How does it work?
Designing and implementing a Primed Performance Management framework is a highly collaborative process, the primary focus of which is getting the right behaviours in place at all levels of the organisation to embed a performance culture.
We start by directly observing teams to understand what management data and other information exists to inform decision-making, identify the behaviours that the management team displays, understand what works and what doesn’t, and spot any obvious gaps. From there, we work with the teams to redesign meeting structures, management data, actions and communications to improve impact.
The five steps we follow are outlined below:
1. Observations and analysis
We start by understanding what is currently happening. We observe and analyse the available data, the meetings that already occur, how they are run, how decisions are made, and how subsequent actions are captured, implemented and monitored. At the conclusion of this stage we will produce a review of the current situation and identify what is working well and what needs to be developed.
This stage establishes a set of principles that lie at the heart of Primed Performance Management. Having an agreed set of principles ensures that:
- The right information will be available at the right time and shared with the right people
- A new pattern of meetings is established, each with clear terms of reference and agendas so that they can make effective use of the data
- The behaviours that are needed to deliver change are defined, communicated and modelled
A wide range of stakeholders from the Finance Directorate to social workers from across the council are involved in designing the principles. Local co-design is vital, as each council is different, with its own unique challenges, cultures and ways of working. One size does not fit all. It is important that the principles cover both managerial and values-based needs. At the end of this stage, a draft framework design is signed off ready for piloting.
In this stage we work with a number of teams to test the design. This is an iterative process which involves:
- Working with relevant team managers to make sure the report covers the right areas, is understandable, is timely and enhances their ability to manage their team’s work and outcomes
Trialling Primed Performance Management meetings in order to test the agenda and terms of reference
- Most importantly, modelling the behaviours we expect to see in meetings, which are primarily about engaging with the information, taking decisions based on the data, agreeing actions and delivering and monitoring them Any issues with the design can be ironed out during this phase and re-tested before being rolled out. At the end of this stage the draft framework is finalised.
Working with each team in turn, we explain how the co-produced Primed Performance Management system works and describe the new reports and structure, coach the team manager in using the data and support them in embedding the behaviours at team meetings.
This is the most time consuming and intensive stage of work – and the most rewarding for the council staff, as they start to see how individual actions and decisions impact the system as a whole. We monitor teams’ progress and support them until they reach the point where they no longer need our formal support. Depending on staff skills, experience and willingness to engage, this might happen after a few cycles of reports and meetings, but it could require more time.
This stage also includes transferring the ownership of Primed Performance Management as the approach becomes simply ‘business as usual’. In practice, this occurs when reports start being produced in-house (rather than with IMPOWER’s support) and training of council staff is conducted by their colleagues.
In this final stage we look across the organisation and provide light-touch support to any teams or individuals who need additional help. We help refine reports if required and make final adjustments to agendas and terms of reference. Once everyone is confident that they have a sustainable framework in place, we step away completely.