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Chapter Four: "Managing performance in an ever-changing market” Short Cycle Reviews.

The ideas: What keeps the focus on the outputs in an ever-changing market.

Chapter Four at a “Glance” [One Minute Byte]

1. Short cycle reviews increase the chances of keeping performance on target.

2. Vertical and horizontal alignment of O.K.R.’s keeps the focus coherent.

3. Separating training from rewards puts the emphasis on critical development.

4. Rewards based on up-to-date data, maintains motivation, relevance & focus.

5. The transfer of learning is essential to continue the development on target.

 

The Main Points: What are the contributing factors. (Defining the problem)

Understanding the Key Points in the Situation? [Ten Minute Bytes]

For a predator to survive, they must be faster, more powerful & agile and capable of keeping the prey continuously in focus in order to sustain themselves.

Short cycles reviews increase the chances of keeping performance on target.

  • Changes in the market are frequent, requiring the company to develop too.

  • Company development needs to be ahead of, or at the same pace as the market.

  • If you are not keeping pace, you are falling behind, this can be catastrophic.

Vertical and horizontal alignment of O.K.R.’s keeps the focus coherent.

  • When everyone is pulling in the same direction, it creates the greatest force.

  • Collective efforts must avoid “group think” through assertive communication.

  • Lateral alignment is essential to achieve sustainable long term success.

Separating training from rewards puts the emphasis on critical development.

  • Performance Management is made up of L & D and Reward & Recognition.

  • Learning & Development is best managed through short cycles reviews.

  • Changes in the market must be addressed through short cycle reviews - agility.

Rewards based on up-to-date data maintain motivation, relevance & focus.

  • Rewards must be appropriately allocated, based on actual timely performance.

  • What you reward, grows stronger and more efficient, if it is properly aligned.

  • Focused rewards develop employees towards the Company Vision & Mission.

The transfer of learning is essential to continue the development on target.

  • Training creates an understanding and a transfer of learning gives experience.

  • Skill can only be developed through regular continuous appropriate experience.

  • The more skilled you become, the more value you add to your team.

 

How can the situation be better managed:

Moving to a shared understanding of the situation? [Twenty Minute Bytes]

The changes in the market are influenced by so many conflicting factors, supply & demand, scarcity of natural resources, the constant development of technology, pollution, global market, and many more issues that lead to ever-changing demands in the market that require development within companies in order to keep pace and to survive.

Short cycles reviews increase the chances of keeping performance on target.

Market changes are frequent, requiring the company to adjust to these changes.

As the rate of change keeps accelerating and decelerating, so too will the necessary development within the company, so as to keep the known customers engaged and to be able to attract the unknown customers. Therefore the market landscape will constantly be changing, and company agility becomes essential. This must be driven by the performance management systems.

Company development needs to be ahead of, or at the same pace as the market.

In an arena of constant change, there must be an anchor of stability in order for the companies to remain focused on a fixed target. This is analogous to the concepts within martial arts. The starting point of all the moves is the fact of being centred, balanced or focused. In a business, this is comparable to a well thought-through business plan, where the strategic objectives clearly define how the company will be positioned in order to optimise the strategic advantage in the market.


If you are not keeping pace, you are falling behind, this can be catastrophic.

In learning and development, it is essential for individuals to be finding new ways to improve their performance. The best way to do this is to take the tasks necessary to achieve the Objective Key Results in their Job Profile and put these into their Action Plan for immediate attention. These are reviewed on a monthly basis. If the tasks are well defined, carefully planned and the outputs accurately calculated, then the outcomes of individual performance will contribute to team performance and the team will contribute to the company’s O.K.R.’s and strategic objectives. The single unit of the company is the individual, therefore for the company to remain on target, the majority of the individuals have to fulfil their obligations by achieving the O.K.R.’s.

 

Vertical and horizontal alignment of O.K.R.’s keeps the focus coherent.

When everyone is pulling in the same direction, it creates the greatest force.

“The sum is greater than the collection of the parts”. Therefore getting everyone focused in the same direction, is critical to getting all the energy coherently focused on the same outputs. The vertical alignment is step one, however, this is not enough because without including horizontal alignment, the collaboration and co-operation between members of a team, as well as the essential communication between teams can be lost. Therefore to both vertically and horizontally align individuals’ and teams’ outputs are another aspect that ensures that the sum is greater than the collection of the parts. Being able to structure this is the first step, managing it once it is in place is an ongoing process.


Collective efforts must avoid “group think” through collaborative communication.

When the vertical and horizontal alignment is in place, it is important that individual members of the various teams have the skill to actively listen and be able to speak up during team meetings. The reason for this is simple. A key ingredient in high performing teams is the fact that people come from different backgrounds, with a different understanding, and different experiences, thus giving the team a broader range of skills in many aspects of the team’s area of work. During discussions, this creates the opportunity for there to be more open discussions based on the variety of viewpoints on how best to deal with any specific issue. For this to occur in a collaborative and cooperative way there needs to be an assertive culture in place within all the teams.


Participative management is essential to achieve sustainable long term success.

The participative manager is best developed within an assertive culture. This is because when people are skilled in assertive communication, they can mostly actively listen, speak up, constructively address issues, manage emotions and give feedback and disclosure. In participative management, it is important when having made a decision (Possibly on a project), to then be able to delegate certain responsibilities for a task (Within the project) to another person. The manager meanwhile remains accountable for the results of the outputs of the project and the delegatè is then responsible for the outputs of the task. All of this works best in a situation where there is an assertive culture, vertical and horizontal alignment of O.K.R’s, and an element of trust amongst the members of the team.

 

Separating training from rewards puts the emphasis on critical development.

Performance Management is made up of L & D and Reward & Recognition.

In order to manage performance properly there needs to be attention to the development of individuals and teams, and at the same time rewarding and recognising individual and team contributions. But these should not be done at the same time nor in the same way. The most important aspect for continuous development is ensuring that each individual is accountable to be able to identify where they need to improve either their performance or behaviour. Having identified a gap to then have discussions with ‘relevant others’, find the best way to close the gap between the actual and the targeted performance or behaviour.

Learning & Development is best managed through short cycles reviews.

As has been mentioned in other sections of “Agile” a short cycle review creates the best opportunity to identify and manage an individual’s personal development. The sooner a deviation from reaching an anticipated target is recognised, the sooner the action can be put back on track. It is for this reason that short cycle reviews are important, for the individual to occasionally change direction to get back on target. But it is not the only reason for reviewing progress on a regular basis. There are also times when the target needs to be adjusted so as to achieve the higher level targets, it is a constant process.


Learning and Development are two separate processes, mutually inclusive.

Learning is strongly associated with gaining an understanding of a particular system, process or action. In business, having an understanding of a system, process or action in most instances is not sufficient. It is important to develop an understanding of the experience of performance of an action aimed at a certain level of proficiency. In time as the depth and breadth of experience grows so too does the level of skill improve, leading to the more efficient and effective performance of the task. One of the best ways to become more skilled is to measure, and therefore better able to manage the development of the skill. Efficiency is measured by the time and effort it takes to complete a task, and effectiveness measures the output, or result of completing the task. Using an Action Plan, not only measures the time, by having a deadline and milestones but also measures the actual result against the expected result.

 

Rewards based on up-to-date data maintain motivation, relevance & focus.

Rewards must be appropriately allocated, based on actual, timely performance.

For a reward to be motivating, it must confirm to the person that their achievement is something of value to the company. Also, it must be something that the person actually wants and must also be associated with a sense of accomplishment for which the reward is being given. Therefore there needs to be a track record of the person’s achievements over a period of time showing sustainable results in line with the bigger picture. That is, the individual’s contribution is in line with teams O.K.R.’s and the companies O.K.R.’s as well. The track record for this can be the colour coded Action Plan which serves as a Monthly Report, which on a quarterly basis, or six-monthly basis, gives sufficient information to show a sustainable contribution. The Action Plan serves to do this very well.


What you reward, grows stronger and more efficient, if it is properly aligned.

Rewarding consistent achievement of the expected outputs of the tasks in the Action Plan is an effective way to create a reliable database. If it is set up within a participative culture and has the mutual agreement on not only the expected outputs but also the rewards which will follow if the targets are consistently reached, then the chances are this will motivate the person to become strongly engaged in the tasks. Here again, the short cycle review is critically important to see that the process and the targets are still aligned. There must be some leeway written into the process that allows the person to make decisions within their jurisdiction so as to allow for the person involved to be able to adapt to changes.


Focused rewards develop employees towards the Company Vision & Mission.

In the Business Plan or Future Projection, there is an alignment of the Vision, Mission, Core Values and Strategic Objectives. This alignment is designed to ensure the focus of effort throughout the organisation is driven by the behaviours taken from the Core Values, and these are aligned on the measurable outputs in the O.K.R’s., which are vertically and horizontally aligned throughout the company. The O.K.R.’s are cascaded down throughout the organisation and recorded in the Job Profiles, which also have the specific behaviours and tasks necessary to be able to achieve the O.K.R.’s. The tasks in the Job Profile are transferred into the Action Plan, and the achievement of these are recognised and rewarded on a regular basis. Keeping Reward and Recognition focused.

 

The transfer of learning is essential to continue the development of the target.

Training creates an understanding and a transfer of learning gives experience.

To some degree part of this idea has been covered in another section, however, it is important to examine another aspect of the transfer of learning, which is the process that drives the transfer of understanding into and an improvement of performance and behaviour. Learning takes many different forms: Listening to someone explain something; watching someone perform a task; reading how to perform a task. Regardless of which way a person acquires an understanding, it is important to take the understanding and gain experience. How do you do this, it is the accountability of the manager and the responsibility of the subordinate to follow up with one day (Have you understood?), seven days (Have you applied your understanding and is it making a difference?) and twenty-one (Can you see an improvement in performance and/or behaviour?).


Skill can only be developed through regular continuous appropriate experience.

If a person’s development continues vertically up a single path through the organisation, when they get to the top they will have breadth and depth of experience in a single field. For example, become the CEO from a COO position, the chances are that their promotion through the ranks would have been through production or maintenance. They would not have had much, if any, practical experience in the other fields – Finance and Accounting, Logistics, Sales, Marketing, H.R. etc. This puts them at the mercy of the people who report to them. The “no vacant position” (NVP) requires every person to work at least 10 days per annum in another position. This is advertised internally at the same level or one level below when someone is going to be away for more than one day. It is managed by the Action Plan – a regular continuous appropriate experience.


The more skilled you become, the more value you add to your team.

How do you measure the value of one person’s contribution? It is the regular sustainable achievement of expected outputs. In the Job Profile, the Job Objective is stated in terms of the contribution to the team’s expected outputs. The Job Objective is the first point discussed in creating the Job Profile. When this is agreed upon, then the decision making and strategic Objectives and O.K.R.’s can be discussed and agreed upon. Then the tasks and behaviours driving the performance can be agreed upon and entered into the Action Plan and become part of the performance appraisal process keeping development on target

 


Managing performance in a dynamic market requires some careful planning and organising.  But it should be systematically approached adding one brick at a time while building the wall.  To expect to be able to do all of this right from the start might be an overload.   

What can be done about it?  

How can the situation be best managed?

 

Copyright © 2021 People Plus Company Limited


All rights reserved. No part of this book or publication may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author.


Publisher: People Plus (peopleplusco.com)


First Edition: 2021

 

You can learn more about our management consulting services and workshops by clicking on Management Consultation. Assertive Communication Suites.

 

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