Your Performance Sucks, Wake Up!

Your performance sucks, wake up! Have you ever had anyone tell you your performance sucks?

In today’s performance scrutinized world, it is very possible you have been told your performance just isn’t cutting it. And I am sure one of several things occurred after that conversation:

  • You stepped up your game
  • You found another job
  • You were issued a Performance Improvement Plan
  • You were fired

Getting fired from a position is definitely no fun. In fact, fellow Performance I Create contributor, Chris Fields, wrote an article this past Monday on the subject – I Hope You Get Fired – which details why getting fired can be a positive or what you should do to prevent it.

Although some companies will have a different agenda to really target employees, I for the most part agree with much of what Chris stated. Particularly, I agree with him on the fact we should be conducting more self-reflection.

Much of what I see today is we rely too much on people to tell us that we are doing a good job. Of course, getting recognized here and there is nice, but we shouldn’t need the constant praise to know we are doing well. This is where self-reflection should really come into play. You should be just as critical of your performance as anyone else.

As organizations shift focus, your performance has to do the same thing. What was once considered good performance three months ago may not be considered good today if expectations have raised or focus has shifted. Therefore, as a way to continuously reflect on performance, I suggest people operate in the manner they are on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).

Now, you may have just read that sentence and said, “WHAT!” to yourself, but I meant every word of that sentence. If self-reflection is not a strong point for you or if your reflection doesn’t always align with what other people see or say, then get a little deeper with it. Give yourself a PIP.

Understand the Organization and Your Role

Take a look at the direction and focus of the organization and then the impact your role plays.

  • Is what you were doing in your position changed?
  • Does it need to change based on the focus of the business?
  • Are you as impactful as you should be?

These are just a handful of questions you should consider when you really self-reflect on what contribution you are making. Biggest priority here is to be HONEST with yourself.

Identify GAPS

Once you have truly identified the focus of the organization and the role your position plays, look at your current performance and where you feel the performance should be or where the organization wants it to be (Note:  key here, don’t wait for someone to have to tell you this. Now, sometimes change occurs so quickly you have to wait until someone tells you, but many times you can see it coming).

Looking at your current performance to expected performance, identify where the GAPS are.

Determine Root Causes

With your GAPS identified, determine what is causing the GAPS to occur. For instance, with each GAP ask yourself the why; then continue to ask why until you get through the first identified gap and you can no longer ask why it is occurring.

This method is a powerful, easy way to dig a little deeper into some truths.


To close the GAPS, identify, implement, and measure interventions.

Some of the interventions you may identify are easy to implement and others may be hard. For example, you may realize you need further education for your role and to progress your career. As a result, you may need to go back to school, which can be a difficult balance working and taking care of a family. However, you have to determine how important this is and how you can make it work. It doesn’t mean you have to quit your job, but you just have to make some sacrifices for a duration of time.

The one thing I want to stress here is the importance of measurement. If you simply just implement something and never measure its impact, then you are wasting your time. It is no different than you upgrading your internet speed and if there is no difference, did you really gain anything.

What’s Next

After you have conducted this exercise, I would recommend it be something you continuously perform. We should constantly evaluate what impact we currently have and what we can do in the future. Something that works for me is I always conduct a brainstorming session with myself where I write down random thoughts, ideas, what I think would work, etc.

Allow yourself to be free and creative with this exercise. Limiting your creativity is what I consider many times the reason for us not to see the forest for the trees. Anything is possible; it just may need a little tweaking to fit the current situation.

As you go to work today, let yourself review your work. Does your performance suck, is it in the middle, or is it really good?

You decide, but be honest with yourself. And if it needs some tweaking, utilize the process I provided above.


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