Performance Management is NOT Conducting a Performance Review!

Aarrrgghhh! I’m frustrated! I hate it when I hear someone say their company has a performance management plan, when all they have is a process of conducting annual – or even bi-annual – performance reviews.

This is no different than saying that you have a marketing plan when all you’ve done is run one ad in the newspaper. Sure, that ad may be a part of the marketing, but it’s not a marketing plan or marketing strategy. And sure, performance reviews may be a part of a performance management plan, but it’s NOT the entire thing.

So, what is performance management? It’s a strategy to enhance the overall performance of all personnel in the organization. Things that would typically be a part of a performance management plan are:

  • Goal setting – both individually and for teams.
  • Regular feedback systems.
  • Measurements.
  • Coaching and mentoring.
  • Reviews.
  • Workplace evaluation (improving the work are to allow and promote better performance).
  • Alignment of organizational values and culture with the individual.
  • Alignment of organizational mission and strategy with individual and group goals.
  • Communication systems.
  • Compensation.
  • Rewards and recognition.
  • Succession planning.

While this list is incomplete, it begins to demonstrate how vast performance management really is. One way of looking at performance management is this: whatever it takes to help individuals and groups within the organization to perform better. That could be moving someone from one role into another to leverage his or her strengths. It could be providing additional skills training. It could be defining specific metrics that an individual can measure themselves against on a regular basis. And it could be as simple as connecting with an individual on a personal basis, letting them know that they are appreciated for more than just being a “tool” the company uses to accomplish a task.

Ultimately, you can think of performance management as your performance strategy. If your organization has a strategic plan, a marketing strategy, a product development strategy, or a financial strategy, then doesn’t it make sense that it should have a performance strategy. Because, as Peter Drucker once alluded to, business is just a group of people trying to accomplish a common goal. Without a strategy to do that, you’re relying on hope and wishful thinking to reach your goal.


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