Performance environment with ‘no-excuses’

Performance environment with ‘no-excuses’

Have you ever heard of the ‘performance’ “if only’s” when you are doing staff appraisals or performance reviews? If you are a manager and you supervise staff you probably know the ones!

When working with a leadership team recently, we were talking about the things that often crop up when having performance conversations or reviews. Yes, the one’s managers and leaders all love so much…

”I wasn’t clear on what was expected.”

“But I didn’t have enough time.”

“The processes just aren’t good enough.”

I have no-one to delegate to.”

No-one has ever told me this before.’”

I’m not clear on where it all fits in.”

“Why… what is in it for me?”


We call these the if only’s”. If only I had this and that, then I know my result or performance would have been better.

This is not an attack on the individual! Often they:

  • have not had clear expectations set
  • do they know the end game
  • do not have the resources and incentives

Recently I re-listened to Steven Gerrard, manager of Premier League club Aston Villa, talk about the importance of creating a ‘no-excuses’ performance environment. This means ensuring that the only if only” is down to the individual.

If only I had made better decisions, If only I had planned better, If only I had put more in’.”

Our ‘foundations of performance’ graphic illustrates how we help businesses and teams assess performance environments and work towards an empowered ‘down to the individual’ culture.

The principles of this are based on 8 key essentials managers need to provide their teams:

  1. Clarity of vision, values, and strategy – What is it all for? People need to understand where the business/team is going what is stands for and how it will get there.
  2. Available tools and resources to support and drive performance – Does everyone have or have access to, the resources required to perform? People, time, systems, processes, technology, budget etc.
  3. Capability – Does everyone have the knowledge, skills and understanding required to perform in the role?
  4. Access to support – Can people readily access help, tools, resources, mentors, coaching, training, and experiences to help them build capability?
  5. Incentives to perform – Can everyone ‘see and feel’ incentives that drive them as individuals? Recognition, reward, progression, growth, challenge, etc.
  6. Clear expectations of performance – Is everybody always clear on what good performance looks like? What is excellence? What is underperformance?
  7. Consistent and fair performance measurement – Is performance measured fairly against clear expectations considering resources, capability, support, incentives, etc?
  8. Constructive feedback – Is the individual given regular, honest, and constructive feedback focused on continual improvement?

‘Only-if’ you get this right can you truly begin to create a ‘no-excuses’ performance environment.

If you want to improve your performance reviews and would benefit from some impartial advice and support to develop a strong culture with no excuses, then Email Kate or contact us here.