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  • Writer's pictureBruce O'Brien

Are you on track to deliver your targets? Here’s how to.

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

We are more than halfway through the first quarter of 2019 which means only a few more weeks until we see quarter one results. By now you should have cascaded meaningful targets to your team. This means targets that everyone in your team understands and buys into: they know how they will get there; they know what good looks like; they know what support they can expect from those around them (including their manager); and they know how success will be measured.

So what can you do to support them and make sure that you can deliver a successful first quarter?

Test the water

Talk to your team. Whether it’s in a team meeting, 121s, or at the coffee machine. Ask them how they are doing. Ask them what they are working on. Ask them what challenges they are facing. Ask them what they need to succeed. This should give you insights as to their understanding of the team’s targets, their action plans and of course what help they need. But more importantly, this should help you understand if your team is winning.

Prepare to discuss results

Be ready at the end of the first quarter (or sooner if you can) to share results. Spend time with the team talking about results and recognising success, and working out how to overcome challenges. As a leader it’s your job to ensure that targets are met – but you and your team have responsibility to work out how to do this together. Make sure that as a team you work out how you are going to approach the second quarter to ensure that you meet your targets.


Now you’ve talked to your team and discussed results, is there anything you need to do differently? Take some time to reflect and identify any problematic themes that run across the team, and what actions you can take to address them. If you do uncover problems, then now is your chance to act. Don’t blame them. Take responsibility; take charge and reset.

Plan your coaching

Your people are amongst your greatest assets and you should have a plan to get the most out of your assets. When we think about performance management, very often we think about poor performers and how to deal with them. Very often we come up with coaching plans that will either get them back on track, or see them leave the team or company. But what about everyone else? What if each and every one of your team operated at full capacity?

I’ve set out below some points to consider as you build a simple coaching plan for your direct reports. In my time leading large teams, I asked every member of staff who managed people to maintain such a coaching plan for their direct reports.

o Top targets: what are the three most important targets that this employee should deliver for you?

o Strengths: what the three top strengths that that this employee should use to deliver these targets?

o Development areas: what are the three areas where this employee could/ should develop in order to succeed in delivery of these targets? (Some people call these weaknesses – I prefer the term “development areas” as it sets the tone that change is possible/ expected

o Own view: this is important – before you start coaching, it’s important to reflect on how your staff member views themselves. Would their own assessment of their strengths and development areas match your assessment? Before assuming anything, it’s worth testing. You don’t want to start coaching someone in an area they don’t believe requires any development; equally, if someone doesn’t recognise their own strengths, they may not fully understand why you are leaning on them in a particular area.

o Coaching plan: this is where you plan that interventions that YOU are going to make. Your interventions should follow the 70:20:10 model (70% of learning is done on the job/ 20% through coaching and 10% in formal learning). So this means devising a combination of experience/ exposure, coaching/ mentoring and where necessary formal learning whether through training programmes or study.

o Measurement: this is where you decide how you will measure success. Hopefully this will be close to the original targets, but you may capture some softer, more personal success for the individual.

It’s true that this takes time. But if you spend time on this regularly, after the initial push, it’s not too hard. Key to success is to only ever tackle the top two or three things at a time. It’s also good for your team members if they hear consistent messaging from you. They will develop faster. I suggest you revisit quarterly, and that you use the content to help you prepare for performance reviews (which reduces the time required to prepare, and assures the quality of your preparation).

It’s also a great management tool when you have multiple layers in your organisation – sit down with members of your team who line manage, and ask them to share the coaching plans they have for their own teams. It gives you an insight into their development as a coach, and can allow you to gently shape and form them into their best selves.

If you would like to know more about any of this – from how to set a meaningful vision for your team to having tough conversations or planning your team’s development, then get in touch and we can discuss how I could support you in hitting your business goals each and every time.

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