Do you remember your corporate days when you got evaluations? Maybe, for some of you, it has not been that long. For others of us, it has been years. Did any of you give evaluations to subordinates?
In case you did not notice, there were usually differences between the evaluations of lower-level employees and supervisors and those of upper management.
Hourly employees and supervisors were typically evaluated in a task-oriented manner. How well did they do the jobs assigned to them? Did they do it the company way? Were they on time? Did they get along with other employees? Did they have a good attitude? Were they cooperative with management? Their reviews had to do with how they got the job done.
Those in upper positions were typically reviewed differently. They were judged based on something called “objectives.” Objectives are a different word for goals–goals assigned by the company. Typically, they had to do with things like sales volume, profit margins, customer satisfaction, market share, the overall performance of their division, or development of some new program. Executives were judged based on whether or not they accomplished these goals rather than how they did it. Obviously, if they were very successful, the “how” served as an example to others. If they were not, the “how” might be examined for improvement.
This brings me around to the question I posed in a previous post:
If you were your boss, would you continue to employ you to fill your role in your organization?
Hopefully, you have spent a little time over the last few weeks thinking about that.
What did you come up with?
Most of us who own businesses are either too lenient on ourselves (because we take too much into account our intentions and the things that got in our way rather than just focusing on our achievement) or, most likely, we are too hard on ourselves–our expectations are not constrained by reality. So, how are we to rate our performance accurately?
Let’s go back to the first part of this post. In your organization, is your primary role that of hourly employee or executive? Now, you may fill the shoes of hourly employee out of necessity–either financial- or staffing-related–but that is not who you are. You are your company’s CEO. You are the highest executive you have. Hopefully, this realization came to you quickly.
That being the case, your performance should be measured by objectives. Having objectives for you to attain (or not) gives you a reasonably objective (did you like that play on words?) yardstick to measure yourself against. This way you can see how you are doing.
We are coming up on a new year. It is a great time for you to set objectives for your performance for what is coming up. You need to think about those things that, by achieving them, you will put your business in the position you want it to be in. This will tell you important ways to spend your time and energy.
As you are putting these objectives or goals together, you need to make then smart. (No, I did not make this up; it it a holdover from my corporate days.) S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-constrained. Your objectives do not need to be ethereal or so far out of reach you could never achieve them. They do need to push you though. Remember, you are going to judge your performance based on the achievement (or not) of these objectives.
One other thing about these objectives: they need to be driven by a “Why?” or they have no chance of success. “Why is this an objective? Why am I going to kill myself to achieve it?” It is a strong, burning “why” that will push you through to fruition. If you do not have that with a particular objective, you should think about changing it until you do.
Once you have thought these through and made sure they are all S.M.A.R.T. and driven by a “Why?” you need to write them down and keep them in front of you. Everyday, you need to schedule your time with these objectives in mind. Since you have decided that these things are what is important and what you are going to judge yourself on, they become your priorities into which all of your activities need to fit. If what you are doing does not, then maybe you should change what you do.
Do these things, and at the end of the year, as well as throughout it, you can answer the question I posed with a realistic, sober “Yes.”
Let’s make ourselves the best micro-business executives out there!