There was a great LinkedIn discussion on the topic of why performance management is more than just being about metrics. It was started by one of my favourite contributors (Torben Rick http://www.torbenrick.eu/).
He started a conversation about what factors drive business performance and specifically the impact of both strategy and culture on attaining results. He points out that performance management and the associated metrics which measure achievement of goals and objectives are only half the story. The other critical activity is the conversations that must take place about those metrics.
It is such conversations which cause the modifications of practices and behaviours which are so necessary to drive the changes required for an organization to act differently to achieve better results.
One of the areas which is so frequently overlooked when creating a Performance Management Centre-of-Excellence/Business Intelligence Competency Centre (or whatever else you want to call it), is attention to changing business culture. There may be an executive sponsor, ideally very senior and credible, who typically focuses on the strategy elements (left hand side of the diagram), but that person needs to additionally ensure there is leadership on the cultural aspects (right hand side). They may provide this leadership themselves or enlist the help of a partner, such as Human Resources (HR), to put in place programs, training, or whatever it takes to drive the necessary cultural change.
If this doesn’t happen then behaviours are unlikely to change. The organization will think it is embracing performance management, but unless managers and supervisors at all levels, as well as knowledge workers, are educated and motivated, then the success will be limited.
A classic example of the type of education that is needed is around the subject of decision making. Most people have no formal training in how to make a decision, or how to present information so a decision can be made. This may sound ridiculous; everyone knows how to make a decision. The question should be how do you make good decisions, make them once, and make them stick. There are a small number of published decision making models, and if you reviewed them you would note how much more similar they are to each other, than different. Having some commonly understood model or framework is likely more important than which specific one you choose.
When people talk about performance management they frequently also mention “fact-based” decision making. In general, people have even less training in what fact-based decision making is, how to do it, what its strengths and weaknesses are, how it complements not replaces experience and judgement, and where it fits into a decision making model.
Without suitable tailored education it is quite likely that decisions will not be fact-based, but will continue to be made by the seat-of-the-pants, even in an organization that believes it is embracing performance management.
This is one good reason why someone on the BICC/PM C-of-E should be focused on cultural change. It could be HR or an alternative, but if there is only focus on the strategy (goals/objectives) without a balance of emphasis on culture (practices/behaviours), then the road to better performance management results will be a much tougher and longer one.
The above discussion is just one example of why a successful BICC/PM C-of-E, supporting a performance management initiative, does not belong as an IT-centric or managed business function; and that is a much wider ranging discussion.
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