Friday, January 18, 2013

Why not take the simple path to performance improvement in 2013?

Traditional performance management is often hard.
The Enhancing Their Gifts System (ETGS) is simple. It's about performance leadership.

Traditional performance management systems are often hard for 5 fundamental reasons:

1) They are seen as being primarily about formal performance reviews.
2) The system or processes are seen as being cumbersome and time consuming, perceived to not actually lead to performance improvement, and therefore provoke cynicism, skepticism, frustration and even downright anger
3) A lot of people think performance management is the processes followed to let go people whose performance is less than acceptable.
4) There is a reluctance to have conversations about performance particularly when there is conflict, disagreement and/or difficulty.
5) There is a hangover from all of the above and many people are feeling and thinking this is all too hard.

1) Formal performance reviews

Formal performance reviews are hard when they are conducted infrequently.  The norm is once a year and many people still refer to the process as the annual appraisal.  Often the process and the filling out of lots of paperwork and/or online inputting is seen as something that has to be done rather than something that is integral to great work.

Formal performance reviews/appraisals are mostly done for the purposes of documenting performance perceptions and often more for legal and compliance reasons than performance improvement ones.

The exponential speed of technological change and the digitization of business processes and relationships means almost everything is fast and instantaneous and so to leave anything to a once a year exercise is a recipe for no action and the perception of being a waste of time and energy.

In fact formal performance reviews are a great idea and essential to performance improvement.  They only work well however when there has been meaningful, valued and continual informal exchanges about performance .

In the Enhancing Their Gifts System (ETGS), formal performance reviews take a few minutes and are held every 90 days. They are a positive, uplifting and productive experience because they are a moment in time capture of what’s worth celebrating and what can be better around already known and agreed performance factors.  Such conversations are possible because the focus of ETGS is on conversations about performance being integral to every day work that happen informally every day.

2) The system or processes are seen as being cumbersome and time consuming, perceived to not actually lead to performance improvement, and therefore provoke cynicism, skepticism, frustration and even downright anger

The ETGS framework means only one piece of paper is ever in use and it is completed candidly and joyfully because of everything that happens before and after it is completed.  This means any feelings of being cumbersome and time consuming are eliminated and all traces of cynicism, skepticism, frustration and anger are gone.

3) Letting people go whose performance is less than acceptable


Focusing on managing people we want in and managing those we don’t want out is a common approach in business.  This approach many have observed is like herding cats.  It’s hard! What if people can’t be managed?  See my article Stop Trying To Manage People.

The ETGS leads people and provides a framework that enables people to lead themselves which means the right people stay and those who fit somewhere else leave with dignity.

4) There is a reluctance to have conversations about performance particularly when there is conflict, disagreement and/or difficulty.

Soft skills are NOT hard to learn, especially when accompanied by an easy-to-implement model or system. Unfortunately, most people are never given the opportunity to learn the soft skills essential to effective leadership.  ETGS makes such learning possible.

ETGS is people focused. Enhancing the gifts and talents of your people is a key way to let them know that they are valued. People respond, engage more fully, go the extra mile, and do everything they can to enhance the work of your organisation.

One of the most critical soft skills of leadership is the ability to hold difficult conversations with employees about perceived performance gaps.  The ETGS and associated mentoring helps people to learn and apply such skills.  Over time the framework eliminates the two biggest reasons for human conflict - a disagreement on where we’re going and the most prevalent, a disagreement on how we will get there.

For more some great insights into soft skills I highly recommend a book by Maree Harris, an accredited mentor of ETGS.  It’s called Soft Skills The Hard Stuff of Success.  You can download the introduction and chapter 1 here.

5) There is a hangover from all the negatives about performance management and many people are feeling and thinking this is all too hard.

"Every talent management process in use today was developed half a century ago. It's time for a new model.” said Peter Cappeli in Harvard Business Review article "Talent Management for the 21st Century" (March 2008).

The ETGS is such a new model.  Rather than focusing on old style management which most performance management or talent management systems do, that of planning, organizing, directing and controlling, ETGS unleashes talent and enables people to do their own planning, organising and directing in alignment with business directions and goals.  The ETGS allows people to control their own destiny while at the same time bringing their best to their work and in so doing helping you achieve your destiny.

Why not take the simple path to performance improvement in 2013?

Begin by experiencing part of the Enhancing Their Gifts System here and then get in touch with an accredited mentor or myself.

Be remarkable
Ian


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