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Performance Appraisal – Where rubber meets the road….

My car – a rather smart 4×4, in my opinion –‐ weighs just under 2.5 tons (laden weight), and the only contact it has with the road is four sections of Tyre, each smaller than an A4 page.

Especially at highway speeds, these small but crucial sections of rubber are subject to unbelievable forces and terrifying levels of stress when the car accelerates, corners and brakes, and particularly in emergency situations; they are the key interface between the car and reality – they are ‘where the rubber meets the road’. Only today, I was driving behind a one–‐year–‐old car which suffered from a blow out and subsequently sheared the whole Tyre off the wheel rim. Luckily, the driver managed to bring the car to a halt safely.

Paradoxically, millions of dollars are invested every year in research and development to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of this interface, the humble car Tyre. Whilst some specialist car tyres are very expensive, other more common ones are quite cheap, and you might draw the analogy between the car tyres and top management and supervisory grades.

In an organization, managers at all levels are effectively ‘where the rubber meets the road’ – they are the key interface between the organization and its people, and they are the key to people and performance development, and the difference between an organization which performs, and one which truly shines. The people managing ‘where the rubber meets the road’ are what creates and maintains a positive, motivating environment and drives peak performance and results.

And often, so little is invested in research and development of the managers’ people and performance development skills. Managers are frequently promoted because of their technical skills, without any preparation for their vital role ‘where the rubber meets the road’. By ‘research and development’, I mean understanding what good management and good leadership is all about, and giving managers at all levels a sound understanding of what they need to do to drive the performance of their people to high and higher levels, and how they need to go about it. The difference is between knowing and doing.

The People and Performance Development System is designed to develop this important interface, where a company’s managers need to raise the game on people and performance development issues, to develop their teams’ performance, to use more effective formal and informal performance management, and to enjoy both their jobs and their lives more as a result.

September 17, 2008

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