Performance Matrix – Investing in 'High Flyers' & Managing Poor Performance
"Performance is not a matter of luck or accident. Success leaves behind a very distinct trail of development, coaching and self-motivation."
Organisations are still reluctant to deal with performance issues which impact the bottom line. Here is an approach to support owners, CEO’s and manager to better asess the actions they can take with developing staff.
Before we talk about the core issues - there is a ‘golden rule’ which I tend to employ before assessing the action I can take.
What decisions would I make about the development of staff if it was me who was funding their salaries?
It is simple – would you let people who were struggling continue to do so? What action would you take to equip them with the skills and behaviours to promote your business and achieve outstanding performance?
Most people come to work to do a great job – but sometimes they are not as engaged as you might like. So if they are not capable to do so do you have the processes to enable them to achieve such goals?
How well do you look after your ‘New Shoot’s? These are people new to a role but maybe cioming from a different background. Are they equipped to achive the standards you ideally demand? Do they have the freedom to succeed without having to refer every decision to you? Do they have a safety net if they don’t get it right first time? Do you have the capability to coach them to high performance?
And what about the ‘steady Eddie’s? These are those great folk who have been with you a long time who have become alittle jaded. I call them the “backbone” of the organisation because they know the history and mostprocesses inside out. Have you neglected their develeopment? have you taken their contribution for granted? If so how can you inspire them to engage even more and do an even better job?
Over the years, I have developed quite a sophisticated Performance matrix to examine categories of staff and the development they require to meet the crietri of being a 'High Flyer'.
High Flers - what are they?
We can agree that the top right hand quadrant "High Flyer" does not refer to all those who only go on to become CEO and top ranking company officers. I use the term to refer to anyone who does an 'outstanding job and has huge potential for the future. It has nothing to do with their poistion in the hierarchy - rather their contribution to the company.
Many also agree that by default, a number of people in the organisation seem to have gravitated to the bottom right quadrant. These "solid citizens", the 'Backbone' of the organisation, have probably been over-looked precisely because they do a fantastic job - but have been doing the same job for too long and need some stimulation and motivation. Commentators agree we need to stop taking them for granted and help these people and maximise their potential.
New Shoots" - Young abandoned Professional
I had a young project manager email me about the top left quadrant - the "New Shoots" quadrant. He said it placed him perfectly. As an IT graduate in his late 20's he'd been given lots of opportunity to succeed with new roles and new responsibilities in an SME. He had also been given the poisoned chalice because jhe had not been coached into the expectations of the role.
He had no support, development or any attempt to provide him with a mentor or coach in his new role. Up to now he had succeeded, but he foresaw a time when he may not.
Just a point for those operations people out there who think that youth and enthusiasm is sufficient to take young professionals to the next level. They also need support and mentoring into the new role. The alternative is that these vibrant "New Shoots" could fail without the required support and end up in the "Question Marks" quadrant.
Question Marks or 'Deadwood'
Some do not seem to like the identification of the folk who people the bottom left hand quadrant as 'Question Marks' These are identified as not contributing to current performance and not showing much interest or talent for the future. I had one respondent who used different terminology and maybe unfairly labelled this quadrant "Deadwood". I would disagree with this because the people may have evolved into 'Deadwood' because their poor performance has not been drawn to their attention. Their current performance may be due to how they have been led and managed (or not) as may be the case.
I agree that managing poor performance is a serious issue for many businesses. There are people who are not contributing to the organisation yet rewarded on the same basis as consistent achievers, but no action is taken to resolve the anomaly. If this remains the case then others witness the inaction and presume that the 'very low performance standard' is acceptable. There is a danger that this could become the norm, and, thus, performance further falls and with it morale and the ‘bottom line’.
Building a Robust High Performance Culture
RHP Process ã
This RHP process has been devised to act as a major building block in developing a high performance business culture. The exercises can help support building a resilient corporate culture supporting many locations, functions, processes and even different geographies.
Purpose & Benefits
The culture is the infrastructure, the glue that bind together people and processes to generate results. The purpose of this RHP process is to enable much faster generation of a business culture that enables people to achieve results. In particular the RHP will:
Rationale: De-Mystifying Culture Change
Unfortunately, most organisations have a business culture that has evolved by accident or default rather than created and designed to achieve the objectives of the business. Make no mistake, every organisation has a culture. Some are strong, some are weak, many are inappropriate for the challenges ahead and most managers do not have the technologies or the ‘know how’ to rejuvenate their culture.
The problem for most organisations is that, given the choice, those who manage the business would change their current culture today for a new vibrant culture that delivered outstanding results tomorrow. Because business people are so busy growing and running their business – the growth of the culture can be left on one side. A vibrant culture will not grow by accident. And although business culture is talked about a great deal few understand how to build and sustain a successful culture. A weak culture will yield poor results and negative attitudes, not just within the business, but also reflected by the negative response of customers. Left to its own devices a business with a weak culture will decline, in terms of profitability and customer loyalty. Without rejuvenation or radical surgery the business will not survive.
However, a strong and positive business culture based upon sound Values reflected in outstanding levels of performance will prosper. This organisation will grow exponentially and will make best use of the people at all levels. It will be focused upon achieving satisfaction for its customers, staff and shareholders. There is no doubt that given the choice, most people would seek to work in this business than one with a strong negative or weak climate.
Creating a High Performance Driven Culture
What do we need to do more of to build the RHP Culture?
Using the Model above it is relatively simple to examine the major components that contribute to creating the desired business culture. The secret that many business organisations cannot understand is the relationship between the components in the diagram above, how do they interact, which are independent and dependent variables and what causes a culture to be created as a chained sequence.
A RHP culture can be rapidly built by adhering to a sequence of events and processes which, when carefully brought together, will highlight how any organisation can radically redesign and implement a new business culture.
Much of this work is not just based upon rigorous research but also on what the ‘excellent’ companies are undertaking in their own change management strategies. The work has been successfully applied in consultancy interventions and tailored to meet the special needs of particular businesses in a variety of contexts.
Tailored vs One Size Fits All
The Model (diagram above) is appropriate to all businesses – ‘One Size Fits All’. However, the activities and the choice of tools that neatly fit within each of the six areas will be applied differently depending upon the special context of the business, namely its competitive position within its market, the relative size and complexity of business, the relative success of HR and change management strategies, and a risk assessment of the challenges the business faces.
How is RHP Applied?
· Decide on the scope of RHP. Is it on smaller scale perhaps establishing a new culture for a Call Centre, Customer Service Unit, Sales Team, or relating to a process? Is its scope Organisation wide, post merger or acquisition integration, forming joint ventures or operating across a number of diverse Geographies?
· Decide on the degree of detail to be achieved. Are people using The RHP as a tool to debate the key issues for action or is there a commitment to use the full technology of the exercise to develop a detailed and sequenced action plan for change that will be presented to senior management for approval?
· Decide on the purpose of the RHP exercise and the resources required to deliver results. Commit to agree the steps of the exercise and how it can be communicated and rolled out within the business and who has responsibility as sponsor and change agent.
RHP Process – working in Teams
Stage 1 Application of RHP: Defining the Project
Stage 2: What Core Values should drive this organisation
Stage 3: Policies and Practices
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