Your boss just put you on a PIP. Now what?!

You flourish!
No really – you flourish!

What is a PIP, anyway?

PIP – shorthand for Performance Improvement Plan

A performance improvement plan is a multitude of opportunities rolled into one.

  • It’s an opportunity to build a partnership with your manager/supervisor:
Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

▸Every PIP should come with actionable steps. A path to success paved with SMART goals the leadership team has created just for you.

▸The plan should also include a timeline for completion with benchmark/milestone check-ins scheduled to keep everyone on track toward success.

  • It’s an opportunity to re-invest in yourself and your role in the company:

▸To identify and grow new skills.

▸To strengthen current abilities.

▸To gain clarity on personal goals and alignment with the current role.

  • It’s an opportunity to see another side of the company culture.
  • Working with HR and your immediate leadership teams.
  • Being given a specific path toward success and the support needed to get there.

How should you approach being put on a PIP?

The most constructive reaction to being put on a PIP is appreciation.

Yup – appreciation.
(this is how the flourishing happens 😉)

Because the performance improvement plan is the result of leadership looking to help you through some obvious challenges by creating a plan that gives you a blueprint for success in their environment.

The plan is an investment the company is making in you as a valued member of the team. It is an opportunity for you to work with your immediate leader one-on-one in a way you may otherwise not have the opportunity. Many good things can come from this.

So, appreciation for the willingness to work with you through whatever challenges have led to the performance plan’s creation is the most constructive reaction you can have to it.

How to flourish on a PIP

Have a positive attitude about being put on a PIP.

  • This is not the common reaction. I get it. But if you can pull back from the immediate reaction to see it as a punitive action and nothing more – you can see that the end goal is actually to work with your leadership and team toward a common goal.

Visualize your success.

  • When you can see the positive end result, you illuminate the path to get there. This will support you along the way, especially if you hit a rough patch along the way. Because you have visualized succeeding, you inherently know it’s possible. The end goal is what you’re working toward.

Keep communication fluid … and confidential.

  • Make sure you are partnering with your manager throughout the entire plan. Ask for advice. Get feedback. Make sure you’re proactive about working with the benchmarking/milestone check-in schedule to have them be constructive sessions between you and your manager.
  • Talking openly and honestly with your management and HR teams is essential during a PIP- but the talk should stop there.

▸Your colleagues and others don’t need to be aware (or made aware) of the situation or any negative feelings you have about it. If they ask about it, the response should be a simple ‘I’m happy with my progress’ or something similar. This is not fodder for gossip, nor should it be used as any type of frustration-fuel.

▸That being said, you can (and should) communicate freely with high-performing coworkers about their personal success strategies, how they prioritize their goals, etc. Completely unrelated to the PIP, of course, but getting input from those who are doing well can be a source of insight that benefits everyone.

And, finally (for the TL:DR crowd 🕶️) …

Most people automatically view performance improvement plans as a negative thing. I think this has a lot to do with some companies historically using them as a prelude to dismissal, which is unfortunate.

But, unfortunate or not, it’s the reality people have to deal with.

👍🏼Do: Make your own informed judgments about the plan.

👎🏼Don’t: Automatically assume the worst.

👍🏼Do: Understand this is an instance with a shelf-life.

👎🏼Don’t: Interpret this AS your life.

👍🏼Do: Prepare to succeed on the plan, but also prepare for the alternative.

👎🏼Don’t: Proceed throughout the plan as if you already have one foot out the door.

Not only CAN you get through a PIP successfully, you can actually come out MORE successful than ever before!

It’s up to you.

👋I’m Gretchen

👉I am a career and personal development strategist on a mission to teach you to find what you love without losing yourself in the process.

🎯I create sane strategies that produce serious results.

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