • Instantly validate and reinforce when you see the right behavior. Thank them, acknowledge that you took a note, praise whatever. But do validate, because no action when someone behaves right often means that you don’t appreciate/value it.
  • Show them the way by counseling and constant feedbacks. You can use forums like kickoff meetings, retrospectives, one-on-ones and even informal sessions to guide your team members. People always love to know what is exactly expected out of them.
  • Strategically reward through appreciation, interim rewards and performance appraisals. In performance appraisals, specifically mention the behaviors you have appreciated when reviewing overall performance. Share feedback.
  • Utilize software for human resource management to pick out which employees are profitable and be transparent about it.

Bottom line: You form a strategic reward system when you integrate performance (results) and behavior (how those results were achieved). The payoffs are huge because people are more aware and aligned to deliver better results. So the critical question is:  “Is your performance management system driving the right behaviors for the organization?”

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P.S.: Three quarters of 2010 have been a super fast for this blog with a frequency of 3 posts per week and a total of 100+ posts. Check out the round-ups of all posts written in 2010 (in case you have missed any of those or would like to revisit.)

How to set up KRA’s/KPI’s (Performance Management using KRA’s)

Performance Management using KRA’s” has been one of the top posts on this blog. Well defined KRA’s act as a scale to measure performance of a team member.

Here is an excerpt from my earlier post:

Documented result areas provided us a path to tread. We knew what exactly is expected out of us and we performed accordingly. KRA’s deal with results and not with day to day activities and hence more quantitative the KRA’s are the easier they are to track.

In this regards, one of the readers of this blog, Gireesh Sharma pointed me to his article “Writing SMART Goals (also called KRAs) from Job Descriptions” which made for an interesting read.

Here are 9 steps suggested by Gireesh for setting up KRA’s/KPI’s:

  1. Go through employee’s Job Description. If Job Description is not updated talk to employee and his/her Manager or many be manager’s manager also.
  2. Try to find out exactly what the employee is supposed to achieve.
  3. Based on your reading and discussions, make a list of the functions and responsibilities which are critical to the employee’s job.
  4. Categorize these critical functions and responsibilities in two categories:
    1. (4.1) Which can be measured whether in numbers or percentages or yes/no.
    2. (4.2) Which cannot be measured in numbers and cannot be calculated.
  5. Ones in 4.1 are the can be be converted to Goals (KRAs).
  6. Make a list of all critical functions.
  7. Write a self explanatory (1 sentence ) definition of each Goal (KRA).
  8. If you plan to follow BSC (Balanced Score Card) Pattern, then categorize each goal into one of the following categories: Customer, Financial, Internal Business Process, Learning and Growth.
  9. There after describe each Goal (KRA). Make sure you mention a measurable target to be achieved and time frame for achievement of the Goal (KRA).

The article is very insightful and has very relevant examples to demonstrate how this 9 point process works. Read the full post here.

How do you manage results from your team?

Great Quotes : Olympics Inspiration and Performance

Via Be Excellent Blog – Simple yet profound lesson from Olympics.

“In business, words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises, but only performance is reality.”

From words to actions, and strategy to execution – doing it is what matters. Like Tom Peters says: “You only get oil by drilling the wells – you may plan for it, but you only get oil if you drill.” 

Talks a lot about action orientation in business.