Performance Enablement and the Art of Empowerment 0

Performance Enablement and the Art of Empowerment
In this candid conversation with All Things Talent, M S Venkatesh, CHRO DFM Foods Ltd. shares his insights on performance enablement, its evolving role, and more.

Q: What is your definition of performance enablement? How do you see it differently from performance appraisal/ management?

A: It is important to understand what kind of leadership support is required for different people based on their level of motivation, commitment and competence. This is clearly explained by the Kenblanchard situational leadership model. One should assess people based on their abilities on the task assigned and have an open and transparent dialogue to engage them and get buy-in as to when they would be directed, coached, supported and finally delegated on the assigned task. The motivation and competence fluctuate based on the level of challenge that the task poses and the motivation/ competence of the individual.

A smart and inspiring leader will be able to assess the mood of his team members intuitively and adopt a directive/coach/ supportive/delegative style to enable his team members. Hence, performance enablement is about empowering your team members to perform their tasks fearlessly and confidently while performance management/appraisal is about dialoguing – taking feedback as a leader and also sharing feedback with the genuine interest of enabling the employee to achieve the business objective more effectively, so that there is continuous learning on both sides (appraiser & the appraisee).

The ability to make today’s Root decisions into tomorrow’s Leaf decisions is the art of empowerment. Click To Tweet

Q: What are the factors causing performance management to evolve into performance enablement?

A: The factors causing performance management to evolve into performance enablement are as following:

  1. Effective listening through the EAR Model – Explore, Acknowledge, Respond.
  1. Taking feedback from the appraisee and also sharing feedforward instead of feedback for the genuine development of the appraisee.
  1. Coming to an agreement with team members as to what, when and how the leader will intervene to support team members, to enable them to achieve the objective at hand.
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Q: What should be three key performance enablement priorities for businesses, in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis?

A: 1. Building trust with team members. Trust = (C+R+I)/S (C = Credibility, R =Reliability, I = Professional Intimacy, S = Self Orientation).

2. Genuine feedforward rather than feedback to help the employee as to how he/she can achieve the objective more easily and successfully.

3. Empowerment is a function of the Decision Tree. There are Root decisions, Trunk decisions, Branch decisions and Leaf decisions. The ability to make today’s Root decisions into tomorrow’s Leaf decisions is the art of empowerment.

  • Leaf Decisions – Act on it. Do not report the action you took.
  • Branch Decisions – Make the decision. Act on it. Report the action you took – daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • Trunk Decisions – Make the decision. Report the decision before you take action.
  • Root Decisions – Make the decision jointly – with inputs from many people. These are decisions that, if poorly made and implemented could cause major harm to the organization.
  • Progress through moving decisions from: Root Trunk Branch Leaf

Q: How can technology enable improved processes, engaged talent, and automated performance enablement model?

Yes, a very robust Human Resources Management System (HRMS) model can help an HR resource, or even a business resource to make decisions effortlessly. For example,

  1. TA/DA reimbursement through mobile technology for field staff and getting the reimbursement within 72 working hours makes life easy.
  1. Getting to see your work results on your KRA board on the mobile will motivate someone to do better or feel happy.
  1. Gamification of policies is a better way of educating the employee on policies and processes through mobile phones.
  1. Short spot learning modules that help employees to apply their learning on the job is another technology-enabled learning opportunity.
Also Read:  Beyond Promotions and Pay Hikes: Opportunities Which Your Employees Greatly Value

Q: One step that you are taking to develop a performance enablement culture in your organization?

A: Build trust with the people around you. Build processes around performance engagement as part of the performance management system and performance development wherein cross-functional coaching becomes critical for people development. Focus on performance engagement surveys and senior leadership coaching. Overall, build a culture Agility, Adaptability, Facilitative Leadership and Resilience.

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M S Venkatesh is a seasoned HR professional who has worked across multiple sectors like FMCG, Heavy Engineering, Telecom, Education, Management Consulting & Health Care. Currently, he is the CHRO of DFM Foods Limited. Prior to this, he was the Senior Director-Human Resources at P.D.Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Mahim Mumbai. He comes with over 28 years of rich experience in HR and has held senior HR positions in various organizations like HUL, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Bharti Airtel, and Educomp Solutions. His specialities include - Leadership Training, Talent Management, Organization Transformation and Retention. He is also a visiting faculty at Management Development Institute (MDI) and the School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL), Gurgaon.  

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