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It has always been an area of dissatisfaction with numerous drawbacks and falsified corrections, the notion of performance management spurred with the delusions that are grown around fostering discipline to increase productivity. Almost 9 out of 10 managers are highly dissatisfied with current performance management systems, complaining about the gap between what’s intended or claimed to be achieved and what’s currently attained. Many of those managers find it a time consuming process while most of them consider it a waste of time, effort and resources.
If you decided to dig deeper, learning on employee feedback regarding their latest engaging dialogue with their managers, delineating this clear line of sight between what the organization wants and what they actually do, you might have some thoughts about the stories they can share about how their current performance management practices helped them become more empowered, engaged and effective. No doubt they can give you a vivid rationale for how they are paid and rewarded, but the main issue that you can certainly expect is if the current PM practices has helped them apply their talents and strengths to their fullest potential...all these thoughts are just promises and expectations that are mostly never met. Of course some brilliant managers are successful and adroit enough to perform beyond their employees’ expectations and away from their silly PMS instructions and procedures. Those managers who challenge the status quo, prompting their employees to live out of their comfort zone, allowing a leeway for personal and professional development; are they sticking to those silly quarter or semi-annual reviews as the magic key for performance development?!
Let’s return to the notion of productivity! The lasting desire that is sought after by employers is probably built around the concept of discipline, while this desired discipline can be depicted in punctuality, early arrival, late departure, working on their day-off, showing up on holidays, taking no leaves, even sick leaves are minimal, making no troubles, being always compliant, accepting additional tasks, following orders, sticking to rules and procedures, and showing agreeableness to superiors’ opinions. Congratulations you got the perfect employee, no more troubles! Moreover, in some regions, yelling at the employee's face isn’t a stigma; on the contrary this behavior might be respected as an indicator of powerfulness and strictness, and this behavior might also also perceived as acceptable quirk to foster discipline. Let’s rethink the concept of discipline!!!
“Looking over your employees’ shoulders, controlling their actions, resolving their conflicts, punishing every mistake and micromanaging their behaviors … is simply a strategy for disciplining their behaviors (Behaviorism), In fact you are substituting their ability to discipline themselves (self-regulation) with this kind of artificial strategy (Discipline Me), strengthening the borders of their comfort zones, quenching their capabilities and potential talents… I don't think anyone of us has met a disengaged child?!!! …”
Now, you might be able to extrapolate the main bedrocks by which the current performance management system emanated to become a magic tool to align individual and Organization performance around the notion of discipline for productivity. Here’s why most of the employers and managers are surprised to know that more 70% of the workforce around the globe aren’t engaged!!!
If employees, managers, organizations and even customers aren’t happy with the current performance management practices, why should we continue using those silly approaches? Debating over the methodology “MBO, competency or behavioral anchored, mix, etc”, one rater or multiple ones, quarterly, or semi-annually, formal or casual, tied to rewards or not, source for training needs, etc. Convincing managers that they can push coaching into their reviews, while their employees can’t foresee anything than their next pay increase!!
If those systems continue to fail over and over again to drive employee engagement and to spur innovation and creativity, why do we push managers and leaders to comply with those policies and procedures as a means of justifying their performance measurements and evaluations? Let's rethink it over, do we hire and promote managers to evaluate others’ performance, is that why their managerial responsibility is critical and important or do we probably hire them for a much more important pivotal role? It's undeniable and axiomatic that the possibility of having two managers report identical performance evaluation results for the same person, even if they had the opportunity to observe his/her performance over same tasks; is just a joke. The process of judgement is already a retrospective action that goes through personal filters of experiences, background, emotional state, perceptions and so forth, which guarantees falsified consistency of evaluations. Apart from all of these drawbacks, it looks like we have designed a system to chase success in the future through analyzing the past. Current performance management practices are almost retrospective rather than being prospective, incurring criticism, judgment, focusing on shortcomings, and weaknesses, creating sense of dissatisfaction and demotivation or even a blinky sense of happiness, getting those additional bucks to survive for the next review.
I'm not trying to negate the importance of discipline, but I’m just trying to gauge the gap between positive discipline and falsified version of discipline (discipline me strategy) that is built around agreeableness and obedience, spawning a highly dependent laggard rather than growing independent entrepreneurs who are characterized for innovation, decision making and life-long learning.
It's time to understand that organizations are able to transform cultures and revolutionize employee habits and practices rather than blaming them for its inadequacies and shortcomings.
Those great managers who were able to light up the fire, fostering individual and team growth, while providing a real sense of purpose, collaboration and accountability; are almost left behind the scene, considering their contribution as an addition or a surplus of what’s been already delineated in the system.
Yes we need to breakdown those current models, to replace them with a new technology that is able to drive employee engagement, foster innovation and grow more entrepreneurs.
A revolutionized model of performance management, bolstered with a brand new philosophy and mentality, is needed.. Do you agree?
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