If you’d like to create a high performing, deeply engaging organization where people leaders are able to be their most supportive, encouraging and inspiring selves, then it is critical to distinguish development from performance and separate the two processes.
Why is this important? Because it changes the conversation and the strategic construct within which people contribute and grow. When we place a rating on our development as a leader as part of performance management, there are a number of implications.
1. Measuring the “self” in relation to “performance” puts the “self” into emotional jeopardy. inhibits growth and makes for difficult conversations.
2. Putting “development” into a biannual or annual performance management process relegates courageous caring conversations to these times, losing the opportunities for generating perspective and personal development over the course of the year.
3. Placing the measurement of development into the performance frameworks makes people leaders primarily evaluators rather than coaches.
4. Development criteria are largely behaviorally anchored and require a 360 view or an objective stage-based assessment process to be fairly evaluated.
Outlawing undesirable behaviors through a performance-based approach may seem sensible, but really this is a “managing the baseline” approach. The baseline is better managed by putting into practice values-based standards and stage-centric leadership models where the baseline behaviors are specifically set out. Running a values-based leadership program can then enable people, through action learning and reflection, to consider how they can best demonstrate the values while exercising more and more integrity and putting their best selves into play. This facilitates the renewal of a vital, alive, engaging culture.
Instead of a Performance Review, I highly recommend an annual Talent Review (every two years for smaller organizations) to evaluate Contribution, Capacity and Career – and you can add Compensation to this to really create a fair and equitable culture. This will enable and facilitate both Succession (role-based) and Progression (person-focused) Planning in your organization.
And why is this even important? Because we need more transforming leaders in the world to shift the world around us. We need to develop leaders from Conformists to Experts/Specialists, to Achievers, Catalysts and Strategists. Only then will we have the leadership capacity we need at the senior levels of organizations to transform our world.