The Learning Cafe

Food for Thought | Time to grow up …. we all need PIPs

  • Posted by learningwavenz
  • On May 22, 2018

After fiddling around with my work-frame concept last weekend I’ve thought a bit more about my own performance improvement…. by which I mean how I get better at what I do.
I want to get better not because I don’t think I’m good enough (although I did for many years) but because I’m alive, growing and developing in so many ways and our whole lifetime is one of learning. And of course our world is changing fast so I need to evolve my skills. My logic is that if I get better at doing things I’ll be able to achieve more, in less time, and more easily …. pretty basic common sense. There’s another reasons too (but please don’t tell anyone!) …. there are some things that I’m not very good at and need to fix.
I know I’ll only achieve this if I have a plan. In theory would be a Performance Improvement Plan ( a PIP). Unfortunately the still-prevalent old world of work mindset tells us that such things are for deficient, failing people who need action taken against them.
Try Googling Performance Improvement Plan and see what you get – here’s what come up at the top of my screen:

If I scroll down a bit through the array of management speak I get this:

This is the kind of nonsense deficit-thinking (ie “you’re not good enough”) that really annoys me; but it also stimulates me to keep striving to discover how we evolve the world of work from industrial era thinking into approaches that capitalises on our amazing humanity and the unique capability that lies within us waiting to be nurtured and stretched.
Scroll down a bit more in the search results and it becomes all about lawyers, dismissal, and “what it really means if your boss puts you on a PIP”. The sad reality is that in many organisations a PIP is often used as a crude instrument ….. sometimes to try and control people, sometimes to punish and sometimes to lever people out of the organisation.
There are of course managers and organisations that use a PIP responsibly and with integrity in a genuine attempt to help someone develop; unfortunately with the negative connotations that have become attached to the term Performance Improvement Plan this is liable to immediate misinterpretation, defensive reaction and limited success driven by more by fear than opportunity.
Have a look at your own organisation’s Performance Management Documents …. are they based on deficit thinking that look like a threat, or a strengths based encouragement to reach higher?

My dream is that one day integrity, openness and honesty will characterise all of our workplaces as a result of organisations, managers, employees and employee advocates learning to work together in a mature and responsible way. For now, I’ve decided that I want a PIP to plan my own next phase of development and so I shall start one and ask my line manager if she thinks I’ve missed anything important.

Views expressed in this article are my own from working across multiple organisations. They do not constitute any formal policy position of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board.

Source: Bonneville Chandler, P. (2018).Time to grow up …. we all need PIPs. Retrieved 23 May 2018 from