performance goalsAahhhh....the week after Labor Day.  I have always viewed this time of the year fondly.  As a kid, this time of year offered limitless possibilities and a totebag full of  new school supplies.  These days it offers renewed energy, fall clothes shopping and of course, Fashion Week in NYC.

Unfortunately, I think that I am one of the few who views the end of summer with excitement.  Most of my colleagues seem to be suffering from post vacation blues....mourning the transition from the carefree season to the daily grind.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Melinda Beck discusses the Post Labor Day Letdown, describing the research related to why people are often depressed at the end of the summer and may struggle with getting back to work. As leaders and coaches, I believe that we can make this process easier by bringing a bit of energy to the workplace.

Most people get a bit of rest over the summer months.  They have time to think and begin to consider new possibilities.  They need a place to direct their energy. As such, this is the perfect time to reach out to leaders and help them to best use their skills in performance management.

Encourage managers to harness the energy of their teams to achieve results and develop new capabilities.

Revisit performance goals.

Now is the time for managers and employees to review progress toward performance goals and make adjustments to ensure that goals are on target and aligned with organizational priorities.  Do action plans need to be modified?  Are target dates and performance measures still relevant? What can be done to exceed expectations?

Provide your managers with some supporting resources to jump start the process:

Goal Alignment: How Successful Organizations Social-Network Performance Management

Six Ways to be SMART is Setting Performance Goals

Add a new performance or development challenge. 

Managers and employees can take advantage of this transition time to identify one or two new challenges.  New performance goals or development targets can serve to mobilize energy and motivate performance.  Are there new projects or tasks that need to be addressed?  What new skills need to be developed to ensure success in future assignments?

Facilitate the development planning process using this eGuide:

Making it Happen! A Guide for Performance-Driven Development Goal Setting

Celebrate successes. 

Support your managers in finding new ways to positively reinforce performance and celebrate the achievement of results.  Recognition for a job well done will not only motivate the employee who has achieved results but the entire team.

What have you done to keep managers and employees motivated during this challenging time of year?