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MBOs, Performance Management and Innovation for Regular People...

You're putting together a performance management system.  Which would you rather have as a means to force the highest % of your employees to think about ways they can innovate within the scope of their job?

--MBOs that you've agreed with them on and probably helped them brainstorm related to what to do Innovate-black and how to deliver it.  They'll knock out the project.  You get the widget.  Then it's done.  Everyone agrees completion of the task is good.  (Example for HR Managers:  You recruit, so we decide together that you're going to get us started on social recruiting.  We agree on a MBO on what needs to happen by when, with enough specifics for you to know what to do...)

--A performance management system that outlines the big blocks of your job, outlines what you're generally responsible for, and then tells you that in order to crush that area of your goals/objectives, you're responsible for thinking differently and innovating within each area to exceed the company's expectations.  Your manager is there to help you stay on track with what that might mean, but you're responsible for coming up with ideas, chasing projects and proving that innovation that helps the business has actually happened.

Which one do you choose?  Think carefully - the goal is to force the highest % of your employees to think about ways they can innovate within the scope of their job.


Steve Thomas

The second will likely correlate to more innovation but neither are going to "force" innovation.

Innovation is about culture....engagement, trust, empowerment, and collaboration. If you really want to drive innovation you need to look at how you align your leaders to living those values and creating an environment that enables innovation.

Michael Weber

I think a combination of the two is optimum.


Hi Kris,
I am an adult student and one of my assignments is to read a blog and post a response. I chose your blog because of the 3.1% surcharge in the San Francisco post. But I wanted to respond to the one about innovation. From an outsiders perspective it appears the MBO approach might be a little stifling. However if all parties agree on what and how to do it I would think a higher percentage of employees would be more innovative. Having your own input is critical in developing a product or service but I would suspect many people do not see themselves as creative. To counter act that kind of thinking the MBO should be careful in evaluating the outcome of goals. Perhaps a goal was not completely obtained but the path being taken appears promising. Everyone may have to experience some delayed gratification. I welcome your response, because I am a student and I might be way off. I would love to hear feedback.


Shelley -

I like where your head is at. In my world, you can assign a MBO, and there might be a variety of reasons that the person hits or missed that goal. I'd also evaluate the actions of the person trying to hit the MBO, what they learned, the knowledge they sought out, etc to get a better understanding of how effective they were -

Thanks for reading!


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