It is an undeniable truth that we – human beings – live in cycles. This is the endless momentum of beginnings and ends, and beginnings once again! In many ways, it seems that this is the case of not only our nature, but also the entire Universe. Life cycles, time, seasons, planets, systems, etc. are all built around a delicate cyclical balance that is self-rejuvenating; a symbolic ritual representing an eternal vicious circle of ‘second chances’!
For us, one of the best examples that embody this cyclical nature of happenings is the Annual Cycle. Every year, organizations and individuals plan, execute, monitor and adjust their practices according to institutional cycles that drive the momentum of the Corporate World. Budgeting Cycles, Auditing Cycles, Hiring cycles, and Maintenance Cycles are but few examples of how businesses and alternatively their human resources perceive their world and live it according to cycles.
Still, perhaps the most common perception that is, almost immediately, associated with this annual movement is all types of Assessment Cycles. Regardless of their content, the main aim of these activities is – or should be – to identify where businesses, people, products, systems, etc. stand with respect to their previously set Objectives? Further, in relatively fewer cases, this assessment tackles the post-target measurement to focus on the analytics of why was this goal achieved? What were the challenges? What could have been done differently? Etc.
Briefly, the overall focus appears to be on finding ways for achieving better results in the future. And the answer here is relatively easy, rather, pretty much expressed by Management and HR thinkers all over the world. Those say that: If you want to achieve results you have never achieved before, you need to start doing things you have never done before!
What does this mean for Business People?
Simply, it is that they need to get out of the vicious cycle of simply repeating assessment cycles – regardless of their nature – without considering all dependent and independent variables that impact their business performance. Neither people, nor machines, nor processes alone do generate business results. You cannot assess whether you need to replace your machines without assessing your people, and you cannot assess your people without assessing your processes; and yes this should happen on annual (cyclical) basis!
How can you hold an employee accountable for productivity if he’s operating a malfunctioning machine? Or, how can you consider a process inefficient if you do not have the appropriate well trained talent to implement it?
The issue is very clear, assessment of business performance should no more happen in a fragmented mode. It is the age of Integrated Assessment of Business Performance. If we want different results, ‘Performance Appraisals’ need to stop being the only public annual assessment process in most organizations. If we want better results, then People assessment, machines assessment, processes assessment, budgetary assessment, compliance assessment, etc., should all be part of an annual integrated assessment activity executed Organization wide.
Perpetuating on People Appraisals without simultaneously conducting assessments of business processes will probably deliver the same results you got year after year. If you are not satisfied with the quality of your freshly hired staff, then if you keep using the same recruitment process you will continue to get fresh staff that is not up to your standards. In such a case, the problem is not in the people you hired – a no matter how many appraisals you carry out for them – no much of their performance will change because they were the wrong people to hire from the beginning; Reason: non-optimal Recruitment Process.
This might sound like a big hassle for many business people who want to spend more time on bottom-line activities. True! However, once this proactive activity of comprehensive assessment is integrated into the mindset of the business people then it will turn out to be smooth, interesting and with a high yield on invested time! Imagine the fair, streamlined, and optimal corporate environment if companies have a clear universal view on their Organizational performance (including people, processes, machines, etc.). Imagine the unleashed potential for never-before-achieved results!
‘That time of the year’ should never be the same anymore. We all need to reconsider our approaches for assessing business performance, make sure it is integrated and multidimensional.