Commit to deliver a level of performance
ALL individual contributions towards at least one strategic priority in the enterprise transformation road map need to be “measured.” This means, they have to be quantified; moreover, they must be made within a specified time period.
Measurement can be tricky. To avoid complications and ambiguity, they have to be simple and straightforward. This means, there has to be a number, which is used as a yardstick of actual performance delivered. In this regard, it is objective: it is there for everyone to see, and if necessary to check and verify.
In addition, there has to be a time specified within which the measured performance is to be delivered. Generally, the time given for performance delivery is one year. This is short enough to be meaningfully verifiable; and it is long enough to give individuals some room for flexibility. Depending on circumstances, within a year, there can be pre-agreed reckoning periods, e.g. every month, or every quarter, or at least every 6 months. These intervening reckoning periods can give a sense to everyone on how the individual is coming along in the course of the year. It gives an opportunity for making extra effort in case there is some need for catching up.
All the above are the elements that enter into an individual’s personal, workrelated scorecard. By such a scorecard, the commitment to contribute positively to the pursuit of at least one strategic priority in the enterprise transformation road map is formalized.
The individual agrees with the immediate supervisor the activity that the individual should focus on. It is the single most important activity by which an individual’s contribution can be assessed.
The performance level that needs to be delivered is specified in a quantitative and easy-to-measure manner.
A target of performance to be delivered within a given schedule, e.g. a year, is also pre-agreed.
Such is the “performance commitment” that individuals make with their immediate supervisor. It comes in the form of a “formal performance contract”; and performance bonuses may then be given to reward a higher-than-expected performance. Alternatively, demerits may be imposed, although in these cases every effort has to be made to help individuals come up to speed and deliver the outcomes they had committed to deliver.
There are many different ways of administering a system of performance contracts. Different enterprises may opt for more positive ways of encouraging overperformance and beating performance expectations, without allowing the system to be gamed. The most important outcome is for every individual to be kept on their toes, to work as best as they can, and deliver outcomes that would most substantively hasten the attainment of the strategic priorities they are expected to make a positive contribution to.
Any such system must have some hard steel to it, provided this is wrapped with as much velvet cover as possible, so as to encourage individuals to keep trying more and attaining ever higher levels of accomplishment.