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Tackling the Elephant of Performance Management

July 8, 2021


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Conversations fuel ideas, giving them a new dimension and fully coming alive from a place of resonance and connection. In this episode of our Living Room conversation, we are joined by Antoinette Weibel as we talk about the big elephant in the room of organizational transformation: Performance Management.


Rhea= Rhea Ong Yiu (Host)

Antoinette= Antoinette Weibel (Guest)

RHEA: Hello welcome everybody, welcome to LIVEforward Institutes Living Room Conversations. We’re now hosting episode 3 of this conversation and I’m super excited for this as we have one of our favorites and one of the people who has been very supportive of life sciences as we tackle the conversation around performance management. Antoinette will be joining me shortly, but before I invite her to join me here let me just give you a little bit background why we are doing this. In the living room conversations, we actually envision is really a casual exchange of ideas and natural, a very natural flow of the conversations so we will not be using a lot of slice. We will be showing some slice but it’s really an invitation to everyone who is following the topics that we are passionate about to join us in this dialogue. I know some of our friends and colleagues are joining us over in YouTube, in LinkedIn and in Facebook. So welcome to the third episode of Living Room Conversations, I’ll be your host today my name is Rhea Ong Yiu and I’m a Growth Steward at the LIVEforward Institute and I’m really really excited to have this conversation with all of you. So without further ado, let me welcome Antoinette to join me over here in the living room. So Antoinette, would you like to introduce yourself a little bit to our followers. 

ANTOINETTE: Yes of course, gladly so. I mean I think I’m here because I would say I would always subscribe to the saying. It’s the end of the performance management as we know it, if it was up to me I would probably abolish most of it, or we are going to be a little bit more lenient let’s put it this way when we are talking about the issues and possible solutions. And besides that because I’m not only slashing to the government’s management as you can see in the title which features up here. I’m a professor for resource management that one function which most people say, why do we hate HR and I’m a trust research. So I think that’s enough for starters and I’m just curious where the conversation are going to take us.

RHEA: Yeah, there you go everybody welcome Antoinette to our living room. This is life sciences LIVEforward’s living room and we are really looking forward to hear from you, but also we’d love to hear from all our guests in YouTube and Facebook. Come and join us, say hello from wherever you are in the world and come with your curiosity bring your questions. We’d love to involve you in this conversation right? And so before let just to kick this conversation off, when we talk about performance management, what are we really talking about here? Maybe Antoinette you can set the scene a little bit for our folks who are listening. 

ANTOINETTE: So I’m very sorry I brought with you tonight to explain that a little bit. Let’s just have a look at the first slide where old performance management will show up just to give us a slight idea, a nice title tackling the elephant and I’m sure it’s an elephant and probably we would all agree that the old style kitchen training, what it used to be. Should be a thing of the past because what we did do was top down goal definition some superstar at the top, defined the goals and they were declined further down then it’s very much about goal evaluating how do I accomplish these goals. That’s performance evaluation as we call it and of course then we also have carrots and sticks. And why would I say that’s over, definitely over I believer that cannot work in a world where new goals have to craft it creatively for ever emerging issues. I mean this is what agile is all about if I understand that correctly, where the important performance is probably much more craftmanship expertise Knowledge work is a lot about expertise and the space between us so cheese and finally it’s also probably not very clever in a world where we need intrinsic motivation and human ingenuity, rather than stick to the rule. And that is why we are all searching for the next well, holy grail and I guess all the holy grails we have found so much. I’m not so sure that they are perfectly working so this is probably the message, the one message and we are going to discuss all over but we can take some of this apart we can talk for instance about performance evaluation. We can talk about also pay, at the latest stage we can talk about goals so let’s just see what comes up here. 

RHEA: Yeah yeah, that’s a really nice holistic picture right. So you’re we’re not only talking about how am I being perceived, as part of an organization but how is that connected to the overall goals of the organization. How is it connected to the pace structure, how is it also connected to the motivation of people, to actually bring their whole selves into the workplace right. So there’s so much to be tackled around performance management, and I’m curious like, why do you think it’s a bad thing or I’m pretty sure like it has existed for a long period of time, and it has served a purpose right. But why do you think, why do we think it should start changing.

ANTOINETTE: Well whether it’s of the system, that’s found out we are going to see a few figures on that. I’m not utterly convinced but it certainly served the system where we were just in the machine because what it’s doing, it’s kind of really governors for from outside. It’s making sure that we are doing what is said that we comply. That we are showing up in the standardized fashion, so maybe for Charlie Chaplin in the modern times as it was called. It was the right system but even there I would have argued it. It wasn’t a very humane so if you look at from that point of view, I’m not so sure. But it’s a good way to administrate compliance, let’s put it this way. And here you already see the big spasm if we go to a deal organization if we go to a green organization to agile. Somehow you can already sense the misfit I guess so.

RHEA: Yeah indeed when you when you talk about TL and the future of work right. It’s very interesting because this is now a change in mindset, a change in the philosophy of how you show up at work and maybe old patterns are no longer supporting these new ideals right. However, performance management is not going to go away pretty soon right. It’s still something that will exist and will continue to exist. But somehow I saw one of your articles and it said but it should, and why do you think so.

ANTOINETTE: Well I mean, to be more precise that’s typical professor sorry. I take it apart again while you were nicely putting it together. But I think there was one thing which is probably already breaking the neck of the whole system. I mean you were talking about the whole system, I’m here just talking about performance evaluation, but the whole thing only works if we can find out at the end of the year, how good I was in accomplishing that goals which were derived somewhere maybe even discussed together and that’s what we call performance evaluation. The thing is that we are even in age or research, which is really not the most progressive research in the world. Sorry about guys have now come to the conclusion. Well actually it’s nonsense to do performance evaluation in today’s companies and there are three reasons for that. First of all we have more and more experts or even craftmanship, that’s another form of an expertise if you want to put it this way. Now who can judge an expert, how would you know whether a doctor is a good doctor? How would you know whether a professor is really a good professor? Actually, very hard and what we have tried and we have tried a lot of things like we’re doing 360 degree feedback. Well problem is everybody comes to a different conclusion, there’s very little overlap here. We have tried to measure what we can. Measure well if I measure a teacher, a professor mainly by happy sheets for instance. Then it doesn’t really say a lot about your learning performance. Because it could be the strictest and most unsympathetic professor who brought you most of the learnings and we can show that even the analysis so I’m not going to too much into detail. But if it’s proper expertise, we really cannot measure it we cannot count it like with Charlie Chaplin who was doing this all the time. 

Then the other point is teamwork, if we really believe in the most important thing for high performance team is what is happening between us, how we can divide this between us. That just doesn’t work, collective intelligence is just synergy and you cannot put this synergy apart, again it just means you cannot measure individual performance. And finally we found that we have so much biases. Women are always a little bit more strictly evaluated than men. You have some people who come into the room the first time you saw them. You find them great and this carries on through it’s the hollow effect you have. So many biases, in fact we have more biases than truth in any performance evaluation. So why should we do it? Why should we do it, it’s also expensive, it costs a lot of nurse and a lot of hours and it doesn’t even contribute to organizational performance we can show that. So I hope there are some questions now, I would have some answers but my first question is why do we do this thing if it’s not measuring what it’s saying to measure. So what do we expect

RHEA: Yeah this was exactly I was going to ask you Antoinette. I also come from a large like footprint around a corporate work right and I’ve always seen the struggle. At one point I was evaluating 60 people and I could not give the quality that evaluation has to have. I mean it’s supposed to be developing an individual, it’s supposed to feed forward into the future of that person and I was just doing it as a checklist and I feel like, how can we change this, it’s a it’s a very difficult question to answer but what would you think would be like first steps into this. Like challenging this status quo as you can see in many big organizations.

ANTOINETTE: Well I would first ask why do we block it. Yeah this is the first question. So I believe the biggest mindset change needs to be on the side of leaders and the organization and not so much on the side of the employees. And then course there might be some reason so speculating, maybe that’s what I often hear well but there are some people who are problematic so what do I do with them if that’s really the case then that in my opinion is not has nothing to with your excel sheet at the end of the year. But this is your leadership function you should see to them you should find out maybe they need some training. Maybe they have a bad time and you need to show some compassionate support. Maybe they really don’t want to show up at their best then you have to maybe in the end separate as well. So I think this is first and foremost a leadership task for that you don’t need an exception, and then there might be a second reason, I think that’s even stronger if I present that to the board or to ceos, they say hey they’re always the super chickens and I have to find out the super chicken, so the super performance and what we have found out but that’s not that’s not only an average and not in very strong teamwork. Yes, there are probably some super performers but it’s not like a normal distribution. It’s more like a power law distribution and I’m just leaving that tech talk that means in the end you just have very few most of your people are good but not like outstanding, outstanding, outstanding but really good. So if you have this outstanding, you will you will find them out very quickly and very easily and then you can find out, whether they in the long run need to earn more, when they are more likely to be promoted and we’re talking about orange organizations now. If you’re talking about teams, agile teams then it’s even the case that you have to look a little bit more carefully because sometimes these super chickens are too competitive, and that’s not good for the team. So there it might be even a different story, you don’t have to kind of make sure that they get their promotion or something like that but you have to make sure that all the super chicks. So it’s really a change in dealership and some companies just have abolished performance evaluation, even as the first thing that they did. So I don’t really see such a big topic to abolish it now of course you can say well. How can we then calculate bonus, okay next topic. For instance that that could be something, what about legal things, well it’s okay if you just have a an empty paper and from time to time write something in there for that you don’t need to have an excel sheet, and so on and so forth. Now job is we can maybe take up some of the questions, some questions are coming in.

RHWA: Yeah indeed, so I think you’ve answered Elisa’s questions why do we do this and it’s something around differential investments right so how are we compensating the super chimps and the laggards is probably there. And probably do you have any thoughts around this.

ANTOINETTE: Well I mean yeah Elisa I think is the old thinking in my opinion. Why do you have to determine differential investments. That means you’re still with bonuses aren’t you, and if you have a bonus system so individual performance contingent pay every year fluctuating, then if you kind of get rid of the performance evaluation, you are back to what banks have done 15 years ago just subjectively kind of paying it out. By the way that worked as well just to kind of give you a hint that would be possible. But of course it’s also kind of a sneaky idea to get rid of bonuses, because the companies who started to get rid of performance evaluation first. They now kind of have the legitimacy because everybody sees this gap to get rid of bonuses and we will talk about the problem of bonuses in a second. So that’s why I’m not so sure that we need it for that reason I can see the system that in the beginning maybe forces you to do that, but you have to change it from somewhere and I thought that’s quite a clever way to change it you’re there.

RHEA: Great Antoinette we also have a job commenting, we measure performance because someone deludedly believe that what gets measured, gets done. And then sold everyone on the idea that they need a system to industrialize the process.

ANTOINETTE: Yeah what shall I say yeah. You are completely right and this is one of the dumbest thing every whichever has been said because the most important things cannot be measured, we all know that. I just say for instance law, very difficult to measure that even if we have that as a principle in leadership. And of course it goes a little bit further even. Friends, neighbors, and family of different political persuasions won’t talk to each other about controversial issues for fear of causing offense or being shunned. Meanwhile, the national dialogue increasingly takes place within social media silos, leaving us feeling disconnected from our fellow citizens. By 2008 or 2009, it was much harder to have a thoughtful and curious conversation about climate with folks on the right. This inspired me to partner with a group of dialogue experts and we co-created Living Room Conversations. You will always only get a if if you reward or measure a never b and if you can afford, not to get b which I don’t believe then go ahead.

RHEA: This is I, I’m I’m like shocked but also like we’re very reflective of experiences that I’ve hard where you know. When we talk about functionally defined roles in organization and then we’re expecting a different target for that person, and then you see the difference why people act on their functional roles simply because that’s what rewarded right. But not looking at the holistic evolution of the organization where you’re probably needing a different role and a different job description and well that’s very interesting.

ANTOINETTE: Because any fluidity which we want in today’s workplaces is always getting punished by these of systems because they’re also backward looking. And as I said I think the most important thing that wasn’t just joke cannot be measured so it’s all our social skills and it’s knowledge we can measure not if we really properly look at knowledge, we cannot measure it but you can certainly not measure implicit knowledge. So I mean there’s such a lot of things we cannot measure, that I find it just yeah it is only fitting again to Charlie Chaplin.  

RHEA: That’s a that’s a very funny when you say Charlie Chaplin, I just have a laugh at that but you’re right, Antoinette. And I remember this whole movie from Daniel Pink and from the book as well where you know talking about incentivization as a topic that is very close to performance management not necessarily what it’s meant for but it is ingrained in the whole system. Do you think anything about this? 

ANTOINETTE: Yeah let’s go to the pay. I also of course brought the slide to pay because that was the first research I did in that realm so can I think it’s I think. Yeah one third okay one more perfect okay it will slide and nobody can read it so I’m just kind of walking you through I mean everybody of course has seen Daniel Pink. I started it with a conservative partner, because you’ve got to walk the walk when you do this sort of thing. Amanda Kathryn Roman, who had worked with Grover Norquist [head of Americans for Tax Reform] was a founding partner. Now she’s working with Conscious Capitalism. So, we had a full spectrum with this founding group. An important part of these conversations is really hearing the other person fully share their story or their viewpoint. It’s about understanding, not persuasion. It’s about having a relationship. When you have six very different people—we’re talking age differences, gender differences, cultural differences; our world is not just about politics—sitting in a group talking about an issue, you have a chance to make new connections. You learn how different people see things. It’s actually very simple. Two friends with different viewpoints each invite two other people for a conversation, which is structured with a certain set of agreements—basically, what you learned in kindergarten: Be respectful, take turns, be curious, take responsibility for your part of the conversation. It works great when there are conversation rules that allow you to really listen to each other and to share your deeper values. By the time you get to the topic you’ve chosen to discuss, you’re thinking, “I like this person or these people.” We don’t recommend more than six or seven people for a conversation, because this is not a facilitated process, and one of my core goals was to have this be massively reproducible. Facilitators are great; but they become a bottleneck if you want to have tens of thousands of conversations in a week. The biggest obstacle we have now is that people don’t think they have the time to spend an hour or two just sitting and talking. They’ve gotten so busy.

The right pay how do we value work, and I’m just later going to talk a little bit about the CEO workers pay gap. But we have been parked at I just want to say I think that’s an important question as well. 

RHEA: Yeah, thank you Antoinette for sharing that and maybe just to respond to your question right at your also it’s your invitation to a dialogue here. We at life sciences, we do have a self-set salary so we set our own pay does that mean we don’t have control over it. There are ones that are particularly popular right now—like refugees and immigration. Wedge issues are hot, though there are some people that would rather not go there. In that case, people may choose to talk about money and values, or some other less polarizing topic. Those can be good conversations, too. The main goal is to get people talking with people who have different viewpoints. Now that we’ve got video technology, we can hold Living Room Conversations with people from other parts of the country. That’s pretty cool, because getting conservatives to show up at a place like Berkeley for a conversation is difficult. If you are a conservative in this city, you don’t let people know it, and for good reason. It can be bad for you, bad for your kids, bad for your business. I’m sorry to say that; but it’s true.

As long as we’re kind of in the same page in terms of yes, I think that’s you all deserve or yeah. That’s you know we we support each other. There we do get feedback we do get information from our colleagues.

ANTOINETTE: No no I understand that and I don’t want to I mean I you need to experiment anyhow when you go out of the current system. I’m just saying probably you have a lot of negotiation costs and so if we would kind of compare it, I would be quite interesting compare that to Tom’s system. What in the end produces more satisfaction, hygiene at lest cost maybe it’s yours maybe it’s his and then of course it’s a question of the how big you are.

RHEA: No definitely the size of the organization matters and the maturity of the people in the organization matters and also our relationship in the organization matters a lot. So don’t try this at home we’re just having conversations here around experience on on pay and salary. So really good to be able to talk about that now let’s look at some of the questions that our audience brought in so I see something here from John. How do we clarify if someone on the team is not engaged and so needs to be encouraged without some kind of encouragement? It’s pretty much just opinions.

ANTOINETTE: Well that but that is a little bit okay. First of all I believe if you buy in what I told you of how difficult it is, measure what really matters. It’s always opinion, I mean, we kind of have to live with that. But what we can do is you wouldn’t go with your first opinion, you would first really try to find out what’s going on as a leader. You may or may not get a lot out of just one conversation. But there are places where people are making it a regular practice. I just recently learned about a town in Texas where thousands of people have had living room conversations. There are living room conversations as far away as East Africa. Because it’s all open-sourced and everything is available online, anyone can participate. Of course, it doesn’t always go perfectly, but the vast majority of people find it valuable and most even find it fun. The most common mistake is that someone talks too much. And some groups just click more than others. But everybody owns the conversation, and collective ownership means that it’s up to you to get back on track as a group. Our goal is to provide the tools and then see it spread organically. If even just some relatively small percentage of the population learned how to do this, you could change the culture. You could create new expectations for how we communicate with each other In a respectful way.

So I guess that’s the better way. I’ve got the long story short, I’m not sure whether you’re satisfied with my with my answer John, but that will be my answer. And Tom’s system is VISA I think it’s not vizio. It’s in the slide but it wasn’t really readable I can see that.

RHEA: Yeah so John for Tom’s system we will send you the link on the chat after this conversation so that you could take the time to read it. We have a second question, another one from Gino. Why do you think the current performance system will survive despite all the evidence that we’re seeing on the table?

ANTOINETTE: Well I mean I think the most obvious is what I haven’t yet tackled one of the elephants, that’s the CEO work wage gap and I just looked it up so I know some people from Russia are there, you have to be brave but you have the worst CEO worker pay gap in Switzerland which was in 2020 hundred one to one so the seven schwann is earning three hundred one time that what I mean you still have production. I’ve seen so many people that have relationships lost or harmed by politics right now. There’s a quality to our public discourse that’s angry and accusatory in a way I haven’t seen before. And somehow, we’ve got a system that is basically pushing us towards polarizing leadership. That’s the sort of thing we can have a whole set of conversations about, though—the structure of our government. Respectful engagement becomes the door to a democracy that feels real, that feels like the government represents your values. Living Room Conversations is part of the Bridge Alliance composed of over eighty different organizations all working on bridging the divide, one way or another. We all bring different pieces to the ecosystem, Village Square, Listen First, Essential Partners but the main thing is convening this large group of people to listen to others talk about issues from different perspectives.

I don’t know whether than answers your question, I think it’s a power question.

RHEA: No, very interesting.

ANTOINETTE: She wants to challenge me on that if somebody from Russia is here, I’m not sure. 

RHEA: Yeah let’s uh let’s see if anyone would put their hand up to challenge that but Antoinette, I I just found out like okay we’re focusing a lot about salaries and how performance management is really impacting this whole rewards mechanism right, but what about goals? Because we talked about performance management being you know, a system where we put our goals in. If the way we are setting the goals today like you talk about the fast goals and the smart goals, they don’t’ work. What do you think will work then? 

ANTOINETTE: Oh, yeah I mean I’m a professor, but not really the sage on the stage but I still have some ideas so let’s see whether we can find out. I think what is already better is what we try with okrs. It’s a form of community building. Sometimes you find there’s common ground, too. I co-hosted a conversation with Mark Meckler, of the Tea Party Patriots, and we discovered, much to our surprise, that we were in complete agreement on a few things—like the justice system is in need of reform, there are way too many people in prisons, and the war on drugs was not a success. That allowed us to speak together in many public places, and in 2014, Living Room Conversations helped bring together a group of leaders on the right and left in Washington, D.C., to talk about justice reform. This gathering ultimately led to the formation of the Coalition for Public Safety. That organization was funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Arnolds, and the Koch brothers, by the way. The tough thing right now is that we’re in an election season, and people are focused on winning the battle. As a founder of [the progressive organization] MoveOn, I’ve seen how the partisan swings from left to right can become a wrecking ball. I’d really like to see a progressive candidate for President that conservative friends could trust and feel good about, even if that person wasn’t their top choice, and vice versa. I think we have to get together and find a way to meet each other’s core needs. So far, I haven’t seen things getting fixed by one side overwhelming the other. I started on this path because I was deeply concerned about climate. I believe we can’t come up with really great approaches to solving climate issues unless we’re working collaboratively. Even if everyone in D.C. agreed today that climate is a top concern, it wouldn’t solve the problem—look at health care; look at the budget. The government is in an adversarial stance that doesn’t allow them the agility of shifting when they learn something new. We don’t have everyone’s best ideas in the mix. It’s just not a good problem-solving situation. It’s been disturbing to me to hear people working in countries that are falling apart look at the U.S. and say we are starting to have some of the same characteristics as those countries. Our narratives are becoming increasingly separate; we don’t have shared facts. And we’re thinking that “those people” are less than in some ways. More and more progressives I know won’t talk to the other side and vice versa. The intent to have people leverage their diverse friendships with co-hosts has become less possible. People have lost relationships in the last couple years, and they don’t want to take the risk of losing or damaging their relationships more…which means they really aren’t talking to each other.

Be a little bit creative and think about that every measure also always is toxic to some degree, there’s always a downside. I mean I know this is not very popular but this is how academia is. We’re always good I saying on the one hand and on the other hand. So maybe we have some questions to that, I have no idea.

RHEA: I was drawn to your statement on the 15% no goals Antoinette, and I think some of our audiences will be very curious of some examples here. Do you think you could share any company that’s practicing this? That would be a bit inspiring to our guests.

ANTOINETTE: Well I mean, as I already told you the classical company doing that is 3m and if ever you wasn’t you were in a class on innovation management you heard about 3M. In fact they’re one of their most money producing inventions, innovations was posted and posted was only possible because one guy was working on an adhesion that wouldn’t adhere things. 

There are a lot of ways but I’m just believing that you need to have more freedom. More time to do whatever. A long time ago, Japanese companies hire people who had to watch out the window all the time, they were called dreamers in order to bring in new ideas. That’s another way to do it, I mean this is a very challenging.

RHEA: Wow.

ANTOINETTE: But yeah why not, I mean I’m just giving you some ideas. Hopefully these are enough examples.

RHEA: Yeah that’s a very interesting one, the dreamers. I I could be like that because I’m actually sitting by my window and working at the same time so it’s super cool. Well it’s life sciences maybe I could share a little bit of our story here. I consider LRC to be a domestic peace-building initiative. We have a project with one of my partners, John Gable, who runs All Sides—an outlet that provides news from the left, right, and center side by side. We need to have sites like that, relationships like that, to see that people on the other side are not so different from us, that we share more than we are different. 

Of course we will be over the 70, most of the times because we do have quite enough work but in the end we have this as a baseline right, it’s just to guide ourselves in the process. So yeah just sharing that and uhm.

ANTOINETTE: John’s question who is puzzled, I’m just kind of translating that, that even this 85% of the goals would be then kind of. Would be measured and it would be performance management if I understand that correctly. Well the idea is that you would have the goals more linked to the team level so it’s really not performance management much more project management it’s learning. So that’s the other idea I didn’t wasn’t able to tell that it doesn’t necessarily need to be individual goals of course in the first article on fast scores, it is individual goals but mostly opr’s are used on the group level and that’s a project management tool then another performance management tool and if you use it for learning. It’s even more performance, so it’s all possible you just have to be a little bit creative.

RHEA: Yeah that is a very good statement that you had there Antoinette because too often I hear people talking about okrs and thinking I can apply it for myself. Okrs are designed for group work and that’s why you’re your goals, the big goals that you have they even call it big hairy dash’s goals. Right some people call it that and it’s very but it’s something that is very difficult to achieve on your own and that’s what it’s meant for so I think that’s a that’s a very good to set, that’s like baseline understanding of what okrs are about. I have here something that’s alluding around hybrid work environments. I think Gorana is asking what would be your recommendation to manage performance on the hybrid space where we are now moving as a new normal let’s see.

ANTOINETTE: Yes I would even take that together with the question of Gino, a little bit more concrete kind of saying well. What is the worker in the chemical plant because there I really want to have compliance and the funny thing is that I did research at roche. 20 years ago in the production side. People forget the importance of listening. Our work is so gratifying, because people leave living room conversations with useful conversation tools. I’ve had people say things like, “You know, I had this conversation with my dad or my nephew or a family member who thinks very differently on some topic, and this helped me to have a conversation with them.” They learn how powerful it is to listen and to ask good questions. Because when you care, it shifts everything.

I think it’s no problem to have teal dots in a green organization, but you have a lot of problems if have teal dots in an orange organization. So I would always say try to be green meaning, forget about pitch and training. If that is if that is fair enough Gorana otherwise you have to come up and try to be more provocative or reframe the question. I don’t know whether that was. 

RHEA: Well Gorana we hope that answered your question and if not please post a follow-up to just clarify what you intended a question for and we can take that up. Meanwhile I have a question from Sanjeev which is really interesting I mean we do performance management in many areas of our life whether it’s in education, it’s in sports and we know that it has an effect on our well-being, on the individuals and also in the organizations from the top line where do we start fixing this. It’s a very big question but let’s see if we could have some thoughts around this.

ANTOINETTE: Well I mean you have very good examples there. I think in the education system Finland is showing us how you can do it differently. Because they don’t have any, how do you call Norton in English? Despite calls for education reform and a continual lackluster performance on the international scale, not a lot is being done or changing within the educational system. Many private and public schools run on the same antiquated systems and schedules that were once conducive to an agrarian society. The mechanization and rigid assembly-line methods we use today are spitting out ill-prepared worker clones, rudderless adults and an uninformed populace. Many people are familiar with the stereotype of the hard-working, rote memorization, myopic tunnel vision of Eastern Asian study and work ethics. Many of these countries, like China, Singapore, and Japan amongst others routinely rank in the number one spots in both math and science.

We could probably learn sports, not so much from professional soccer but this is why you don’t need don’t earn so much money I guess.

RHEA: How about in the workplace internet? Where can we start tipping the scale?

ANTOINETTE: You can start everywhere but I suggest that we are a little bit more courageous. I mean what most companies have started to change is the way we give feedback so we are now having these kind of meaningful conversations it’s called. And yet certain organizations are somehow able to come up with great ideas over and over again. Some of the ideas are for new products, some for new ways of working, others are for new strategies, still others for entirely new lines of business. Is there a secret to these companies’ successes? Can other organizations learn from their examples? To find out, we turned to the people most qualified to answer—not necessarily inventors (although you’ll find a few of them in the group) but those who’ve been able to inspire others to creative genius. We asked them a single question: “What’s the one thing you’ve done that most inspired innovation in your organization?” Here’s what they had to say.

But in most big organizations you need to coordinate between teams for instance and for that you often need goals because it makes it easier for others to see what do I get from that team when do I get it and so on and so forth so same with project.

RHEA: Indeed, an internet if I may add around purpose and goals right. I think the key difference is that a goal aligns you in towards one direction although your purpose may be towards the same direction. Getting people to expand their views—to see a situation through others’ eyes—often raises ego issues. People don’t want to believe that they’re doing things in ways that are less than optimal. In fact, one of the hardest things about innovation is getting people to accept that the way they work just might not be the best.

This session with one top advice on performance and I’m assuming this is not about, tipping the scale and leaving it behind because that’s not what we can do that’s something that we could grasp but what would that be?

ANTOINETTE: You mean as a leader or where exactly?

RHEA: As probably in different yeah, that’s a good question. 

ANTOINETTE: I cannot change the system. I mean I was talking a lot about changing the system but if you are in the system, then I suggest that if you have to do something which is really really stupid like false rankings. So you have to kind of rank your people along the normal distribution and you have a small team for instance and then we know all know it’s completely stupid to do that. Find other leaders in your department and kind of have a coalition and ditch it because I’ve seen that, that’s one way to do it maybe needs a little bit courage or otherwise just game it as most people are doing it anyway. Where you kind of you know, alterate the order or something like that. So just be a little bit, show some civil disobedience, I think so that’s what you can do and of course be a coach to your people. That’s what you can do all the time. 

RHEA: Thank you Antoinette, and how about for the leaders? Who are very crucial in, in this whole dynamic? What messahe would you like to say to the leaders for watching us on Facebook and on YouTube right now?

ANTOINETTE: Sorry I didn’t understand the first part of the question. What message to leaders? In general or?

RHEA: Yeah. Yeah what message would you like to leave our readers who are watching us about performance management.


RHEA: And how they can use their influence? 

ANTOINETTE: Yeah. In the end I think it’s definitely all about trust, trust your people more and believe in their willingness, in their abilities and their creativity. And start from that one, because if you start from that position, I think a lot of things will go much better in the workplace.

RHEA: Thank you so much Antoinette, and do you have any final words for our participants who are engaged in this conversation today? 

ANTOINETTE: Well thank you for the.. for the good questions. I would always love to have more possibilities to chat as well, but I mean that was something. Thank you ria for being such a good host and watch that space here I heard that they have further interesting conversations coming along. Yeah and I think that’s enough of famous last words kind of.

RHEA: Thank you, thank you Antoinette and yes to everybody thank Antoinette for segwaying me into that I would love to invite you for future events that we’re hosting LIVEforward Institute. So you will see four qr codes on the screen, as you cannot click a link we thought. Scan a link and register for our Ace Summer Boot Camp. What does that mean? It’s agile culture essentials, we’re talking about culture and at the methodology here and how you can really embrace agility in your organization/

The next Living Room Conversation is coming up and we have an emerging topic around microhabits to become a good agile leader. And that’s happening on the 8th of July, so join us again in this space, in this same room where you scan that code and you can register on our LinkedIn events. And then we have two programs we’re offering in August and in September accelerating after crisis with some go style fundamentals, and TL Safari Performance Management which is also another way to get inspiration and stories from pioneers around the TL space and how you can bring that back to your organization. So we really look forward to see you in one of these four events and yeah thank you for joining us and we hope to see you around! Bye everybody thank you Antoinette.