Staff Performance: Two Telling Truths The Remove The “Magic”


Improving staff performance isn’t magic. But it’s presented that way. Every guru has a potion to demystify the magic. Some are valid. Many are about as useful as the magic they claim to explain.

The Two Telling Truths

If you’re looking for guru challenging truths, put these two at the top of your list.

  • What gets measured gets managed
  • What gets rewarded gets done.

These are not new ideas. They’ve been around for decades. But they are so valuable they deserve reconsideration.

A Simple Example

Think about this. Let’s say that you’re a salesperson. First thing every Monday morning you must sit down with the Sales Manager and review you previous week’s work in detail: calls, sales, revenues, expenses, everything. If your figures are fully prepared and presentable you’ll gain points towards a monthly bonus scheme based on completed and accurate paperwork. Even if your actual sales fail to meet budget, the paperwork bonus could be worth up to $100 a month.

On The Other Hand ….

Now, let’s say you’re the same salesperson. At the beginning of each week you complete four reports about your work of the previous week. You submit them to your sales Manager. At the end of each month you attend a sales meeting with other salespeople and the Sales Manager. Broad sales results are discussed in depth. The Sales Manager always emphasizes the importance of complete and accurate paperwork. But there’s no incentive involved or individual scrutiny.

The Question

As a salesperson, which system would you prefer to work under? It’s a no brainer. The combination of measurement and management and reward and performance is very powerful. And it’s far more likely to result in superior sales performance. But the monthly meeting is far less demanding. And there’s less work for you. However, the measurement, management and reward system will produce better results for the company.

The Magic Ingredient

The system is the magic ingredient. To manage measurement and to reward performance you must have a system that requires measurement and reward for performance. That’s what’s so easy to overlook.

“That’s OK For Sales …”

True. But it’s OK for everything else too. There is no part of your business that won’t be materially improved by applying precise, measurable performance standards. The same applies to the use of performance incentives and rewards. These need not necessarily be in cash.

The Word That Matters Most

“Measure” is the word. In case you missed that: “measure, measure, measure!” But don’t just measure for measurement’s sake. Measure performance: the results that employees achieve.

Prerequisites For Measurement

You, as manager, must decide what performance you require and how you’ll measure it. You must make all of that patently clear to employees. And you must be prepared to offer incentives and rewards for employees who give you the performance you demand. Finally, you must put systems in place that “make it impossible for employees to fail”.


These two telling truths are the foundation of successful and effective staff performance. Without them, the on job performance of your employees will always fall short of your expectations.

What To Do Now

Get two signs made. Place them on your desk facing you. One sign should say, “What gets measured gets managed”. The other should say, ” What gets rewarded gets done”. Look at them every day. Read them and reflect on them. And leave a comment below.

Please remember to click on the “Resources” tab in the navigation bar to find other resources to help you improve on job staff performance.

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