Open Enrollment for Happiness


Create a culture of performance development around this cadence of core principles in 2019

It's January - time for football playoffs, resolutions and Performance Management.  My resolution for 2019 is to re-frame Performance Management as Performance Development.  A quick search of Performance Management online indicates that the traditional method of rating and ranking employees in American corporations has it's roots in the military and WWI.  Evaluations were popularized in the 1960's and 1970's as a way to set uniform performance standards and expectations in rapidly growing organizations.  

Striving for uniformity is just not going to cut it in today's customized world. Individualizing performance management and making it it an ongoing developmental process is what the workforce is looking for.  Over 40% of the U.S. workforce are Millennials, and their share continues to grow.  Gallup research shows that the new workforce are most interested in opportunities to learn and grow and want a manager who cares about them as a person.  They want interesting work that makes a difference and aligns with their personal sense of purpose.  They also want the opportunity to advance while they develop. 

According to Gallup, only 2 in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that inspires them to do outstanding work.  So what do today's employees want from their performance management process? 

Employees want managers who Establish  Expectations which are clear, collaborative and aligned with the organization's goals and their own personal talents and strengths.  Employees want managers who Continually Coach and have interactions which are frequent, focused and future-oriented.  Finally, employees want managers who Create Accountability and host progress reviews every 6 months (versus once annually) which are achievement- oriented, fair & accurate and developmental.  Talented, dedicated employees want to be held accountable for their performance.

My higher purpose is to create happiness by guiding people to their intersection of passion and productivity.  At work, the month of January is the "open enrollment" period to collaborate with your manager on goals and objectives which can align uniquely with your individual talents and strengths. Take advantage of this time and think deeply about the needs of your department and organization and how your talents can be applied to advance new opportunities and solutions. 

If you have not yet invested in naming your talents, resolve to take the StrengthsFinder assessment in 2019.  Then "claim" your talents by pouring through the resources made available and identifying how your talents have contributed to success in your past.  Then, aim you talents towards accomplishing goals in the coming year.

When collaborating with your manager on expectations, I recommend these three distinct categories; 

1. "My Work"
In this category, include objectives and goals which are within your personal span of control and align with your Top 5 StrengthsFinder Signature Talent Themes.  These are responsibilities which you must achieve as an individual.  They should align both with the goals of your department, with your own personal developmental goals and with your strengths.  

2. "My Team"
Here, you will identify ways you will contribute productively to team goals, such as overall revenue production or departmental satisfaction scores.  Again, consider how your special talents can combine with the talents of other members of your team to make some magic. 

3. "My Customer/Guest"
In this section, consider actions you will take to positively impact your customers/guests.  These can be both external and internal customers.  How can you aim your strengths towards making things easier, to exceed customer expectations and make customer interactions more enjoyable? 

When designing your goals, make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant (make sense for your department and you) and time-bound. 

This month brings with it a fresh start and your chance to "craft" a job which aligns with your company's objectives and with your unique talents and skills. 

Resolve to live at the intersection of Passion and Productivity in 2019 - the most desirable neighborhood in town!


I am currently serving 20 years to life as the Sr. Director of Destination Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort.  I'm an optimistic pace-setter fascinated by tomorrow.  In any situation, you can count on me to think outside the box and find the best way forward.  I prefer white-water rapids over data lakes and include Ideation, Futuristic and Positivity amongst my signature talents.    Find me on Twitter @dpddonovan and Instagram @strengthszone  


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