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The future is a system not unlike any other system.  Consider this:  It’s made up of numerous subsystems that must be in sync in order to create meaning.

That’s why in the digital era, it’s important to view the rapid changes and technological disruptions that surround us systemically.

In doing so it’s possible to achieve a dynamic (if somewhat chaotic) system – where the speed of change can be fielded with a sense of readiness and innovativeness that enables success.

Performance managers – here’s what’s coming!

Disruption might be a popular buzzword right now.  But a disruption certainly isn’t new. Disruption and innovation has been happening for the last 100 years.

Nevertheless, disruption will continue and it will undoubtedly transform the workplace.

But how will this impact you?

Here are just a few of the ways in which the fourth industrial revolution will change the way you work and the way in which work is managed (and the environment you work in):

1. The future workplace:  

  • Automation of processes will unfortunately mean that the basic tasks people perform will be taken over by robots (with associated job losses).
  • Automation will play a huge role in determining which “jobs” are relevant and whether repetitive tasks can be removed. Robots will do predictable work, nevertheless, it’s important to remember that creativity and innovation cannot be replicated (just yet!).
  • Call centres were introduced that are focused on the wrong side of the value chain – employees must be in front of customers which is a rich source of innovation for any organisation. In other words: Flip the value chain.
  • Human will be the new word and focus for organisations!

2. The future workforce:

  • Network leadership and collaboration will be the new way of managing in the future.
  • The traditional leadership skills and strengths we thought were so important will no longer be applicable.
  • Human skills will represent most of the future workforce.
  • People skills and attributes like agility, EQ, adaptability, flexibility, the ability to innovate and open-mindedness will become scarce skills.

3. The future of talent management:

  • Organisation who do not have a culture of “work anywhere” (which is un-green!) will be forced to change.
  • A lack of a digital strategy will make it difficult to source, manage and retain talent.
  • An “always on” culture will force you to reconsider the wellness of your employees.
  • Data will form a risk in the digital era and employers will need to consider how this will impact their employees.

4. The future of performance management:

  • There will be a shift from traditional performance management systems to future-driven, innovative systems.
  • Employees will be allowed to write their own storyboards on how to achieve solutions in their performance landscape.
  • Different generational groups (e.g. millennials) will need to be managed differently.
  • KPIs will be based on results with innovation as a key driver and what the customer needs.
  • It will be essential to provide systems for immediate feedback across the value stream(s) affected.
  • Think the magic of an app in the “IOT”.
  • Information will need to be designed in a simple format and allow for input from employees and customers.
  • Performance systems will need to provide immediate solution answers and “how to” fixes.

What matters most to performance managers today

In a recent survey, the question was raised:  “What are the things uppermost in your mind regarding performance for your organisation now?”

From the responses given, it seems that the balance lies in both getting ready for the future as well as focusing on today’s performance needs.

But for magic to happen, a magician needs his tricks, tools, capability, experience, behaviours and the ability to read his environment and audience.

But like a magician, great performance in any organisation doesn’t just depend upon tricks… It needs balance between strategy, execution, talent, capability, resources and systems.

The magician is always in the “now” but with a good dose of future-scanning to ensure his trick appears both magical and exciting.

Here are a few steps you can take right now to balance future disruption with today’s performance demands… And you don’t have to be a magician!

14 Steps you can take today to become a future-ready performance manager

  1. Humanise the technology in your current workplace.
  2. Automate repetitive tasks that are not customer-facing.
  3. Scale human expertise to the entire organisation for future fitness.
  4. Focus on the right mix of talent to optimise the strategy of an organisation.
  5. Don’t focus on “process” and “system” as the only performance levers.
  6. Balance automation with learning opportunities to promote innovation and creativity.
  7. Flip the value chain by introducing automation at the customer end. Remember the old adage: Start with the customer in mind and end with the customer in mind.
  8. Change and challenge traditional performance feedback systems – think IOT.
  9. Encourage scenario-planning and predicting and planning the future path for investment to create value for shareholders.
  10. Employ talent management practices that are all about physical, emotional and stretch mobility of people so you retain young people.
  11. Have a digital policy that indicates risk, governance sustainability, green and compliance.
  12. Create a talent management strategy that is segmented into three areas: Current, where we are going and don’t know where we are going yet.
  13. Flip mentoring in the talent development space. Allow younger people to mentor older employees too.
  14. Create an open talent management strategy that allows for the crowd-sourcing of skills and talent in an open talent economy.

In today’s volatile environment organisations need more than magic to sustain and improve performance.

In the next article I will continue to examine some of the “game changers” that will help you to deliver practical performance today.

I will continue to show you how to make performance practical, magical, competitive and resilient in the midst of disruption.

Get started today!

If you would like to know more about how to perform a holistic performance audit for your organisation please don’t hesitate to contact me: Belia Nel at or on +2782 458 5851.

If you would like to know more about what we do, please visit our website or connect with Belia Nel on LinkedIn.

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