Recently, I’ve written several blogs about teams, focusing on the steps to creating high performing teams that innovate and drive business results. These blogs have acknowledged the unfortunate disconnect between performance management, as practiced today, and team-based performance. Put simply, most companies measures and incentives drive individual performance and results, thus undermining strong team behaviors and performance. What would a team-based performance management process look like?
Here are some key characteristics:
1.Performance ratings would be given to teams, rather than individuals. For an individual who worked on a single team all year, his rating would equal the team rating. For an individual who worked on multiple teams during a year, his performance rating would be a blended average of the team ratings.
2.Expected team performance would be set at a high level. Teams would be expected to deliver superior results and innovate. An “as expected” rating would mean that the team has done this during the year. Where a team falls short, it would be rated as having performed “below expectations.” Great teams can be rated “above expectations,” but this should be the exception, not the norm.
3.Team performance ratings would be based on both results and competencies. The competencies in this case would be team competencies. Examples are collaboration, sharing, innovation, engagement and alignment. Given the significant culture change required, at least initially, the level of demonstration of team competencies should be 50% of the team performance rating.
4.Weak individual performers would be removed from the team. If an individual does not perform in a way that contributes to team success, he or she should be removed from the team. This should be done rather quickly. In such a case, the individual should receive an unsatisfactory performance rating. The manager should decide whether to exit the employee from the company or offer him the chance to improve with a different team.
There can be variations on this approach, but I would not suggest it initially. Moving to team performance management is a very big change. It should be kept simple and understandable.