Performance Management: How to Create a Performance Culture

performance management

Performance management is sometimes seen as a pejorative term.  But it shouldn’t be.  Performance management is the responsibility of every individual in an organisation.  You want everyone to be delivering the results needed for the organisation to achieve its vision.  You want a performance culture that will support that.

That was certainly the desire of our client, a large hospital trust.  They wanted help with a major culture change programme called “Performance Plus”. The purpose was to create a culture which developed performance, added value to customers and allowed the organisation to deliver its goals and realise its vision.The programme was needed because leaders at all levels became immersed in too much detail.  They adopted a punitive ‘tell’ style of management. To improve performance and engage staff, a significant change was needed in how leaders behaved on a day to day basis.

Phase One: Designing the Performance Framework

In Phase One our focus was on designing a Performance Framework that clearly defined the needed behaviours and gave managers the tools to manage performance.

We did that by:

*Sharpening the Vision & Values to give real performance meaning

*Designing a Competency Framework

*Designing a Performance Development Review Process

*Designing a Performance Improvement Process

*Preparing the consultation and implementation plan

This allowed us to create a behaviour-based performance review and management process ready to be installed in the organisation.

Phase Two: Developing Leader Ability

Our focus in Phase 2 was a development programme that was not only rigorous and effective but also a positive and personally rewarding experience.  We designed and delivered a “Coaching for Quality” Programme for Executive Board members and the first group of champions that included:

Executive Board members

Being coached.  Coaching with an external executive coach focused on raising self-awareness around the behaviours framework and supporting related personal development.  As part of the coaching, we used a 360-degree feedback review to discover the specific development needs of individuals.

Coaching others.  Sessions also focused on improving the coaching skills of each Board member so they could coach others towards improved performance.

Champions (the 50 leaders below the Executive Board)

Being coached.  Each champion was assigned a coach from the Executive Board who was not their direct line manager, to focus on personal development rather than day-to-day performance.  The Board member met with their assigned champion(s) for a series of sessions over a six-month period.  The focus was on raising self-awareness around the behaviours and producing a development plan.

Coaching Others:  Champions applied their coaching skills in coaching their direct reports

Action learning sets.  As well as receiving one-to-one coaching, champions formed action learning sets.  Groups of six to eight met regularly over the year to discuss their role as champions and their progress against the behaviours.

In total, a team of five consultants were involved in the engagement which lasted two years.

Outcomes and Impact

Qualitative feedback showed that participants who went through the programme developed a clearer idea of what was required of them, where they stood in current ability and how development could aid them in reaching their full potential.

“We have had excellent feedback about the programme and about the contribution of Antoinette and her colleagues. The behavioural framework provides an excellent foundation for development and enables us to have some difficult but necessary conversations with people to ensure that they focus on the patient and on delivering the objectives of the Trust. We have noted a change in behaviour in some of our senior colleagues and one senior manager described the coaching workshop she attended as life changing.” HR Director

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