With changing economic times comes the need to provide tools that are flexible to change along with them. Many organizational tools that were designed for yesterday’s performance standards and not proving flexible enough to be effective for today’s market conditions.
For instance, competency-based performance management systems are proving to be too rigid for these current changing economic times. Although they have beneficial components built in, like including competencies that are applicable to an entire company, they also can be limiting. They also have beneficial components like dealing with things like strategic thinking, developing others, creating vision, etc., but they may not prove as effective when things slow down and organizational needs change dramatically.
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In a slowing economy, the organization that is set up to effectively deal with fluctuating demand dynamically changes to match market conditions. Unfortunately, the organizational support processes that is geared to serve an organization in a more robust set of economics conditions rarely changes along side the rest of the adaptive organism. These inflexible, un-dynamic systems simply remain the same.
Examples include a performance plan that emphasizes succession planning and developing bench strength when the new realities of the workplace environment show that the needs of the organizations have taken an about-face. Imagine using these tools when faced with 50% headcount reductions. Or what about polices that boast of promoting from within, while training programs are reduced and continuing education budgets are cut.
Having unwieldy tools like this at hand is like asking for a scalpel to perform delicate surgery and being handed a 4-pound pipe wrench to do the job. It just doesn’t seem appropriate.
If a performance management system encourages development, promotion from within, succession planning, and training, does the reward for leaders adhering to these behaviors continue to match the expectation of the organization?
If there is a lack of alignment between organizational expectations and leadership behaviors, what does the lack of alignment do to the management team’s morale? Who needs to address these issues?
Questions: How do you modify the organizational systems/processes without redoing all of the work done on the existing system (training, recruiting, performance management, etc.)? How do you make your toolkit more adaptive and flexible for real life economic.organizational needs? What is your leadership doing about this?
Posted on April 2, 2009 by Contributing Author Kyle Weldon
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