The challenge of performance management

Privilege PlanLesley Bailey passes on some of the techniques for managing performance.

I was lucky enough to work for Boots the Chemists in the 1980’s and my role as operations manager meant I had a team of 40 staff working for me throughout the store. Why was I lucky? Because the company was founded in a culture of performance management and it invested in training its managers to maintain this focus. When I entered the dental industry much later on I was able to transfer my knowledge and experience in performance management to great effect.

Performance management is about understanding what motivates people to do their very best whilst working for your business.

I want to pass on some of the techniques for managing performance that really do work.


Everyone needs to understand what is expected of them and how this relates to the big picture. How are you going to do this?

  1. What is your vision for your business? If you don’t know, how can you expect your team to feel directed? Take a day of your time with your team and form your vision. This could relate to any aspect of your business: increasing revenue and profit, improving customer service, being the best dental practice to work for
  2. Your vision is the what, now develop this into your operational plan – in other words the how. This means breaking down your vision into manageable and achievable chunks of activity
  3. Now look at how each person within your team can contribute to delivering your operational plan that in turn transforms your vision into reality. Agree SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) for each person and review regularly
  4. Review your progress every month against your operational plan – at least half a day with the team.


Everyone needs knowledge and experience to carry out

a task well. Don’t throw people in at the deep end and

expect them to do well.

  1. Look at the skill set of your team. How good are you and your practice manager at delegation? Be prepared to empower people – you may be surprised how energetic your team become
  2. Don’t underestimate the abilities of your team and make sure you give people the chance to grow in your organisation – you will lose them if you don’t
  3. Share knowledge – don’t assume your team is not interested in your business, share information and they will be.


We all have to want to do it.

  1. Give feedback on a regular basis. Thank your team for a job well done and give constructive criticism
  2. Keep your vision and operational plan to deliver your aims alive by regular review meetings – it reminds everyone what the big picture is and their role in helping you deliver it
  3. Celebrate success – share your winnings with the team through performance related bonus, away days or raspberry buns on a Friday afternoon
  4. Don’t allow ‘wriggle room’ – if people are not performing they need to know specifically what is not right and what they need to do to put it right. Don’t wait until the annual appraisal – do it today
  5. Respect everyone – they are equal to you and are your greatest asset.

Needing the team

If you follow the steps above you will see a difference in your business performance and the culture you work in.

A client once said to me on my first visit to his practice: ‘My team are rubbish and I want you to get rid of them.’

My response? ‘In my experience there is no such thing as a bad team – only a bad leader.’

I am still working with him and his team today.

For more information about performance management and our other business services please contact [email protected] or call 01536 771219.

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