Managing Functionality: What Would Socrates Do?

Handling Performance: What Would Socrates Do?

The Worth of Performance Direction

As we turn the corner and head into the final months of 2011, many companies begin the process of evaluating how well workers performed against expectancies. For many, it is an institutional rite that has to be carried out to fulfill a deadline on the HR calendar. For others, it is an chance to increase the potency of human funds and guide further development. Handling operation is an essential management discipline - ensuring workers understand the business's strategy, how occupation responsibilities link to specific objects and determining the degree to which efforts interpreted into quantifiable consequences. Performance management systems take on many types, from freestyle narratives and examine the box competency lists to more elaborate MBO processes. Regardless of how it is done, the target of any efficiency management program will be to maximize individual operation in the quest of company objectives. Consequently, the real worth in any performance management process is the exchange of information that takes place between an employee and his/her manager - a dialogue that not only covers what went right and what went wrong, but also uncovers the root cause of performance problems, the necessary corrective actions, advice / guidance on different approaches, suggestions for livelihood development and the agreed upon activities to close indentified disparities. In essence, good performance direction is a set of interactions that transcend the specific processes used.

Learning from the Best

Most of us recall Socrates (and his pupil, Plato) as required reading in philosophy course. In modern times, and outside of the academic setting, Socrates has a great deal to educate us about uncovering the truth through constructive dialogue, logic and self-examination. Not surprisingly, these happen to be key components of effective performance management. Socrates used a technique known as the Socratic Method - a form of questioning that brings learning from within. This is what a good coach does - helps you Executive Coaching reach your potential by further developing the capacities that already exist. Human performance is a function of conscience idea and action, where thinking drives conduct and behavior drives results.

Comprehending the Procedure

Too frequently, efficiency management discussions are restricted to reviewing actions, results and the justification for variances to plan. What we want to reach is an open conversation that encourages unrestricted curiosity, helpful feedback, tough assumptions, and probing queries. These are typical behaviours demonstrated in a true learning organization.

We must focus on the performance of the individual, if we desire to improve the performance of the organization. This is realized by engaging in a productive, intellectual and non-confrontational dialogue to help workers better diagnose and assess their own functionality while identifying what needs to be done to get to the next level.

Applying the Method

The 4 categories of questions recorded below provide a forum for productive exchange in researching conduct, believing and outcomes; these questions can be changed to fit a given set of conditions. The important point to remember is that questions like these should be used in everyday discussions to: increase outlook and comprehension, challenge beliefs and supposition, develop concepts and value outcomes:

Getting View & Understanding

What is causing this to occur?
How did you come to this conclusion?
Give me an example to illustrate your purpose
What other viewpoints did you consider
Are there any unanswered questions at this point?
Has this occured before?
Why is this needed?
Tell me more about.....?
Challenging Premises & Beliefs

Are there other explanations for what happened?
What observations support your beliefs?
How much is logic and how much is emotion?
Are you theorizing or do you understand?
Given your beliefs, what would occur if....?
What occurs if your premises are wrong?
Developing Theories

Have we ever contemplated this tactic before?
How does your idea fit into the strategy?
Are there any risks or unknowns that should be assessed?
What are the reactions and ideas of other stakeholders?
What do we already know about this subject?
What would this look like if completely implemented?
Need level of self-confidence do you have in.....?
What questions do we need to ask?
Assessing Outcomes

Is this how you expected it to turn out?
What would you do differently next time?
What can we learn from this?
What were the intended and unintended impacts?
How does this consequence impact ....?
What is the value of...?
Who needs to know about this?
Closing Notions

An organization develops and grows at the same rate as its employees. One way to accelerate development is through a more effective performance management process. Performance management is a vital action that should take place every day of the week through continuous and constructive conversation. Workers at all levels can enhance the quality of their thinking by asking the appropriate questions and drawing out the potential in others.