Expert Interview – Eve Blackall, Group Director, Smart Accounting, Australia
For the report Performance Management in 2013, The KPI Institute conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with practitioners, academics and consultants from 18 countries, who offered a detailed image of Performance Management as a discipline in the analyzed year.
An important editorial rule followed in the development of the content is that a discipline can only evolve through the combined efforts of practitioners, academics and consultants. Eve Blackall, Group Director at Smart Accounting, Australia was one of the consultants that The KPI Institute interviewed.
1. What does the term Performance Management mean to you?
It means being aware of inputs and outputs to a process or situation and understanding how they interact in order to be able to influence the outcomes – and Performance Management can be used to both improve and deteriorate performance. This can relate to people, processes, businesses, or ecosystems.
2. What drives interest in Performance Management?
People are fascinating, and in business it is people’s Decisions that affect and influence performance – good decisions, bad decisions, ones within our control and decisions such as laws, that we simply must bend to.
3. What are your thoughts on the relationship between Performance Management at organizational, departmental and individual level?
It is all interrelated, because the culture of an organization will drive the decisions that affect departmental resources and thereby individual behaviors.
4. What are 2013 key trends in Performance Management from your point of view?
More awareness of a broader circle of influence on individual performance than just individuals “attitude” or setting disparate KPIs – greater understanding of systems behavior.
5. What aspects of Performance Management should be explored more through research?
How, and why people make decisions – this impacts performance enormously and yet factors such as fear, or stability are generally not captured by current research into Performance Management
6. Which companies would you recommend to be looked at due to their particular approach to Performance Management and subsequent results?
I am actually having difficulties in naming an area that has done it really successfully. However, Telstra in Australia and the telecommunication companies in general are probably worth taking a look at.
7. Which are main challenges of Performance Management in practice today?
Businesses don’t understand how effective Performance Management can be, as they are scared of change – and blame an “unstable environment” instead of their own culture, decisions etc.
8. What do you think should be improved in the use of Performance Management tools and processes?
The start is best at the head, better socialization of the concept as a whole of business approach – it doesn’t have to cost more because the scope is bigger; it simply needs to be inclusive at more levels of the organization.
9. What would you consider best practice in Performance Management?
Any methodology that uses a comprehensive, top down, whole of business approach to Performance Management looking at roles and responsibilities as well as conduits between roles and inter-responsibilities. This is about organizational and departmental performance as well as individual deliverables.
10. Which aspects of Performance Management should be emphasized during educational programs?
Performance is influenced by more factors than just individual attitudes, people can be working very well at the tasks they have been given, but if the tasks don’t all fit together to benefit the whole organization, then overall performance of the organization will still be poor.
11. Which are the limits in order to achieve higher levels of proficiency in Performance Management among practitioners?
It is a very fluid process – like science, practitioners need to be able to quickly assess and adapt and change and learn and be proactive and in some cases intuitive – not everyone can do all of these things easily.
12. If you are to name in few words the main aspects governing Performance Management today, what would they be?
People and Communication.
13. As a consultant, what are the most common issues that your customers raised related to Performance Management?
People don’t understand how to influence performance – they think that by simply putting a few “KPIs” in their job specification that will be sufficient to affect organizational change. By forgetting that the organization is an interconnected network of systems and processes performed in an “organized” way by people, customers overlook the ripples in their pond.
For more interviews with professionals from all over the world, access Performance Management in 2013