• Monday, December 11, 2023
businessday logo


Here is a thought… about hitting your projected numbers

Here is a thought… about hitting your projected numbers

You know there has always been this saying about not quitting so you can reach your projections. And quoted many times, you have read that ‘Winners never quit, and quitters never win!’ Based on this true saying, people sometimes continue on the same trajectory while holding onto the aforementioned quote.

This article delves into Performance Management to show how its application can impact the effectiveness of an organisation, no matter the type of entity that we are dealing with.

Performance management

Performance management is about the manner by which respective entities handle the expected or projected outcome of their operations. It encompasses the culture of the organisation in working towards the aspirations of the company drivers (that is, the company leaders that drive the organisation towards its vision).

The cultural traits are influenced by such things as the value ascribed towards a Respect for People, People/Team Development, Behavioural Attributes, and most notably, Effective Communication. If communication is ineffective at any part, this could have significant effects upon the organisation.

Respect for people: This is a major topic in itself which can be discussed from a cultural perspective. Some cultures ascribe a higher regard for age than they do for capability where people belong to the same team – this can be an aid or detriment to the quality of performance that individuals render.

However, the foregoing is not my focus within this brief write-up. My concern is for the inactive qualities of people that we do not engage. Oftentimes, organisational drivers and people managers focus more on the attainment of so-called educational certificates beyond the capabilities of the individual to deliver qualitative work. Evidence-based learning is the true mark of education! For the purpose of this article, here is one of my key statements on respect for people:

– If you treat someone like a fool long enough, they are very likely to display the traits of a fool. However, if you give them a chance to use their brains and grow thereby, one may be shocked at what resides between their two ears.

Need I say more!

It is essential that we remove the lid that we have placed upon the capabilities of people due to various reasons, such as positions in the organisation or educational accomplishments.

People/team development: Corporate organisations recognise the need to train their employees and often, this becomes a metric to measure the performance of those that work within the training/learning and development area of human resources. Sadly, this drives those working in this area to make it a tick-box exercise! They have to demonstrate to executive management the numbers that have been trained. Barely do we have training matched to performance!

My challenge to organisations is that they consider the importance of measurability of the resources expended on people development and how these ought to reflect on improvements ascertained. These improvements also need to be measured against prior outputs in quantifiable terms. This is how it becomes an effective attribute for performance management. And to get a reasonable benefit out of this, I dare say that it would be invaluable to combine the needs of recognising impact and the purposeful drive towards a culture of continuous learning and development.

Read also: Systems thinking for strategic organisational leaders

Behavioural attributes: For a number of training topics, it is not unusual to have an exercise that delves into personality types (for example, Amiable, Expressive, Drivers, Analytical, etc) – they vary from two types to 12 and more, depending on the points the training facilitator desires to emphasise! In spite of all the learning, how many times do employees take their personality types into cognisance in the allocation of tasks, or even in communication at the workplace, for that matter?

Behavioural attributes relate to motives, knowledge, skills and how people may respond to demands on them. It generally varies for people. One of the reasons why this is a key aspect within performance measurement is that people are productive when dealing with things that seem natural to them. There is a flow of energy that helps them to achieve better results in a comfort zone. And the key phrase being comfort zone, is sometimes an area people are deprived of because it is thought that things ought to be made an uphill task for them! This is a total misconception that people have been trying to build upon! We need to understand what makes people tick!

Effective communication: Whenever I am facilitating a session that has to do with this topic, one of my early questions to the participants borders on whose responsibility it is to ensure effective communication. Answers always range in three areas – the communicator, the recipient, and both of them.

Without disagreeing with people, I offer my view: the person responsible for effective communication is the one who desires results the most! If you need something, you will ensure that the person who you are asking to sort it out understands what needs to be done. And if you were on the other side, you will do all you can to understand the information being fed to you.

In conclusion, projected outcomes may be better attained with a focus on people and the ability to engage their best selves. This is something to aim for in an atmosphere of mutual trust.

Olutimehin, a corporate trainer/consultant, writes from Lagos