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Talent Success Management Part 1: What’s the Point?

Jan 24th, 2019 • Amanda Areces

What do the Indianapolis Colts, Imagine Dragons, Will Power, and my furnace all have in common?  Over this five-part blog series, we will see how they all prove that a traditional performance appraisal model has never worked, as well as show the need for a change of mindset that focuses on managing talent success instead of trying to manage employee performance.

My Furnace

I don’t often think about my furnace.  When the temperature gets colder the furnace keeps my house warm; that’s its purpose.  What is there to think about?  Well, this past week my furnace stopped working when the temperature outside was below zero. It was so cold that if you went outside for more than 10 minutes, you could get frost bite.  My perspective of the furnace’s purpose broadened from heating my house to protecting my family!

Since I am not mechanically inclined, we quickly called an HVAC company to send out a technician who could diagnose and fix the problem.  The earliest available time someone could come wasn’t until the next day.  So as not to feel totally helpless, I decided to take a quick video of what was happening so the technicians could be prepared when they arrived.  Though I know nothing about furnaces, I was able to diagnose the problem quickly.  The “spinny thing” wasn’t spinning and when it did spin, it was loud!

Spinny Thing


For my furnace to serve its purpose – heating the house and keeping my family alive – the spinny thing and all the other individual components must perform their part. When not collectively doing their part, the overall performance of the furnace was unsuccessful in serving its full purpose. Is this concept familiar to your organization?

How often do you think about the purpose of your performance management process – once a year when it is time to complete performance appraisals?    Let me ask the same question a different way: what is the purpose of your organization and how do you drive your organization’s success in delivering that purpose?  Like the components running my furnace, Dave Ulrich in “Victory Through Organization” explains that organizations exist to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. When you think about performance with this mindset it emphasizes that performance is not an HR issue, it is a business issue!

Without a defined purpose for your performance management strategy, how can you ensure that you have an aligned process focused on improving individual performance that will drive organizational success?

It is a misconception that simply evaluating performance is the same as managing performance.  Conducting an evaluation on my furnace identified that the spinny thing wasn’t spinning. Ok, so now what?  I couldn’t just say, “hey, spinny thing spin!”  When I manually spun the spinny thing, sometimes the furnace worked, but it didn’t improve its performance.

What is the purpose of conducting performance evaluations if there is not a strategy to improve performance?  What is the cost to the organization when not effectively managing performance?  How much more successful could your organization be if you had a strategy that helped individuals understand how their success fulfills the reason your organization exists?

Defining a purpose is powerful and vital for establishing the right management model as well as fostering an aligned mindset.  Do you want to make a change that will create a positive and highly impactful return?  Take time to think about your performance management process and consider whether it is really accomplishing what you hoped it would.

In Part 2 of this blog series we will look at how like my furnace, the components of Will Power’s race team have to collectively work together to fulfill their purpose of winning races.

Talent Success Management Series

  • Part One: What’s the Point?
  • Part Two: Confinement without Alignment
  • Part Three: Prior, Proper, Planning, Prevents, Poor, Performance
  • Part Four: If You’re Not Growing, You’re Slowing
  • Part Five: Colts, Imagine Dragons, Will Power, and My Furnace