Front Line Managers Online Meeting Follow-up

Linda Holroyd

Everyone, thank you for joining this afternoon's Front Line Managers' Online meeting on the Performance Management Best Practices topic. My thanks also to our panelists for their participation. 
  • Doing Performance Management Differently - Linda Holroyd, FountainBlue
  • Show Me the Data - Charu Madan, Veeam Software
  • A Culture of Feedback - Larissa Boyd, FireEye
  • Peer Review and Support - Kavita Shah, Nova Measuring Instruments
  • Recommended Tools, Processes, and Approaches - David Ortiz, Oracle
We were fortunate to have such an experienced and diverse panel of leaders and managers sharing their best practices around Performance Management. Below is a compilation of notes from the discussion.
Performance management has been relevant from the earliest days of humans living in social groups. But it's more important and more challenging today for many reasons:
  • There's a War on Talent where companies are vying for quality people.
  • Collaboration is key, and it's tougher to find quality people who are also collaborative by nature.
  • Customers are empowered and demanding, so staff needs to be hard working, collaborative, AND customer-oriented, making recruitment, retention, development and management even more difficult.
  • Managing a diverse workforce adds an extra layer of challenge.
  • There are so many available technologies, tools and processes which teams could leverage, further complicating performance management goals.
  • To top it off, the pandemic and the resulting financial and social impact globally and socially have further complicated performance management objectives.
Below are some best practices for managing performance.
  • Show Me the Data
    • Focus not just on the anecdotal, the he-said/she-said input, but more on the data which makes things less complicated, less personal. 
    • Practice management by objectives (MBO), targeting goals which are Specific, Meaningful, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based (SMART).
    • Allow the data to help drive the operations, to help inform strategies and decisions.
    • Make sure that what you measure follows the guiding principles of the company, of the team.
    • Beware of 'bad data', information which is irrelevant, biased, un-vetted, un-true, etc.,
  • Create a Culture of Feedback
    • Adopt practices which motivate, processes which facilitate, systems which support, activities which propagate, and look for the information needed to make decisions around rewards. 
    • Facilitate a culture of feedback where people are clear about what they are dong, how it is aligned with the larger purpose at the team, product, or company level. 
    • Hold everyone accountable and provide feedback based on how they measured up to their commitments and responsibilities. 
    • Performance management should not be a once-a-year practice which is a surprise to any party. It's better to connect regularly - at least once every couple of weeks.
    • Focus on the 5-5-15 Management Strategy: Take 15 minutes to write down 5 things you've done this week, 5 things you're doing next week and talk about it with your manager. Discuss also what you need from the manager in terms of resources, network, connections, support, etc.,
    • Discuss performance in terms of a common language, common definitions.
  • Solicit Feedback and Input
    • Know your own strengths and that of others on the team. 
    • Know your own personality style and understand how you like to be managed. Know also the styles of others on the team, and recognize how each person likes to be managed.
    • Get input from others so that you can have a broader view of what you're doing and how it's impacting others within and outside your organization.
    • Seek good and not-so-good feedback, but be aware of the agenda of the person providing the feedback.
    • Separate 'the signal from the noise'. With so much data and input coming in, learn what's important, what's real, what stands out.
    • Calibrate your feedback based on the audience you're speaking with. 
  • Leverage tools and processes to ensure clear and ongoing communication.
    • Don't be prescriptive about how things should be accomplished.
    • Grow a learning library and provide other resources for your team so each member can grow their skillset. 
    • Coach and support everyone to understand her/his own career path.
    • Focus always on purpose and outcomes. Communicate these results and ensure its alignment with larger goals.
  • General Advice for Managing Your Own Performance, and also that of your team
    • Delineate between personal growth and performance growth. 
    • Focus on the longer journey, rather than on individual performance destinations. 
    • Be aware of your own strengths, your own tendencies and biases. 
    • Get the big things right. Make sure that the little things add up to some big things. 
    • Coach people on how to rate and manage themselves, so that they are not short-changed because they are less communicative, less confident, less assertive than others.
    • Choose your words carefully.
    • Watch for micro-aggressions as you manage. 
    • Sometimes the focus is on the performance of the individual, and sometimes it's more about managing the team and their performance. 
    • 90% is about Emotional Quotient, 10% about IQ, so help each team member better develop their EQ. See resource section for link.
    • Management is a choice. Choose how you manage others. Choose how what others say and do to manage you affects you.
    • Look not just what's on the surface, but also double click to see what's under the covers. 
The bottom line is that performance management is not a one-man/woman sport. We are all in it together, and the better we each get at improving our own performance, and that of others on the team, the better each of us are in the long run.


About FountainBlue
FountainBlue is a management consultancy which supports leadership and innovation for tech companies by providing strategy and execution consulting services around markets, products and people. 
Launched in 2005, FountainBlue has served thousands of innovators and leaders through our monthly When She Speaks series (launched in May 2006), our VIP roundtable series (launched in Dec 2013), and our Front Line Managers Online program (launched in May 2020). 
In response to the pandemic, starting March 2020, all FountainBlue programs will be held online, even after the shelter in place mandate is lifted. This will provide the opportunity to serve a larger and more global network of innovators and leaders. For more information, visit

About FountainBlue's Front Line Managers Online Series
FountainBlue's Semi-Monthly Front Line Managers Online series features a panel discussion of HR leaders presenting on leadership and innovation topics of interest to front line managers. 
Our meetings are conducted online from 11:50 a.m. - 1 p.m., generally on the first and third Fridays. Each meeting features articles and research on topics of interest for Front Line Managers in the network, along with additional input and advice from participating HR leaders within the FountainBlue network. Participating attendees are invited to send their questions to the panelists through email prior to the meeting or through chat during the meeting.

Please join us for other upcoming Front Line Managers Online programs.

  • September 4, 2020: Uncomfortable Conversations
  • September 18, 2020: Centered Leadership
  • October 2, 2020: Common Management Challenges
  • October 16, 2020: Stress Management Best Practices
  • November 6, 2020: Productivity Hacks
  • November 20, 2020: The Gift of Feedback
  • December 4, 2020: The New Normal
  • December 18, 2020: HR Leaders: Predictions for 2021
  • January 8, 2021: Goal-Setting Best Practices 
  • January 22, 2021: Growing Your Network
  • February 5, 2021: Optimizing Performance
  • February 19, 2021: Adopting a More Inclusive Workforce
  • March 5, 2021: Change Management Best Practices
  • March 19, 2021: Show Me the Data
  • April 2, 2021: One Dot a Point, Two Dots a Line, Three Dots a Trend
  • April 16, 2021: Managing Up
  • May 7, 2021: Mentorship Best Practices
  • May 21, 2021: The Art of the Pivot
  • June 4, 2021: Growing Your Emotional Intelligence
  • June 18, 2021: Personality Styles

  • Until we next connect.


    Linda Holroyd
    CEO, FountainBlue
    650-646-1117 text and cell

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