Today’s economic and cultural environment that businesses have to work in are subject to the greatest levels of change we have ever experienced. Nothing is the same as it was. Everything is either growing or dying.
What do companies have to do today to be ready for the advanced changes that will be happening tomorrow?
Successful companies are going to be the ones who have evolved their traditional performance management systems into a more sophisticated set of real time conversations that focus on collaborative rather than individual performance.
Such conversations help individuals understand that how they work together is as important as how they work independently. Individuals need to adjust their contributions to meet the changing circumstances and needs of the business as a whole. The business needs to ensure that the workers have adequate, timely information that allows them to perceive when they need to adjust or adapt to enable the success of the team effort. Individual performance remains critical, but it needs to be referenced against the changing requirements of the team. Businesses can expand from an individual to a collaborative focus by including the following elements in the on-going conversations about the work:
The realities of today’s business environment require companies to be fast, focused and adaptable in order to thrive. Business processes that hinder these organisational capabilities must be reworked and updated. Processes that pass information rapidly, that foster communication among the people working interdependently, and that help every individual reference their efforts against the company’s strategic aims are vital. If a business wants to be fast, focused and adaptable it must have the infrastructure to act that way.
The most effective way for a business to create this infrastructure is to remove the barriers that prevent individuals from talking together, and minimise delays in providing feedback. Create and reinforce the expectation that coworkers and collaborators will talk directly about the quality of their collaboration. Remove the long delays between performance and feedback by ensuring that dynamic conversations about the work are happening continuously rather than on occasional, predetermined dates. Expand employees’ understanding of their roles from thinking of themselves as individual performers to being able to think about their performance from the perspective of the company in action.
There is an old Chinese proverb that states, no matter how far you’ve walked down the wrong road, stop! If you are trying to improve the performance of your team by using outmoded individual performance management systems, the results will be disappointing. On the other hand, by helping your people work together for greatest effect, you will create an unassailable competitive advantage.
Head of Training
Originally published: 26 October, 2012