Why your performance management process is like a Ford Model T
If you were driving an original Ford Model T today, you would:
· Manually crank the car to start it.
· Use the two-speed manual gear box to achieve a top speed of about 70km/hr.
· Achieve fuel efficiency of about 18 L/100 km from the 2.9L four-cylinder motor.
· Suffer regular flat tyres as the they often broke free from the rims.
· Have the car painted any colour, so long as it was black.
While one of the world’s largest selling cars of all time, the Ford Model T has failed to meet the needs of consumers for many, many years.
Our current approach to managing poor performance can be related to the outdated Ford Model T.
While performance improvement plans were designed to address skill deficiencies, today’s problems are overwhelmingly about counter-productive behaviour.
While we expect line managers to manage poor performance, the complexity of managing counter-productive behaviour has grown exponentially.
While compliance to the production line process worked in 1908, compliance to fixed process such as PIPs fails miserably when applied to counter-productive behaviour in today’s workplaces.
Whereas technology reduced the production time for a Ford Model T by 90%, no decrease in the 60 or 90 days recommended for a PIP has occurred in 50 years.
While the emphasis on quality control was paramount for the success of the Model T, today reasonable management action taken in a reasonable way needs to be the emphasis for successfully managing counter-productive behaviour.
The solution is to use proactive reengagement programs (PRPs) rather than performance improvement plans (PIPs) as they are:
Better suited to managing counter-productive behaviour.
Recognise the complexity of the situation.
Manage risk over process.
Require days instead of months to resolve the problems.
Guarantee reasonable management action is taken in a reasonable way.
For over 20 years PRP deliver:
Problems resolved in 80% less time, effort, and cost.
65% of PRP’s result in the employee remaining employed and ceasing their counter-productive behaviour.
100% success in defending all management actions and decisions, including unfair dismissal claims.
Drive a Ford Model T if you are a member of your local historic car club, just don’t use the equivalent out-of-date PIPs to manage counter-productive behaviour in the today’s workplace.