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“Building a High-Performance Organization” Draws Nearly 200 Attendees


by SIOP Administrative Office

11th Annual Leading Edge Consortium Explores the Leading Edge of Performance Management

The 2015 Leading Edge Consortium (LEC), “Building a High Performance Organization: A Fresh Look at Performance Management,” explored the most vital and timely aspects of performance management October 2 and 3 at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront hotel. The impressive speakers presented to 190 registrants from seven countries—as far as Denmark, Israel, and Singapore!

Chaired by Elaine Pulakos, with an Organizing Committee made up of Mariangela Battista, Allan Church, Erica Desrosiers, Gene Johnson, and Cheryl Paullin, the 2015 LEC was a weekend full of excellent speakers, informative presentations, and numerous opportunities to answer questions about the rapidly changing landscape of performance management.

Attendees heard from 19 speakers from such leading organizations as PepsiCo, Walmart, Google, the FBI, General Electric, The Gap, Deloitte, and Pfizer. Topics explored several main themes, including benchmarking performance management today, performance management strategy, legal issues, behavior change, and designing your performance management reform. To read more, visit the LEC agenda page here.

The Renaissance Boston Waterfront, just a short walk from nightlife and restaurants, provided a convenient backdrop for the weekend’s events.  Boston’s numerous historic sites, including the state house and Boston Common, were also within a short drive of the hotel.



The night before the LEC officially kicked off, attendees were welcomed to Boston with an elegant reception that featured some of the East Coast’s famous seafood, notably mini lobster rolls. Guest enjoyed a relaxed evening mingling with colleagues and new friends before the next days’ sessions.

After an opening session titled “Putting Performance Back Into Performance Management” by LEC Chair Pulakos, Dr. Church introduced his session theme, “Aligning Performance Management Strategy to Business Strategy,” and the opening keynote speaker, SIOP Fellow John Boudreau, USC Marshall School of Business. Boudreau presented “Trouble With the Curve,” during which he discussed the crucial importance of pivotal talent.


"Ask 'Where are the pivotal changes in our talent? Where does our talent need to work better?'" he advised.

Friday included the session “Benchmarking PM Today,” which presented data on perceived performance management effectiveness, pain points organizations are facing, and what changes are being made to PM systems today.  In addition to presenting data, the audience participated in polling on a subset of the benchmarking questions and discussion of the key PM pain points they are facing in their organizations.


Other Friday sessions included “Legal Concerns in Removing Formal PM Components” and “Designing Your Organization’s PM Reform” as well as case studies from numerous organizations.


During lunch Friday, attendees were also invited to watch a very special award presentation. SIOP Foundation Board member Nancy Tippins announced the 2015 HRM Impact Award winners: Bank of America and Huntington Bank. Read more about each winning organizations’ initiative on the HRM Impact winners’ page here.


Friday night, attendees had the chance to participate in the popular Friday Networking Dinner. This year’s event was held right around the corner from the hotel at Salvatore’s, an upscale restaurant and bar on the waterfront located in the heart of the booming seaport district.

Saturday kicked off with the “Behavior Change” session, led by Mariangela Battista. Battista introduced the morning’s keynote address by David Rock, NeuroLeadership Institute. Rock presented “Reinvent Performance Management Through Neuroscience.” He advised organizations to encourage a growth mindset, removing threat from performance management practices. 

"We’ve been designing PM systems for the bottom 3-5%,” he said. “It is time to design PM for more than the few poor performers.”

The rest of the morning featured several case studies as well as an address LEC Chair and SIOP Fellow Elaine Pulakos, PDRI, a CEB Company, titled “Embedding Large Scale Behavior Change and Alignment to Drive Effective Performance Management.”

Pulakos discussed the need for informal performance feedback.

“Behavior change is hard, and what we’re doing today—mostly formal training—is not going to get us there,” she said. “…To be truly impactful, feedback must be informal and in the moment.”


The LEC wound down during lunch with a fascinating and provocative closing keynote address by SIOP Fellow Allan Church, who challenged our assumptions about performance management and provided attendees with a unique perspective on what they had seen and heard throughout the weekend.

After thanking the LEC co-chairs and giving attendees final reminders, LEC Chair Pulakos thanked attendees for their participation and welcomed them to join SIOP again for next year’s event.

The 2016 Leading Edge Consortium will be held October 21-22, 2016 in Atlanta, GA. The theme of that event will be analytics and Big Data.

    View more photos of the 2015 LEC on SIOP’s Facebook page!

We hope to see you next year in Atlanta!