The voices of convicted hearts and prepared leaders and managers resound and echo the significance of performance management. Performance management systems prepare the ground for fair competition and the showcasing of the necessary capabilities in exchange with the worth of the individual towards the entity.
As it seems in the public sectors, and to lesser extent private sectors, a performance management system is a paper-based approach which one is required to sign and not to be held accountable for. Because we are aware of this, some professionals have discovered this loophole and use it to their advantage.
Rewards and growth are not merit-based nor sustained by the consistency in the performance of an individual. It is based on when can you soon transition from entry level to any middle management level.
It is not clear if the criteria being used by HR are adaptive to the change that had taken place or not. It is also not clear if there is a follow-up system after one gets the position to see what value they have added to the organization.
For middle management posts we have seen someone moving from a failing company and being rewarded the same position or higher in another, which is a reflection that our performance management systems are not functional. Lots of managers or middle leadership are walking about freely without any remorse and pride up by entering more entities. Schools are falling apart, hospitals, parastatals are getting bailed out year in and year out and yet the management gets paid lucrative salaries. As if it were not enough, some get bonuses in the midst of failing the companies.
On the other hand, in the public sector, middle managers sign permanent contracts with the government and we expect them to perform.
The last time I checked, the word permanent relates to no change in status unless you decide so yourself. This is harmful to human minds and much more to leadership.
If we promise one permanence then what sense would the performance management system make? Is this the only option we have, and how has it contributed to the growth and development of the country?
Speaking under correction, Namibia has a high wage bill in its budget but we talk less about how this wage bill translates to the value in all the ministries and agencies alike. Here we are now, seated with a monster we have fed for years and it has sucked more lifeblood than it has given life.
Economically, it makes no sense and socially we have closed the potentials because those who mastered the systems have attracted salary collectors, paper pushers and signature experts with no innovations, enthusiasm and who care less about the well-being of our organizations and the future of the generations to come.
Our incompetency is the thorn in our flesh and the cause of the many failures we are seated with now. In our quest to understand the challenges we are faced with at hand, I would like for us to ask hard questions such as: Does the word permanent serve a purpose in human life and in jobs respectively? Can middle management positions or jobs in general be permanent?
As I recall one of the greatest books I have ever read for change management is by Spencer Johnson, “Who moved my cheese?”
I am reminded that there is nothing permanent under the sun. But the abundance (of resources in the case of Africa) to a great extent cripple people. The world is unfolding before us now and reminding us that change will, always, be inevitable.
The pandemic and the fast-changing technology which is replacing human power with robots are demanding that management do something now more than ever, before turmoil befalls all of us particularly the systems of the third world.
We ought to be flexible and adapt to change. For far too long we have believed that protecting the positions of a few people (incompetent managers) who even do less to add value to the organization or company is right but it has harmed the society more than any good it has done.
Like the mice over the little people in the book aforementioned, let us change the direction and smell the direction of the cheese so that we find its new destination. Let us simplify things – management and leadership should be trusteeship with people. We pay for the worth and value a manager brings to that very entity they are entrusted with.
We hold the persons accountable we give positions, to be productive and ease the operations of any organization. We avoid by all means to reward laziness instead match merits with responsibilities’ fulfilment.
We cannot afford to continue complaining when we know the cancerous things that have brought our growth to a halt are being celebrated more than capability. I am therefore submitting that middle management level becomes contractual which is renewable based on performance than carrying a permanent status.
Let us for once begin to dismantle the groupings created to dent the country’s pride through recruiting in such positions mismatched individuals. Like Singapore and its first prime minister, let us build an ethical performance system which will make us stand out. Let us breed a new culture, from home, spiritual assemblies, schools and all working environments – a competent leadership that holds the banner of citizenship high and instil a culture of getting deserving pay for work. Getting people in positions based on merit than friendships and bribery.