Today’s focus: It seems to me that we’ve got this performance thing wrong – and we are not even aware of it!
Think about it. The three factors that make up performance in the work place are focus (what we focus on?), skills or learning, and motivation or self-fulfilment. By definition, if these three things add up to the amount of performance in the work place, then they are inter-related and, if they are inter-related, then we can draw a triangle with each of these at one of the corners. So, try this: draw a triangle; write the word “Focus” at the top, “Skills Mastery” at the bottom left, and “Self-fulfilment” down bottom right.
Now let’s ask the question: “How much focus does our organisation put on performance?” Put your pen below the Focus apex and move it up or down depending on how much focus your organisation puts on performance. If your business is anything like those that the hundreds of people I have previously asked belonged to, then your pen is likely to end up on the ceiling. But for current purposes, move your pen up to a point that you feel reasonably reflects the focus your company puts on performance.
Okay, if the three factors are inter-related as we said, what is the impact of the amount of focus your company puts on performance on the other two factors? According to my logic, and assuming your pen point was anywhere outside the triangle, then the impact is that the space between the two other factors, Skills Mastery and Self-fulfilment, will be reduced on the bottom line of the triangle. The result: a taller, thinner triangle than we started with. Super-impose this triangle on the first triangle.
But we are not finished yet. Our pen point outside the circle was based on the emphasis our company puts on performance – it did not represent the actual performance of the company. So, where would you put the actual performance of the company in relation to the top point of the triangle? Once again, if your company is anything like the companies that those (literally) hundreds of people that I have asked belong to, then the pen point normally comes down to somewhere just inside the top point of the original triangle! Now, join this point with the two inner points on the bottom line of the thin triangle.
What we have is, what I call, our Performance Triangle – and it is always smaller than we think! What do we do with this information? Well, to improve the size of our Performance Triangle, we need to have relevant and effective conversations with our people in relation to each of the three points of the triangle.
In my next blog, I will start discussing the first of these conversations – the one on Performance – and, once again, I am afraid we will discover that our current conversations in this area are unproductive and cannot work. In fact, we are having the wrong conversations in respect of each of the three factors!
Food for thought:
“A manager is responsible for the application and performance of knowledge.” (Peter Drucker)
I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts
Gosh! It’s May already. Let’s start having more effective conversations this month.