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Management - Performance Goals

Managing people can be tough. One of the pillars of successful management is leading employees to meet the organizations objectives and goals. People have their own personal objectives & goals as well as the interpretation of what the organizations objectives & goals are and how to meet them. Performance Planning and Reviews are a key management function to get employees to help the organization meet its objectives & goals. Great leaders can set clear objectives & goals, communicate them, and set a game plan to meet them. The very best leaders can bring together individual career & life goals with the organization's objectives & Management - Performance Goalsgoals. Two important concepts that can help leaders develop employee performance plans to meet the organizations objectives & goals are balanced scorecard and commanders intent.

Balanced Scorecard

Balanced Scorecard came out of Harvard Business School as a model for linking organizations goals to business success. See the original balanced scorecard article here

The balanced scorecard worked well for me in performance planning because I wasn't creating dozens of performance goals, and I also was not connecting performance goals to one off projects that could have success or non-success based on variables out of the employees control (i.e., no funding for the project, delays, etc). at the 10,000foot level the balanced score card goals are simple.

  • What are you doing for the organization to improve customer service?

  • What are you doing for the organization to improve business processes?

  • What are you doing for the organization to improve the companies finances?

  • What are you doing for the organization to bring new ideas (learning and innovating)

Commanders Intent

Mike Tyson had a famous quote.

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

This highlights the point that there are many moving parts when trying to achieve objectives & goals. It is important that employees and leaders are adaptable and flexible when achieving those goals. You see this a lot when a leader will say something like, "Why in the world did they do that?" and vice-versa an employee will say, "He actually, wanted me to do what?" For military mission planning there is a concept called Commanders Intent Commanders Intent is the overall end-goal of the mission. So that if things change, and spot decision's need to be made on the battlefield those decisions are all made with the end goal of achieving the Commanders Intent. Commanders Intent is so important for military mission planning it is the one thing about the mission plan that absolutely cannot be forgotten! Performance goals and communications help the organizations with Commanders Intent. This is another reason why I feel connecting performance objectives & goals back to the balanced scorecard is valuable. At the end of the day the business has to make money, make customers happy, improve processes and innovate new ideas.

Example Goals for a Service Operations Center

Service operations centers like SOCs, NOCs, and helpdesks are essential for customer service, so it is easy to start with the balanced scorecard for customer service.

Performance Goals - Great customer service

  • Response - The employee responds to all alarms, alerts, calls, etc within ___ period of time.

  • Troubleshooting - The employee executes key troubleshooting steps and analysis in response to alarms, alerts, customer complaints.

  • Ticketing/Tracking - The employee properly documents incidents and reports.

  • Customer Communications - The employee properly initiates necessary and proper stakeholder communications within ___ period. Employee communications are clear with the proper level of analysis. Additionally, all follow up communications are completed to the same level of timeliness and analysis as initial communications.

  • Teamwork - The employee arrives on-time for their designated shifts, conducts accurate and thorough shift turnovers, and proactively assists teammates.

Next you have business processes. Most support organizations are built organically so there is a large amount of data (alerts, alarms, communications) coming into the support center that needs to be sifted through to work on what is actionable. Additionally, there are the processes of tracking incidents and tickets and performing necessary customer communications. All of this work is greatly improved by improving processes for efficiencies and automation. The starting point is understanding the baseline tools and processes.

Performance Goals - Improving Business Processes

  • Tools - The employee understands and supports the administration of core operations center tools. List tools here _____

  • Processes - The employee understands and supports all core operations center processes.

  • System/Process Updates - The employee advances the operations centers systems, tools and processes by performing all necessary updates and configurations to systems, tools, and processes.

  • Special Improving Business Process Projects - Employee completed X project. This could be a process of a technology initiative like SOAR integration for SOC or customer script that automates previous manual processes.

The next area of the balanced scorecard is sometimes hard for support operations centers to connect to; but it's important to make this connection because money is the life blood of the business, and everyone should be working to bring in revenues to the business. There are two ways to improve finances; cut costs and bring in revenues. Related to cutting costs operations center staff could do things like, build automations that allow work to be performed with less staff, negotiate better deals with vendors, rationalize the cyber security stack to save costs on things like logging systems. Most businesses are project based so operations support center staff can help bring in revenues by the demoing organizational capabilities for prospective customers, as well as providing inputs for proposals, and execution of work for proposals that are won.

Performance Goals - Finances

  • Cut/Save Costs - The employee successfully saved the organization costs by ______

  • Sales Inputs - The employee provides accurate and timely inputs to sales generation processes. This can include sales generation inputs like engineering designs, vendor quotes, and technical sales demos.

  • Sales Generation - If applicable the employee generates new sales revenue for the organization.

Finally, onto learning and innovation. You want the employees to be able to bring new ideas and innovations to the business. Additionally, new ideas and innovations do not exist in a vacuum. They are built on the fundamental building blocks of building technical, industry and business skills. A person is not going to bring new ideas to the team unless they master the fundamentals first.

Performance Goals - Learning and innovation

  • Technical Skills - The employee will be compliant with all job qualification skills and required trainings.

  • Training Others - The employee will personally lead ___ trainings of others. Additionally, the employee will add ____ technical articles (MOPs, SOPs, other) to the organizations information sharing system (e.g., wiki, sharepoint, etc)

  • Innovation - The employee will generate new ideas for innovation.

Review Cycles & Feedback

It's important to setup the review cycle and systems and keep them consistent. For example, annually or semi-annually or quarterly. A semi-annual review cycle could occur every January and July. Then any raises and bonuses can be connected to the performance plan.

Many larger organizations don't issue raises and bonuses until February because it comes after the end-year board meeting. On a side note, I think it is more motivating to do the year-end review in December rather than January. That way annual raises and bonuses can happen before Christmas which is always a very nice thing.

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