Our Thoughts

Performance is total

Posted by David Manyanza on Apr 8 2014

We all agree that performance is about results. It is about delivering the results or service expected by customers. Depending on your position in the organization you may be serving external or internal customers. Both have similar needs in that they need your service; and they need it so much that they are desperate if you do not deliver it in time. However, the service delivery process has considerable interconnections that need consideration in ensuring an employee's effective and sustained performance.

Performance is not just delivering that service or results. Effective and sustained performance is also about relationships; it is about connections and networking as much as it is also about accountability. In this multi-dimensional context, performance is not just about being accountable to your boss about deliverables and their deadlines. It is first and foremost about timely meeting customer needs, which one often achieves in the absence of the boss, and about relationships with peers, reports and suppliers of products or services because they matter in the effective service delivery process.

Under the circumstances it is not enough to account for results to one's "boss" during a performance appraisal as this is done in the absence of the customer. To get a good and total employee performance picture the boss needs to know what results or services were delivered, speed of delivery, the extent of customer and stakeholder satisfaction. This requires the various stakeholders attesting the individual's performance in terms of customer service and work relationships. It is the essence of the multi-rater feedback known as the 360-degree performance appraisal system also known as the balanced scorecard.

Two assertions, which are ingredients of effective and sustainable performance, are key to the 360-degree performance appraisal system. They are: (i) awareness of any difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us increases self awareness and (ii) increased self awareness is a key to maximum performance as it forms a foundation block for improvement.

The 360-degree performance appraisal constitutes a systematic collection of performance feedback data, on an individual's performance, from the person the individual reports to (immediate supervisor), peers, external/internal customers and subordinates (upward feedback). The feedback is in the form of measurable ratings against performance criteria. It underscores the recognition that what we do affects or impacts many other people other than our supervisors, hence their importance in the performance equation.

Recognizing the complexity of managing and the fact that managers cannot adequately assess behaviours and actions displayed by their subordinates in their absence, the appraisal seeks to use those who interact with employees more often and uninhibitedly to provide inputs. Their participation in the appraisal process not only enhances self-awareness but also re-enforces the development of positive performance related behaviours that serve to strengthen the employee as an effective and sustained performer.


This was post was updated on April 9, 2014.

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