NUGGET : Performance management? Start over with these 4 additional strategies!


This is the fifth article in the Transforming Performance Management series. The first presented a case for taking a new approach. The second and third examined why it is so hard to make changes. In the last article, I suggested four important steps toward a new approach: 1) use different approaches for managing stability and change, 2) redraw the organization to show work flows vs. decision structure, 3) embrace open system values, and 4) bring self-management to the fore. Here I add four more changes that can launch a new era in how we align people and work. This continues to build a scenario in which leaders and team members take primary responsibility for the management processes and HR helps to prepare the culture and people for their roles.

5. Zero-base formal leadership. Leadership is everybody’s business, of course, but some people are paid to lead – to be sure the organization and networks are well designed, have direction and resources, and are supported to perform. It’s a matter of HOW, not WHETHER this formal role exists and is exercised. It’s time (overdue, I think) to redefine management/leadership work for today’s complex, rapidly changing, and networked world.

6. Release HR from ongoing management responsibilities. There is important work for HR to do in this changing world of work. First, organizations desperately need help to create an open, networked, change-oriented culture that operates “on the edge” – open to change while maintaining an excellent and reliable core. Second, institutional leaders AND the people they lead all need support to shift their mindsets, practices and use of power so that everyone participates fully as members of a multi-directional network vs. a box in a cascade. And third, global and agile strategies require better ways of finding, using, and developing talent. HR needs to disentangle from day to day performance management (which is the responsibility of formal leaders and individuals themselves) so that they can focus their vital support role on these bigger design challenges.

7. Raise all ships with Process-LITE. Process has gotten a bad rap, but let’s not throw the good out with the bad. Today’s organizations need a crisscross web of process-LITE: software, guidelines, and routines that everyone uses so that they accomplish more together than they could individually. There is a secret to good process: it has to add value, be continually energized, and not become calcified. It has to unleash thinking and communication rather than replace it. And it has to be something that everyone uses and has the skills and information to use.

8. Change the relationship between performance and rewards. Work quality in an agile environment requires feedback, learning, initiative, and quick recovery from failure. These are generally retarded by the traditional hard link of individual performance with pay and other high value personal outcomes like promotion. For these and other reasons, it is important to change the relationship between performance and rewards. Taking steps 1-7 above will make it possible to move to a new reward paradigm.

The relationship between performance and rewards is a hot topic and one that I will focus on in a future article on this site.

NUGGET : Performance management? Start over with these 4 additional strategies!

I’d love your thoughts – in the comment section below, or to me personally at

Also, I invite you to please share this article with others in your network.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *