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Focus on strengths in the planning conversation

Many organizations are familiar with the so-called PVB interview cycle, which consists of a Planning, Progressand Assessment interview. The planning meeting sets performance and development goals for the coming period. Sources of information for this are objectives from the departmental plan, job description, competency profile and or previous assessment. So how can you further engage the employee in the process of setting goals?


Focus on strengths!

Focusing on strengths is a key ingredient of the GOOD conversation. This approach focuses on discovering and developing talents into real strengths. As employees do work and/or perform roles that they are good at, that they enjoy, they not only perform well at it, they become better at it. Fun makes it run!


Prior to the planning meeting

Employees identify their strengths prior to the planning interview, which can be done with their answers to the questions below:

  • What gives me the greatest job satisfaction? What do I enjoy most in my work?
  • What clients, work and/or roles do I get energy from?
  • What kind of work do I like to do? What strengths are then called upon?
  • What do I often get compliments on? What does that say about what I’m good at?
  • When do I go home (or to work) whistling? So what have I accomplished? So what qualities of myself do I put to use?
  • What do I consider an important success from recent times? What did I do that contributed to the success? What was the effect of that? What does this say about what I am good at?
  • What do I want to get better at in the coming year?
  • What do I want to know, know and be able to do a year from now that I do not currently know, know and be able to do? So what do I want to have accomplished?

Because, prior to the planning interview, employees’ strengths are not yet linked to the content of the work and/or role, employees can state more openly and sharply(er) during the interview where their added value is greatest and where they want to develop further.


Servant leadership

Own responsibility and servant leadership are two other ingredients of The GOOD conversation. Prior to the interview, the manager reflects on the answers to the three M questions:

  • Resources: what tools, budget, instruments, time, et cetera does the employee need to have in order to achieve the objectives?
  • Power: Does the employee have the authority to make decisions to achieve the objective?
  • Method: does the employee know how to achieve the result or is training, coaching on the job, et cetera needed?

In the planning conversation, employees and supervisors formulate performance goals that the employee is committed to and stands for and that contribute to achieving departmental goals.


Performing becomes thriving

The idea is that if managers take a step back, a performance and development climate will emerge in which employees will collaborate more and take more direction over their performance and development and take it. This incentive for internal entrepreneurship and personal craftsmanship leads to higher motivation and engagement and thus better performance. Especially if the employee’s strengths are utilized. Performing becomes thriving.


Tip: take a step back

In this roadmap, the “top-down” approach gives way more to the “bottom-up” approach. Of course, departmental goals derived from the organization’s strategy are “imposed,” but employees are more in the lead. All kinds of intermediate variations are also possible, of course; it is a process. Cologne and Aachen were not built in a day, and of course the same is true of the process from “The Old Judging” to “The New Judging.


Want to know more?

Want to know more about the planning interview? And how to renew them? Also read our blog “Preparing for the planning interview: tips and examples.