An Eye on Performance Management

Posted by George Lowry on October 17, 2017

At times I struggle with the data behind various power-stats but this one from Workfront, Inc. stood out, and I believe to be true...  

"Employees spend just 39 percent of their time on the duties they were hired to perform. In fact, productivity has been declining since 2000. Less productive teams pose a bigger threat than slow workdays and idle employees. Businesses, industries, and the economy suffer when productivity levels drop.” — Workfront, Inc.

One example that immediately came to mind is a well-known enterprise that I have worked with in the past. Their business operates by little more than consensus and compromise. Their culture feeds off meetings… and they actually have meetings to set meetings. Only afterwards do they realize that they were not prepared to meet in the first place. Truthfully, this enterprise is not alone, as I can offer other examples of organizations with the same internal cultural issues.

Organizations entrenched in this behavior waste a tremendous amount of time and money just in day to day operations. Even less productivity is realized when they expand a small initiative out of organizational courtesy to include many participants, when a single individual would suffice. I find this partially symptomatic of having too narrowly defined areas of responsibility and as well the potential fear of blame in the event of failure. It seems to me that accountability gets diluted when responsibility is too widely shared.

Hopefully I don’t sound too cynical here, still I can’t help but shrug at the thought that many business leaders have not recognized the needs and methods to cut through the clutter of their own bureaucracies.

Why is it so hard to drive cultural changes that promote healthy outcomes?

One cannot argue that the right organizational culture creates an environment that offers its employees greater purpose. And when people have purpose, they naturally perform at higher levels. Similar to safety, organizations that strive to be outcome-driven find that ‘making improvements’ is Job One. Outcome-driven organizations tend to be that way because they have adopted organizational excellence models, such as Lean Six Sigma and others, to foster a shift towards operational excellence.  They don’t just talk, they act in a manner that focuses on objectives, measurement, improvement, and the sustainment of performance.  

Three years ago, my company expanded into the performance management space by offering a solution called Propel. Hence my power-stat interest… The companies that employ our solution, are knowingly and unknowingly applying the common elements of organizational models that allow them to focus on managing performance and not just measuring it. In doing so, they have a greater power to enhance their competitive posture in the industries they serve because they have a mechanism to sustain the right culture to be outcome-driven.

I wonder if the employees surveyed in the power-stat actually operate in a culture that promotes being outcome-driven and more importantly, do their managers?

Follow our current Performance Management initiatives, or join us for more discussions.

Topics: Performance Management, Performance Management for Maximo

Written by George Lowry

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