Performance management with pace

by | Oct 10, 2016 | Blog

Cirrus consultant Alicia Leon-Lovelady looks at the importance of developing agility as a key capability.

Over the past couple of months, Cirrus has been talking to a wide range of leaders about their approach to performance management. Some interesting insights have emerged, and you can read more about them when our research report is published on Thursday 13 October.

For me, one of the most interesting themes has been the emergence of more agile performance management.

Agility is one of the five factors of Connected Leadership, the subject of Cirrus CEO Dr Simon Hayward’s first book. Following extensive research, Simon identified agility as an essential element of a new, customer-centred style of leadership where responsibility is shared and decision-making is devolved.

Earlier this year, our Leadership Connections research with Ipsos MORI found that many C-suite leaders felt more attention needed to be paid to agility. The report highlighted that, ‘agility is not about the short-term response to a threat, it is about embedding the long-term capability to quickly identify and respond to emerging threats and challenges.’

So, agility matters. But what does this mean for performance management?

Performance management is often so entrenched in the employee life cycle that it has long been regarded as quite a rigid and inflexible HR process. However, we’ve noticed that many organisations are already shifting from inflexible off-shelf systems to more adaptive approaches. They are introducing simpler practices which enable managers to provide performance management support when employees and the business need it most.

As the Leadership Connections research highlights, agility is not just about responding with speed to urgent challenges. It’s about developing the long-term capability to cope with constant change. In the context of performance management, this means developing managers’ skills and giving them the tools to have meaningful conversations in line with the direction of the business. It is also about developing a culture of respect and trust to enable managers and employees to take ownership of the performance management process.

We’ll also discuss our performance management research findings at an open webinar on Tuesday 22 November. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. You can also tweet @CirrusConnect using the hashtag #PerformanceManagement.

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