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Redesigning Performance Management

I want to share a secret.


If you want to increase performance, stop managing it and start managing engagement.

The age-old problems with performance management have refused to go away for the past 30 years and will remain for the next 30, unless we think and act differently.

Consider the following:-

1. We create rules for the small percentage of people who break the rules. 2. That small percentage of people who break the rules, will always break the rules. 3. You can tell me the names of those who currently break the rules. 4. All the rules do is get in the way of the people who do not break the rules. 5. Performance is actually measured continuously.


Current approaches to performance management will always fail as they designed around only the first statement 1. Also 99% of people I met agree with all five statements, which means they know our current approach is broken.  


I advocate you think, design and manage engagement as follows:

  • For the 2%-ers (who always break the rules) focus on the problems their behaviour creates.  The goal is re-engage or termination.

  • For the workers-bees that come to work, do a good job and then go home, make it simple and easy for them and keep out of the way. The goal is maintenance of  their level of engagement.

  • For the talent (anyone who goes the extra mile) give them additional responsibility.  The goal is increase their already high level of engagement.

This approach has worked for over 20 years and I encourage you to consider it as part of your future.

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Mark Shaw

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