So, if you are reading this you want to know if your conversations / 121s / reviews with your team are making an impact.

Every manager wants to know if their people are growing and developing, is their performance developing, are their results developing? They want to know that they are helping them make a difference and building a culture of ownership.

You had a discussion with Julie in your team earlier. Julie has found it difficult to keep on track with her 2 priority projects. You had, what you felt, was a good conversation and agreed some specific actions which you both felt will help Julie get back on track. You feel really good about the meeting and the plan.

So now what?

You have had countless conversations with team members where you left with the same positive feeling only to see absolutely no change. There is no guarantee that even the best of ideas and plans will have the impact that the individual or you had hoped. So what can you do to increase the likelihood that they will have the positive impact you both want? Here are three ideas to consider.

1 – Ask the performer to summarise their planned actions. This is simple step is a powerful way of knowing if you have left ownership for performance with the performer. “So Julie, talk me through your plan”. Often I have observed the manager summarizing what they think the performer is taking away as an action …….. and the performer is usually just nodding or agreeing!! So who owns that plan?

 2 – Begin with the end in mind (as Stephen Covey suggests in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People). When helping the performer to finalize their action plan ask them to identify the potential impact – Examples – “Julie, if you put those actions in place what impact do you expect them to have on you, on your projects?” “When you think about those outcomes, how does that make you feel? …….. Why is that important to you?

I find that these questions help the performer check the motivation and strength of the WHY. If it’s not strong, nothing is likely to happen and the plan may need to be revisited before you finish.

 3 – Finally, identify the steps to review the implementation of the plan leaving ownership for the follow-up with the performer. “How would you like to review progress on this Julie? What do you want from me?” This helps the performer see the milestones and sets some accountability and support for change.

It’s just another small step in making your conversations engaging and impactful so that you can build people, build performance and build results.

Keep on building