Performance management - you have a role

BullseyeOn Oct. 21 managers, supervisors, and other informal leaders at the Iowa DOT will come together for a day-long event focused on developing their leadership skills. During the Leadership Development Conference attendees will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and identify issues and barriers related to leadership, strategic planning, performance management, culture, and communication and propose possible solutions to overcome barriers and become more successful as an organization in each of these five areas. 

But attendees of the conference are not the only ones responsible for improving our agency. Everyone has the ability to make improvements that help the Iowa DOT become smarter, simpler and customer driven. Even small changes in how you approach your day-to-day work can make a big impact on the way we operate as a team. The purpose of this blog is to give an introduction to each of these focus areas and suggest ways you can work to make improvements. So far we’ve explored the topics of leadership and strategic planning. 

Today’s topic is performance management.

What is it?

Performance management is an effort to measure performance by using information to improve processes and systems and to understand how well we are doing. A short definition is:

Perfomancement managment defined

That’s pretty straight forward, although there’s a bit of work behind getting it done well. For any task, developing a plan is a way to organize resources to accomplish something. A performance plan is an outline of key functions, products, and services that make up an organization’s business. Performance plans are sometimes called annual plans or operational plans. These are the plans that will help guide your day-to-day activities.

A performance plan is different than the strategic plan you read about in the last blog post, but both are important for improving the performance of an organization.

To see an example of performance management in action, go to Accurately measuring winter operations saves $2.7 million each year.

Why is it important?

How do we know if we’re getting the job done well? Managing and measuring how we do what we do is another reason to have a performance plan. Performance management in the department is designed to focus on the work, not the employee. Any work done to create frameworks and measures is not about individual performance. The intent is to help employees understand and improve processes.

There have been two previous blog posts on where the Iowa DOT is in relation to its performance management goals that you might want to check out:

What’s been happening with the strategic plan?

Changing the strategy behind strategic planning at the Iowa DOT

 What can I do to implement performance management?

Cascading modelEveryone is encouraged to begin looking at their own work. Examine what you do in your job and the tasks your work unit is responsible for. Ask yourself how the work is done and who the work is done for. As you are exploring information about your work, consider how that information can be used to strategically make improvements. Information can be used to help you measure the work you are doing. For example, how quickly are you serving customers? How many steps does it take to complete a process? How much material are you using? Use those measures to develop a baseline. As you find ways to improve the work you are doing, the information you have gathered and the baseline can more accurately help you judge if the changes you are making are having a positive or negative impact on the overall the work your area is accomplishing.

Remember, performance management is all about helping work units know themselves better and improve. Sometimes even the best intentioned changes may not have the results you expected. The beauty of using information to improve your work is that it helps you quantitatively see the results of those changes, sometimes relatively quickly, and adjust your course accordingly.

Look for more information in future blog posts about what was discussed during the Leadership Development Session.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Have a comment?


©  Iowa Department of Transportation.  All rights reserved.