Performance Conversations


Questions can be a powerful tool in shaping the performance and behavior of your directs. After reading “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr, I extracted some great questions that I plan to use during 1:1 meetings or performance evaluation phases. Check them out and read the whole book, as it is definitely worth it.

Goal Planning and Reflection

  • What OKRs do you plan to focus on to drive the greatest value for your role, your team and/or the company?
  • Which of these OKRs aligns to key initiatives in the organizations?

Progress Updates

  • How are your OKRs coming along?
  • What critical capabilities do you need to be successful?
  • Is there anything stopping you from attaining your objectives?
  • What OKRs need to be adjusted or added, or eliminated in light of shifting priorities?

Manager-led Coaching

  • What behaviors or values do I want my report to continue to exhibit?
  • What behaviors or values do I want the report to start or stop exhibiting?
  • What coaching can I provide to help the report fully realize his or her potential?
  • What part of your job most excites you?
  • What (if any) aspect of your role would like to change?

Upward Feedback

  • What are you getting from me that you find helpful?
  • What are you getting from me that impedes your ability to be effective?
  • What could I do for you that would help you be more successful?

Career Growth

  • What skills or capabilities would you like to develop to improve in your current role?
  • In what areas do you want to grow to achieve your career goals?
  • What skills or capabilities would you like to develop for a future role?
  • From a learning, growth and development standpoint, how can I and the company help you get there?

Preparing for Performance Conversations

  • What were the contributor’s main objectives and responsibilities in the period in question?
  • How has the contributor performed?
  • If the contributor is underperforming, how should he or she course-correct?
  • If the contributor is performing well or exceeding expectations, what can I do to sustain a high level of performance without burnout?
  • When is the contributor most engaged?
  • When is the contributor least engaged?
  • Over the next six months, what should the contributor’s focus be? Meeting expectations in his or her current role? Maximizing contributions in the current role? Or preparing for the next opportunity – be it a new project, expanded responsibility, or new role?