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Performance management fails the very people it was supposed to help.

February 26th, 2013

Having just watched the Channel 4 evening news, I felt compelled to stand on the old soap box and once again plead for leaders and managers to listen to what is happening around them.  It is alleged that a dysfunctional performance management culture led to victims of rape being persuaded to not proceed with cases.

This is the second time within a month that there have been damming reports on performance culture within the public sector.  Please do not think I am ignorant enough to know that unhealthy performance cultures don’t exist in the private sector, but they do not make the headlines as often.

Deborah Glass, Deputy Chair, IPCC stated on TV that “…it was a sorry indictment of the impact of the performance culture, you know, can have upon the way people carry out their… their… duties”.

The above is very much a mirror of the findings of the report into the Midstaffs NHS trust.  Performance targets being met at the expense of the people the organisations were meant to help.

My views were clear then, and are clear now.  If you have a performance measure then it must be a measure that does not drive dysfunctional performance.  There is a need to measure, I understand that, but let us not forget, that often, whats measured gets done (often at the expense of all else!).

The lesson here as last time is:  make sure you set your targets wisely.  Try them out first, speak to your people and customers, find out what they want measured and how.  By openly discussing measures with staff and customers alike you may find that people are open and will tell you what they will do to achieve the target and at what cost.  Your customers will also have a wealth of information in relation to what should be measured.

For a review of your performance measures contact us now.

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