When the news ticker of the cabinet meeting was circulating across several channels where PM Imran Khan seemed admitting his unpreparedness in governance and cluelessness to tackle different issues even after two and a half years of his federal govt. and signed performance agreements with his ministers, it sounded like music for opposition-led PDM, which is staging mass protests countrywide. Khan often gives such statements that backfire in Pakistani media and lands his spokespersons into hot waters.
If Mr. Shehzad can adopt a similar approach and bring our governance set up to where the most successful organizations are standing today, then I believe it’s a step in the right direction.
10 minutes or a major breakthrough
Thanks to Moeed Pirzada, who invited Shehzad Arbab; Special Assistant on Establishment division in his program Hardtalk Pakistan on Dec 24th. Mr. Shehzad is the man behind drafting the performance agreements for different ministers. He explains how a minister will set annual targets for his respective ministry, work in cohesion with other ministries, and eventually, a process will establish which will be reviewed quarterly and a final report will be presented to the cabinet.
This will establish a mechanism between the minister and the bureaucracy by assigning individual tasks, and gaps will be identified. This whole dialogue between Moeed and PM’s special assistant was not more than 10 minutes, but in the eyes of a person like me, who is been working for many years in the automotive sector in Sweden and now in the US, it’s a major breakthrough in establishing a structure and a process that sets individual responsibilities, self-assessment, and transparency.
A structure for success
This is a well-known practice in many industries, and successful companies have adopted this performance-based culture, where incentives are tied to the completion of individual tasks. Many companies throughout Europe and the US use software tools, which help their peers to gauge the performance of their employees. Performance management helps organizations become more successful and stay ahead of the competition.
It involves measuring, reporting, and managing progress in order to improve performance, both at an individual level and at a corporate level. There are many performance management tools designed to make the process easier and more effective namely Workday, OpenAir, KAPER, etc. With the evolution of technology and software development, now these tools are considered an important part of the organizational setup.
He explains how a minister will set annual targets for his respective ministry, work in cohesion with other ministries, and eventually, a process will establish which will be reviewed quarterly and a final report will be presented to the cabinet.
Most of the performance measuring tools are based on a grading system from a scale of 0-5, where 0 stands for no progress and 5 stands for exceeding the expectations. A score of 3.5 is considered a good achievement by any individual. To give an insight into how the system works, and let my readers know more I would briefly describe the main components of this setup. I will focus on how most of the successful organizations are running in the West and let the readers deduce how this can apply to what Mr. Shehzad explained in his interview. I would also like to mention that I will not pick up any specific tool to elaborate on my idea and will try to keep things simpler for my readers to understand.
A gameplan of checks and balances
Firstly, and foremostly these tools are eligible to set up an organizational chart with employees’ names and titles, to whom they are directly reporting, and their contact information. There are two main kinds of tasks assigned, one comes from the top management and the other is set up by the employee him/herself. The tasks coming from the top are further broken down by a manager to his/her subordinates.
At the start of the fiscal year, the manager setups individual meetings with the team members. The manager assigns 5 tasks and asks employees to pick 5 of their choice from their respective fields. The employee is given a week’s time to come up with a rough time frame for each task, resource needs in terms of persons and capital, and the competence required. It is possible the group does not have the required competence to perform a task, and then it’s time to hire new employees for the team.
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Some of these tasks are short term and others are for a longer duration. Also, the employee is responsible to highlight if he or she needs support from other areas of the organization. Then this becomes a task of the other employee in the company to assist his/her coworker.
Apart from these compulsory tasks, the employee is also asked to set individual tasks of personal development to learn something new, bring innovative ideas and how this can benefit the company. Once the manager and employee agree on the assignments, timeframe, feasibility, they virtually Sign the Agreement.
Its also a part of the agreement that individual meetings will be held at the end of each quarter to assess the progress been made. On a scale of 0-5, each task is graded. An employee gives his/her consent and comments and the manager scales separately. Both have the full right to disagree and challenge each other about a certain grade assigned. Reasons are given for the tasks not completed on time. The manager can show his dissatisfaction and appreciation for the task by using this scale. It is important to note that a salary appraisal and incentives for next year are linked to this grading.
Performance management helps organizations become more successful and stay ahead of the competition.
Once these reviews are done, a report is sent to the business head. Each manager from the specific area of the organization briefs his/her team performance, gaps, tasks completed, resources used, budget spent, open issues, recommendations, and future actions. This way a whole picture of the organization is documented, a process is established, and improvement proposals are taken to speed up the business. This also helps to find where the loopholes are, where there is a need to add more resources, which group is under-loaded and where the workload is high, where firefighting is needed, where there is a lack of competence and not right people for the job, and which group is not supportive.
If Mr. Shehzad can adopt a similar approach and bring our governance set up to where the most successful organizations are standing today, then I believe it’s a step in the right direction. It’s quite saddening to hear that none of the previous setups in the past ever tried to create a process and mechanism to improve governance and the chaos we are in today is quite evident.
The author is currently working as a lead engineer in ALTEN group US which is a consultant company for engineering services in automotive, aerospace, energy and pharma industry. He also has a master’s degree in automotive engineering from Sweden and worked for 10 years in the automotive sector. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.