I’m not sure I like the term performance management…

Now that might seem a strange statement from someone who has just written a discussion paper called the Eight Dysfunctions of Performance Management. Perhaps I should have added a ninth. The term itself.

Here’s my problem. The term, for me, immediately infers that people aren’t performing. If someone has to performance manage me I must, by default, be doing a rubbish job. I’m in the “naughty boy” corner and need close monitoring and supervision.

Let’s just rewind that a minute. If normal distribution curves are to be believed, something like 83% of people are doing a satisfactory job or better. So the vast majority are actually doing OK thank you.  Yes perhaps it could be better but we aren’t all super heroes. We need some development and nurturing but do we need performance management?

Yes, perhaps the 17% who are under-performing might. And yes we need to be better at tough conversations and feedback. So that’s management development on the agenda then.

So what’s the answer? I am increasingly swayed towards the term alignment. What does that imply? To me it means organisations and people heading in the same direction for mutual benefit. That sounds much more positive. And it fits so much better with the idea of employee engagement.

In writing the discussion paper I found myself drawing the diagram below:-

Eight dysfunctions

I think it really helps sum up what alignment is all about. It is that point where employee motivation and organisational priority come together. It’s people doing things that they are passionate about and which have real benefits to the organisation. Above all it means understanding how your job contributes to achieving the company’s goals.

Isn’t that really what engagement is about too?

How many pointless objectives are set each year? How much resource is tied up in things that make no sense to organisation or individual? How many individuals have objectives that offer them no stimulation – but which would be snapped up by others? How can we up performance? Get everyone doing great objectives.

To get your free copy of the discussion paper click here.

Ian Gooden
Chief Executive

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