Implementing performance management systems: From evaluation to excellence

Here are some steps to implementing an excellent performance management systems.

1.Appreciating The Concept of Performance Management
Before a leader creates a management system, he or she must first appreciate the idea that this concept was designed to solve certain challenges and it’s a tool for achieving the corporate goals of an organization. Every leader must embrace both the science and art of creating a model that drives desirable behaviour and productive outcomes. Without this paradigm, there would be a lot of motion without movement in the workplace. Performance therefore can be measured to a reasonable degree of objectivity. Thus, the understanding of this management tool is the foundation for implementing it.

2.Understanding The Specific Needs of The Organization
Performance management systems have broad applications but for each organization, there must be a custom playbook. This means that the overarching corporate vision or objectives should be front and centre in developing such systems which is to be followed by a needs assessment. The quantity and quality of human and material resources should be taken into account, the relationship between and among internal and external stakeholders, the metric or standards of success, communication channels, etc. The model adopted must be a direct response to the challenges and aspirations of the organization.

3.Set Timelines
Genius thinker, Napoleon Hill, once said that, “a goal is a dream with a deadline.” This mirrors the fact that performance management systems must necessary define timelines for success. In business, it is said that time is money. So producing a hundred bars of chocolate in one month is not the same thing as producing a hundred bars of chocolate in two months. Things like time value of money, inflation, an extra month of expenses and other sunk costs could be the difference in both scenarios. No organization, succeeds or fails in one fell swoop- it happens in instalments. Time management must therefore become an integral part of the performance management system. Without clear timelines, most employees would faff around and still get paid. This is particularly important because in every organization, one person’s output is someone else’s input. To work without timeframes would be to set up an organization to be utterly unproductive.

4. Assigning Productivity Monitors
A performance management system is nothing without managers; people who in a hierarchical and concerted manner would check on the work done by their subordinates. The operational word here is hierarchical because even managers need to be managed themselves; it’s effectively a system of check and balances. A performance management system takes into cognizance the power dynamics of an organization on a peer-to-peer level, superior-to-subordinate level and subordinate-to-superior level respectively. Monitoring people isn’t so much aboutthem but about paying attention to what they are doing; that would be micromanaging because the evaluators here are not necessarily in their face all the time but intermittently interrogating actions in a holistic manner.

5.Curating The Appropriate Questions
The quality of answers in any scenario is a direct function of the quality of questions. Emotionally intelligent managers know that harvesting the right information from subordinates require clear, relevant and pointed questions. These questions asked during performance reviews should border around employees’ competencies, deliverables, team spirit, areas of improvement, compliance levels and understanding of the organization’s vision. Performance management system is a tool to uncovering data and other information that is useful in making the right decisions that are in the best interest of the organization. Questions trigger certain responses that can be used as touchpoints to gauging the success or otherwise of an organization.

6.Developing Collaborative Performance Goals
Whilst every objective should be drawn from an organization’s corporate vision, it should be developed in partnership with the most important stakeholders – employees. Emotionally intelligence requires managers to always get the input and buy-in of their subordinates; even when you have a laid out agenda, you sell those ideas to those that would execute o that they can take ownership of the agenda. The goals should be statutorily SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. People are generally more motivated to do deliver when they see the success of an organization as their own success
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About Dr. Abiola Salami
Dr. Abiola Salami is the Convener of Dr Abiola Salami International Leadership Bootcamp and The Peak PerformerTM. He is the Principal Performance Strategist at CHAMP – a full scale professional services firm trusted by high performing business leaders for providing Executive Coaching, Workforce Development & Advisory Services to improve performance. You can reach his team on and connect with him @abiolachamp on all social media.

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