from “Defining the Performance Process” chapter of the manual for the Dale Carnegie® Leadership Training for Managers
The Performance Results Description (PRD) is a role alignment tool that delineates and measures goals, provides clear-cut responsibilities, establishes accountability, and assures everyone is focused on accomplishing the mission on a daily basis.
The PRD is a time management tool. The “80/20 Rule” says that 80% of an employee's time should be spent doing what is really important. Employees can easily prioritize tasks by understanding that 80% of their time should be focused on the Key Results Areas of their PRD.
The PRD is not an evaluation of how well an employee performs the duties listed in the job or position description. Job descriptions are generally sophisticated ‘to-do’ lists and only address the minimum requirements of the position. The PRD, therefore, will not include everything the employee is expected to do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Instead, it will be a snapshot of the employee’s key role(s) within the organization and will show what measures will be met when the employee performs the role(s) well.
The process is collaborative. Employees create their own, customized Performance Results Description document showing the key reasons the position exists and the results necessary to assure maximum value to the organization. This results-oriented view allows managers and employees to plot a path from the organization’s vision, mission, and values down to the individual's measurable objectives.
The key results areas (KRAs) are those tasks, projects, programs, etc. for which the individual has authority and responsibility. An employee's PRD shows how those key areas of responsibility fit into the organization’s goals and shows that the employee considers the well-being of the entire organization in setting standards that will demonstrate their individual success.
Major Components of the PRD
Position Goal: Individuals explain their role in the organization. In other words, why the position exists.
Commitment: A statement of what the individual is committed to in the job and why.
Key Result Areas: KRAs are the areas of performance where individuals can aspire to a higher level and excel in their roles. I ask questions like What would it look like if you were a “rockstar” in your role? Alternately I might ask If your role were a class in school, what would it take to get an “A”?
Supporting Goals: Key Results Areas are the areas in which the individual is committing to accomplish something. That ‘something’ will be delineated with specific statements aligned with the position goal, the vision, and the mission of the organization.
Performance Standards: Performance standards are tangible, measurable conditions that must exist before the job can be done well. The individual’s job in this Key Results Area will have been done well when the identified conditions exist.
Performance standards are best stated in complete sentences, with numbers, and phrased as if looking back over the past year. Standards are focused on results, not activities. The use of SMART strategies ensures they are outcome-oriented.
Although individuals create their standards, once written, they are negotiated to the point of agreement with the manager. That is why the same position may have different standards for different people and still be fair. During the performance review, it can be clearly shown whether each standard was met. This makes performance standards objective instead of subjective and removes fear in the performance review process.
Here are some “acid test” questions used to determine the strength of a performance standard:
Duties and Activities: The activities required to accomplish the performance standard.
Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities: What the individual needs to know and do to accomplish this Key Result Area. Professional development needs/goals can be included here or as a separate KRA.
Co-Creating a PRD
Here are the steps to implementing performance results descriptions in your organization:
I encourage you to shift to the Performance Results Description framework to help everyone understand the value of their positions, show alignment up and down the entire organization, and assure everyone is focused on accomplishing the mission and organizational strategies.