How to seize performance opportunities

Claire Vane
March 3, 2016

The other day, somebody sent me a ‘thought for the day’ which I rather liked and set me thinking: 

‘Opportunity doesn’t knock.  It enters the room, looks around for acknowledgement and slips quietly away’.

We all face numerous opportunities and we sometimes don’t notice them or even see them as opportunities but I’m not sure that opportunity does slip quietly away. Have you noticed that the same challenges, those things that we are not so good at facing, have a way of reappearing again and again in our lives, in different forms, until we actually tackle them? 

Don't let things spiral out of control

This is how it goes in the workplace with individual capability and the desire of different leaders to challenge poor performance. It is a truism that individuals usually behave in the future in the way that they have behaved in the past.  If an employment relationship starts to go wrong in the early days, unless there is a dramatic realisation of the need for changed behaviour by the individual in question, through really good and clear feedback, the spiral tends to be downwards.

It always seems much easier not to pick up an opportunity when it consists of some sort of confrontation. The moment comes and it is for us to grasp the opportunity; if we do not, the opportunity does slip quietly away only to come back later more noisily.

Maintain momentum where possible

It is always important to keep up momentum in relation to the use of statutory procedures; delay just makes the problem get bigger and the individual in question may not even realise that something is wrong. Nonetheless, with a performance issue, the chances are that the same issue will arise again and again, until we, as employers, challenge it, articulate what the gap is in terms of performance and then seek an improvement. 

Opportunity doesn’t always knock and a capability or disciplinary issue is not seen as an opportunity, but rather a nasty nettle that needs grasping. We need to grasp the performance or behavioural nettle before it grows even bigger and more difficult to cope.

So how can we make life easier for line managers who have a performance issue to deal with?

We need really sound policies and procedures to support us that explain the steps that need to be taken and when, and what the sanctions are for the individual who cannot respond positively to feedback. We also need techniques and skills to employ those policies and procedures and the practice of giving feedback in an unaggressive way so that the individual in question can ‘hear’ the feedback and respond.

Do get in touch if you’d like to discuss how to avoid letting those opportunities slip away. The team at Integrated Resources are experts in Performance Management and are ready to help your business grow today.

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Claire Vane

Claire is the Managing Director and Founder of Integrated Resources. She is passionate about releasing potential in individuals and organisations.

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