“The work we started three years ago with the leadership team has had a direct impact on our commercial success.”
— CEO of major high-street retailer
Elements of our approach
There are three main elements to our overall approach to strategic performance management that we have shared successfully with our clients. These are:
- Helping managers to understand ‘how performance happens’ in their organization and integrating the lessons from this into everyday leadership practice. This is outlined in the How We’re Different pages on this site.
- Encouraging and assisting them to base their approach to ‘performance management’ on high expectations of people’s willingness and ability to perform. This shifts the emphasis from control-based mechanisms (such as personal targets and third-party measurement of their work) to actions and interactions aimed at enabling people to excel.
- Using our Business Performance Framework (BPF) to enable managers to develop a strategic view of the business (or element of it) and to facilitate the ongoing, day-to-day management of the business. An outline summary of the BPF can be downloaded from the Our Frameworks page. The “organizational dynamics” element of the BPF reflects the ‘wiggly world’ dynamics of real-world organization.
Any one of the three elements can be used independently, as we have done on various occasions, or they can be integrated into a comprehensive, organization-wide approach to performance management. In the case referred to in the opening quotation, for example, we have often used the Business Performance Framework to structure the conversations of senior teams (and others) concerning their business strategy and consequential operational changes. In another case, all three elements have been combined to enable a fundamental shift in leadership practice and establish an organization-wide business performance process.
Focus on performance management ahead of performance measurement
Conventional performance management, as typified by the balanced scorecard, ‘carrot and stick’ reward systems, and over-reliance on formal, programmed feedback sessions, tends to subordinate the quest for peak performance to a rigid and impersonal focus on performance measurement. However …
…you can’t collapse the full breadth of performance management into a system of performance measurement.
It is also essential not to decouple conversations on ‘people performance’ from those relating to the strategic management and development of the business.