By Wilson Fyffe
Experience in Asia in the 10 years since the
release of breakthrough performance
management technology by the Kaplan &
Norton team has shown that resistance to
performance measurement grows stronger
as the new techniques are pushed deeper in
We have identified four major points of
resistance (refer Fig 1 below) which need to be
dealt with sequentially.
On reflection, such resistance is natural.
Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs tells
us that our highest level of existence is
when we are expressing our creativity – be it
developing corporate strategy, searching for
new marketing or product ideas, or
communicating our status reports
graphically to our organizational colleagues.
Next below that, we need to earn the
respect of our colleagues after having
gained acceptance from them. The latter is
important if we are a new team member. At
the foundation level, we need to be
comfortable, in good health and have a good
working environment. Below this is the
baseline that we need to free from threats to
our continued employment.
The dramatic downturn in the Asian
economies since 1996 and the associated
downsizing campaigns in many
organizations have caused widespread
concern that performance management
initiatives are a cover for a retrenchment
Local experience and research with leading UK
management schools indicates that the rankand-
file employees will collaborate to frustrate
any such covert activities. Similarly, concern by
employees that performance measurement
systems that are subject to favoritism or other
forms of manipulation will almost certainly lead
to frustration. The system, like the law, must not
only be fair but it must be seen to be fair.
The third level of resistance can be considered
by comparing the employee to a competitive
athlete. The athlete must be able to trust the
measuring equipment: the scales, the clock, the
judges’ competence. If the data being recovered
from an organization’s systems to compare
actual performance to targets is ‘dirty’, the
employees are unlikely to feel comfortable with
the system. This particular point raises
challenges for the suppliers of performance
The final point of resistance is when the
employee does not understand the rules, the
formulas being used to calculate their
performance results. This is often the case when
the employee has not been sufficiently involved
in the target setting process.
The bottom line is that
there should be no
surprises in a performance
appraisal. The employee
knows what is going to
happen, as does their
This ideal position is assisted greatly if the
performance appraisal process is conducted
monthly online, giving the employee and
their supervisor 11 practice sessions during
the year to get the annual appraisal right.
A new development to watch for is the
introduction of “Job Proficiency Certification
“™, a new solution aimed at converting
employee resistance to performance
measurement to employee support.
Wilson Fyffe is President Director of Amplios
Consultants Pte Ltd, Singapore
About the Author
Wilson Fyffe has over 25 years of working experience with Oil & Gas
companies, including ARCO (now part of BP) and Tidewater on
developing their leadership programs and corporate planning. He has
also led a consortium of leading Oil & Gas majors, including Caltex,
Conoco, Mobil, Total, Unocal and Vico on benchmarking and improving
Mr. Fyffe also has extensive cross industrial experience. He spent 9
years in Indonesia as the managing consultant of Coopers & Lybrand,
where he assisted numerous organisations in consulting and auditing. As
a senior partner of KPMG in Indonesia, he was involved in senior level
He has consulting experience in over 30 different industries. As an expert facilitator, he has facilitated
over 30 training courses in leadership, performance improvement, business planning and related
topics over a period of 20 years.
His global working experience includes Australia, China (Hong Kong), India, Indonesia, Malaysia,
New Zealand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, The Maldives, Thailand and the USA.
Besides English, Mr. Fyffe is also conversant in Malay and Bahasa Indonesia.
Wilson Fyffe is also a facilitator of IQPC Training’s January 2007 course:
Proven techniques to successfully transition technical professionals to managers and leaders
January 30 - 31, 2007
Prince Hotel & Residence, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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