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Executive Action is the best in the business
Jamie Buchan, CEO

I couldn’t commend Anne and her colleagues more highly… a brilliant service
Marc Wolman

I received an excellent service from Executive Action tailored exactly to my needs
Simon Oakes, Senior Civil Servant

Executive Action are demonstrably experienced in their field, well-connected and always went that extra mile
Ash Marston, Head of IT

Executive Action are a pleasure to work with, even after placement they keep in contact to ensure all is well
Chris Browning, Managing Director

Having someone to talk things through with, to support me and push me to focus my ideas was fantastic
David Blackwood, Group Finance Director

Empowering and very time-effective way of answering some key questions
Clara Swinson, Senior Civil Servant

Its great strength is that it is tuned to the individual instead of process-driven
Peter Whittle, Group Strategic Development Director

As well as my dedicated consultant, there was always someone on hand to help with whatever was needed, from interview training to research
David Blackwood, Group Finance Director

Getting the Balance Right

John Renz on the virtues of acknowledging performance issues and personal satisfaction

At this point in the year, organisations are either at year-end or preparing for it, and this inevitably means reaching a view of individual performance as well as assessing whether objectives have been achieved at an organisational level. This can often mean one of two things: a superficial assessment, only really focused on organisational objectives, or the chance to address any senior level performance issues where they exist. It is a happy, but perhaps all too rare, situation when both individuals at senior levels and organisational success come together in perfect harmony. If a meeting is conducted to discuss senior level performance which is both meaningful and high quality, issues often come at you from left field, rocking your assumptions about your senior team.

A cursory glance at executive performance in the listed regime often shows different variable pay opportunities for senior executives, but a rather worryingly consistent view of senior level performance, with organisations often reluctant to publicly acknowledge imperfections in the performance of senior people.

Additionally, individuals are often reluctant, even when performing well, to acknowledge either development needs or simply dissatisfaction with their circumstances, which can result in the demand for even more pay or other rewards. This latter point can be a diversion, and can simply avoid the real underlying causes of discontent. It seems blindingly obvious to state that senior people are not immune from the myriad of issues which shape how we feel about the working environment – yet a mature focus on these wider issues for senior individuals is still surprisingly rare, in my experience.

When there is success for individuals at headline level, it seems that quite often organisations are willing to avoid addressing performance issues and to elect to overlook or tolerate failings for too long. This is intellectually vacuous for, as we all know, performance is not an absolute concept and organisations need to define a base level of performance across a number of facets below which no senior person will fall. It is unlikely that across the whole gamut of issues affecting our view of performance that an individual can be perfect at them all, but there is a tendency to accept some very serious failings if an individual “really knows their stuff”, “works so hard“, “sells so well” or “has a great profile in the market“.

On an individual level, it is entirely possible to perform really well and do everything that’s asked of you without your personal objectives or preferences being met by your current role or how it’s presently configured. An individual may feel that there are few opportunities, or that because of the prevailing culture they are reluctant to put their hand up and say that this isn’t working for them. Some may even take the sometimes drastic step of simply voting with their feet and not affording the organisation the opportunity to try and address concerns. Few have the courage to raise the question of happiness for fear of the answer; this is both short sighted and a waste of an organisation’s resource. We all know that the magic happens when people and organisations are aligned.

Despite these somewhat negative thoughts, organisations do sometimes get this right and really  focus attention on understanding all aspects of performance and individual satisfaction. Where this has occurred, they have created a safe and open environment in which it’s not the end of the world to acknowledge both weaknesses and/or personal dissatisfaction, and they have put in place a number of measures to help address performance and personal satisfaction at a senior level. They are also mature enough to understand that even if it results in a person deciding to leave it can be managed well, or when an individual’s style of working is a problem it can be addressed in an open and constructive way.

At EA we work to help both organisations and individuals take action to address some of these issues, and to do so with a minimum of disruption at an organisational or personal level.

Posted: April 14th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Communication, Development | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »