Performance Management: What is "Performance"? (Performance Defined)

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Adapted from Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development

Organizations try to manage the performance of each employee, team and process and even of the organization itself. The performance management process is very similar, regardless of where it is applied. Information in this topic describes the general performance management process. The information is customized for each application in the topics Employee Performance Management, Group Performance Management and Organizational Performance Management.

Sections of This Topic Include

On Performance in Organizations
Performance Management Applies to More than Employee Performance
Additional Perspectives on Performance Management

Also see
Related Library Topics

Learn More in the Library's Blogs Related to Performance Management: What Do We Mean?

In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which have posts related to Performance Management: What Do We Mean?. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog.

Library's Human Resources Blog
Library's Leadership Blog
Library's Supervision Blog


On "Performance" in Organizations

(Performance management is a relatively new concept to the field of management. Performance management literature typically starts out with various examinations of the term "performance". The following information describes how the term "performance" in this library is used in this library.)

Supervisors have conducted performance appraisals for years. Employees have attended training sessions for years. Organization members have worked long, hard hours for centuries. Processes, such as planning, budgeting, sales and billings have been carried out for years in organizations. But all too often, these activities are done mostly for the sake of doing them, not for contributing directly to the preferred results of the organization.

Performance management reminds us that being busy is not the same as producing results. It reminds us that training, strong commitment and lots of hard work alone are not results. The major contribution of performance management is its focus on achieving results -- useful products and services for customers inside and outside the organization. Performance management redirects our efforts away from busyness toward effectiveness.

Recently, organizations have been faced with challenges like never before. Increasing competition from businesses across the world has meant that all businesses must be much more careful about the choice of strategies to remain competitive. Everyone (and everything) in the organization must be doing what they're supposed to be doing to ensure strategies are implemented effectively.

This situation has put more focus on effectiveness, that systems and processes in the organization be applied in the right way to the right things: to achieve results. All of the results across the organization must continue to be aligned to achieve the overall results desired by the organization for it to survive and thrive. Only then it be said that the organization and its various parts are really performing.

Here's a story that further explains what "performance" really is in organizations.

Performance Management Applies to More than Employees

Typically, we think of performance in organizations, we think on the performance of employees. However, performance management should also be focused on:
1. the organization
2. departments (computer support, administration, sales, etc.)
3. processes (billing, budgeting, product development, financial management, etc.)
4. programs (implementing new policies and procedures to ensure a safe workplace; or, for a nonprofit, ongoing delivery of services to a community)
5. products or services to internal or external customers
6. projects (automating the billing process, moving to a new building, etc.)
7. teams or groups organized to accomplish a result for internal or external customers

Additional Perspectives on Performance Management

Defining Performance
Completing the Zen in Performance Management


Submit a link


For the Category of Performance Management:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books



General Information -- Books About General Topic of Performance Management

Leadership and Supervision in Business - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision in Business
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
Includes step-by-step guidelines, tips and tools to effectively lead:
1. Yourself
2. Other individuals in the business
3. Groups and teams in the business
4. Business organizations
5. As well as all functions within the business organization.

Many of the Library's materials about business, leadership and management are adapted from this book. Just click on the title of the book above to see the Index and Table of Contents.
Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff - Book Cover Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision With Nonprofit Staff
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
Includes step-by-step guidelines, tips and tools customized for personnel in nonprofits to effectively lead:
1. Yourself
2. Other individuals in the nonprofit
3. Groups and teams in the nonprofit
4. Nonprofit organizations
5. As well as all functions within the nonprofit organization.

Many of the Library's materials about nonprofit leadership and management are adapted from this book. Just click on the title of the book above to see the Index and Table of Contents.

To get more information about each of the following practical books, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.

Also see

For Your Own Performance Management
Personal Productivity -- Recommended Books

For Employee Performance Management
Supervision -- Related Books

For Group Performance Management
Facilitation and Teams -- Recommended Books

For Organizational Performance Management
Organizational Development -- Recommended Books

For Nonprofit Organizational Performance Management
Nonprofit Capacity Building -- Recommended Books




Find a Topic

Learn Consulting

Learn Strategic Planning


Free Management Library, © Copyright Authenticity Consulting, LLC ® ; All rights reserved
Website developed by NilesRiver.com         Graphics by Wylde Hare Creative
Provided by

Authenticity Consulting, LLC
Contact Info Privacy Policy Disclaimers