It will be quarter four (4) of 2021 in a couple of weeks, meaning its performance management season for the organisations that run their systems using January to December calendar. It is thus the quarter where we start winding up the year and making plans for the new one.

Preparation for the rainy season in cities, estates or village consists of activities such as cleaning and clearing trenches and storm drains. Digging out soil and other materials that may be deposited at the bottom of the trenches. The dirt is placed at the side of the trenches for later collection. In some absurd practices, some workers do leave this dirt at the side of the trenches uncollected and undisposed. The dirt is deposited back to the trenches over time or by heavy rains. Going back to clog the trenches which were supposed to be clear. This renders trench cleaning exercises ineffective and inefficient.

For the purpose of this article let’s equate the performance management system with cleaning trenches. The Performance management system is the trench that an organisation creates to ensure that there is a proper flow of resources, to the appropriate sectors/ functions. The aim is optimal resource utilisation for the attainment of organisational goals and objectives. Resources need to flow to the allocated sectors and systems are designed to facilitate the flow.

Communication channels are some of the systems which facilitate this flow. Through these communication channels organisational goals and objectives, mission and vision, and core values are packaged into messages that are relatable at functional levels, departmental levels, and finally at individual levels. Through this practice, targets are determined and set. Thus, creating the “trenches” of the performance management system.

The mid-year or quarterly review can be related to cleaning and clearing the trenches. Here we audit our system through reviews, to track our progress and scrutinize the system’s functionality. Where clogging in any form is found, it is cleared and removed. Corrective interventions should implement the address the clog and prevention interventions deal with anticipated future clogs. Failure to address the clogging properly, lead to the absurdity we observed above and this renders the performance management system inefficient and ineffective.

The review and monitoring phase of the performance management system should be more than a review of the level of goal attainment. It should take a deeper look at other factors affecting or clogging the system. A good system should be able to identify these clogs early and properly address them. There are many ways of doing this, an honest 360-degree feedback is a good starting point.