Great leadership is grossly misunderstood. It is not that there is not enough knowledge about leadership: books, articles and seminars abound. There is just little understanding about what really makes...
“CEB research found that 86% of organizations had recently made significant changes to their performance management system, or were planning to. In 2014, a Deloitte survey found that 58% percent of companies surveyed did not think performance management was an effective use of time, and many media outlets jumped on the opportunity to air their grievances.
Finally, the rising wave of discontent seemed to crash in 2015, as a slew of large organizations like GE, Accenture, Netflix, and Adobe all scrapped their age-old annual performance management processes in favor of more continuous feedback systems. Many others followed suit.”
Leadership Lesson: A number of years ago, leadership began using a new term –performance management. This term was a move away from people management, which was no longer acceptable. It was outdated and demeaning to manage people. That practice was for the Neanderthal autocrats of the past. As with many of the changes that occur in management circles, however, the terms changed but the practices did not. As a result everyone acted the same way but those practices was under “new management.”
Now we move to 2016 and companies are dissatisfied with the old ways. Performance appraisals are verboten. Performance management is considered a waste of time. People don’t need to be managed, that’s demeaning. Continuous feedback systems are all the rage. All that may be true but once again the thought leaders have missed the boat. They tweak current practices (continuous feedback rather than performance appraisals. Really?) rather than look for a new paradigm. It is time to throw out the old approaches and bring in the new.
Today the emphasis should be focused on value-added outcomes. Performance management must become Outcome Leadership.
Outcome Leadership is composed of 4 basic components, each of which is essential for outcomes to be achieved. When efforts fall short of target, each area (not just the performer) must be assessed to determine how to prevent future problems.
1. The overall focus is excellence. High quality work in every high value area, every time – no exceptions!
2. Outcome Direction: Leadership is necessary for outcome leadership to work. As a foundation for outcomes to result, leadership must ensure an appropriate setting for outcomes is established:
a. Structure – Provide the necessary structure (processes, procedures etc.) so people can spend time doing high value work rather than figuring out how to do the work.
b. Access – To needed information, people and resources necessary to achieve the outcomes.
c. Guidance – Expand thinking on how to proceed where necessary
d. Clarity – Define what success looks like or bless the direction proposed by staff so outcome target and objectives are clear.
3. People are essential to producing outcomes. This requires:
a. Foundation – core traits and capabilities that underlie every action a person will take.
i. Integrity –Demonstrating that others can count on receiving honest communication at all times.
ii. Emotional intelligence – The capability to read situations and others and adjust behavior to provide the most effective approach.
iii. Decision-making – The core skill of making data driven decisions and to anticipate risk that will result from that action or inaction.
b. Skills – Up to date professional or technical skills in the area of the person’s expertise.
c. Focus – The ability to differentiate between high value and low value and to prioritize work efforts accordingly.
d. Synergy – the ability to work with ideas and people to produce results higher than what one could have achieved by themselves.
i. Collaboration – The ability to work with others and raise the performance level of the group.
ii. Innovation – The ability to create new value.
iii. Execution and application – The ability to execute plans to completion and to apply knowledge and practices to specific situations.
4. Outcome Monitoring and Support. This requires leadership to:
a. Assess outcome progress – Work with staff around outcome benchmarks or at the completion to determine progress or results.
b. Coordination – Work across the organizations to ensure appropriate others know of the project, its status, its implications and support required.
c. Problem Solving – Work with staff to analyze problems, find and fix causes that inhibit outcomes.
d. Coaching – Provide on-going feedback about efforts, progress and next steps.
e. Accountability – Reward and recognize performance commensurate with outcomes achieved.
Whereas performance management looks at the successes or failures of individuals in their efforts to achieve results, Outcome Leadership looks at the entire integrated system necessary to achieve outcomes.
This approach is built around an integrated partnership between leadership and staff to produce excellent outcomes; both of which must perform for outcomes to be achieved.
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