Understanding performance management
Performance management is more than a buzzword. This book
attempts to dispel the clouds of confusion surrounding this concept. Mark A
Stiffler in his book Performance: Creating the Performance-Driven Organisation
attempts to clear out any misunderstanding or plain lack of understanding about
In the introduction, Stiffler states that it is not just
another book on performance management but the first one. Stiffler personalises
both, the subject and the book, by way of issuing something of a caution early
on when he makes clear to the reader that he has his opinion on the sorry
state of performance management. Disputes and arguments may be possible about
the first book claim. However, it may be hard to overlook the fact
that in later parts, the author lays importance on the individual rather than
the organisation. This pattern emerges throughout the book. Stiffler first makes
his remarks on the organisation and then suggests solutions that are individual-centric.
The author picks out the popular approaches to performance management and tries
to explain what has gone wrong; either with them or in the way they are followed.
By chapter three, Stiffler has finished with pointing out fallacies in general
practices and the rest of the book concentrates on solving the problem of performance
management. To quote him, Weve outlined the problem in general terms.
The rest of the book focusses on the solution
As Stiffler starts taking the reader through the solutions,
he explains a middle-of-the-road approach, which he says is the way an organisation
and its employees can be blended. He gives out the five major components of
an unified approach: align, measure, reward, report and analyse. He says here
that the employee must be rewarded and given credit when it is due. This he
adds is the only component that does not have an organisational side to it.
||Performance: Creating the Performance- Driven Organisation
||Mark A Stiffler
||John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey,
He then explains each component of the approach in detail
through the remaining chapters. After this, he mentions an obvious yet important
point; an approach is as good as a model and not successful until an organisation
actually goes ahead and follows it. Here he offers a set of instructions to
the organisation. According to him, an organisation need not race against others
to be the first to implement a model. There is no finish line, he
says. He also points out how a small amount of progress may help an organisation
earn larger rewards.
It is noticeable that in this chapter too, the author maintains the importance
of the individual to an organisation. He provides an entire set of things to be
considered while formulating an action plan. He makes sure that he
mentions the idea of the organisation customising all models and approaches. This
is another factor common throughout the book.
Towards the end, the author lists out a set of critical factors for success. According
to him, having an action plan is essential, so also the environment in which the
plan can be executed. In this chapter, Stiffler talks about the differences in
organisational culture and how the top management needs to be as committed as
any other department which is part of the plans execution.
In conclusion, he states that in spite of executing a plan, the organisation is
going to face some problem or the other. However, it calls for understanding the
problem, its reasons and the possible solutions and then trying to solve it with
the co-operation of all individuals in the organisation.
If there was one thing lacking in this book, it was the case studies and real
life examples of organisations which have either succeeded or failed in their
performance management programmes, regardless of what strategies they followed.
All in all, the book could be rated as a must read for a decision-maker in an
organisation, irrespective of its size or the industry vertical that it operates