As a judge in the recent Managing Partner Forum awards in this category I was pleased to see some of the efforts being made by firms in this area.
There is no doubt that many firms are recognising that more informal, judgemental forms of performance management, that often are not linked to the firm’s strategy OR the capabilities needed to survive in the future, just don’t cut it.
That said, it seemed to me that entries were of three types:
Firms which did not really have a consistent performance management system before and were implementing one (including appraisals across all staff for the first time)
Firms which had very imaginative and creative processes in place to disseminate information, and empower and support managers, but still focused on backward looking measures such as billing and utilisation.
Firms that recognised the need to put in place and manage capabilities for the future, and had created a balanced scorecard approach.
The third, to my mind, is the only appropriate place to finish, but you can need a route map to get there and to evolve in this direction.