At this time of year, most employees are completing their annual performance self-assessment. They are highlighting accomplishments against their yearly objectives (the "what" of their performance) and the organizational values, capabilities or behaviours they demonstrated while achieving them (the "how"). They also are explaining shortfalls and identifying development needs to increase their performance in the future.
Once completed, their manager will do their assessments with input from people who have worked with the employee. They will then assign a performance rating that is calibrated with other people's assessments. Finally, the manager will review their performance assessment with the employee to agree on what is documented and the development plan for 2017 to enable greater performance. Final comments would be shared, setting up the employee for future success.
Although some companies have abandoned standard performance appraisals, most still see the benefits that annual assessments can provide, including increased self-awareness, recognition, greater motivation, capability building and increased contribution.
Few organizations complete an annual assessment of their ability to take on change. Most continue using established practices without conducting an enterprise-wide assessment of them. By not doing so, they fail to realize the benefits that are gained from how they assess their employees.
What would it be like if an organization took an employee-style approach to assessing its ability to adopt change? It could look something like this:
The leaders and team members accountable for the change initiatives of the year would assess how well they implemented their changes based on early outcomes gained and other pre-defined measures of success (e.g. timing, costs, etc.). They would also explain shortfalls and identify capability gaps that need to be filled to increase performance in the future.
Business Feedback and Assessment
The leadership team would do the same assessment with input from their teams (especially those who are impacted by the changes). They would then assign an overall performance rating.
The performance rating would be compared to last year's assessment and external benchmarks of companies with similar operating conditions. The rating would be adjusted up or down based on these comparisons.
The leadership team would review their performance assessment with those who were accountable for the change initiatives to agree on what is documented and the change capability development plan for 2017 to enable greater performance. Final comments would be shared, setting up the organization for future success.
If done well, a performance review process like this could increase organizational awareness of its ability to change, provide recognition for work well done, better skills and increase motivation for taking on change through greater engagement and contribution. It would definitely underscore the importance that change and the capability to adopt it play in driving performance against strategic objectives.
Peter Drucker's adage "what gets measured gets managed" still holds true. If an organization's ability to take on change is an essential enabler of achieving strategic objectives, then assessing and improving it annually is a smart investment.
If "change" was your employee, how would you rate its performance in 2016?