It’s opening night and you take three friends to a baseball game! As you and your friends weave your way through the crowds to your front row seats on the third base line, your anticipation and excitement increases.
It is now the bottom of the 9th and bases are loaded. The opposition is up to bat and your team is ahead by one point. The pitcher sends through a perfect ball and the batter swings, connects, and sends the ball flying towards right field. The right fielder starts running for the ball. It’s going to be a close one! At the last moment he flies up against the wall, reaches out, and catches the ball with the tip of his mitt! The crowd goes wild! Your team has just won the game!
One of your friends turns to the group and says, “Man, that was the most amazing feat of athleticism I have ever seen in my life!”
Another friend says, “Well, yeah, that was pretty great, but it’s opening day; the crowd is full of energy – that catch was pure adrenaline.”
Your third friend says, “No, that was complete luck. The sun was in his eyes. I bet he couldn’t do that again if his life depended on it.”
And you finally say, “Are you kidding, this is the Major League. If he can’t repeat that play again he has no business playing ball.”
You have four people, all having witnessed the exact same situation and each person has an entirely different perspective on what happened. Does this ever happen in the workforce?
The only way to get your friends on the same page is to define the criteria for success before you go to the game. Before you even set foot in the stadium, you need to define what makes a good play. What actions are going to constitute this player being the MVP verses someone who needs more practice?
That is what factors or competencies on an evaluation can do for performance within your organization. By clearly defining the core competencies or skills required for success, you are setting the bar for behaviors that equate to a Valued Performer verses someone who Needs Improvement. By agreeing to these expectations before the situation occurs, you are able set the standard for excellence verses unacceptable behaviors, before you get to the game.