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Performance management at its worst, Performance before service!

February 7th, 2013

I have not had time to read, let alone digest the full report published yesterday into the circumstances prevailing at the NHS Mid Staffordshire Trust.  The executive summary of the report by Robert Francis QC paints (in my opinion only) a very bleak view on the performance management that existed.

The full report can be found here.

In his letter to the Secretary of State for Health, he also points out several areas of concern around culture.

It appears that the culture that prevailed was one that was ready to accept the positive feedback, but was less willing to accept developmental feedback.

He states that “Standards and methods of measuring compliance which did not focus on the effect of a service on patients”.  In my view this means that the performance measures were more focused on organisational outcome than that of the patient.

The letter goes on to say that there was “A failure to appreciate until recently the risk of disruptive loss of corporate memory and focus resulting from repeated, multi-level reorganisation.”  I dread to think how many other large organisations both public and private have experienced similar.  This is why being an intelligent business is vital, organisational memory is so, so important!

Hear the bad news today to make the good news of tomorrow (be a better leader)

The recommendations are, in my view, sensible and in fact signs of good leadership.  After all, a good leader wishes to be open to feedback.  Don’t they?

Leaders must be willing to encourage and hear what is being said, even when they would rather not be hearing it.  It is also important that leaders are gracious when accepting this feedback, as the person giving it is often just trying to help!

It is critical that action or communication follows the feedback.  If nothing is done or no communication comes back down ‘from the top’ then it is very unlikely that people will be bothered to speak out again in future.

What I will say to end this is:

There are good and bad leaders in every organisation, just as there are good and bad employees. One thing to remember is, humility as a leader goes a long way.  No one is perfect, no one is beyond improvement, no system is perfect and sometimes you have to hear the bad news today to make the good news of tomorrow!

If you think your company would benefit from our organisational development services, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we would love to help.


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