It may sound ridiculously simple, but when staff is given clear direction in terms of what is expected of them, they typically perform better on the job. The problem in many organizations, however, is that the direction given to many employees ends with a general job description. With this in mind, Rochester Athletic Club developed a program that helps managers set goals and pinpoint priorities, while providing a fair, consistent method of evaluating their performance and progress.

Known as CPR for Managers, or Critical success factors Progress Review, the program identifies factors, such as budgetary goals and customer service, that are measured both in terms of commitment (following through on what you’ve agreed to do) and growth (opportunities for improvement in personal performance as well as contribution to the department or club).

Managers are first asked to develop their own critical success factors and then submit them to the general manager for review. A bonus system, paid quarterly, is in place to reward those who meet the success objectives.

According to general manager Greg Lappin, helping managers understand where the majority of their energies should be focused has helped put them more at ease. “It really helped clearly define their top priorities,” Lappin says. “[And] tying the bonus plan to a few measurable factors was a big plus.” Lappin says CPR for Managers is successful also because it helps him to hold department heads accountable in a fair manner that promotes consistency and equality.