Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn AddThisShare A A A

Team Performance Management: Performance Planning Phase

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Adapted from Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development

Strongly Suggested Pre-Reading

Performance Management: Traditional and Progressive Approaches
Team Performance Management: Guidelines and Resources


Approaches to Developing Team Performance Plan

Remember that the following activities are cyclical and highly integrated with the performance appraisal and performance development phases, and all of them should be highly customized to your organization. Be sure to see Guidelines for Implementation and Evaluation.

1. Review the organization's preferred goals for the next year and associate preferred organizational results in terms of units of performance, that is, quantity, quality, cost or timeliness. Review the organization's strategic goals and, for each goal, specify preferred organizational results in terms of units of performance, that is, quantity, quality, cost or timeliness. Strategic goals are usually determined during the Strategic Planning planning process. The units might be specified in the Action Plans, which specify who is going to do what and by when for each goal. Preferred organizational results might also come from doing an organizational evaluation. See How to Evaluate Organizations.

2. Specify desired results for the team. This aspect of performance management is sometimes called "goal setting" for the team. Particularly in the traditional (rather than the progressive) approach to performance management, the goals should be "SMART" and challenging.

For example, a desired result of an Information Technology (IT) Department might be to ensure 98% uptime of all the organization's computers over the next 12 months. For a small team, it might be to provide at least 10 action-oriented and integrated recommendations within 60 days about how to develop and implement a Six Sigma quality management process within the next 12 months.

  • Note that, in a progressive approach, the goals would be established in highly collaborative manner with the leaders of the team.

3. Ensure the team's desired results directly contribute to the organization's results. Aligning the team's desired results with organization's desired results is another unique aspect of performance management process. In our example, does the IT Department's goal of 98% uptime align directly with the preferred results of the overall organization? See Strategic Action Plans & Alignment.

  • In a progressive approach, it still would be very important that team's goals contribute directly to achieving the overall organization's desired results.

4. Weight, or prioritize, the team's desired results. A weight, or prioritization, is often in the form of percentage-time-spent or a numeric ranking with "1" as the highest. For example, the IT Department's goals might be 100% uptime for all employees during the eight-hour work day and 99% uptime during the eight hours from midnight to 8 am, while computer maintenance can be done.

  • In a progressive approach, the goals for the team would likely not be associated with a specific weight because the goals might change in real time as the needs of the team members and the team's internal customers' change. The change in the goals would be done in a collaborative conversation with the team's supervisor.

5. Identify first-level measures (or indicators) to evaluate if and how well the team's desired results were achieved. Measures provide indicators to evaluate progress toward achieving the desired results. Measures are usually specified in terms of quantity, quality, timeliness or cost. For example, a first-level measure for the IT Department might be 100% uptime for everyone in the Sales and Marketing Department during a 24-hour period.

Identifying which measures to take is often the toughest part of the performance management process. See Guidelines for Selecting Measurements and One Sample Framework for Selecting Measurements.

  • In a progressive approach, first-level measures would not likely be established as a first-level measure for the next year because they might change as the needs of the team and internal customers change. The change in measures would be done in a collaborative conversation with the team's supervisor.

6. Identify more specific measures for each first-level measure if necessary. For example, the IT Department might have a measure that ultimately ensures uptime: to operate backup computer systems that can immediately be activated if other systems quit working.

  • In a progressive approach, more specific measures would not likely be established as permanent measures because they might change as the needs of the team and internal customers change. The change in measures would be done in a collaborative conversation with the team's supervisor.
  • 7. Identify standards for evaluating how well the team's desired results were achieved. Standards specify how well a result should be achieved. In our example, standards for performance might be the speed with which the computers interact with their users.

  • In a progressive approach, standards for performance would not likely be established as permanent standards because they might change as the needs of the team and internal customers change. The change in measures would be done in a collaborative conversation with the team's supervisor.
  • 8. Document a performance plan -- including desired results, measures and standards. Developing the performance plan is often the responsibility of the supervisor of the team. Note that a performance plan is not the same as a performance development plan.

    • In a progressive approach, a performance plan might still exist, but it would be focused especially on how the team's goals are aligned with the organization's goals, and would include guidelines for how the team's goals could be changed if necessary.

    Next, see Team Performance Management: Performance Appraisal Phase.


    Learn More in the Library's Blogs Related to Performance Management

    In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which have posts related to Performance Management. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog.

    Library's Human Resources Blog
    Library's Leadership Blog
    Library's Supervision Blog

    Also consider
    Related Library Topics
    Employee Performance Management
    Group Performance Management
    Organizational Performance Management


    For the Category of Performance Management:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

    Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

    Related Library Topics

    Recommended Books