I still remember running my first performance review as a young manager. It was a painful ordeal we just needed to get through. But we were following best practice so it had to be done, right?
You’ve likely noticed the yearly performance review process is on it’s way out. This trend has been widely reported in the Harvard Business Review, the Washington post, the New Yorker and more. Many large organizations from Adobe, Microsoft, Accenture and Deloitte have dumped their annual performance review process.
Competency frameworks are next. Those large static lists of competencies usually developed at great cost have little impact on organizational performance.
Having a competency framework seems to make sense. To link individual performance to the goals of the business we need a list of competencies: the knowledge, skills, judgment, and attributes people need to perform a job. With a standard set of competencies for each role in the business people know the kind of behaviors the organization values and requires to achieve its objectives. A yearly performance review framed around the competency framework completes the loop ensuring the organization operates like a well oiled machine.
But we are human beings, not human resources. Organizations are communities of human beings, not collections of human resources. Competency frameworks are ignored by most managers in most organizations, at best a distraction from the real job of managing.
As a manager ask yourself: if your organization stopped using the competency framework, and it was never mentioned again, would their be any difference?
Phil LeNir is president of CoachingOurselves, a company he co-founded with Henry Mintzberg. They help organizations setup peer-learning programs for leadership development. Phil believes running leadership development programs uniquely to fill skill gaps based on competency frameworks is not effective. As best as he can Phil uses his experience, and a little common sense and good judgment, to help his clients rather than simply follow a formula.
Phil developed a keen interest for organizational performance as a manager and director in various high-technology companies specializing in speech-recognition systems. Phil holds a patent on Speech Recognition and Speaker Verification using distributed speech processing, has a Masters of Management and Electrical Engineering degree from McGill University in Canada.