The That, How & Why of Performance Management

For an individual to perform optimally, it is generally believed that 3 things are required;

The Performance Equation

  1. Declarative Knowledge (That): this involves knowing THAT something is the case – that E is the fifth letter of the alphabet, that pink is the best color in the world (well that’s an opinion but you get the gist of it lol).
  2. Procedural Knowledge (How): this involves knowing HOW to do something – how to ride a bicycle or how to dance. We may not be able to explain how we do it but it involves implicit learning.
  3. Motivation (Why): is simply the reason or reasons behind why we do something. Why we get up in the morning, why we brush our teeth, why we feel guilty if we don’t call our parents or visit our grand parents.

This equation is just applicable to employees in an organisation, thus should be taken into consideration when managing performance.

Why is this important?

Meet Mubanga. Mubanga has declarative knowledge and motivation but she lacks procedural knowledge. Mubanga has knowledge of all information regarding task’s, requirements, principles, and goals. Her motivation about her job is good because Mubanga has no problem with going to work and attending all meetings on time. She has great knowledge of all the products and is helpful with the customers as well as her coworkers when it involves knowing that the price of a product is this or that the specifications on product x are better than product y. However, she is not friendly and she gets flustered and overwhelmed when she has to deal with difficult or irate customers. Mubanga’s procedural knowledge suffers a great deal and sometimes make customers uncomfortable.

Meet Choolwe. Choolwe has declarative and procedural knowledge but he lacks motivation. Choolwe like Mubanga has knowledge of all information regarding task’s, requirements, principles, and goals. Additionally, Choolwe knows how to deal with customers superbly and they always feel comfortable around him. However, Choolwe never comes to work on time. He has been caught sleeping in the storage room three times and most recently he refused to attend the mandatory team building & sales retreat, he did not see why he had to attend as he already knows how to do his job.

Owing to the fact that performance is determined by different aspects, the manner in which it is managed should be able to take these different aspects into account. Imagine enrolling Choolwe & Mubanga on a ‘how to relate to customers’ course. This might significantly improve Mubanga’s performance but not Choolwe’s. This entails that performance management, performance improvement, and employee development is not a one size fits all endeavor but it should take the individual employee into consideration.

Which of the 3 aspects of performance do you think people lack the most?

2 thoughts on “The That, How & Why of Performance Management

  1. I found this article very interesting. From my experience, most people lack procedural knowledge. A lot of tertiary education has become way too theoretical. Good apprenticeships are also quite hard to find. Quite a number of colleges are struggling to keep up with the industries. After graduation, a number of people are left flat-footed because they realize that they do not know HOW to do their job. To borrow some wording from your article, they lack procedural knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

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