I have been looking forward to the last few weeks of August for a while now – not just because of the prospect of some summer weather (at last) but also because this is when our Open Programme on Strategic Performance Management is taking place for overseas visitors, in partnership with Middlesex University London.
Last week my colleagues and I took great pleasure in receiving our distinguished guests from the Indonesia Government and introducing them to London. Over the last few days we have been exploring a number of tools and techniques in relation to performance management from a number of different perspectives.
On a very hot summers day, as part of our programme we were very privileged to be invited to a senior UK government department to hear from a number of specialist senior staff about the context, strategy and detail of performance management within the UK Government. My special thanks to our hosts for their help and support in providing such excellent sessions, and exceeding all expectations with both the content and the hosting of our visit. All our delegates really enjoyed themselves and I know from our summary session afterwards that everyone had learned a great deal from the visit.
One of the most interesting things was the emphasis within UK government PMS of balancing the ‘What’ with the ‘How’ – making sure that both Task achievement, and personal behaviours are given equal weighting when reviewing performance. I was also stuck by the inclusion of significant self-assessment as a cornerstone of the process. These two focal points reinforced my own experiences of the very best in PM systems: those that looking at the person, not simply the task. Indeed, it is refreshing that my own maxim of “look after the people, and the people will be motivated to do the work well” appears to be very relevant.
When managing people, do you focus on the needs of the people that work with you, or focus on the needs of the task outputs? The UK government are setting a brilliant example from their internal and external research, and seem to have created a framework that has been adopted by almost all of the various government departments, which in turn encourages and motivates staff to offer high level performance. How could we all learn from this?