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The 8 Performance Myths
Holding Organisations Back
from Optimal Performance
Dr. Tim Baker
tim@winnersatwork.com.au
www.winnersatwork.com.au
What we’ll cover …
How should we
evaluate
organizational
performance?
Organizational agility
The 8 myths about
performance & what
to do about it.
Evaluating organisational performance
Profit
Goal-driven
model
Systems
model
Process
model
Stakeholder
model
Competing
values
model
Organizational agility
model
Baker, T. (in press). Performance Management for Agile Organizations
Management Myth # 1—Job
specification improves performance
Team member/ Competency 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Joe
Mary
Bill
Harry
Sue
Kathy
Trainer
Competent
Undergoing training
Not yet trained
Management Myth # 2—Quality systems
and processes guarantee good outcomes
Management Myth # 3—
The job description helps
the employee understand
their organizational role
Management Myth # 3—The
job description helps the
employee understand their
organizational role
Non-job roles
• positive mental attitude and enthusiasm
role;
• team role;
• career development role; and
• innovator and continuous improvement
role.
Management Myth # 4—A
business is best organized
around functions
Functional Model
Matrix model
Product model
Customer-centric
model
• workplace culture
improvement;
• rewards and incentives;
• innovation and continuous
improvement;
• safety and well-being;
• recruitment and selection; and
• product and service
development.
Management Myth # 5—A satisfied
employee is a productive employee
Management Myth # 6—A loyal
employee is an asset to the business
• The desire to stay
• The cost of leaving
• The feeling of obligation
Management Myth # 7—A technically
superior workforce is a pathway to a high
performing business
• job-centered,
• person-centered, and
• problem-centered.
Management Myth # 8—
Employees can’t be trusted
with sensitive information
• goal alignment,
• boundary refinement,
• sharing information, and
• active accountability
Initiative
paradox
Summary
1. Flexibly deployed workforce
2. Balancing customer-focus with QA
3. Replace job descriptions with role descriptions
4. Organise work around projects, not functions
5. Build intrinsic motivation to supplement extrinsic motivation
6. Cultivate commitment rather than loyalty
7. Broaden L & D to cover personal and problem-based learning
8. Open, not close the communication channels
Leadership Learning at Lunchtime Series
tim@winnersatwork.com.au
The 8 Performance Myths Holding Organisations Back from Optimal Performance
Send me an email and I
will send you a copy of
my new book at a 30%
discount signed!

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The 8 Performance Myths Holding Organisations Back from Optimal Performance

  • 1. The 8 Performance Myths Holding Organisations Back from Optimal Performance Dr. Tim Baker tim@winnersatwork.com.au www.winnersatwork.com.au
  • 2. What we’ll cover … How should we evaluate organizational performance? Organizational agility The 8 myths about performance & what to do about it.
  • 4. Organizational agility model Baker, T. (in press). Performance Management for Agile Organizations
  • 5. Management Myth # 1—Job specification improves performance Team member/ Competency 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Joe Mary Bill Harry Sue Kathy Trainer Competent Undergoing training Not yet trained
  • 6. Management Myth # 2—Quality systems and processes guarantee good outcomes
  • 7. Management Myth # 3— The job description helps the employee understand their organizational role
  • 8. Management Myth # 3—The job description helps the employee understand their organizational role Non-job roles • positive mental attitude and enthusiasm role; • team role; • career development role; and • innovator and continuous improvement role.
  • 9. Management Myth # 4—A business is best organized around functions Functional Model
  • 12. Customer-centric model • workplace culture improvement; • rewards and incentives; • innovation and continuous improvement; • safety and well-being; • recruitment and selection; and • product and service development.
  • 13. Management Myth # 5—A satisfied employee is a productive employee
  • 14. Management Myth # 6—A loyal employee is an asset to the business • The desire to stay • The cost of leaving • The feeling of obligation
  • 15. Management Myth # 7—A technically superior workforce is a pathway to a high performing business • job-centered, • person-centered, and • problem-centered.
  • 16. Management Myth # 8— Employees can’t be trusted with sensitive information • goal alignment, • boundary refinement, • sharing information, and • active accountability Initiative paradox
  • 17. Summary 1. Flexibly deployed workforce 2. Balancing customer-focus with QA 3. Replace job descriptions with role descriptions 4. Organise work around projects, not functions 5. Build intrinsic motivation to supplement extrinsic motivation 6. Cultivate commitment rather than loyalty 7. Broaden L & D to cover personal and problem-based learning 8. Open, not close the communication channels
  • 18. Leadership Learning at Lunchtime Series tim@winnersatwork.com.au
  • 20. Send me an email and I will send you a copy of my new book at a 30% discount signed!

Editor's Notes

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  2. A job specification entails breaking down a job into its simplest component parts & assigning them to an employee to perform the tasks in a consistent manner. Ineffective in environments that are rapidly changing or unpredictable. Questioning the status quo is not as valued as following the status quo. One way of stimulating agile behaviour is flexibly deploying employee skill-sets within a business.
  3. The second is the prevailing philosophy of the QA movement. The concept of producing quality didn’t start with scientific management; but Taylor elevated the status of QA by demonstrating its significance to organizational performance. In broad terms, QA is perfecting the way things are done to produce quality products and services to meet the needs and expectations of the end-user: the customer. Despite the emphasis on the customer, quality is mostly measured by whether an organization has meet certain criteria; if so, they get the literal seal of approval for meeting industry standards by a regulatory body. QA is not the total answer to focusing on the customer; it is part of the answer, albeit, an important part; but not the only part. The developing trends illustrate the need for product producers and service providers to be flexible and customer responsive as much as anything else. A customer-focused business is one where decisions about their product and services are made based on continually aligning customer needs and wants with the overall goals of the company.  People in sales and customer service positions, in particular, are in a brokerage role between the organization they work for and customers they service. With a QA system in place, there are four practices (I cover in the book) that move the company from a compliance-driven organization to a customer-focused enterprise. A common challenge that’s not generally considered in the management literature is how to deal with out-of-the-ordinary demands of the customer.
  4. There is a widely-held belief that satisfaction and performance go hand-in-hand despite the inclusive research about this link. Instead of only using the carrot and stick approach to motivate employees, we should concentrate on motivating people with the work tasks they do and how they are executed. In the past few decades, the mindboggling transformation in Western society and the rise of the knowledge worker have rekindled enthusiasm for finding meaning in work. The concept of human spirit and work refers to a sense of purpose and meaning experienced through work. Extrinsic rewards are less effective than we previously thought. And there is no doubting that people want more from their work than the promise of bonuses. The idea of using monetary incentives to induce greater performance is deeply rooted in our psyche. Instead of attempting to controlling work productivity with extrinsic rewards and sanctions, the work itself is the often untapped source for self-motivation. The three drivers of human endeavour are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy is our desire to be self-directed. Mastery is our urge to get better and better at what we do. Purpose is our thirst to be part of something larger then ourselves.
  5. The loyal and committed employee think differently. The loyal employee values the status quo; they like things the way they are; they don’t like rocking the apple cart. The committed employee to the contrary, welcome change; they are more inclined to look for new ways of doing things, faster, better and quicker; they will rock the apple cart, if they believe it’ll improve things. Human spirit describes the emotional connection to the work itself. Having a sense of commitment is tied to the employer; that’s the fundamental difference between the values of human spirit and commitment. It’s in the best interests of the employee to seek commitment from their employer to support them to achieve their personal objectives. One of the most notable models of commitment is John Meyer and Natalie Allen’s; their model was developed to bring together the various definitions of commitment. Meyer and Allen’s model characterize organizational commitment in three ways: a desire to stay, the cost of leaving, and a sense obligation to the employer. An effective way of positively impacting more than one dimension of commitment is aligning career growth with company goals. A job that offers variety and the freedom to make decisions and mistakes in a safe environment can engender commitment from the incumbent. For many employees, commitment is fostered through healthy working relationships with colleagues and management. The reconciling of employee and organizational values is another way of building organizational commitment. Another area impacting more and more on organizational commitment is the challenges we all face balancing work and home responsibilities.
  6. Taylorism didn’t see the relevance and need for non-technical learning and development programs. Training is one approach of learning and development; it’s primarily concerned with the technical skill enhancement of the job-holder. Learning and development is a broader concept, that takes into consideration both technical and non-technical dimensions of learning. Most learning activities can be classified as job-related, person-related, or problem-related; the three dimensions of learning and development. The job-centered approach is the one most directly related to the specifics of one’s job performance. Training programs that improve an employee’s capacity to operate a piece of machinery, master some form of technology, or a work-related system or process, are job-centered. The person-centered approach is based on the idea that a more accomplished person can be a more accomplished employee. Training programs that improve one’s mastery of themselves—rather than mastery of a job skill—such as goal-setting, personal motivation, time management, and emotional intelligence potentially increases work performance in the right circumstances. A third learning and development dimension is problem-centered; that is, being more effective at solving work-related problems. Topics such as creative problem solving techniques, research skills, or analysis of real world case studies are examples of problem-centered learning. The author recommends shifting from a mostly narrow job-centered learning focus to a multi-dimensional approach; this utilizes the strengths of all three dimensions of learning and development.
  7. There is a prevailing myth that employees can’t be trusted with sensitive information; the risk is they may pass this information on to inappropriate sources. The initiative paradox is a misunderstanding, due to a lack of communication, between management and employees that results in limiting enterprising behavior from employees. The first of four ways of resolving the initiative paradox is goal alignment, which brings into line the perspectives of employees and management. Some practical measures leaders can take to align the goals of employees and employers are: putting in place a clearly-defined performance bonus system to reward and encourage alignment; managers setting an example or walking the talk; consistent informal dialogue between managers and team members; and performance feedback conversations that focus on aligning individual and organization goals. Boundary refinement is a second way of overcoming the initiative paradox. This involves carefully communicating the kind of initiative the leader expects and doesn’t expect. Some practical measures that can be taken to communicate boundaries for displaying proper initiatives are: using critical incidents in the business to illustrate and clarify boundaries for proactive behavior; coaching and mentoring employees in their work; documenting acceptable and unacceptable forms of initiative; and rewarding and reinforcing appropriate initiative. Sharing information is the third strategy in overcoming the initiative paradox. This strategy concentrates on minimizing unshared expectations between employer and employee. Some key steps you can take to share information include: holding annual strategic planning days; staging continuous improvement workshops; facilitating group problem-solving sessions; and running regular team discussion meetings. Active accountability is the fourth and final way to deal with the initiative paradox; it involves an understanding between the manager and employee that initiative and judgment can be exercised, but only at the risk to the employee. Some circumstances where active accountability may be considered an appropriate communication strategy are: conducting workplace investigations; showing initiative against unethical behavior; reporting unlawful behavior; and crisis management.