After the Grid – Now What?

LinkedIn icon  twitter icon  Facebook icon


After the Grid – Now What?

How do you discuss with an employee where they are on the Performance-Values Matrix?

More Videos: Leverage the Power of the Performance-Values MatrixDeveloping a Coaching Culture with Check-Ins, Conducting An Effective Performance Review Part I – Align, Conducting An Effective Performance Review Part II – Coach, Conducting An Effective Performance Review Part III – Lead, The Basics of Effective Meetings, Using 360- Degree Feedback to Enhance Your Performance Management Process


In this video, Melissa Phillippi draws upon the Performance Culture Coaching Guides, available in your Help section of the Performance Culture System.

In the Performance-Values Matrix, is your employee in the Star, Potential, Aligned, or Right Fit quadrant? Melissa provides advice on coaching employees depending on their location in the following quadrants.


In our conversations with managers and especially in our Coach the Coach sessions, we often have questions regarding what to do after a performance review, and how to discuss with the employee where he or she has landed on the Performance-Values Matrix. In this video, we’ll draw upon Performance Culture Coaching Guides, available in your Help section of the Performance Culture System.  Please specifically review the Manager Coaching Guide and the Employee Coaching Guide found in this section.

Now, let’s begin with some assumptions.The performance objectives, or KPIs, and the behaviors or core values represented on the employee’s review are in alignment with company objectives and the employee’s job description.  Basically, we’re assuming you’re measuring the right things, and they make business sense. We’re assuming you’ve provided ratings that are as objective as possible for the individual KPIs and behaviors. Referring to prior Check-Ins and reviewing any 360 Degree Feedback on the employee helps you see the employee’s performance more objectively.  Following this practice will set the stage for an authentic matrix-placement discussion. Assuming you’ve done these two things well, let’s review how to coach our employees when they land in the various quadrants.

Stars – Awesome!  Your employee is a Star, meaning he or she is exceeding performance objectives and exceeding the behaviors that support your organization’s core values.  Whew! Nothing to do and smooth sailing from here, right? Not if you want to ensure your star stays a star and chooses to stay on your team! Remember what stars are doing for your organization – they’re contributing

to around 80% of its value!  Consider what your marketing department does when they have an 80% return on a certain advertising source – that’s right, they put more money and effort into it because clearly, something’s working!  On the flip side, they spend less time and resources on the avenues generating less.

Now yes, people are a bit trickier, but the concept still applies – we should spend more time, not less, on our Stars, ensuring we are: Recognizing them, Rewarding them, Allowing them access to more resources in order to continue growing, and Ensuring their personal visions are still in alignment with their job. These are also the individuals. Leaders should evaluate for succession opportunities, and identify opportunities for them to mentor others.

Potentials – Potentials are those employees whose behaviors are in alignment with your core values, however, they have not yet achieved the overall desired performance.  Sometimes this is because they are still fairly new in their position, and additional coaching and training is necessary. Sometimes we may have incorrectly matched an employee’s skill set to the position, and there may be a better fit for the employee somewhere else in the organization. If, however, objectives are appropriate for the position and skill set, and ample time and training have been provided, then we must ask ourselves if the employee truly has the capability and acumen to meet expectations. This is tough because Potentials tend to be likable people.  We do have more grace for individuals who are demonstrating your organization’s core values, however, a clear timeline should be set with action items concerning this individual. Remember, the longer Potentials stay Potentials, the longer your Stars are subsidizing them. And the problem is Stars know it. People don’t like to pick up someone else’s slack too long.

The next two quadrants are labeled with a question mark at the end because

further digging is sometimes required to unearth what’s really going on.  We cannot emphasize this enough – so often we enter the conversation with an assumption about why the individual is behaving the way they are.  If we suspend that judgment and instead handle these crucial conversations with care – such as stating the observed behavior and then asking the employee’s perspective – we set the stage for a successful outcome versus a disastrous one.

Aligned? Individuals are those that seem to be exceeding expectations with regards to performance, however, something about their behavior is negatively affecting the team.  When the cost to manage this individual’s effects on the organization is factored in, such as errors and omissions liability, or a sharp decrease in collaboration, the assumed high return of this individual is canceled out by the increased cost felt somewhere else in the organization. Stating someone is simply misaligned with your organization’s core values could be wrong and detrimental; for example, we’ve had multiple case studies where an employee’s poor planning and organization skills were the main reason they landed in this quadrant.  It still should be dealt with because the behavior is negatively affecting others, however, we should adapt our conversation to the level of offense. But when toxic behaviors start to emerge, you cannot shy away from this crucial conversation. There are so many risks to the organization, including the message you will send loud and clear when these behaviors are not addressed – that it’s okay to act this way. And now those behaviors have become a part of your true culture.

Right Fit? – Lastly, when individuals land in the Right Fit quadrant, we have to ask ourselves just that – are they the right fit for the position? Maybe we have to ask are they the right fit for our organization?  This is because neither performance nor behaviors are up to par. And the weight this individual places on team members everywhere will prevent the organization from growing. Again, due diligence must always occur, and our 360-degree feedback is a wonderful tool to assist with this, but when the determination has been made that this individual is taking more than they are giving, then a simple plan of coaching up or coaching out is your action item. And here’s the interesting news – many individuals in this quadrant already know this job is not the right fit for them, but something has held them back from taking a step towards their right fit.  We have numerous case studies where after having a candid, crucial conversation about this result, employees have chosen to self-select out and take that courageous next step. What a wonderful result for both the organization and the individual!

That covers the four quadrants of the Performance-Values Matrix.  Be sure to review those Coaching Guides we mentioned earlier. And remember, the recipe for successful conversations is to be authentic, be caring, and be brave.