What Success Looks Like
Conversations, partnership leads to strong performance plans
Excellence, Openness and Trust
November 29, 2010
When Joanne Pearsol, associate director of the Center for Public Health Practice, found the new performance management information on the Excellence to Eminence web site, she realized she had found a way to make the center’s annual review process more meaningful.
The center has been conducting annual performance reviews for several years, but formalized performance planning was not part of the process, unless there was a performance issue that needed to be addressed. Pearsol realized a key component was missing from the process, and went to Michael Bisesi, senior associate dean for academic affairs for the College of Public Health and the director of its Center for Public Health Practice, with a solution.
“Mike and I talked about how this would help us make sure we all have a process in place rather than waiting until there was a problem, and ensure expectations are clearly stated,” she said.
Bisesi, Pearsol, and Assistant Director Adam Negley spent several months familiarizing themselves with the tools, and scheduled performance planning meetings with each staff member. Before the meetings, each person developed suggested performance objectives, and Pearsol and Negley did the same. Also, because the team decided as a group to focus on accountability in the coming year, everyone was charged with thinking of ways to explore accountability. Then the leadership team met with each staff member to compare objectives, and decide on a performance plan.
“It was important for me to be at as many of the one-on-one meetings as possible because of my commitment to the process and the development of our team,” said Bisesi. “Performance management is a team process, and integral to the success of our center.”
Performance plans for Pearsol and Negley include objectives related to the success of the entire team’s plans. Over the next year, leaders and staff members will touch base regularly to track progress toward achieving individual objectives, and work together to complete an annual performance review next summer.
Pearsol said that, while it took work to get the process going, understanding that there was no urgency to make it perfect from the beginning took a lot of the pressure off. She suggested creating a partnership for everyone to work through the process together, and making adjustments as needed made the process easier.
“The effort is worth it,” she said. “This new process helps us clarify what’s important, measures our progress, and gives us permission to have the dialogue.”