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Stoking Performance Management Leadership

October 15, 2013

Dear Cultural Warrior:

As you look to move from a control-and-compliance to a performance-management approach, shift your focus to fostering a culture of empowerment. This is a powerful foundation that in turn will help you realize such desired results as employee ownership, accountability, and commitment. 

While your middle managers will play a role in a cultural change, success will ultimately rely on commitment and support from your leadership team. The most exciting and effective cultural transformations occur when leadership is fully engaged and passionate about the evolution.  After all, these executives have the responsibility to set the tone for the culture. Leaders’ attitudes and actions cascade positive change throughout the organization – or not. When a leadership team truly rallies around the idea of a cultural change, the impact is felt across the entire organization.

Executive teams that commit to a culture of empowerment need support to implement that vision. Access to ongoing leadership development is one of the best resources you can provide for them. Through strategic, tailored development opportunities, leaders can begin to better understand how they personally advance the new culture. Coaching – including peer-to-peer coaching – helps leaders evolve and move into a “performance management” frame of mind, where the focus shifts from just the “what” is to be done to include how it gets done. To be effective, however, that coaching needs to be a meaningful two–way conversation, resulting in actions that create shared success.

Once this foundation is established, you and the leadership team can begin to drive cultural changes in the rest of the organization. As you examine methods to encourage the cultural change, remember that simplest techniques may have the most impact. It’s the commitment behind these techniques that determines success. 

Your leadership can demonstrate their commitment to building a culture of empowerment taking the following steps:

  • Establish ongoing development initiatives that help leaders and employees understand how they should embody a culture of empowerment in their day-to-day work
  • Identify--and break down-- organizational siloes and encourage cross-functional collaboration. Set goals and rewards systems to recognize team efforts, rather than just individuals.
  • Evaluate the organization’s systems and processes to ensure they are aligned with the culture, and making adjustments as warranted;
  • Motivate employees to take healthy risks that come with empowerment through the establishment of new systems and rewards
  • Provide employees with venues to engage leaders, including small group meetings and town halls
  • Offer opportunities for employees to provide feedback on leadership  for example 180 reviews and direct e-mail to the executives)

Your organization is on an exciting path – one that can deliver numerous benefits ranging from employee retention to increased revenue. As you embark on this transformation, look to your leadership team as partners who to set the stage for success.

SOURCE: Robyn Clark, managing director, talent solutions, BPI group, Chicago, September 26, 2013