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Personal Management Interview Program

Professor Kim Cameron from the Department of Positive Organizational Scholarship at the University of Michigan has devised a way of improving employee engagement and it is called the Personal Management Interview Program (PMI). Cameron summarises the PMI as 'an on-going programe of regular, one-on-one interviews between a manager and each one of his or her direct reports.'

The rationale for the PMI

Underlying the PMI is the fundamental belief that the most important aspect of an employee's experience at work is their relationship with their manager/supervisor. A person will not experience positive emotion at work unless this basic relationship with their manager/supervisor has positive characteristics. According to Professor Cameron the only way that this relationship can be developed, improved, and nurtured is through devoting time and energy to it. The Personal Management Interview is a way to ensure that managers devote enough time to their direct reports and to ensuring a good two-way flow of communication. 

Professor Cameron studied the impact of holding regular Personal Management Interviews on productivity, team working, effectiveness, relationships and climate. The research, conducted on 22 'natural teams', in contrast with a control group, showed substantial benefits. 

Using the PMI

1. Initial role negotiation

Prior to the regular meetings, an introductory one-off 'role negotiation' meeting is held. Professor Cameron suggests that at this meeting the manager and the direct report discuss and negotiate -

  • Role performance
  • Areas of responsibility
  • Accountability and reward
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Mission, goals and values

Once clear agreement is reached on the above, and any non-negotiable matters 'identified and justified', the decisions from the meeting are written up and form the basis for the following monthly meetings. 

2. Primary Characteristics of PMI's

  • Regular and private
  • Major goals:
    • Continuous improvement
    • Teambuilding and personal development
    • Feedback
  • First agenda item:
    • Follow up on action items from the previous section
  • The meeting lasts from 45 to 60 minutes
  • Major agenda items include:
    • Organisational and job issues
    • Information and sharing
    • Training and development
    • Resource needs
    • Interpersonal issues
    • Obstacles to improvement
    • Targets and goals
    • Appraisal and feedback
    • Personal issues
  • A supportive, non-punitive environment
  • Last agenda item:
    • Review of action items

3. Implementation Guidelines for PMIs

  • Regularly scheduled
  • Private
  • Free of interruptions
  • Advanced preparation by both parties
  • Accountability required of both parties
  • Training of participants in advance
  • Flexibility in format
  • Action items and improvement plans
  • Feedback, praise and development

4. Beneficial Outcomes of PMIs

  • Actually saves time
  • Institutionalizes continuous improvement
  • Improves and sustains unit effectiveness
  • Improves the quality of communication
  • Maintains accountability for commitments
  • Prevents regression from off-site training
  • Provides opportunities for manager-subordinate meetings face-to-face
  • Enhances meeting effectiveness
  • Provides opportunities for training and development
  • Becomes a success experience in itself

Copyright: Professor Kim Cameron, University of Michigan. 


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