The Demand for Performance

As I have written previously, how companies respond during this recessionary period will determine whether they will come out of the cycle in a worst state or a stronger position.  Product line deterioration, market position drop, budget cuts, and headcount reduction all can have a negative impact on an organization.big idea box

Companies who manage the downturn well and can harness the potential can come out of the economic cycle stronger.  Here are three ideas to try:

Performance Evaluation:  In down cycles, many companies have eliminated merit increases or put wage reductions in place.  Organizations may have conducted layoffs.  Managers may place less emphasis on performance evaluations because of limited or zero merit budgets.

On the contrary, employees want and need a significant focus on performance evaluations.  They will take evaluations seriously if nothing else, they want to understand how they can improve to preserve their jobs.  Managers need to continue to focus on productivity and performance improvement.

Employee Involvement:  We have all read stories where CEO’s have reached out to the employee population for ideas on cost saving measures and they have generated a lot of ideas on achieving cost reductions.  Companies have saved literally millions of dollars from employee ideas.

Therefore, why not leverage employee ideas in other areas of the business.  Employees are the closes to your customers and products.  They are often on the front line and know what to do.  Their ideas can generate new input for product and services.  They can offer recommendations to improve efficiencies.

Stretch Assignments:  Getting employees to focus on value to the organization rather then what they were “hired to do” is am important psychological shift for the employee population.  It is an uncomfortable proposition in un-normal times.

Many employees are being asked to do more with less.  They may be asked to take on new tasks which was not part of their original job description.  Employees are asked to be generalist versus specialist.  Stretch assignments that challenge them in new areas can be a significant opportunities for personal growth and development.


Now is more important then ever to focus on what really matters.  Demanding performance out of an organization, whether it is the leadership, management or employees requires significant discipline.  By precisely harnessing these opportunities and pushing the upper limit will companies (and its people) see greater success, not only in downturns but also, during good times too.

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