Accelerate KPI Buy-In With A Measures Team

by Stacey Barr

Don’t outsource KPI development or do it alone. You’ll get much greater KPI buy-in with a well-designed Measures Team.

Measures Teams are the best way to develop KPIs everyone can buy in to

A Measures Team is a group of people who will work together, through a performance measurement methodology like PuMP, to select and implement a set of KPIs for their team. They will do the bulk of the work to set up those KPIs, on behalf of their broader team. And they will engage the rest of the team, and other stakeholders, along the way.

This group is essentially a mastermind. And with the power of them all working together, you can accelerate the progress your organisation makes in measuring what matters and get that much-sought-after buy-in across the organisation, too.

But for a Measures Team to work well, there are a range of conditions that you ought to strive for in setting up and managing them:

1: Choose a Measures Team leader that knows the KPI methodology.

The Measures Team is led by someone who has been trained (and ideally certified) in the performance measurement methodology they’ve chosen. They don’t need to be an expert, but they certainly need to know enough about that methodology to lead others in its implementation.

This leader might be in a corporate role, such as the Chief Performance Officer or someone in the corporate strategy, planning and performance group. But they might also be the local performance measurement champion for their part of the business or organisation.

The leader’s mission is to help their Measures Team appreciate, understand and apply the performance measurement methodology. To make the experience engaging and productive, they will find group facilitation skills are another must-have.

2: Include volunteers only in your Measures Team.

You want your Measures Team to be positive and enthused and engaged, and not hold up progress with any cynicism or procrastination. I’ve worked with Measures Teams where some members were nominated by managers and would not have otherwise volunteered. Because their heart wasn’t in it, everyone else had to make up for it with extra work. Wider buy-in suffered greatly.

The more positivity that others sense from a Measures Team, the more likely they will want to volunteer, too. It takes time for interest to grow, since measurement does suffer a bad stigma in many organisations. But with the help of the Measure Gallery, a tool that PuMP Measures Teams will use to engage others, this interest can grow quickly.

3: Aim for 5 specific roles in your Measures Team.

For a team to develop a set of KPIs to the point that they’re ready for the broader team to use, a certain set of skills and knowledge is most useful among team members. These skills and knowledge are:

  1. skill in the measurement methodology that will be used, for at least one Measures Team member other than the leader
  2. knowledge of the data available in the organisational unit the Measures Team represents, and how to access it
  3. skill in group facilitation, to avoid or manage conflicts or stuckness or group energy
  4. knowledge of how the organisational unit’s processes work, the outputs and the outcomes they produce
  5. knowledge of the organisation’s overarching strategy, and how the organisational unit aligns with that

Without violating the volunteers guideline, aim to have your Measures Team members collectively possess these skills and knowledge. It will keep progress smoother and faster.

4: Make sure Measures Team members’ managers support their involvement.

Talk with managers to make it clear what the commitment involves and get their promise that this time will be freed in their Measures Team representatives’ schedules. You can’t “bolt on” performance measurement – it has to be a priority higher than something else, which they will stop doing to make the time.

It’s a great idea, if you can, to invite the manager themselves to be a member on the Measures Team. That’s a strong signal of their support. But facilitation skills (and good ground rules from the outset) will be necessary to avoid the Measures Team defaulting to everything the manager says during the measurement sessions.

5: Meet with your Measures Team regularly.

Weekly is ideal for a Measures Team to get together to implement their performance measurement methodology. And it’s why in PuMP we talk about an eight-week PuMP Pilot implementation. It’s fast and focused.

However, rarely do Measures Teams find they can keep up that weekly cadence. Fortnightly can work, but certainly no less than monthly, to avoid losing momentum and to keep team dynamics strong. And perhaps a quick weekly check-in can help if the work-focused sessions can’t be that often.

6: Focus your Measures Team meetings on learning through implementation.

If it’s the first time your Measures Team is using your chosen performance measurement methodology, encourage them to trust it. Don’t let them change it at a whim. Implement it as intended, reflect on what happened, and notice and capture what you learn.

When the discipline of following an agreed process dissolves away, so does progress, and so does the likelihood of success. Developing that set of KPIs for the broader team will start feeling like spinning wheels and herding cats. Keep it about learning through implementation.

7: Celebrate the Measures Team’s successes and failures.

Your Measures Team, like any other group of people in your organisation, will find their motivation wane unless they get some intrinsic value from being a part of performance measurement. So design celebration into your project with them.

It might be as simple as coffee and cake. Or as silly as some badges or prizes. Or something more social like another Measure Gallery to showcase and share what they’re proud of.

Don’t outsource measurement, or do it for them…

What makes performance measurement fundamentally work as it should, is ownership. Ownership starts with engagement or buy-in. And because measurement is so intrinsic to doing excellent work, it really should become an in-house skill. The Measures Team is a way to accomplish all that.

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