Monday, January 26, 2015

What are the Critical Barriers to Performance Excellence (PE)

The emphasis needs to shift from number crunches in corporate towers to the people delivering performance.

Success stories are more often the same, but the causes of failure vary: Most of the organizations have issues with effectiveness of execution or achievement of set goals. Some blame it to external market environment (lack of demand) and others blame it to internal barriers (lack of resources, lack of strategic clarity, lack of capable committed people, lack of effective leadership to name a few). General speaking, what are the most critical barriers which, if addressed properly, usually have an amplifying impact on performance?

Culture of change inertia: It is important to develop the organizational culture continuously to reduce the risks associated with the firm's goal achievement. The human aspects of performance barriers and effectiveness of execution may be addressed with the creation of associate buy-in. Maintaining awareness in the people of an organization keeps them connected to the ongoing challenges that must be met for achievement of the firm's goals. Extracting feedback from the associate workforce may increase effectiveness as this workforce is the organization's pool of subject matter experts. Developing organizational culture may require little resources. However, this type of activity can produce great returns.

Lack of organizational alignment: Organizational alignment is what is key to fully achieve corporate performance goals. Culture is fantastic, however, that makes little difference if the goals and direction of the company are not properly and continually communicated throughout the rest of the organization. It is like planning a trip. You can't plan a trip if you don't know where you're going, meaning the goals of an organization. The strategic/tactical plans lay out the map of how you're going to get to your destination/goals. Communication is how you make sure everyone on the trip is aware of where you're going, when, etc., particularly to the navigator to help keep you on the right track. Lastly, you need infrastructure to support the trip; gas, food, lodging, and keeping your vehicle in good working order. The trip cannot happen efficiently without all parts working together, that is organizational alignment.

Lack of employee engagement and reward structure, etc. Performance; good, bad; fantastic or indifferent is only ever delivered by people - the task as managers, leaders, performance managers; coaches, mentors etc is to monitor that performance and create an environment where people understand the opportunity; the reasons for the opportunity and want themselves to "pull" high performance and personal achievement in from within themselves and their colleagues. The structural barriers to performance excellence include: 
a. Unclear goal / too many variables attached to it to make it more confusing. 
b.Mismatch in requirement from a role and expertise of the candidate 
c. Lack of effective reward structure to encourage innovation/low or no motivation for mediocre. 
d. Non – involvement of ground team during target setting – If you want to achieve is x% of growth. How is it going to achieve. 
e. Management ignoring the external environment or business ecosystem affecting the business.
f. And the lack of support from immediate manager or management – it can be in terms of proper guidance, providing adequate resources which would help employee focus on the job etc.

Culture, organizational alignment and communication, employee involvement and buy-in in the process are all critical element in leading performance excellence- from performance management perspective, perhaps the emphasis needs to shift from number crunchers in corporate towers to the people delivering performance. And performance excellence is not only measure through efficiency and effectiveness, but also drive agility and maturity.


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