How Do You Embed Measurement, Minus The Red Tape?

by Stacey Barr |

Measure Up subscriber Ben is a performance professional in a large private sector company, with this question: “How do we embed measurement in an organisation without creating red tape?”

It’s so true, isn’t it? Larger organisations are at high risk of wrapping everyone up in enough red tape to strangle the original intent out of a good idea.

Measurement is a good idea. And you want to keep the red tape as far away from it as you can! Here is my top suggestion for keepin’ it real: start with a performance culture, not a performance framework.

It’s absolutely critical that when you do measurement, you do it well (without the bad habits that too easily become common practice). But you can lay a foundation of sensible measurement practice without having to build a complex framework of policies, procedures, software and scorecards.

Simply begin with dialogue. Get people talking about what good measurement means. The PuMP Diagnostic Discussion Tool is a free tool you can use to get people exploring good measurement, under the guise of a measurement maturity self-assessment.

As people become aware of the difference between good and bad measurement practice, they will naturally begin adopting better measurement practice, almost without trying. It doesn’t have to be perfect – just a move in the right direction. It builds a momentum you can later use when it becomes framework time.

Only then, after people share a reasonably consistent understanding of what good measurement is all about, should you begin building your framework. And the first step of that framework, I suggest, is a practical and deliberate methodology specifically for performance measurement (yes, like PuMP).


What do you reckon are some simple ways to lay the foundation of a performance culture, without the red tape? Share your suggestions on the blog.


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  1. Gavin Holden says:

    On the money again Stacey! When I think of policy and procedure, I normally think of compliance and ask myself “Do I want a compliant team, or do I want an empowered team?” Experience (and a lot of learning along the way) tells me which team will deliver the best results…

    The road to hell is paved with the remnants of HR and Management directives seeking to DRIVE performance, but a high performance culture starts with a team that want to be ‘there’ (engaged) have the tools at their disposal to perform (enabled) and – this is the bit that is normally missing – not only drive their own performance and monitor the feedback loop but are supported to take corrective action when required (empowered).

    Think of the Australian Cricket Team and ask the same questions…

  2. Stacey Barr says:

    Thanks Gavin. So right: we get so much further together when we all want to be ‘there’ rather than having to be there. A performance measurement framework feels like an imposition when it isn’t a collectively owned idea before it is built.

  3. Lina says:

    I think we want both a complaint team who is convinced of what it is doing and at the same time is creative and empowered to do the right thing.

    • Lina says:

      sorry I mean a compliant team not “complaint”.


      • Stacey Barr says:

        Lina – yes! Everyone needs a combination of disciplined focus on what we know HAS to be achieved, and also a creative focus on what we believe SHOULD or COULD be achieved. We don’t want to stagnate in the daily routine, and we don’t want to get lost in the clouds either.

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