Putting the performance back in performance management
Many leaders and organisations have had a love-hate relationship with performance management systems for some time, but there has been a noticeable upsurge in this sentiment in recent months. The dialogue has been fueled by many reputable organisations publicly declaring that they have abandoned traditional methods in favour of innovative new approaches that produce much greater outcomes with far less effort.
With a little digging, it’s apparent that at least some of these organisations may not be dumping their old ways with as much abandon as their press might suggest. That said, almost every leader or team member we encounter – including HR professionals – agrees that there is an opportunity to significantly improve their approach to performance management.
We do not come to this debate professing deep HR expertise, though we do have some of that in our organisation. Our point of view is based on our experiences of trying to align leaders, teams and entire organisations to their aspirations. And of course, alignment is not possible on this scale without paying close attention to the people and performance systems, of which performance management is the most critical. One thing we have learned for certain is that if your aspirations and your systems are in conflict, your systems will win.
In our view, calls to end performance management are simplistic. The question is not how to get rid of it, but how to adapt it for the modern world.