Cracking the Performance Management Code

Episode #244 // One of the toughest elements of leadership is managing your people’s performance. Everyone has to meet a minimum acceptable standard, of course… but beyond that, you also want to be able to lead your best people to perform at their peak.

We get an endless stream of questions about the performance management ecosystem, particularly when a team member slips into chronic underperformance. There’s no doubt that every situation is different, but there are some common themes running through all of this.


In today’s Q&A episode, Em guides me through a bunch of questions that explore the main aspects of the performance management cycle, including how to lead before formal performance management becomes necessary, what to do once you’re in there, and how to respond if you work in a culture that doesn’t support individual differentiation and high performance.

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to making notes on your people’s performance, you won't want to miss out on the free Performance Notes Template that Em has made for this episode. This customizable GoogleSheets template (with some fictional examples on it to get you started) is the perfect tool to help you track and analyze your DR’s performance over time, which makes the performance management process MUCH easier when the time comes. It’s simple, but it’s what we use here at YCM to keep things on track.

Download the free Performance Notes Template here.

There’s also a number of important, related episodes that I mention in the Q&A. You can follow the links directly to them from here:

Ep.225: Handling Layoffs Competently

Ep.206: It's Still Respect Before Popularity

Ep.6: The Psychology of Feedback

Ep.57: Challenge, Coach, Confront

Ep.239: Leading In a Low Performance Culture


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