Performance management is probably the opposite of 'taking your eye off the ball'.
In the ever-changing world of local government where there are a 1,001 pressures and almost as many plans, strategies and initiatives, it is a way of checking reality matches rhetoric.
It is about everybody in an organisation meeting agreed targets - equipping staff to do their bit, monitoring them and responding to good or poor performance.
'In local government the targets would be set at a corporate level by members
in the performance plan, but that plan has to be cascaded down to the individual. Every person must know what they have to do so targets are met,' says Mr Austin.
HR says it involves praising good performance in public and challenging poor performance in private: 'If staff see their colleagues not delivering they will expect their managers to deal with that,' Mr Austin says.
The whole thing is never ending, a sort of perpetual motion of the business/ executive world.
It all actually sounds rather stressful really.