Open your doors to strategy

I was touring the Middle East over the last two weeks where I met a lot of great people representing disciplines like Quality, Processes, HR, Operations, Project and Risk management.

When I asked them a simple question, “What is performance management?” they all had different answers.  The fact is they all have a very functional mindset coming from the areas they work with. Here are some of the responses I got:
Head of Quality: For me, quality is of most importance. Without quality, the company can even close down. We implement ISO standards to improve quality and we also measure quality consistently. So performance management is about quality management and measuring and improving quality.
Head of Project management: Performance management for me is making sure that the projects are delivered within the time, cost and quality specifications.
It is the same version of these answers that you will get from all the functional heads of corporations. Their functional area is important to them and many times they don’t pay attention to other areas of the business.
I was then raising another question to them, “how do you connect your functional areas to strategy?” If for example, projects and project management is an important discipline, how do you select and prioritize your projects and make sure that they are helping in executing the company’s overall strategy? The fact is that most of the functional heads are not aligned or even connected with strategy.
If you are a manager responsible for a functional area I advise you to bring this up in the next management meeting. Ask the management team how your area relates to strategy and see if there is a coherent way of working while connecting your functional area to the organizational strategy. I already know the answer to this: The Balanced Scorecard Framework.

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