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Performance– What is it?

Updated: Nov 5, 2018


This is an image of two men in a wrestling match

The next series of posts will focus on making the links between reciprocity and performance both meaningful and practical.


I will explore how we can and do ‘focus on the other’ as we talk about performance alongside the challenges and implications of working reciprocally in today’s modern organization.


To begin our discussion, I want to share with you how I think about what performance is. Like concepts of quality, I have found it to be extensively used but rife with ambiguity about what it is. After 15 years of thinking about the options, I feel that it is time to take a stand and offer my perspective: a perspective developed on the basis of selecting something simple, commonsensical, and easy enough relate to when thinking about our world of work.


At Reciprocity, I think of performance as the achievement of purpose; be it organizational, group or individual purpose. It is our ‘reason for being’. It is ‘what we are trying to create together’. In our organizational modeling, we see an alignment between individual, group and organizational purposes.

From my perspective, the question “How well are we/you performing?”… is understood as “To what degree are we/you achieving our/your purpose?” Performance is always framed and measured within the context of purpose achievement. When we talk about performance in one-on-ones, group meetings or management forums we talk about our ability to achieve our respective purpose.


In this context, performance improvement is understood as what we need to do to achieve our purpose more completely or more consistently.


For me, achievement of purpose offers a basis for discussing what performance is.





The Art of Relationship