Why we need real-time performance management
Are your performance appraisals a rushed nightmare at end of quarter? Do the automated email reminders send shivers through the ranks? Is the rising tension palpable, with managers and staff alike on tender-hooks? And…to add insult to injury, do you sense that the whole process is actually ineffective and counter-productive?
If your answer is a resounding “yes” you’re not alone, and are one of a growing crowd who understand that the old formal stand-alone review system is not ideal. Over the years, our traditional methods, with scales, forced rankings, and checklists, have been proving themselves to be unproductive and an organization that continues to view performance management as a cyclical event focused solely on appraisal does so at it’s own peril. The degree to which a company is able to grow, develop, and recalibrate performance levels on a real-time basis will be directly reflected in its business results and attrition rates.
Replacing the anxious last minute review as the sole means of evaluation is, the more engaging and fulfilling ‘real-time conversation culture’. This process requires managers to be adept at coaching and collaborating with direct reports through the constant provision of developmental tips, strategic direction review, and goal reassessments. Are they working on the right things, are they getting the right things done and in the right way?
This approach is not without its challenges. Managers must become adept at both solution focused coaching techniques, and graceful, constructive feedback. They must be willing to become more ‘people’ focused, and less laptop practical. They must understand the direct connection between attention paid to individual development and team results. As well, HR and management must both be willing to apply the time, effort, and budget to the requisite leadership training that will bring this tactic to fruition, but the results will be tangible.
Here are 3 reasons why RTPM wins in spades over classic, more formal, quarterly reviews:
1. Improved Employee Engagement
When managers are available and present to interact, coach and develop staff ‘in the moment’, employees feel an enhanced sense of connection, belonging and support. They report feeling less like invisible cogs in a wheel and more like viable, valued contributors to their team. They sense being ‘seen and heard’ by their superior and are more likely to envision a future with the organisation. Attrition rates lower, as staff find less reason to move on to a more caring, nurturing environment.
2. Enhanced Leadership effectiveness
With a mindset that immediacy and presence play an important role in the success of team outcomes, managers discover the value of being able to have their finger on the group pulse. They are able to pre-empt issues before they have a major impact and solve problems with staff as they arise. As opposed to being the issue escalation ‘go-to’ a week down the track, they now have the capability to nip glitches in the bud.
In addition, there is enormous feedback power in the ‘relevance of the moment’- A leaders constructive coaching suggestions are more readily accepted and applied when a scenario is fresh.
3. Increased Business Results
An organisational culture of continual employee growth & development is a powerful contributor. With ‘in the moment’ focus on progressing staff skills, attitudes, and capabilities high-performing teams are generated, as staff cultivate their professional ability on a daily basis. With a leader’s finger on the real-time pulse, there is greater potential for plump pipelines, loyal customers, and fully engaged employees.
Expenditure on training leaders to become real-time performance managers should be viewed as an essential investment, rather than a hefty cost. Formal assessment still has its place as an annual requirement, but the real magic needs to happen per diem.
Muffy Churches is the author of Coach Yourself, A 7-Step Guide to Personal Fulfilment (Love & Write Publishing). She works as executive coach, leadership trainer, speaker, author, and counsellor. Muffy has extensive experience in inspiring and initiating positive behavioural change in clients around the world. For more information visit www.muffychurches.com or contact [email protected]
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.