Ever since organisations were created for the purposes of producing a profit, they have been interested in improving performance. Over the years there have been many theories and methods which have risen and fallen in popularity, the focus most recently being on technology-based systems which support annual performance reviews, surveys, 360 degree reviews and goal-setting.

With all of the recent talk about the challenges of managing and inspiring workplace performance, we thought we would ask the audience. We used our EmployeeLife platform to post a single question poll across LinkedIn and discovered that only 30% of respondents agreed that their company’s performance system helped employees to improve their performance. The result intrigued us so much that we are doing further research, however here is our hypothesis so far….

Real-time is the only time that counts
In today’s ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world, time is a precious resource. Most ‘performance’ systems seem to focus a lot of attention on the past (what happened) or the future (what we want to happen). Whilst the past and future are important, any time spent in the past or future takes away from the most important time of all – the present.

Rather than conducting appraisals about what happened in the past, an organisation can do itself a great service by managing now. We call this the Performance Drumbeat.

What is a Performance Drumbeat?
There is a reason Bands have drummers and Orchestras have conductors. Regardless of how good each individual musician is, the magic happens when they play well together. Even freestyle jazz musicians play together with ‘rules’ governing how they will play moment to moment.

This is what a performance drumbeat is all about – providing a simple and very clear framework for how an organisation will move forward together.

The characteristics of an effective performance drumbeat are:

• Agreement about what is important – the ‘rules’ of the game.
• Clear expectations about performance and standards.
• Agreement about how to assess performance against these standards.
• Removal of unnecessary ‘noise’.

The Performance Drumbeat sets in place a foundation of simplicity, clarity and real-time progress towards what needs to be achieved. Our EmployeeLife platform was specifically designed for this purpose.

Jason Buchanan – General Manager; Insights & Innovation

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