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performance management training for senior managers


My experience is that the development of a performance culture within organisations is inhibited by the lack of basic performance management skills on the part of senior managers. Does anyone have experience of a) overcoming the resistance that senior managers have to being trained b)design of performance management training for senior managers?
Richard Rogers

10 Responses

  1. Performance Management
    We had this problem with the quango I worked for before going freelance. We managed,however, to develop KEY RESULT AREAS for them and associated objectives by:-
    a- Organising an away day for everyone at a venue.There we discussed and worked on the scheme itself,including gremlins.
    b-We built on this with cascade exercises in workshops which showed everyone the bigger picture,and how KRAs fitted in with otherAlso against the backcloth of the Corporate Plan.

    I have found this a useful model with other clients.You might well be able to resource in house-we did!


    [email protected]

  2. Can recommend someone to help
    hello, we have struggled with this for a while. last year we ran a Leadership development Programme that included elements of Performance Management and I am not an expert but can recommend the company that ran our programme. I have received the best feedback for any programme of development that I have ever organised. Email me if interested. [email protected]

    Pamela Cowen

  3. Speak to Clive
    Our client Pfizer had a major performance management initiative for hundreds of managers, including directors and senior managers.

    The person I know that was part of the team on that mega project was Clive Barrow his email address is [email protected]

    Clive Hook
    Clearworth – a class apart

  4. Performance Management
    I’ve done a lot of this with senior people in major Government Departments and would be very happy to discuss.
    I can also recommend a very good organisation who have bags of experience in both Public and Private sector at senior level – try Oxford Development Partnership email [email protected]

  5. Coaching skills
    It sounds simple, but in our experience senior managers are much more receptive to training if it’s positioned as ‘refining’ their skills rather than training per se. Even better if the focus is on how to coach *others* in the skill area, rather than building the managers’ skills at all. (This gets around the main barrier, which is “I should know this by now and can’t be seen to admit that I don’t!”). The cascade comments made by a previous respondent are also right on the money… get the top people to give credibility/kudos to the process by going through it too. In terms of design, there are a bunch of suitable coaching frameworks, but the key is to help the manager to stay one step ahead of their own staff, so coaching templates related to the specific skills in question, troubleshooting guides, etc etc are just as helpful as the quantitative performance indicators.

  6. Feedback 1st
    We tackled this in a similar organisation by facilitating 360 feedback before the event . We encouraged all managers, peers & reports to be as honest (& constructive) as possible.

    Few managers came to the programmes feeling that they had nothing to learn – as had been the case before. This also allowed them to meet with their managers before the training to agree on learning objectives – hence enabling greater transfer of learning & support. Regards, Conall

  7. PM that works with SMT’s
    You should speak with Susy Roberts at she’s been involved in working on the very issue with an International L&D expert in the field, cross culturally, for the last 4 years with a bank in 18 countries in Africa and the West Indies. Not only did they have to get SMT buy in (tribal, cultural and socio-economic differences aside), but they also had to convince them to adopy PM processes as pasrt of the reward process and support implementation of practices to the fornt line (affecting some 9,000 people in total !). The process has since moved on to incorporate SMT involvement in Talent Management identification, and the Group CEO based in the UK attibutes the significant increase in profits over the past 3 years in particular due to the implementation and commitment of his MD’s and SMT’s within country ! Her phone number is 01442 825405 (please feel free to make mention I recommended her as we might get a discount next time !).
    Wayne Thomas

  8. Carrot and Stick
    I agree with Richard’s comments concerning calling it coaching rather than training. Offer them “Executive Coaching” on a one to one basis. This is usually what people need at that level because it is confidential and can target their individual needs. Besides, they don’t have the time, or inclination to attend training courses anyway.

    The stick, (if you are willing to use it) is that you can build measurement on soft skills into their performance management scheme so that the managers are not just measured on meeting their targets but also on how they met them.

  9. modesty?
    My thought is that senior managers become senior because they can evaluate and make decisions for themselves. If you approach them with what you think will be good for them, eg performance management and then offer to “train” them in it, they will correctly perceive you as arrogant or disrescpectful. I have a problem with “training” for senior management. It makes much more sense not merely to talk about co-learning, but to be serious about open-hearted and open-minded consultation, rather than having a predetermined solution.

  10. Appraisal or Performance Culture?
    I tend to agree with you Richard, but there is a tendancy to confuse performance management with performance appraisal. Most managers have difficulty with performance appraisal because fundamentally appraisal doesn’t work as intended, so they avoid doing them. As Deming pointed out they serve only to generate months of misery and reduced performance. HR ‘professionals’ like me have over the years tinkered around the edges, we’ve eliminated the tick box, allowed open ended commentary, introduced 360 degree etc. But all predicated on adults judging other adults – bad enough when supervisors had small spans of control and knew their subordinate’s jobs inside out – but impossible in todays climate where we’re trying to delayer, introduce self managed team working and eliminate command and control.

    Performance appraisal is though only one element of performance management. I’d suggest you start first by asking if your total business performance managment system is right before thinking about coaching and training. You might find yourself then selling a new way of thinking to the top team. As they design the system so they will come the learning.

    Check out Jack Zigon’s web site – some good stuff on performance management.

    Richard Bryce
    [email protected]


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