What Do Steve Jobs and Performance Culture Have In Common?

In the movie Jobs — Steve Jobs’ manager at Atari understood the importance of coaching an employee on both behaviors and performance.  It’s a perfect illustration of how a manager can set expectations for both performance and team chemistry.  Realizing Jobs’ amazing potential, but failure to fit in culturally with the team, his manager placed Jobs on ‘an island’ and allowed his creative brilliance to blossom, while also letting the team continue to function effectively.


Most performance reviews begin with a manager evaluating whether an employee has met his or her goals for a specific time period.  In a work environment, goals are important.  And meeting goals can determine the success of a department or organization.  But isn’t there more at stake within an organization?  What about company values, desired behaviors and culture?  Countless “good to great” studies have been conducted outlining how organizations exceeded their forecasts by focusing on organizational culture.


If you find your organization “stuck,” unable to grow numbers in the way projected, perhaps leadership needs to look at the organization’s value structure.  What behaviors does your company exhibit?  If your organization has already developed a strong values-centered culture, do you acknowledge employees who exhibit these behaviors?  Shouldn’t leadership recognize employees who “get it” and coach those who don’t?


If you’re nodding your head “yes” to any of these questions, but wondering how to begin this process, the Performance Culture application offers a turn-key solution that helps managers coach employees on behaviors as well as performance, or what we like to call manager coaching sessions.  The Performance Values matrix instantly gives managers a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of their employees and where to focus their coaching efforts to help them be great.


Let’s take a closer look…

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An employee who is meeting or exceeding her performance goals and displays the desired company behaviors is a STAR.  She is a great team player and management should focus on career advancement and opportunities for her to mentor others.  When looking for successor leaders, look to your stars first.


An employee who hasn’t met performance goals, but demonstrates a great attitude and is aligned with the company culture has POTENTIAL.  Maybe he is a new employee and hasn’t received enough training to meet his goals.  Coaching should focus on skills and knowledge.


An employee who is achieving his goals, but is displaying behaviors that don’t support the company culture may not be ALIGNED with the organization.  In this case, coaching should focus on changing behaviors and becoming a better team member.


Lastly, for an employee who is neither meeting goal nor behavior expectations, management should ask if she is the RIGHT FIT.  Coaching should focus on rapid improvement in both areas—coach up or coach out.


The Performance Values matrix reveals the overall health of the employee, various teams and the organization.  Management instantly knows how best to coach employees based on individual needs.  And organizationally, a company can move the performance needle while providing a great place for employees to work.

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