Performance management.

Achieve more with less, forever.

Businesses are focusing on the wrong things. Energy is spent designing and executing processes built around events and systems.

Attention is placed on the past rather than developing for the future and managers don’t know how to have the appropriate conversations so tend to avoid them altogether.

By focusing on the process, we’ve lost the individual.

But getting it right matters. Corporate performance management should be an ongoing conversation year-round between managers and individuals to ensure strategic goals are met.

Apart from proven techniques like more frequent conversations or strengthening workplace relationships, MindGym has discovered six psychological conditions to unlock high performance.

Six psychological conditions of high performance

Purpose: my work matters

Why am I doing this?’ is a question most of us have asked ourselves at one time or another. The richer our answer the more likely we are to perform at the top of our game.

Attention: you know how I'm doing

When we were growing up, telling your child that you loved them was considered good enough parenting. Research in the last 20 years has revealed that there is rather more to being an effective mum or dad.

The history of corporate feedback is similarly chequered. The ‘feedback sandwich’, which recommended a slice of praise at either end of negative feedback, was more likely to give psychological indigestion than sate an appetite for learning.

Recognition: it's worth the effort

One of the largest predictors of satisfaction is social comparison. Employees who look around them and perceive they aren’t being recognised fairly don’t perform as well. In short, we care less about how much we’re paid in absolute terms than how much we’re paid in comparison to Ned at the next desk. We might tell ourselves that the question which matters is: ‘is it worth the effort?’, but we are actually more affected by the answer to a different question: ‘am I being treated fairly?’.

Challenge: it's demanding

Ask someone to tell you about their greatest accomplishment and they will tell you a story that is filled with hard work, setbacks and problems. Achieving something difficult is rarely pleasurable at the time. It is, however, immensely rewarding afterwards. A manager shouldn’t worry when their team members find something difficult, but more so when they don’t.

Growth: I'm getting better

Those who cannot see how their working life can progress get stuck. They have lowered aspirations, diminished self-esteem, are less engaged, perform worse and are ultimately more likely to leave. By the time they do move on, these people are usually considered underperformers and no one much minds. But it needn’t have turned out like that.

Choice: I can decide

You can’t always choose your circumstances but you can choose how you think about them and what you do as a result. If something bad happens, is it a one-off or is it a sign of a much wider and more enduring problem? The answer to this question indicates whether you have adopted an optimistic or a pessimistic (aka ‘realistic’) explanatory style.