Sunday, July 5, 2015

Thinking Performance: Why and How to Measure it?

Thinking Performance + Action Performance intends to measure performance both qualitatively and quantitatively.

People are the most invaluable asset in any organization anytime and anywhere. However, the traditional performance management approaches more focus on measuring behaviors and quantitative results, with ignorance of qualitative assessment about character, mindsets, talent potential, multidimensional intelligence and culture effect.

Ideally, in the forward-thinking organizations, the division between 'working' and 'thinking' is replaced by combining and integrating 'working and thinking' at both strategic and operational level, where people do the real work by unifying mind, heart and hands. So besides measuring behaviors via traditional performance measures, shall you also measure “Thinking Performance,” why and how to measure it?

Self-Assessment can help integrate Thinking Performance and Action Performance: It is important for employees to do self-reflection, self-assessment, and self-improvement to discover "Who they are," to encourage autonomy and mastery. Because the purpose of reviews is about improvement for the future. The past is over. Move the purpose of performance reviews away from "evaluating" the past, and to improve success in the future. It will stimulate employees thinking further about their authenticity, ambition, strength and innovation. This starts with the individual determining what goals s/he wants to achieve then; planning a way to get there; determining the milestones/measurements that signal whether it is going in the right direction and, if not, is flagging a warning that maybe the plan needs to be re-thought; the results is documented objectively with qualitative/quantitative measurements. The manager's role is to ensure the plans are in line with corporate direction, the individual has thought out the plans thoroughly; in such way, employees’ “Thinking Performance” is well integrated with their “Action Performance,” and their career goals are well aligned with organization's business goals.

Thinking Performance intends to improve business culture maturity: Culture is a collective mindset, how organizations do things there. Every employee contributes to part of corporate culture. “Thinking Performance” intends to assess the individuals' effect to culture via their thought process and how they communicate. For example, can they come out of one's comfort zone and learn something new. Do they usually generate positive emotions such as passion, inquisitiveness, critical/independent thinking or creativity; or they often release the negative emotions such as envy, jealousy, blaming, flattery, backbiting or rumor-mongering and so on? So the Thinking Performance helps measure not only what has been done, but HOW to get it done, or even dig through WHY they do what they are doing, to adopt the right course of action and directly impact the individual, collective behavior and corporate performance as a whole. The intention of such measurement is to remove all the negative energy if possible and fill with positive ones to build a high mature corporate culture, and get to the right action - learning, adapting and maturing. So Performance Management includes such things as optimizing the talents of employees at all levels, building a culture that supports the objectives the employees are to achieve, providing positive reinforcement and corrective feedback and linking thinking and behaviors to appropriate consequences, not only have employees take responsibility for what they are doing, but also what they are saying, reward not just quantitative result, but also high-quality thinking, and aligning the organization for long-term success.

Thinking Performance helps to discover leadership potential of employees: Thinking Performance can make the assessment on employee’s vision, cognition, and creativity. A vision is a future state of being; it is a foresight with a proactive understanding of cause and effect, not reactive sight. It is a clear choice among future scenarios that promotes certain behavior. The "aha" vision is an "entrepreneurial" attribute; the ability to envision a solution to a perceived or not-yet-perceived need. Thinking Performance covers two sides. It allows the employee to feel they are important and the organization is committed to their development (whatever that may be). It can drive both employees and supervisors thoughts in the process. It is not a management check in the box. It is required developmental conversations and plans that are conducted with valued team members. The whole concept is obviously more involved than just evaluating quantitatively.

Performance Management needs to be more innovative to optimize the process of continually aligning abilities, talents, aspirations, etc., to important work that an organization needs to be done and of engaging employees in thinking deeper about their career, and providing feedback to employees on how well the organization feels they are delivering on their commitments. This is a multi-directional dialogue around accountability, feedback and continual adjustment of expectations and future commitments. Thinking Performance + Action Performance intends to measure performance both qualitatively and quantitatively.


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