« Employee Size Doesn’t Count | Main | Incentives Before the Fact? »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Ann - Looking at this topic in a systematic way makes perfect sense, and goes a long way towards making the exercise both useful and effective. As an evolutionary matter, however, continuing to describe it as 'performance management' is a barrier that needs to be overcome to make the measurement of organizational success relevant to those who contribute towards it. In the new world 'managing' performance is a misnomer; in fact, the term 'management', and all of its derivatives, will become increasingly obsolete. In the old command and control model management defined and evaluated what workers were supposed to do and how they were supposed to do it; thus performance management was coined as describing a management driven task. This is, or will be very soon, no longer the case. Technology and demographics are driving rapid, radical change in the way work is defined, and all the old metrics will no longer apply. In fact, the nature of compensation and rewards will need to be re-thought in the context of new business models that are evolving in the marketplace. As long as hierarchical thought drives business practices those practices will not be effective in obtaining desired results. As the old saying goes: you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.


Thanks for your comments - I've brought them to the attention of our guest contributor in the hopes that he'll share his thoughts in response as well.

For my part, I would agree that some of our old ideas about management, at least in the Frederick Taylor sense, no longer fit the way work is done in many places today. Ultimately, compensation and rewards will have to adapt. Although I'm inclined to think that while there are many elements about our pay approaches that no longer fit today's world of work, there are also many principles about effective rewards that are timeless and must always be given their due. These include a clear and defined purpose, thoughtful balance, and clarity - among others.

As always, I appreciate your stopping in to the Cafe and sharing your take on the conversation!

Ann invited me to respond. I agree with Ann.

John, no one would accuse me of defending old ideas. Nor does Ed Lawler who triggered the blog.

But it will be some time before you can sell your idea to senior management. Yes, the old command and control approach is or should be buried. However, as long as groups have leaders, they will want to have the final word on what needs to be accomplished and to decide at some point if it was.

I think you will find the term 'performance management' is not as old as you suggest.

Performance appraisal was the phrase used for years and is still frequently and unfortunately still used.

I first worked with self-managed teams in the 1970's, fully support the idea, but even then they do not decide what they want to accomplish without input and guidance from management.

Change is not binary but additive. Trends overlap and concatenate, so that every new alternative simply increases the number of viable options and extends the complexity of the observation universe. New waves rarely totally eliminate all predecessors. New technology will not completely displace all prior paradigms. Not all workers will be virtual even twenty years from now. Brick & mortar working environments familiar to the 16th Century will still remain somewhere.

Agree with John. Performance management is an outdated concept, at least where I work. We eliminated it a long time ago, as well as the idea of management in general. We found out that people don't need to be managed, they can manage themselves and know instinctively what to do. "Top management" stays out of our lives and we have little contact with them. We come and ago as we please and work on many projects that have questionable benefit to the company. We used to know what the company's objectives were through the PM process, but we found that it didn't matter much if we knew them or not. We don't consider it as coming to work, as much as doing our thing. As John implies, this is the wave of the future in a management free organzation.

The comments to this entry are closed.