Thursday, 23 June 2016

WHAT IS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT?



This blog isn’t a sales pitch and does not offer a clear and unambiguous solution to all your performance management challenges. Instead it is a pick-n-mix of thoughts and experiences that may be useful and could be challenged – I welcome both debate and feedback, it’s where the learning really begins.

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

It is worth putting a little context to this blog. I am Performance Director for Jersey Rowing Club, and I have a number of client projects where I need to deliver on-time, on-budget and to-specification. I am also an Ironman Triathlete with a pretty tough training programme and some ambitions towards some big competitions coming up.

All this screams A-type character attitude and behaviour and I can imagine provokes recoil from all the B-type characters who may feel this as a bit “full-on” and that life is not meant to be a competition.

So should we encourage and support people to develop and perform, and if so how should we do this in a manner that support all of any ability.

PERFORMANCE ANXIETY

One of the challenges about any assessment of performance is understanding where you are now, where you want to be and how to get there. I know many people who will look at their race results or their work-based outputs and say that they are doing a good job.

My challenge will be how do you know? What is your point of reference for what good looks like. The introverts may suggest that it is a feeling and the extroverts will suggest it is based on feedback.

As an athlete and a project manager I am used to the idea of measurement, and as someone who has also attended a Mindfulness Programme I would also suggest that you can “measure” happiness and contentment. It isn’t something that just happens, but like any relationship is something that requires understanding, compromise and effort. Honestly being Mindfulness requires practice!

Performance anxiety comes from a fear of judgement, either external judgement or internal assessment. The first step is to establish what you want to get better at and then create an environment which is nurturing and supportive rather than judgemental.

THE DIVISIONS CAUSED BY PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

Within the Jersey Rowing Club I had many people push-back on what they perceived as a programme for the Elite high-performers, but soon others expressed an interest in the nurturing and supportive approach that included workshops on nutrition, technique, strength and flexibility.

Without doubt performance management can create them and us, winners and losers. But it should not. Performance management should create opportunity in any direction: this may be faster and stronger, but there no reason it cannot be more fun, more relaxed, more satisfying, safer, more engaging.

PERFORMANCE IS A PROCESS NOT A RESULT
As a triathlete I remember a great quote by Tim Don as he crossed the line and was asked about how he felt about the result. He replied, the result does not matter, I am pleased with the performance. I did what I set out to achieve and I am getting better. I am happy with that.

This is very important: Results are about what everyone else does relative to you, and results are based on lots of things, some of which you can control and some of which you cannot. Performance however is something that is wholly within your control.

This is true in sport, work or life.

IT IS THE TAKING PART THAT COUNTS

You might not be a “winner” but there is nothing wrong with being a participant: its still a lot better than being a spectator. This is true in sport, work or life.

However this should not take anything away from those whose aspirations and opportunities may take them in a different direction. There is nothing wrong or “not in the spirit of things” to want to be faster and stronger.

THERE ARE ONLY THREE STEPS ON THE PODIUM

Not everyone aspires to be on the top step on a podium.

Performance management is about creating the opportunities to be better at what you value as being important. That can be as an athlete, coach, boss, mother, brother, or friend. It can be on the sports field, at work, in the garden or in the tranquillity of your own mind.

CONTACT

If you are interested in any of the above and would like to contribute to the discussion by posting a comment, or meet with me to chat about your experiences and the issues and opportunities in your organisation I would be delighted to meet and buy the coffee and  croissants for an interesting conversation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Rogers is an AMPG Qualified Change Practitioner, a PRINCE2 Project Manager, with an MBA in Management Consultancy. Past projects have included the incorporation of Jersey Post Office, Operations Change and Sales Support for RBSI and NatWest and the integration and incorporation of Jersey Harbours and Airport. He is a tutor/lecturer for the Chartered Management Institute, a past curator for TEDx, Team manager for Jersey’s Triathlon Island Games Team and Performance Director for Jersey Rowing Club.

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