Based on my own research, the following issues are what keep most managers awake at night: growing sales; profitability; staff; and competition.

This month I want to bring the spotlight on to performance. Too frequently managers avoid what they see as difficult conversations about performance. And when they do discuss it they quite often make a hash of it.

Is there any organisational practice more broken than performance management? Everyone hates it. Very few do it well, with the performance management programmes becoming organisation wallpaper. Yet performance management at both an individual and organisational level is critical to success.

So what are the four essentials to transform performance management so that it becomes a key contributor to business success?

Link performance management to business strategy: You and your team will be judged in terms of how successful you have been in achieving objectives. Measure the right things to establish whether you are on or off track.

Clarity of objectives - critical success factors: These are the key levers that need to be operating optimally if the desired results are to be achieved. You need to be able to clearly define what those critical success factors are and ensure all department, team and individual objectives are aligned.

Evaluate and measure: Financial measures are the most common in many organisations. It is equally important to have a range of non-financial measures that focus on areas like customer satisfaction, productivity and innovation.

Involve people: Don’t fall into the trap of developing performance measures in isolation. Often those closest to the delivery of the service or making the product have the greatest insights into what is most critical to success. Make sure you use that expertise to get results for the organisation.

At the end of the day, performance management is a practical tool and if done simply can be a real contributor to an organisation’s success. So what steps do you need to take to gain real benefits from your performance management process?