Since Dilbert is the one who has inspired this article, think about a situation where he was invited to audit the performance management system of your organization?
Hold that thought for some introspection and let’s talk about Strong Performance Systems
The foundation to any rational organization is its strongly laid performance systems. It is a definite cycle that the organization must go through. Selecting the right fit for the job and the firm, setting performance expectations, providing for corrective and/or developmental feedback & guidance and last but not the least, rewarding the desired performance in a timely manner.
It’s all there in the management books, but how much we actually adhere to these systems religiously, is what differentiates an organization that is rational from the one that is not!
So how do we audit this aspect? Almost every performance gap can be tracked back to the failures in any one of the elements of the above cycle.
Ask these questions: How many people did the organization hire and did not work out? What were the reasons for them not working out? How many employees are told about their performance gaps many months after finding out the gap? How many such gaps are ignored or pushed under the table until the problem becomes huge? How many employees get a raise just for being there and how many managers get bonuses just so they stay? How many employees attend training and come back to their desk to hear, “ok come back to the real world now”?
Policies and procedures may look good on paper, however the real goodness of their very existence is only reflected when they are correctly implemented. It all boils down to, what employees are formally told to do and expected to do and how often they are rewarded and critically reviewed (all of this in a timely manner)
Speaking of Excellence!
I won’t be wrong in saying that all organizations are operating at some level of success. Well, if not, there would be no more to discuss here! I would also be correct in saying that, it does not require a huge turnaround to move from the ‘mediocre’ stage to the ‘good’ stage. Similar to any good performer, what organizations need to do is get them in peak performance.
The winning streak for most organizations comes from, the strengths they already possess, the ones that have made them successful in the past.
The difference between the mediocre and the great companies is often a small margin; however that small margin is what creates a huge impact. Did you know that human beings and apes share more than 98% of the same DNA? Then what makes Humans superior? Probably that 2%! The difference between a Sachin Tendulkar and the other cricketers who try hard is just that one winning stroke?
Now take a sample list of companies and their ways of working, you will see that most of the companies claim to be doing the same thing and they maybe, however, if you go to the details, you will see a small yet highly impactful difference that makes some of those companies outstanding, while the rest mediocre! Take the example of 2 tennis players using the same sports equipment, the secret lies in the way each one plays.
Which means, great plans may exist, however, the execution is what matters. So when it comes to management, the success lies not in what we do, but in how we do it. Simply copying best practices may then seem disappointing. It’s a hard fact, that any manager can copy any one’s great strategy, but not the execution. That is a skill to be developed and nurtured individually.
Unless an organization has optimized the performance of its employees, it can never know how good it can be. If the current state of affairs is ok, that is good enough, however when the competitors raise their bar, a company must look within to see what it is capable of doing.