Performance Manage People

by Paula Newton

Individual performance and company targets

Individual performance is intricately linked with overall company performance. Managers must set objectives that tie into the end-goals of the company – it is critical to establish a clear line of sight between personal objectives and company targets. Your team needs to understand how what they are doing fits into the bigger company vision.


Three bricklayers were working alongside each other on a wall. They were asked what they were doing...

The first replied, ‘I am putting one brick on top of another with cement in between them.’

The second replied, ‘I am building a wall that is part of a huge building.’

The third replied, ‘I am building a hospital for sick children.’

Even if the job seems menial and far removed from the lofty company vision, it must serve a purpose towards that vision or one would want to question the need to do the job at all. For example, if the filing is not done correctly, a vital file could be lost when it is needed to serve a customer.

Most people need to feel they are part of something bigger and that they are in some way contributing to this. As a manager, one of your jobs is to help your team see the link between any delegated task or objective that they are being set and the overall company target that this objective relates to.

Get lined up

Effective performance management is all about leading teams in the same direction as the company so that they can make a significant contribution and deliver success. If the objectives of the team and individuals within it don’t fit with what the company is doing, there are two things that can happen:

  1. The team will not see the relevance of the goals and won’t work towards them
  2. The team will be heading in the wrong direction and will most likely be having a detrimental impact on the business targets.

Effective performance management is in part about taking the company objectives and considering how individuals and teams fit into this – how staff can most effectively help the company to achieve the overall targets.

In some companies, departmental objectives may not have been set. In this instance, managers can define what they think the targets should be for their team, based on their understanding of the company mission. They can then approach their boss with their planned targets and confirm that it is OK to work towards these, or get input from their boss on the planned targets.

While linking individual objectives to the big picture might be easier said than done, it is a critical part of managing the performance of individuals in teams: understanding how they fit in and knowing that they have a key role to play is an important part of fostering great performance in individuals. Everyone needs to be working together towards the overall end goals. If something or someone is pulling in the wrong direction, overall company targets will be impacted.

See the organisational Performance Management topic for more information.