The need for leaders to rethink Performance Management in line with business outlook

I communicate regularly with business leaders and below are some of the anxieties that often bother them.

“I have best-in-class technology, but still my quality of products is not best-in-market.”

“I have recently hired the best of the talents, but they are not delivering as per the company’s expectations.”

“Though I am Numero Uno in my industry segment, why I am getting poor feedback about my
company’s culture from others?”

“We have still not thought about our current year’s strategy as we are still managing the crisis.”

“Market being so uncertain, it is just not possible to have long-term performance plans. But then how am I going to review the growth or check the sustainability of my business? How am I going to decide who will do what to manage this uncertain future? I need to have a line of sight.”

I would say, not all of it is anxiety, some are exaggerations and excuses. And mind you, these exaggerations or excuses are created ones – created may be by top management, may be by senior leadership team, or employees, or age-old processes, non-productive or people-centric structure, strong & wrong Influencers, and mainly due to the mindset of the people running the show.

We have been hearing about VUCA World since the early 1990s and so it was always a reality. It is just that we have strongly experienced it very closely since the last two years. Are we not aware of the fact that life is uncertain, but do we stop dreaming? Tomorrow is uncertain but I have today to prepare for tomorrow. Right? I have my past learnings to create a better future. All these constantly remind me of ‘Change is the only constant’. It is important to understand that this is a change all of us are going through. Faster we respond to this change, assured is our sustainability & growth.

Having realized all that, there is another reality that we cannot run away from and i.e., Managing Performance of Business in any difficult situation. My Business needs to have a strong tool that will enable me to take the following five Preventive Actions to manage any difficult Situation.

There is no other tool than an effective performance management system to create a bridge between the change anticipated and business strategy for the continuity & sustainability of the business. But the key to success lies with the leadership team.

What are these Leadership Essentials to manage Business Performance in any situation ?

  • 1. Well-crafted Business Continuity Plan – Leaders needs to have a tool and process in place to continuously evaluate external and internal factors impacting the business. The business continuity plan shall cover the elements – Vision, Strategy, Tool to convert strategy into actions, Well-thought plans – A & B, cascading technique to flow company’s strategies & actions to various Departments, and from there to Individuals.
  • 2. Continuous Performance Review – Leaders should emphasise on having periodic scorecards by conducting critical performance review meetings at company level, with departments, and at individual level. This shall help leaders take appropriate measure in time without discovering the failure at a much later stage. The study shows that the leaders reviewing the performance continuously have been able to sustain the business.
  • 3. Performance Management is a serious Business – Leadership must give a strong message to employees about zero tolerance to non-performance. Establishing a performance culture is possible only when the organization realizes a need to record it, review it, and reward it.
  • 4. Drive through Data – Leaders must live by data. Having a strong performance reporting system created and implemented shall help them track, review, take corrective actions, and continue the business. It is true – If it is not reviewed, it is not done. What should be reviewed is data on performance against the plan.
  • 5. Review-Reward-Retain – Keep motivation at the top of your leadership priorities list. A happy, motivated, rewarded employee will deliver the performance you want them to.

A strategically designed performance management system will proactively engage your employees in the organization’s goal-setting process making sure that all goals are in correlation with the organization’s overall target.

It is imperative that business leaders in any organization acknowledge the importance of performance management. Though it may consume your time to put together, investing your resources into developing an effective performance management strategy will be well worth the effort.

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