Jocelyn Bérard, M.Ps. MBA is the Vice President of International Leadership and Business Solutions (Vice-président Leadership et Solutions d’Affaires — Internationale) at Global Knowledge Canada
Performance management is by far the best system for the integration and sustainment of corporate business strategy. The primary raison d’être of performance management is to align business objectives with individual objectives from the top down through every level of the organization. The CEO’s goals, once set, should be supported by the goals of those who directly report to her and so on. This allows for the alignment of skills and behaviours necessary to achieve the company’s objectives.
Using the performance management system in this way provides a very strong “business” aspect. Performance reviews can create general anxiety and severely weaken the link with business objectives. A performance management program aligned to corporate strategies and objectives enables all of the leaders and employees to express their goals and performance in their own words and provides a “golden thread” that ties the entire organization together.
It’s not only necessary to create alignment on the objectives side but also on the competencies side. Any corporate initiatives that require changes in behaviours, such as creating a consultative sales approach versus a product out approach, can be supported by an effective performance management system.
Training and Development
Must training solutions be based on each leader’s development needs? No! Training solutions, like any development activity, must be located at the crossroads of the needs of the organization, the administrative unit, and the individuals’ needs. If Apple wishes to maintain its current course then its strategy, business objectives, and brand image must weigh heavily in identifying the development needs of its leaders. If RIM wishes to change direction in the near future, the new course must be identified and new training plans put in motion.
The same is true for corporations such as Rogers, Deloitte, and Toyota that have, over the years, built a strong brand image — one that is recognizable among their clients. The advice on leadership brand development offered by Ulrich and Smallwood includes the following:
Ensure that leaders adapt to the most significant expectations of external stakeholders; assess leaders on the basis of perspectives external to the corporation (i.e., what the corporation wants to be for its clients); and finally, offer leadership training that will enable leaders to respond to the expectations of clients and investors.
This is another fine opportunity for human resources organizations to align with business objectives.