It’s a given that organizations want employees to perform at a high-level. But what about employees? I know there are some who might think otherwise, but overall, I’d like to believe that employees want to perform well too. No one wants to have a reputation for being a slacker or not doing a good job. Most people want to be known for delivering results.
But delivering results doesn’t just happen. We have to work at it. Here are seven things that can help us achieve better results in our work:
- Set aggressive but achievable goals. I like to think of goals as “the object of a person’s effort”. This means that goals are an important part of results. Goals don’t have to be big, but they do need to be challenging. Our goals should push us a little bit. That “push” could be in terms of work quality, work quantity, or how fast we get the work done.
- Look for supporters. At every level of the organization. Once we know our goals, we need to find people who will support us – both in terms of providing resources and motivational support. Obviously, we want our boss to support us. Other individuals that might support and guide us include our co-workers and possibly even our vendor partners.
- Get organized. If you’ve ever been distracted by pictures of cute lemurs on the internet, then you know we can spend a lot of time, energy, and resources on the wrong things. If we want to deliver excellent work, then we need to use our resources wisely. Employees should have a plan and a reasonable timeline for completing their work.
- Allocate resources. Speaking of resources, employees need to ask themselves, “What resources do I have? What additional resources can I get?” This also ties back to #2 in looking for supporters. Is it possible that you’ll need to ask a supporter to share resources? This could also link with #1 in terms of accomplishing a goal with limited resources.
- Use technology strategically. One of the resources that can help us achieve better results is technology. However, for technology to be highly effective, employees need to know what technology they have access to and how that technology works. Sometimes organizations aren’t using technology to its fullest capabilities and that has an impact on results.
- Monitor progress regularly. Once we start work, we need to monitor results. If we’re working on a big project, there could be defined milestones with identifiable times to monitor progress. When it comes to our everyday work, we could take ten minutes at the end of our day to simply review what we’ve done toward accomplishing our goals. Small steps can quickly turn into big results.
- Celebrate success. I think sometimes we sell ourselves short by not celebrating what we’ve done. We put it into the category of “we did our job” so that’s not worth celebration. Let me offer one way to view this: if you’re setting challenging goals, collaborating with others, staying organized by using resources wisely, levering technology, and regularly reviewing your progress…then even if you’re “doing your job”, it’s worth celebration. Because it’s hard work.
Doing our best work isn’t always easy. Maintaining high performance isn’t easy either. But there are a few things we can do to maintain high performance and achieve our professional goals.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the SHRM Annual Conference in Washington, DC26