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High Performance Organizations, discussed with André de Waal, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Maastricht School of Management, Netherlands


Being present at the 2014 PMA Conference, held in Aarhus, Denmark, the PERFORMANCE Magazine  team was able access valuable insights from some of the most highly skilled and experienced academics and practitioners in the field of Performance Management.

One of the interviewees was André de Waal, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Maastricht School of Management, Netherlands.

Discussing research into high performance organizations and helping others implement a highly working system, the main challenge identified by Professor de Waal is discipline when deciding to implement a performance management system.

Professor André de Waal encourages companies to decide what the added value of implementing a performance management system is, and committing to following through with this purpose.

Discussing key trends in the field of performance management, André de Waal states that sustainability, in itself is not necessarily a key trend, but advocates for a different type of sustainability, which determines a high performance organization.

Employee motivation is another trend, foreseen by Professor de Waal, where he states the essential question is “How do you keep these guys interested? How do you keep them on their toes?” given the dynamic of today’s world, with fast developments and rapid social media communication.

The implication of today’s work and communication dynamics is reflected in motivating and engaging  people, within a rigid performance management system or does one need to find a more flexible way.

Professor de Waal suggests combining these two, in order to inspire people and retain them within a company and getting them to invest their talent and effort into improving an existing company and not dashing off to make a new one, on their own.

Some helpful pieces of advice provided are:

  • Establishing a clear vision for the company’s development;
  • Explaining what high performance really means – “Everybody wants high performance. But, what does it actually mean?”;
  • Define each person’s roles and how performance management is going to help an organization become a high performing organization;
  • Performance management as a great inspiration, if people get a feel of what the destination of the organization will be.

Giving his inputs on how to ensure an effective approach to performance management, Professor de Waal states “If you want to ensure a good approach, spend a lot of time with your people! Spend a lot of time with the behavioral factors!” Get to know what is important in that behavior and how you can influence that behavior.”

Finally, Professor de Waal cautions the overuse of performance measurement in people’s personal lives and suggests using it moderately and purposefully.

Jacob Brix, Assistant Professor at the Aarhus University, School of Business and Social Science - Speaking about Innovation Management
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