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A Network of Brains – Driving Breakthrough Performance in the New Work Environment

This week I was sitting in front of a webcast looking at charts that say that everything is changing. I am bit tired of oversized pitches for some HR consultancy – but this week’s presentation by the Corporate Leadership Council did have something going for it.

The intro was familiar: work is increasing, higher profits can only happen through higher profitability, current skills are not enough. But then there was a twist to it that I found new and enlightening:

“to get breakthrough performance, organizations need to focus on improving all employees’ ability to improve the performance of others.”

Did I hear that correct? “of others”? So, the focus on individual goals and bonuses are not helpful anymore? Rather than simplifying goals and performance measures, organizations should help employees with the complexity. Take this graph as an example. Only 23% find their job reflected in the performance management system. NOT EVEN A QUARTER!

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Why is that so? Take these next two graphs as an example. Stuff is more interconnected. Goals are multidimensional and dynamic.

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So, CLC came up with the model of adding Network Performance to Individual Performance to come up with Enterprise Contribution. I find this fitting. Not only personal effectiveness is considered. How an individual interacts with others is becoming ever more important for the business. Right on!

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How many people do that currently? CLC came up with a number of only 20%. Only one in five. Why is that?

Most people can’t voice these new competencies well. Maybe managers don’t have a full understanding of the interactions, and for sure they are not familiar with the competencies that drive network performance. And the current PM systems don’t support this networked understand, leading to working ratings and skewed assessments, as well as wrong role definitions.

Good input that webinar. It is a fascinating question how you orchestrate performance in an ecosystem? Henning Kagermann, former CEO of SAP used to call it “network of brains” – how do you manage such a network of brains? Becoming verbal about it might be a first step, but there is more questions than answers at this point.

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Filed under: future of work

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