Sunday, September 5, 2021


The more meaningful and important the thing you want to assess, the harder it is to measure objectively.

Performance is what we do to achieve certain results. Corporate Performance Management is a management control from strategy to the shop floor at both strategic and operational level for achieving business goals. It is a complex world out there with so many variables that determine performance - including inter-dependencies within teams/organizations.

 It’s critical to understand performance management is not about measuring numbers only, there’s soft factors impacting performance and there are stories behind numbers. Both quality and quantity count. It is essentially moving away from appraisals of past performance to managing and optimizing future performance.

"Thinking performance" and "doing performance," behavior and outcome are all important elements in performance assessment: We have shifted from an industrial economy to knowledge economy, and now moving into a creative economy. Performance management has multidimensional perspectives on how people think, generate great ideas, and influence culture; as well as what they deliver - tangible results - productivity, proliferation, etc. Sometimes, the management needs to understand that there's a tradeoff between short-term performance results and intermediate/long term performance perspective. Also, if an individual can get results, but is disruptive to the team, the effect can be significantly lower productivity and collective performance. Look at both tangible - the quantitative result, but do not ignore the intangibles -the mindset behind the number; the attitude behind behavior. To put it another way, mindset-attitude-behavior-outcomes need to be aligned and performance delivery needs to produce consistent results.

In today’s knowledge and innovation economy, thinking performance is as important, or, even more important than just doing something. Keep mind fit is a critical factor to unlock potential - improving future performance. Performance management is seamlessly integrated with strategy management, talent management, culture management, change management, etc. Overall staff performance includes soft skills that cannot be measured strictly by metrics. The insightful managers need to make an objective assessment of their people by asking: did you demonstrate leadership skills? how? Did you contribute to the team and how? Did you offer creative input and innovative solutions? It's a strategic imperative to appreciate your thinkers as they perhaps bring you breakthrough ideas and influence a culture of innovation. With the top management vision and support, a high performance team with the right mix of thinkers and doers can put through great ideas into step-wise actions for generating value for the company in product/process/business model/technology/market-needs innovation to achieve sustainable business profitability.

Self management is a healthy cycle of self-reflection-self motivation-self-discipline - self-assessment and self-improvement to deliver high performance results: Traditional performance management focuses on administrative processes and outcomes. To run a people-centric company, performance is a result of how well a manager engages in developing employees, putting them in the right positions to solve the right problems and amplify collective performance. Performance management needs to become more interactive and self-driven. The purpose of the performance discussion is not to ambush the employee. A philosophy will embed when great leaders and high professionals understand themselves because there's a personal and emotive connection and when it answers the question of "what's in it for me." Of course, the employee has to do his or her part of having the right attitude, skills, and willingness to participate in the development process. Performance evaluation only works when it is part of an overall performance management system where the goal is for both supervisor and subordinate to continually provide each other with open honest feedback.

It is highly important that any employee and person self-reflects and be able not only to describe what s/he is able to do but also to reflect in a constructive manner how anything could be done in a different way even if a process has been successful. Many organizations still have an old-fashioned view that the employee's self-assessment is irrelevant to the overall review and only serves to create conflict when there are discrepancies in perception. The purpose of self-assessment and self-improvement performance cycle is to inspire growth mindset, improve employee engagement, build trust, and encourage innovation. By enhancing an effective performance cycle, both management and staff have the empathy to gain an understanding of others, to explore potential and unlock future performance smoothly.

It’s important to balance a diverse viewpoint of performance management and well define the right “outcome”: There is performance at strategic and tactical level; there’s individual performance and team performance. Senior managers focus more on innovation, culture, and long-term outcome; and middle management emphasizes more on tactical tasks to meet short-term delivery timeline, and individual contributors perhaps have their own focus based on their set of priorities. It’s important to balance and unify different perspectives, to ensure that individuals not only perform well today, but also perform greater tomorrow; the organization as a whole is superior to the sum of its parts.

The issue of Performance Management measurement isn't about accuracy, but of validity and reliability. Performance monitoring is not limited to financial performance only, but also to the firm’s performance in creating value for employees and customers. The management needs to shift their mindset from developing performance management processes or implementation to developing a holistic performance management solution that adds value to employees, organizational goals, and business results.

The more meaningful and important the thing you want to assess, the harder it is to measure objectively. The common symptom of performance failure is to rate employees as a convenience, not a way of improving performance. Not only measure quantity, but evaluate quality to harness leadership, improve business culture and encourage innovation.


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