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Annie Hayes

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Line managers hold the key to business success

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The performance management process can make the difference between a good company and a great company according to the latest Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) book by Angela Baron and Michael Armstrong.

The book, Performance Management, shows how attitudes have changed since 1991. Performance management, according to the authors, is no longer simply a tool to determine pay or measure objectives but in addition to managing staff well it is now also being used to address a variety of organisational issues from talent management to management style and facilitating change.

Baron said: “Performance management is a powerful tool that can raise the performance of individuals and the organisation as a whole. But success, or failure, depends on the line managers. If they recognise the value of performance management in enabling them to manage their staff well and meet their targets and objectives, they are likely to be more positive about it.”

Key findings of the research include:

  • 95% of employers see the performance management process as an essential tool in the management of organisational culture

  • 87% of respondents operate a formal performance management process

  • 71% agree that the focus of performance management is developmental

  • 75% believe performance management motivates individuals

  • 62% use objective-setting and personal development plans

  • 61% of line managers believe that performance is effective


2 Responses

  1. Who else influences the implementation of co strategy?
    We underestimate the importance of line-management, they are certainly key to business success. When I was operations manager of 28 high volume business units I discovered the following principle:

    Good Managers – Good people stay, not-so-good people improve or leave.

    Bad Managers – Good People leave, not-so-good people stay and get even worse.

    When ever I appointed a new general manager there was always staff movement. I used to insist that exit interviews were conducted on all leavers for the first year.
    – If the majority of leavers were seen as ‘not-so-good’ performers, I knew the new manager was probably doing a good job.
    – If the majority of people leaving were ‘good’ performers then I used to get really worried.
    – If nobody left then I was equally worried because I did not pay managers to just ‘maintain the status quo’.

    Crude, unorthodox, un-theoretical may be but this principle proved correct over 80% of the time. Teams are only as good as the team leader that manages them.

  2. It’s not a tool!
    Line managers hold the key to business success?

    No.

    Employees do.

    Managers hold the key to business failure.

    The above are pretty assertive statements. I challenge the reader to think of major successes in business that have been down to managers – sure, there are some, arguably.

    Now look at all the cockups, failures etc – isn’t it the case that some 70% of all meregrs & acquisitions end in failure, yet still they go on. I can’t help thinking the root causes of the failures lie largely with management.

    Perhaps when we stop looking at performance management as a tool and start looking at it as perhaps the primary purpose for the existence of managers, we might start believing some of the rhetoric, and seeing the results in organisations.

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