A recent HBR article (Why companies are so bad at treating employees like people) by Herminia Ibarra speaks to the need to re-invent the workplace if there is to be human development at work. As Ibarra characterizes it, this re-invention requires “reimagining complex organizations so that they are more human and agile.” The implication seems to be that making organizations more human and agile involves solving the “thorny problem of developing people.” Continue reading
Management gets rewarded for delivering results, and those (employees) who perform in their work get results. Hence (quite understandably) management must identify and embrace performers. The more performers there are the better (and easier) it is, especially for management.
Accordingly those who have been categorized as ‘a performer’—those who are above average—are often held up as exemplars: They are models of success, the standard bearers of what hard work and dedication to the job, to the organization and the economy can mean for each individual.
Who wouldn’t want to be labeled a performer? What manager, what organization wouldn’t want all to be above average? Clearly we must all aspire to be above average. If only every individual would just pick him or herself up by his or her own bootstraps! Continue reading
When Smart is Beyond Stupid
When do managers talk about improvement and development with those they manage? In most cases it is when managers are required to do so, during the organization’s annual performance appraisal time period. In three previous posts (Replace performance reviews with leadership for quality; Facilitate performance, don’t appraise it; Performance appraisal: A pathway to mistrust) performance appraisal was discussed but since the practice is still very popular another appraisal of it is in order. Continue reading
Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me
How do you maximize the performance of an organization?
Wait, wait…don’t tell me!
I went to business school, I know! Continue reading
Business Management Education—Think Again
In an HBR Blog Network article Gianpiero Petriglieri, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Director of the Management Acceleration Programme at INSEAD, spoke to the question are business schools clueless or evil? Professor Petriglieri’s answer is “business schools are neither clueless nor evil. They are—like most students that flock to their classrooms—in transition. Overtly working to improve their competence and image and covertly wrestling with questions about identity and purpose.” Continue reading
Act on Causes not Outcomes
Properly reporting and interpreting the movement in the monthly unemployment rate requires one to have an understanding of variation. Yes, while it may be a surprise to many, monthly outcomes do vary from month to month irrespective of whether there is an identifiable cause—you can call this random noise. There are also variation patterns that are not noise but signal that something has changed, that something is different in the system. Being able to discern signal from noise is critical to the proper interpretation of what is going on (or not) in the system that produces the outcome—it informs sound decision-making. Continue reading
Replace Performance Reviews with Leadership for Quality
A recent issue of Knowledge@Wharton indicates, that while 91% of companies worldwide have performance appraisals only 35% to 40% do performance reviews well. The question remains, what does doing them well mean? What are the criteria for the performance of performance reviews? Can performance reviews (as we’ve come to know and love them) really be done well? Should they be done at all? If not what should be put in their place? Continue reading
Quantum physicists tell us that at the subatomic level there is indeterminacy to the interactions and interconnections of particles—that they do not take place at a definite place and time—and thus (they) exhibit a likelihood of occurring; reality is associated with a statistical probability distribution. In other words, variation is an inherent phenomenon characteristic of reality. Continue reading
Data Should Lead to Understanding
In a Baseline Scenario article titled Bad Data James Kwak stated, “to make a vast generalization, we live in a society where quantitative data are becoming more and more important. Some of this is because of the vast increase in the availability of data, which is itself largely due to computers. Some is because of the vast increase in the capacity to process data, which is also largely due to computers.” Although computers have made the collection and accumulation of data much easier, so much so that we can get overwhelmed with information, computers are not the reason we are unable to understand and use data appropriately. Continue reading
A Matter of Results
It seems we are obsessed with results. We conduct life as if results are the only things that matter. To most results by any means are results just the same. We manage by results, we define problems by results, we define our job by results, we make individuals accountable for results, we cause harm to others in the pursuit of results, we cheat and lie to show results, and we even define our self by the results we get. Just look around and you will see that results—and getting them now—are all that matters. Continue reading