Actually,there is no future of Performance ‘Management’ per say. Managing performance isgoing to be an old-school thought. New age leaders will need to do things that ‘engage,influence and inspire’ people to Perform. Future leaders can no more afford tojust set targets and assess the performance at regular intervals based on theresults. It will need a continuous engagement of the Leader and the team to setgoals, understand their contribution in the path of achieving goal, clarifyingindividual and team contributions, understanding the resource requirement tosuccessfully contribute and last but the most important is holding peopleaccountable (both appreciation or improvement) for their ‘contributions’ not’results only’.Continuous notDiscrete Itis going to be more fluid and continuous than having two or three discrete eventsin a year.
New age employees demand clarity, resources and knowledge, andcontinuous feedback. These are like their basic rights before they are expectedto perform in their jobs. Performance conversation is going to take asignificant and continuous role in this whole process. Leaders will have tolearn how they set appropriate contributions at beginning of the year andprovide adequate knowledge and resources to the team to contribute and deliver.Also, leaders will have to be very transparent and upfront in holding peopleaccountable for their contributions.
Holding people accountable does notnecessarily means taking disciplinary actions or scolding publicly, it means torecognize when people do what they are expected to do, it also means to rewardoutstanding contributions and punish intentional lethargy, or for that case,warn the consequences well before it becomes a total loss. Continuousconversations and feedback will create an environment of transparency and trustwhich is at the core of any successful team .Shift your Focus The shift has to happen from ‘result’based approach to ‘effort’ based approach. ‘Results’ have to be achieved butthat can not be the whole thing in a Performance process. The conversationneeds to be shifted to ‘what is supposed to be done (Contribution) by theindividual to achieve those results’. Talking only about results andcontinuously keeping an eye on the scoreboard will not improve the performance.The performance will get improved by talking on what is needed to be done toachieve those results and what support/ resource/ knowledge is required by theindividual to contribute effectively. If a leader ensures all this, then thereis no excuse left for ‘not performing’ other than intentional malevolence.
Contribution toCulture Building Rewarding mechanism is the machine to create culturein any group of living beings and so as human. We repeatedly do and become forwhat we are rewarded/ recognized/ appreciated. Sooner or later, repetitivenessmakes that the culture of the group and that becomes a norm. So, if we reallywant to make our Performance system a machine to create great culture whereperformance flourishes, we need to reward appropriately and rightly. Rewarding ‘results’is seldom the way. Results can be achieved by several means which may or maynot be in line with organizational culture, ethics, value system.
Results caneven be achieved due to some external factor which was just a good luck. Weneed to decide whether we want to create a culture of appreciating ‘by chanceresults’ or ‘honest efforts totally in line with organizational values whichmay or may not be achieving perfect results due to external noise’. This iseasy to say but difficult to practice. It is difficult to censure a poorcontributor with great results, and even more difficult to recognize anexcellent contributor with mediocre results. Here the term ‘contributor’ means,one did what one was supposed to do no matter result got achieved or not. This way,leaders’ job become even more challenging as they have to define appropriatecontributions (defining expectation) for their team members, and the teammembers are accountable only to contribute in line with the set expectationsnot worrying much about results.
Although setting right contributions whichguarantee results, is a difficult and complex job and a leader will need topractice it for few cycles along with the team before they become great at it..