Individual and organisational performance

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Derek Stockley highlights some of the key issues involving performance, both at the individual and organisational level.

Performance is the underlying theme for organisations

Many companies and organisations embrace new concepts and ideas to help better manage day-to-day activities or business.

Sometimes people become so involved in the new process, they forget the more important aspects, particularly the need to focus on benefits and outcomes.

In the early days, the quality movement suffered greatly from the over-emphasis on the format and style of quality manuals and other documents. The focus became the documents themselves, rather than the processes that they described.

Organisations need to focus on the critical elements of performance. Although a variety of different tools and methods exist (quality, balanced scorecard, six sigma), the important point is achieving the improvements and refinements expected. Improved benefits and value must be achieved.

Performance at the individual or organisational level

Different organisations have different problems. I was recently involved in a discussion with three managers from three different organisations. Each organisation had its own performance need.

In one case, performance problems were widespread. Multiple actions at multiple levels were required to address some basic and fundamental problems.

At the other extreme, another manager reported on a very healthy organisation with a strong performance culture. The organisation climate was also positive and morale was high. Even so, there were still some areas where improvement was possible. In this case, some individuals required greater assistance. Quality processes were not achieving the expected results because of personal issues.

In summary, I recommend that you focus on the outcomes. Use whatever processes are suitable, but remember they are tools - a means to an end. Even successful companies can find areas for improvement. Sometimes, large-scale change is required. In other companies, specific pressure points require attention. This may involve individuals, organisational units or processes.

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