121s – The single most effective tool for improving performance at work?

I am continually surprised by the number of organisations that I work with who are exploring the ‘higher planes’ of performance management and the pursuit of excellence (using balanced scorecards, strategy maps and so on) who do not yet practice some of the management fundamentals, such as 121s, feedback and coaching.  By getting these management basics right I believe that most organisations can make substantial improvements in performance quickly and at low cost. What is a 121? A 121 is a planned, structured, documented meeting between a manager and a direct report held on a weekly. Why are they so effective in improving performance? 121s provide the foundation on which managers and their reports can build a genuine and powerful working relationship that provides the foundation for high performance. They provide the report with the opportunity to bring to their manager’s attention where they need help, support or permission to act.  Providing reports with this opportunity in a structured way will dramatically reduce the time that managers spend reacting to ad hoc requests. They give managers the chance to talk about issues that have occurred over the course of the week that may impact on the report – either … [Read more...]

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