This weekend’s New York Times article Google’s Quest To Build a Better Boss describes how Google used performance reviews, feedback surveys and award nominations to come up with a list of directives, in order of importance, to make engineers better managers. These directives were integrated into training courses, performance reviews, and one-on-one coaching.
Here are some of my thoughts from a Training and Development perspective.
Competency Based Approach: Essentially, Google crunched data to come up with key competencies for effective manager behavior. Using this measurable approach, managers have a clear path to follow: There are competencies to be met, behaviors to achieve these competencies (training plays a key role here) and to complete the circle, evidence to show that they have met the defined competencies (employee feedback).
Training is a means not an end: In a competency based approach, as discussed above, training is part of an overall process and is directly aligned to a business need.
Localized competencies: Instead of using generic management best practices, the expertise came from within Google. What may work at other companies, may not be effective at Google and visa versa. Not every company has the luxury of a committed team to research competencies, but it is important to focus on what behaviors the company needs to be successful. Furthermore, managers are more motivated to align their behavior with the defined competencies since they are based on feedback from their own employees.
Expert Behavior: Finally, Google’s approach shows the importance of using experts to create standards for performance excellence. This is not rocket science and has been a practice for centuries. Unfortunately, expert knowledge gets distorted in textbook theories and management gurus. Back to basics, and you don’t need a big budget to tap into expert knowledge.
Thoughts??I look forward to feedback