Tag Archives: performance

How important is culture?

According to Human Synergistics “Culture is the way that things are actually done in an organisation.” It includes shared values and beliefs, ways of thinking and norms or expectations of behaviours in the workplace.

Many of our business leaders would be thinking; that’s great (sounds like a bit of HR fluff) but what we really want is results.

Culture is vital to organisational success because it is the principal driver of performance related behaviours throughout the organisation. By creating a constructive culture, organisations can achieve and sustain high performance.

So how does culture come about?

Organisational cultures can be changed, and they can evolve over time. However the major driving force behind culture is actually leadership.

“Leaders set the agenda for the environment in which others operate, and people behave in a way that reflects the impact of their leader. Organisational culture is transformed through managing organisational structures, systems, technologies and the skills and qualities of leaders.”


So if leadership is going to drive the culture we want, which will then elicit the desired performance from our people- what are you doing to engage your leaders?

**Human Synergistics is hosting the 11th Australian Conference on Culture and Leadership in 2009. Visit the website for further information**


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Do you encourage a coaching culture?

Recommended Reads:
Lindbom, D. (2007), ‘A Culture of Coaching: The Challenge of Managing Performance for Long-Term Results’, Organization Development Journal, Vol. 25, No. 2, p. 101.

In recent times there has been much emphasis placed on coaching in the workplace. Lindbom takes this further, arguing that there needs to be a strong organizational culture of coaching in order to fully support managers and provide regular performance feedback to all employees.

Lindbom says that culture is “the entire organization, its values, strategic goals, and the formal and informal systems in place that guide managers and employees in everyday work life”.

Essentially what we are talking about is a culture where people continuously receive and seek out feedback (formal and informal) in order to improve their performance.


So how do you make this happen?

Lindbom’s article places great emphasis on incorporating performance management and coaching into the core competencies and the strategic plan. This illustrates true top-down commitment and lays the foundation for success in quality people management. Similarly, much of the literature echoes this message insisting that widespread support for performance management from the upper management team is essential (Griffin. 2004) and that gaining consensus and buy-in from senior management early on in the effort can help establish legitimacy and visibility for the process (Fletcher & Williams. 1996).

Additionally, this then has the potential to increase employee commitment to the organization and its goals. Moreover, Ariyachandra & Frolick (2008) go further in articulating the term ‘Business Performance Management’ which facilitates the creation of strategic goals and supports the subsequent management of the performance to those goals. This concept highlights the need for performance management to be strongly interlinked with specific strategic objectives and key performance indicators or core competencies that are meaningful to the organization.

Finally, Lindbom highlights the importance of formal systems and informal networks in effective performance management and also the need to provide managers with the right tools, training and support to effectively coach and improve performance. With these components in place, in addition to the incorporation of performance management and coaching into the core competencies and the strategic plan, Lindbom argues that a strong organizational culture of coaching will be established resulting in supported managers and employees regularly receiving feed back on performance.

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Filed under Performance Management, Recommended Readings

How are you assessing your talent this year?

This morning I revisited this article from Great Leadership on using the performance and potential matrix and thought it was worth sharing.

I’ve used the 9 box matrix before and really like it because its simple, and easily explainable to managers. Rather than loads of forms and text, it clearly highlights where your people are and what actions you need to take for each.

Performance and potential matrix

Have a read of “Using the performance and potential matrix to assess talent” and also check out the related posts underneath- some great tools here if you are unfamiliar with the process.

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Filed under Talent Management

Performance Appraisals- is it cringe time at your work too?

If the thought of performance appraisal time at your workplace as a HR professional makes you break out in hives,  get some antihistamines and try not to stress- you aren’t alone.

Why is it so stressful? Like most HR pros (I hope!) I really believe in the performance agreement/development plan process mainly because it clarifies expectations between people at work.  It’s when everyone knows what they are meant to be doing, what the goals are, and how they are expected to behave that your company will succeed. The whole process is an imperative part of talent management,  and more specifically succession planning.

The problem is that your Managers would rather swallow razor blades than have to conduct performance appraisals.  Its frequently seen as a ‘tick in the box process’ or an administrative requirement that they begrudgingly complete. So how do you overcome the resistance and turn the whole thing into something that is actually going to add value to your organisation?


Here’s a few things that I’ve found to be helpful in the past:

Explain why its important– Basic andragogy (how adults learn) tells us that “adults need to know why they need to learn something before undertaking to learn it” (Knowles, M. 1990. ‘An andragogical theory of adult learning’, The adult Learner: a neglected species, pp. 54-65).  Hence, explain why they need to go through the process and what the benefits are.

Engage employees- Place the onus on the individual to prepare early and complete a self-assessment which includes achievement against objectives, recognition, impact on the business etc. Afterall, it is them who will be reaping the reward of a promotion, pay increase or recognition. This facilitates a two way dialogue in the appraisal, and ensures a greater chance of the employee walking out feeling like they were heard and taken seriously. It also reminds them that they should be the ones who drive their career rather than waiting for Managers to do it for them.

Get Managers to prepare early– with a check list for each employee.  For example:

  • Have you booked a meeting with the employee (with at least 2 weeks notice so they have time to prepare)?
  • Have you got a copy of the person’s obejctives? (and last year’s assessment?)
  • Are you familiar with the employees job description? If not, review this.
  • Are there competencies expected for this person’s role? Review these and assess whether these are being met.
  • Are they living the organisation’s values/expected behaviours/adhering to code of conduct?  
  • Are there any internal/external clients that you need to gather feedback from in order to get increased visibility of the employee’s overall performance?

Prep your Managers on how to give good feedback– it might be worthwhile getting your managers together in a room before the appraisal period and discussing the finer points to giving good feedback.  This way they have the opportunity to enhance their feedback skills,  feel more prepared before the appraisal and share their experiences with other managers.

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Filed under Performance Management