Performance Management, not quite dead

I had the privilege of attending an excellent Business Transformation Networking event hosted by Annapurna Recruitment a few weeks back with the title ‘Performance Management, Not Quite Dead Yet”. Informative and highly relevant, given the current economic landscape, it gave me a good opportunity to pause and reflect on what and who owns and drives organisational performance.

My key takeaways from this interesting and engaging talk were as follows

1) Myth – Performance management is dead

A popular concept that started making the rounds in the popular press a number of years ago

Fact – Performance management is still alive and kicking. All that has happened/ is continuing to happen is that the P.M. manner or process has changed.

2) Myth – HR owns performance management

Fact – HR does not and definitely should not own performance management. The truth is that every single stakeholder, starting with Senior Leadership, is accountable for performance and that leaving it to ‘a department’ like a pet project is exactly the type of practice that results in ‘poor performance’

3) Myth – Lack of leadership capability, financial incentives, products, services, strategies, performance management processes, etc are the reason for poor performance

Fact – Although these all play a part, the foremost reason poor performance is occurring is that the culture of the organisation is not one of accountability ”

“Each and every stakeholder is clear about their role – as part of a wider organism –  and are wholly and fully committed to owning their part in delivering on the objectives of the organisation in the time and manner required and agreed”

From my experience, ‘accountability’or lack thereof is not as easy to identify especially if the operational and strategic elements are not right. As Roger Connors and Tom Smith share in their book Change the Culture, Change the Game

“To generate cash you need to *optimise operations (sic) and to do that, you need to be able to identify sloppy process/procedures” You then need to have the abilities and resources to implement these changes. This all takes a lot of energy and focus and because it is our instinctive ‘go to’ we are so focused on plugging this hole that we fail to see the real leak – the lack of accountability.


Here’s a scenario. Your business is not achieving what it should be so you take a look a little deeper and uncover one or more of the following symptoms –

  • Revenue, customer base, market share, and/or profit growth has slowed, has stopped, or worse is shrinking
  • You are struggling to outperform your competitors
  • You are struggling to beat the economy
  • Organisational objectives are not being achieved
  • Agreed objectives are not being delivered
  • Churn (unwarranted leavers) has increased

If you or somebody you know is experiencing any of the above – STOP

Before you rush and sign off on a new CRM/Performance Management/Training Program take a moment and look at the list below. Reflect on the overall behaviours of the business and answer each statement


A high number (greater than 40%) of Yes’s would indicate that although there may be operational issues, there is also a cultural issue and that changing the way people act (through operational/technical/strategic/people improvements) without a change in beliefs will result in – 



PROGRESS NOT lasting improvement

Which, in turn, will be costly and frustrating for both yourselves and your people

I understand the challenges leaders go through, I’ve been in the business of organisational performance a long time. Leadership in Motion was formed to help organisations flourish by developing their people into strong, confident leaders: Leaders who recognise their purpose and authority; and who have the tools and means to equip, enable and empower others to realise their full potential. Find out more


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s