Why Performance Management Matters

Have your read and heard?  It's time to throw out performance management because most companies do it poorly?  Some say replace the old model with the internal equivalent of Facebook feedback.  For instance, I list my recent project and invite people to "like" it.

How about you?  Do you perform better when you receive encouragement, feedback, advice and resource along the way towards success?  I would guess, yes.

The topic of performance reaches to the core.  As a result: People stay or go.  Rise or resist.  Owners divert wealth from themselves to others, or not – without it directly clear when and how much to invest in another human being.  Customers are impacted by the conversations, communications, messages and motivations we have with the individuals on our team, and with the team as a whole.

True, if you crank out 5 annual reviews based on a prior year largely absent substantive performance feedback then, sure, that may not be worth your time and more likely create organizational risk than reduce it.

You protest, "I talk to my team all the time."  About project delivery, research results, problem resolution, crisis management, revenue generation and cost containment.  Done well, this kind of interaction does address "role clarity" but not the other dimensions.

Sound HR thinking can offer a framework to support you as a leader and shape the expectations of how performance is addressed within the team.  This is important though not the most critical piece.  Important because it eases some of the natural tension and holds all accountable to the critical path of ensuring managers lead, leaders manage and staff are invited to perform.

Individuals and teams need, among other things:

  • Role clarity
  • Supportive feedback
  • Enabling resources
  • Motivating opportunity

A performance model and system needs to strong enough to help cause these to better occur – without being so rigid, onerous or annoying as to cause the reverse.

Take some time, find a quiet moment both alone and with a leader-partner, and with the right beverage and chair.  Allow the weight of inspiring, measuring and moving people’s performance sink in and choose for it be a life-long pursuit.  This is part of the difference between operating a business and working for oneself.

And, of course, call if you'd like assistance in establishing a right-sized performance solution.