Peter Drucker, the father of management, became internationally renowned for urging corporate leaders to agree objectives and goals with their staff and then give them control over how to achieve these objectives. However, despite this, many organisations fail to create the link between objectives and the routes to achieving them. As a result, many performance management systems end up being too prescriptive, leaving little room for individual input.
To create a high performing organisation, it is essential that the goals of a business and its people are correctly aligned. However, creating a dogmatic approach to performance will not engage employees. It will certainly not unleash the creativity needed to help the business. Nor will it ensure that the organisation’s strategic objectives are effectively met.
A first point for managers is to understand the importance of correctly managing performance. A crucial mistake that many managers make is in assuming that their people understand the direction of the business and are aware of the part that each individual is to play. By focussing directly on managing performance, managers can ensure that they:
1. Align the organisation, systems and people
2. Direct employee’s to areas of the greatest benefit
3. Focus employee’s behaviours
4. Provide opportunities for feedback
However, this is in itself insufficient. For real engagement managers need to go further. The essence of managing performance is providing clear guidance and direction to staff and then allowing them to get on with their work. This requires trust, communication, transparency and honesty. In other words, hard work from both sides that does not come from a once or twice a year performance management meeting.