Architecting a Management System

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Recently Exemplary Performance (EP) studied high performers from a pool of over 12,000 managers in a major high technology company. We helped this company identify the managers whose teams consistently produced exemplary results. EP then interviewed these managers to capture how they were able to generate and sustain high performance. Based on these interviews, we produced a Profile of Management Excellence (PoME) which included the key accomplishments, excellence indicators, critical tasks and other data*.

The PoME data served as the design specifications, allowing us to architect a management performance system that had measurable impact on key metrics such as revenue, cost of sales, employee retention, employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

The managers that we interviewed crossed all functional areas of the company – sales, product development, procurement, legal, and so forth. EP was able to identify six major accomplishments that these high performing managers produced to drive greater business results. These accomplishments were:

  1. Accurate and appropriate measurement and tracking of individual and team performance.
  2. A team performance system where direct reports are supported in doing their best work.
  3. Qualified new employees with shortened time-to-competence.
  4. Consistent progress of direct reports toward career aspirations and development plans.
  5. Well-developed and highly competent direct reports and team.
  6. Group and team operational direction, excellence, and continuity.

Let’s look at the first accomplishment. The high performing managers in this company demonstrated that it was critical to accurately and appropriately measure and track individual and team performance. They used the following Excellence Indicators to judge how well they were doing:

  • Over time, the manager’s internal employee satisfaction results improved or remained at high levels.
  • Direct reports demonstrated consistent growth in compensation and were given appropriate promotions.
  • Reviews resulted in a fair and objective assessments for each direct report.
  • Yearly goals for each direct report aligned to organization and corporate priorities and included stretch goals.

Here are some of the Key Tasks that the high performing managers used to produce that first accomplishment:

  • Review and analyze employee survey results, management feedback, and ad hoc survey/scores to develop an appropriate team action plan.
  • Guide direct reports through discussions to define annual commitments.
  • Manage underperforming direct reports to ensure business results are not compromised.
  • Discuss group performance and health in regular team meetings.

Given the data captured in the profile, EP then worked with the client to systematically architect several components of the overall management performance system such as hiring (job descriptions and hiring guides), skills and knowledge (on-boarding, performance support and continuous up-skilling), recognition and rewards (compensation, circle of management excellence, etc.) and leadership (precision coaching tools). All system components were architected and aligned to mutually support the results defined in the Profile of Management Excellence.

This is an example of one major accomplishment that high performing managers in this company had in common. EP will focus on the other five accomplishments in the upcoming months.

Meanwhile, as you look at your management practices, make sure your leaders have established and are implementing a system for tracking their team’s performance. Reach out to EP to help as you architect a high performance management approach for your team, department or enterprise.

*To read more about our process, read Exemplary Performance – Driving Business Results by Benchmarking Your Star Performers by Dr. Paul H. Elliott and Dr. Al Folsom.

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One comment

  1. Mark Decker, Intelamode LLC - November 17, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Well done Paul! Your newsletter message has a level of detail rarely seen in this form of communication. It was detailed AND based on a real example.

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