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 Management Minute

"Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." – Ronald E. Osborn

It's the often dreaded performance planning and appraisal time at AMCHP as I write this Management Minute.

I never quite understood why so many supervisors and staff alike abhor the thought of conducting performance reviews. And, this dislike seems prevalent no matter what the organization, its current well-being, culture or management practices. Aside from the fact that the process can consume some time, there is no time better spent in my opinion. Taking a breather periodically to conscientiously think about the myriad of past accomplishments and to seriously consider and address ongoing challenges is HELPFUL. Planning for the future to build on past accomplishments and to address ongoing or new challenges is CATHARTIC. It provides direction, a sense of purpose. Yes, we are all in the driver seat and do have some control over what happens next and what does not.

The quote in this Management Minute is something that I truly live by and hope to instill in others with whom I work. I hope you will consider it for yourself and those with whom you work closely.

Is it scary undertaking extremely difficult tasks that sometimes you do not feel equipped to handle? You bet! I have spent many days and nights over the years thinking to myself "what in the world did you get yourself into here…lady you are out of your league." In moments of self-doubt, my survival instinct kicks in and thoughts quickly move from questioning to action. Do you learn something new each time you shrug off that security blanket to explore a new potential area of achievement? Always. Is it always about the outcome? Rarely. The benefit and value often resides in the journey itself and the learning opportunities along the way.

Performance planning is not always about setting goals around daily work or revisiting one's job description and selectively plucking a few responsibilities to beef up and focus on in the coming year. It's about the stretch. Taking a chance. Giving yourself and your staff the boost of added confidence needed to consider the impossible, to venture into territories unknown.

Let's face it. Taking on new and demanding challenges in what is already a hectic, deliverable-driven world at work is not usually something folks relish. But, as a mentor or a leader, it is our job to encourage others to seize that opportunity to grow professionally and personally. It's amazing how simple it is sometimes to get people excited about their own capacity to achieve. And by the way, it is not second nature for most people to take risks with their jobs and livelihoods. We help by creating the appropriate comfort zone and nurturing environment so that folks understand that failure IS an option. With risk comes reward. Penalization is not part of the dialogue.

Finally, a note of caution. Overload. Not everything has to be associated with a stretch assignment or goal, the impossible dream, the seemingly unattainable result. Everyone, myself included, needs some easier wins along the way to keep us motivated and up for those truly difficult tasks.

Comments, counterpoints, suggestions or thoughts are always welcomed. E-mail me at lfreeman@amchp.org.​