At strategic level, there are ten basic and important factors to consider in order to successfully managing performance:
1. Do create alignment between strategy and its implementation
Alignment can be defined as the achievement of goal synergy, where all components and functions of an organisation's value chain contribute to a common purpose. The lack of alignment poses the biggest potential barrier to implementation of the strategy, and is responsible for many of the deficits in system (Department of South Africa, 1998).
The correlation between organisational strategy, operational process management and individuals’ performance is highly important, as it creates a sense of purpose and inspiration that drives to increased productivity and dedication. Alignment is essential for successful implementation of strategy.
2. Do create ownership
Ownership can be defined as the state or fact of being an owner. Strategy implementation needs owners in order to be implemented; otherwise it is just a strategy plan. In a discussion about ownership, that are two words that carry particular significance: responsibility and interest. (Denstad, 2009). More than knowing the strategy, the employees need to care about it and take responsibility for it.
3. Do enable a performance-oriented culture
“Culture eats strategy for lunch, every day”, said Dirk Clark, CEO for Merck (de Flander, 2010). On long term, improving performance needs sustainable actions and efforts, fostered by a performance oriented culture, in which employees understand and connect their own activities and performance, with the organisational objectives.
4. Do use KPIs for bridging the gap
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are important and frequent tools used in order to bridge the gap between strategic plan and its implementation. KPIs drive focus, by aligning actions with performance initiatives and prioritizing what is really important to successfully generating performance.
5. Do manage sustainable actions over time
In order to implement a performance management system over time, it requires purposeful actions that are repeated periodically, requiring resource investments. Performance management is not one time deal, but it is requires continuity, consistency and perseverance over time.
1. Don’t forget to improve
Performance can always be improved. For performance improvement to be a continuous process, initiatives can be identified, implemented and monitored periodic (SAS, 2007).
2. Don’t ignore the importance of integration
Before implementing a new performance management system, instrument, process and technology support, it is highly important to take into consideration the ones that already exist and the linkage between them. They need to create synergy and to be compatible.
3. Don’t take “best practice” ad litteram
Good case practices exist within a context. There are no generally valid and guaranteed solutions, but they sould be customized to the needs and reality within each organisation.
4. Don’t expect other results, without change
Performance management has as ultimate motivator the desire to improve performance. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Wanting to improve performance level while keeping on doing the same things it might not be realistic. When better results are expected, better efforts should be made, both in quality and quantity.
5. Don’t complicate things
Performance management can become complicated, if the basic principle of “Keep It Short and Simple!” is not applied. Improving performance must be clear explained and understood by everyone; it should require basic training and provide results of real value to shareholders, managers and employees.
- Denstad, F., Y. (2009), Youth policy manual: how to develop a national youth strategy, Council of Europe - Paris.
- Department of South Africa (1998), Moving South Africa - Towards a Transport Strategy for 2020 , available at: http://transport.dot.gov.za/projects/msa/msareport/msadraft16.html (accessed 8 December 2010).
- de Flander, J. (2010), Strategy Execution Heroes: Business Strategy Implementation and Strategic Management Demystified - A Practical Performance Management Guidebook for the Successful Leader, Belgium.
- SAS (2007), The truth about performance management: a report of survey findings – white paper, available at: http://www.sas.com/ci/whitepapers/102716.pdf (accessed 8 September 2010).