Today, forward thinking organizations are getting out of their own way. After years of “trial and error” discovery and the emergence of new viable tools some organizations are jumping in and creating the foundation for meaningful transformation.
They’ve discovered a “pool” of new strategies, techniques, and approaches that really work! Each of these tools will continue to evolve and improve but they are in use today and proving to be highly effective in delivering what they promise – a more agile, collaborative, engaging, financially successful, and accountable workplace.
Here’s our take on what’s going on in three key areas.
Set goals and assess performance with little to no support provided in between.
We call this period between setting goals and assessing performance “the void” because meaningful just-in-time support has traditionally been absent. Yearly reviews clearly were recognized as less than effective but substitutes weren’t available without high cost and questionable returns.
People were left to their own devices. Some received training but with little or no follow-up support to turn learning into improved performance on the job. This lack of widely scaled and high quality coaching support made even great training a poor investment.
Performance Management is going agile.
It had to because the old way of managing performance just did not work. It wasn’t helping people be their best nor did it help the organization be its best.
An agile approach focuses on frequent goal setting, just-in-time coaching, continuous feedback and support, and key performance metrics. It eliminates the void and provides the support people really need to excel.
Coaching was focused on more senior members of the organization.
On the upside, executives realized the wide variety of benefits that coaching offered but also understood the high cost of live one-to-one coaching. Talent and HR executives valiantly pushed for more coaching at all levels but continued to meet cost and quality barriers.
While talk of everyone being part of the “team” and deserving quality support to coach themselves or others occurred often, the ability to deliver on that promise continued to be out of reach.
Technology is providing greater access to coaching support for everyone.
Coaches and coaching companies are already leveraging technology to provide coaching support — by phone and video conferencing for example — thereby reducing cost factors related to time and distant.
More advanced coaching platforms that support coaching processes like scheduling coaching sessions, creating and meeting goals, and even supporting engagement with supportive actions “rewarded” are available. Even more importantly, actual self-paced just-in-time coaching content that allows individuals and managers to get concrete advice and direction have emerged. These online coaching solutions will dramatically change coaching as we’ve known it and quickly scale to meet a variety of cost, performance, and value scenarios. High quality scalable coaching is today’s new workplace imperative.
The Role of Manager
“Command and Control” was the primary focus.
Plan, organize, command, coordinate and control. These were the 5 basic functions of management that have evolved from the work of Henri Fayol in 1916.
One hundred years later, Fayol’s concepts are still being taught in business schools and practiced by managers around the world. But the 21st century workplace is tougher, more complex and socially connected. Expectations and needs are different and the tool belt worn by every manager must expand.
The workplace has evolved and those in management must change too.
Planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling still play important roles. But performing these 5 basic functions is not enough – not by a long shot.
Today’s managers – in fact managers and leaders at all levels — must focus on helping others excel. To do this they must engage by asking great questions, listening actively, providing feedback – both positive and constructive – and use every opportunity to help those they manage and lead discover new and better ways to work. Simply stated they must coach!
Moving in a Better Direction
Growing recognition of the need for change coupled with tangible progress being made is cause for real optimism and celebration. After decades of “talk” some are finally taking meaningful action.
Spurred by attractive results by many that have successfully begun to change, growing numbers of organizations are increasingly receptive to adopting new and innovative approaches, building a culture that promotes high performance, and acting in ways consistent with a long-standing pledge — “employees are our most important asset.”
Ready to get out your own way? Here’s how:
- Prepare and provide support so that your managers and leaders can actually coach.
- Update your Performance Management System. Make it agile.
- Reward and recognize those who coach themselves and others. Build this into your Performance Management System.
- Leverage evolving technology to provide coaching support to everyone. There are tools out there that give concrete specific guidance so people can effectively coach themselves and coach others. Explore, experiment, and use what’s available.