Drive-by Performance Feedback

For some reason providing valuable performance feedback is hard for most managers. Relegated to the mandatory, and not very effective, annual performance appraisal, managers miss out on opportunities to shape the performance of employees by failing to practice the simple art of drive-by performance feedback.

The important thing about performance feedback is providing timely, specific, and helpful insight that is both encouraging and motivating. The goal in drive-by performance feedback is to take advantage of teachable moments and meaningful praise to reinforce what it is you want to see more of.

Formal Feedback

The formal feedback process is centered on the annual appraisal, and for motivated managers, regular sessions throughout the year that are used to keep focus on the written goals that you and the employee agreed they would accomplish during the year. Large organizations rely on performance management software to help track progress and to provide templates and forms that help organize the appraisal process. Small businesses find the cost of such systems prohibitive and are usually using paper-based methods.

Informal Feedback

But drive-by feedback is an informal method of providing ongoing communication to employees about their day-to-day performance. It recognizes opportunities in the moment to provide coaching or accolades. From stopping by an employee’s workspace to coach them on how to handle a difficult customer or complete a report, to praising them the moment you get off the phone with a happy client or they make a sale, drive-by feedback has three main characteristics:

  1. It’s timely. Don’t wait to provide feedback. Take time while the information is fresh in your mind. The longer you wait, the less detail you will recall, and your message will be diluted.
  2. It’s specific. General feedback, like saying “good job,” is not nearly as effective as specific feedback. Tell the employee exactly what you noticed that you want to see more of. When coaching for improvement, specific advice and guidance is much more likely to give you the performance you’re looking for.
  3. It’s helpful. Helpful feedback flows from a helpful attitude toward your employees. A helpful attitude fosters positive expectations (self-fulfilling prophecy). Successful managers understand that one of their primary responsibilities is to help employees succeed.

Reciprocal Commitment

When you believe people have the skills and abilities for peak performance, you will recognize when they display those behaviors, and naturally provide feedback on a regular basis. Drive-by feedback is powerful because not only does it clarify what it is you value and expect, it gives your employees motivation and encouragement to continue working hard for you. When they see that you are genuinely interested in helping them succeed, they will rise to the occasion and commit themselves to your success as well.

Check out Rule of Thumb: A Small Business Guide to Peak Performance Through People (WriteLife, 2013) for more about managing employee performance.

Why do I benefit from a Vision Statement?

The primary benefit of having a Vision Statement is  that it allows the organization to function as a unified  entity with many intelligent people sharing the same  central reason for doing what they do. This Vision  allows those caring individuals to work together to set  meaningful and achievable goals for the organization’s  present work and future aspirations. In addition,  it allows them to make decisions about everyday  behavior. What is behavior in a business? It is both  how we handle any situation that comes up, and, how  we expect team members and leaders to interact with  one another and with our customers.  Having a company Vision brings every  member of the team to the table with the  same information about how the company  founders want it to be run.

Keep in mind that the word Vision with the capital “V” means the all three of the statements: Mission, Vision and Value statements all working together to keep the organization on track.  To learn more about how these statements can help your run a successful company pick up a copy of my book, “A Small Business Guide to Developing Mission, Vision, and Value Statements

Must Read Article

Three Simple Changes You Can Make To Grow Your Business

By Chad Halvorson

As a business owner, you have to be committed to constantly evaluating your business practices and making necessary changes if you want to see growth. If your small business is stagnant or not as profitable as it should be, sitting on your thumbs waiting for things to improve won’t help. You have to make strategic moves to build brand awareness, improve customer service and bolster social engagement to help it grow. Here are three simple changes you can make that can help you continue to grow your business.  read more