Experts give their views at CIPD’s session on raising performance

Well done to Doreen Gerety and CIPD on last Monday’s conference ‘Raising the bar on performance’. Thoroughly enjoyed it and found the different speakers insights really interesting.

Brian MacNiece – Kotinos Partners

Brian MacNiece from Kotinos Partners kicked off the session outlining his views on performance and fascinating insights into case studies of High Performing organizations Kotinos have undertaken. Brian described how these organizations create an environment that stimulates improved performance. Developing focused performance measures – timely, accurate performance measurement means better results.   I found Brian’s no nonsense approach to under-performance refreshing. Having been in highly competitive environments myself I have sometimes struggled to understand how companies put up with mediocre performance and Brian’s point about when he hears about ‘office politics’ made me laugh!

“When I hear there are office politics to be navigated that raises a red flag!”

Why? Because it means individuals can align themselves with more ‘powerful’ individuals to basically hide their contribution. I think we’ve all seen that so transparency is key to your performance management process.

Brian also made a good point about giving ‘soft feedback’ – I think that’s an Irish trait. We don’t like the idea of upsetting people so ‘soft feedback’ is the easier option but it doesn’t benefit the individual and certainly doesn’t help the company.

Frankie Sheahan – Front Row

Munster rugby legend Frankie Sheahan from Front Row spoke next. Being a keen sportsman and coach I was familiar with the detail Frankie went into. Goals, individual responsibility, stats, video analysis are at the core of most elite teams these days and I was used to receiving and giving that type of instruction. It was exciting to see the various clips of him and Munster performing and how they overcame their challenges of losing a series of finals to eventually turn those into wins.

I could relate to the mental process of reviewing and analyzing what had gone wrong and putting the building blocks and phases back in place to succeed. Have a “shared common purpose” and “taking individual responsibility” are the corner stones of elite team sport and it’s no different in business.

Setting goals and breaking down each component to make sure you have complete visibility and focus was also key. “Fail to prepare then prepare to fail” as Keano said and Frankie referenced another great quote by Fitzhugh Dobson, “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” How true.

Some people may have been surprised by the fact Frankie spoke a lot about ‘process’ and getting the ‘process’ right. I completely agree and would believe the result is the outcome of all the hard work that is put in during training and the match itself.

Enda McNulty and Michael Dempsey – Motiv8

Enda McNulty and Michael Dempsey from Motiv8 were the final speakers and to make sure we didn’t fall asleep we had periodic 2 minute keep fit sessions and catch words that we had to respond to by standing up. All good fun and very effective in keeping the audience engaged and motivated.

“The challenge is sustained performance achieved through learning and development” and getting the individual balance right. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy needs to be balanced and Enda did a great job in getting people to really reflect on how we see ourselves.

I liked the concept that it all starts with you. Individual > Team > Organisation. You need to have belief , direction and a winning attitude. You need to think positively and reflect on successes. We’ve got bogged down with bad news and negativity and it’s time we got ourselves back on track.

“Control the controllables” and “lance the problem early” were again great points. Too often we put problems on the long finger and we know what happens with that approach.

“Why is raising the bar vital now? Because the old ways don’t work in this age”. I’d say a few people nearly fell of their chairs when Michael said that. Lightening change, hyper competition, high volatility and compressed margins are the challenges in today’s business world.

In summary there was a consistent theme in relation to starting with the individual and getting them in the right frame of mind and well being. A clear vision and having clarity on goals and focus would have been another key feature with regular transparent feedback and accurate timely performance measurement. These are all areas we can help companies with and it was reassuring that our vision of developing a strong framework for automating performance management matched the drivers of each of the speakers at the event.

 

 

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