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Peter Drucker once said: The only things to evolve by themselves in organisations are chaos, friction, disorder and malperformance. He implies that the main reason some things don't go according to plan is that there never was one; that far too many improvisational approaches to far too much of what is important are the far too frequent norm. That is our own experience with conventional approaches to performance management. For example:
- Executive Groups, Senior Management teams and leaders struggle with over-large gaps between their ideals and the current reality of organisational output, organisational culture or individuals' performance. We often find that the foundational reference-points for purpose, mission, values, philosophy, desired culture, strategic direction and even job roles and responsibilities (a) do not exist; or (b) are outdated and invalid; (c) have never been clarified beyond relatively meaningless slogans and consequently, confusion, tentativity, and conflicting interpretations abound.
- Managers and leaders commonly use Performance Management to describe the close oversight and tight supervision given someone who is not performing: as in, for example, "He wasn't shaping up so we had to performance-manage him." This indicates performance management is the exception rather than the rule: because "management by exception" failed, "management by blunt axe" or "micro-management" is now called for.
- In the performance management process, problems need resolving, differences and conflicts must be addressed and decisions made. Yet few managers apply pre-determined, carefully-designed and refined models and processes for these everyday events. Improvisation, sometimes based on models learned in the playground, prevail. Differences and problems fester, become taboo topics and hidden agenda or endlessly resurface in different forms.
- Business meetings are often characterised by an absence of attention to managing their process and outcomes. In an effort to avoid being seen as autocratic or controlling, those who should manage them initiate or tolerate messily democratic, unguided improvisation. Focus wanders. Group energy is dulled. Confusion and difference multiply. Creativity and constructive activity drop.
We do not believe that through rational analysis, methodical organisation and artfulness it is possible to order all aspects of groups and organisations toward efficiency and control, leaving nothing to chance. Nor do we value or want that possibility, if indeed it is one. We prefer the uncertainty of spontaneity. We are not machines, and when we get together for collective endeavour, interesting, challenging and unpredictable things will always happen, no matter what efforts are made to tame chaos and eliminate random events.
However, we do value and have experienced that more of the desirable effects are possible than is usual and it is worth striving for them.
"You have to take it as it happens but you should try to make it happen
the way you want to take it." German Proverb
As with success in our personal lives or elsewhere, successful individual, group, team or organisational performance requires continuous methodical proactivity, skillful strategic thinking and well-planned, systematically-managed development based on clarity of purpose and direction.
To the extent that we fail to attend to these things, unnecessary difficulties sooner or later arise. The extent to which we do nurture them (and deal directly, creatively and courageously with whatever problems do arise anyway), is what distinguishes ordinary progress from extraordinarily achievement, survival from thrival.
EncourageMentors' approach to performance management is based on supporting you to make some infrequently-applied commonsense ideas, (conceptual frameworks, processes and behaviours), your common practice.
We work with individual leaders and managers, senior management teams and project groups to help you:
- Apply a simple model of methodical management to all aspects of your responsibilities, to simplify them and provide you with confidence about your processes.
- Manage performance continuously and incrementally.
- Clarify purpose, ideals, intentions, principles, policies and desired culture.
- Simply and safely establish whatever gaps exist between those ideals and the current reality.
- Apply simple surveys to (a) establish current reality (b) increase target-setting collaboration (c) monitor progress and (d) evaluate performance results.
- Determine and develop competence with appropriate problem clarification, conflict resolution and decision-making models.
- Manage the tension between operating within a hierarchical organisation and constituents' desire to work with increasing collaboration and consultation.
- Methodically plan, manage and monitor development plans to enhance performance.
- Address under-performance confidently.
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