How to Identify Performance Objectives


performance objectivesI just got this message from someone who has been reading my blogs:

Hi Joan

I’ve been reading your blogs …thanks they are a big help. I’m not good at coming up with objectives have you got any tips?

Best wishes, J.

It’s a good question! Here’s my reply

Coming up with performance objectives

Hi J

Here are a number of ideas you can try (with links to more detailed information)

1. Using job descriptions to identify performance objectives

Job descriptions can be a great start point for generating ideas about performance objectives. Why? Because, in my view, objectives are best used for improving performance. So, providing the job description accurately reflects the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the job, you can use them to identify which areas of the job need improvement. The idea is that you take each element of the job description and ask the question ‘what does satisfactory performance look like for this part of the job’? You then write a performance objective based on your response. Read more and see some examples HERE

2. Using core areas and measures

Another approach is to identify ‘core areas’ (short descriptions of the important elements of the job) and then identify the measures that you would use to assess performance against those core areas. By describing those measures in detail you can create performance objectives. Read more and see some examples HERE

3. Using tasks 

A slightly different approach is to use a list of tasks. Similar principle to the above; just a different way in. Read more and see some examples HERE

4. Using business values

A rather more unusual approach is to generate ideas for performance objectives by looking at business values. So, if your organisation has, for example, a stated business value of ‘continuous improvement’ then you develop performance objectives to define what ‘continuous improvement’ looks like in practice. In short, dig out your ‘values statement’ and see if that gives you some ideas for objectives! Read more and see some examples HERE

5. Using the staff member’s development needs

When we discuss our staff member’s development needs we often identify: strengths that can be built upon, areas that need improvement or areas the staff member is interested in. These can then generate a range of developmental objectives. Read more, including how to make sure these objectives achieve ‘dual value’ HERE

I’m guessing that’s enough to be getting on with! Hope this helps

Best wishes


Summary: Identifying Performance Objectives

As you can see, there are any number of ways that we can generate ideas for performance objectives. As I said to J, I hope this helps you too!


Do you want to read more about how to use Performance Objectives to improve performance?

Performance ObjectivesWhy not take a look at my e-book ‘Motivating Your Staff with Powerful Performance Objectives’ – a step-by-step guide for managers, team leaders and supervisors who want to motivate their staff to high performance. Details HERE





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