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By: Lester Leonard

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Friday, 21-Feb-2014 21:52 Email | Share | Bookmark
Managing Performance: What Would Socrates Do?

Managing Performance: What Would Socrates Do? The Worthiness of Performance Management As we turn the corner and head into the final months of 2011, many companies start the procedure for evaluating how well employees performed against expectancies. For some, it's an institutional ritual that has to be performed to fulfill a deadline on the HR calendar. For the others, it's an chance to enhance the effectiveness of human capital and guide further development. Handling functionality is a fundamental management area - ensuring employees understand the company's strategy, how occupation responsibilities link to specific targets and ascertaining the degree to which efforts translated into measurable results. Performance administration systems accept several types, from free-style stories and examine the box proficiency lists to more sophisticated MBO processes. No matter how it's done, the aim of any efficiency management program would be to maximize individual performance in the pursuance of business goals. Thus, the actual worth in any performance management procedure is the exchange of information that takes place between an employee and his/her manager - a dialogue that not only covers what went right and what went Business Coaching wrong, but also uncovers the root cause of performance issues, the crucial corrective actions, advice / guidance on different strategies, suggestions for livelihood development and the agreed upon actions to close indentified gaps. In essence, good performance direction is a set of interactions that transcend the particular processes used. Learning from the Greatest So, where does Socrates fit in to all of this and what can this master educator and philosopher teach us about performance management? Most of us remember Socrates (and his pupil, Plato) as essential reading in philosophy course. Today, and outside of the academic setting, Socrates has a great deal to teach us about uncovering the truth through logic, self-examination and constructive dialogue. Not surprisingly, these happen to be essential elements of successful performance management. Socrates applied a technique known as the Socratic Method - a type of questioning that attracts learning from within. He enhanced the quality of thinking in others through sensible reasoning and insight, and in the process, led people to the truth without telling them. This is what a good coach does - helps you reach your potentiality by further developing the capacities that already exist. Human operation is a function of conscience idea and activity, where thinking drives conduct and behaviour drives results. Comprehending the Process Too frequently, efficiency management discussions are limited to reviewing results, tasks and the reasoning for differences to strategy. What we desire to attain is an open dialogue that supports unrestricted interest, helpful feedback, probing concerns, and difficult premises. These are typical behaviors demoed in a true learning organization. If we want to improve the functionality of the organization, we must focus on the performance of the person. This is reached by engaging in a beneficial, intellectual and non-confrontational dialogue to help employees better analyze and diagnose their own performance while identifying what needs to be done to get to the next degree. The worse thing we can do to improve human functionality is direct our attention toward overhauling the administrative system, changing the kinds or making the execution piece work more efficiently; put another way, becoming process perfect but results deficient. Using the Procedure The 4 groups of questions listed below provide a forum for productive exchange in investigating behavior, presuming and consequences; these questions can be altered to fit a given set of conditions. The important point to remember is that questions like these should be applied in everyday discussions to: develop concepts, challenge beliefs and premise, gain perspective and comprehension and assess outcomes: Gaining Outlook & Understanding What is causing this to happen? How did you come to this conclusion? Give me an example to illustrate your point What other viewpoints did you consider Are there any unanswered questions at this point? Has this happened before? Why is this needed? Tell me more about.....? Challenging Beliefs & Premises Are there other explanations for what happened? What observations support your beliefs? How much is logic and how much is emotion? Are you theorizing or do you know? Given your beliefs, what would occur if....? What happens if your premises are incorrect? Developing Theories Have we ever considered this strategy before? How does your thought meet into the scheme? Are there any risks or unknowns that should be evaluated? What are the ideas and reactions of other stakeholders? What do we already know about this issue? If fully executed what would this look like? Need level of assurance do you have in.....? What questions do we need to inquire? Evaluating Results Is this how you expected it to turn out? What would you do differently next time? What can we learn from this? What were the intended and unintended outcomes? How does this outcome impact ....? What is the importance of...? Who needs to know about this? Final Notions An organization develops and grows at the same speed as its workers. One method to quicken development is through a more powerful performance management process. Performance management is a vital action that should take place every day of the week through continuous and constructive dialogue. Employees at all levels can enhance the quality of their thinking by asking the appropriate questions and drawing out the possibility in others. The finest location to begin the journey is by asking the question: "What would Socrates do"?

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