Inviting People to a New Performance Measurement Method

by Stacey Barr

There are four essential parts to invite people to a new performance measurement method, like PuMP, that helps your performance culture grow organically.


Inviting people to a new performance measurement method. Credit: SasinParaksa

When we feel completely smitten with and sold on a new performance measurement method, whether it’s PuMP or something else, it can be tempting to assume our colleagues will quickly feel the same. Consequently, we can dive too quickly into the ‘how’ and end up with them resisting our new measurement approach.

It works better to invite them to be part of the first wave or iteration of testing that new performance measurement method. The outcome we want is for them to say “yes, I want to be part of that!”

There are four parts to such an invitation:

  1. Why – with a clear message about the problems we want to solve with a new performance measurement method, people can volunteer if they are ready to solve those problems too.
  2. What – with an overview of what will be different about this new performance measurement method, the volunteers can start imagining what about their experience will improve.
  3. How – with a description of the basic steps of the new performance measurement method, the volunteers can work out how to make time and space to be involved.
  4. CTA – with a clear call to action, the volunteers can give you a commitment.

Use the following suggestions to tailor an invitation that fits the culture and current performance measurement maturity of your organisation.

WHY: Help the ‘ready’ people to volunteer

It’s best to start a new performance measurement method with volunteers, to make sure we start with buy-in. If we start with an order or an expectation, we contradict one of the basic foundations of a performance culture: choice.

To help people identify themselves as ‘ready’, include three pieces of information at the start of your invitation, about why you want a new performance measurement approach:

  1. The KPI or measurement struggles they can identify with, and want to put an end to. Like intangible goals, irrelevant measures, and inactionable performance reports.
  2. The experience they’d rather have. Like step-by-step logical templates that give them more power to create the measures they feel excited about.
  3. The bigger purpose they’d value more. Like reframing the purpose of measurement as improvement, not judgment.

Choose from these resources to help you tailor the ‘why’ part of your invitation:

WHAT: Describe a new experience

For many organisations, attempts at new performance measurement methods feels like Groundhog Day. They just keep getting the same bad experiences. The reason is that they aren’t fundamentally changing their approach to something that is proven to work.

Share in your invitation a few examples of some bad practices that cause the struggles most typical in your organisation, contrasted with better practices that promise a new experience. For example:

BAD PRACTICE BETTER PRACTICE
Our strategy uses weasel words such as ‘efficient’, ‘effective’, ‘reliable’, ‘quality’, ‘enhanced’ and ‘sustainable’. Our strategy is very clearly articulated in words that are not ambiguous, and everyone shares the same understanding of these words.
We use milestones or actions as measures (e.g. Implement CRM by June 2011 or Improve customer complaints process). Every measure is objective evidence that regularly gauges the degree to which a performance result is occurring over time.
People don’t feel engaged or don’t buy in to performance measures and avoid spending time on measurement. All members of the organisation value measures as useful feedback to help them do their jobs better and contribute to the organisation’s vision.

Use the following resource to choose a few examples of the new performance measurement experience you plan to create for your organisation:

  • The PuMP Diagnostic will give you lots of bad practices contrasted with good practices, to select a tailored few that will resonate with your colleagues.

HOW: Lay out the basic steps

Not only do you want to introduce the new performance measurement method, but also make it clear how it will be better than what you’ve used in the past. There’s a good chance that what has been used in the past isn’t a proper performance measurement method.

For example, if you are going to use PuMP, you’d share that it has eight steps that give detailed techniques for every task in performance measurement. It’s different to SMART, because it is directly relevant to measures, not goals. It’s different to OKRs because it goes deeper than just nominating a measure. It’s different to the Balanced Scorecard because it gives clear how-to instructions to design and implement measures.

Now, rather than going into the detail of how the new performance measurement method works, it’s best to share a story of others using it and the results they got.

Use these resources to build the case for how your new performance measurement method is going to work:

CTA: Make a clear call to action

To really kick off a new performance measurement method, we won’t get far if we wait for people to ask us how it will happen. We won’t get started if we only ask if they’re interested. We need a strong call to action.

That means we need to decide when, where and exactly what we’ll start on. For PuMP, it’s almost always a training session that segues into a bunch of PuMP Pilots. Participants will learn and practice in the training, and then work in small teams to apply PuMP to measure and improve one of their goals. Joining this training is the call to action.

That’s not the only call to action that can get you started. Here are some others that can work:

  • Join our introductory session about what PuMP is (using the PuMP Mind Map activity)
  • Nominate to be one of the 5 people we send to the next PuMP public training, and work together as a Measures Team to test PuMP on one of our strategic goals
  • Nominate to get some of the 10 memberships we’ve purchased on the self-paced PuMP Online Program, for members of your own Measures Team to test PuMP on one of your own business unit goals

How the invitation might come together…

Hi Joe,

Performance measures aren’t working all that well in our organisation. We want to try a very different approach to measuring performance, so we can make it easier, faster, more meaningful and more engaging. We want to try an approach that isn’t a struggle to get the measures that really matter, to improve our organisation in meaningful ways.

Instead of intangible goals we can’t measure, we will write goals more clearly and measurably. Instead of trivial measures like milestones and activity counts, we will design measures that are direct evidence aligned to our goals. Instead of making people feel like measures are a rod for their backs, we’ll make them a tool in their hands.

We’ll do this by trying a performance measurement approach called PuMP. It has eight steps, it’s very practical, it’s used all around the world, and it’s more complete and thorough than OKRs have proven to be for us in the past.

If you are keen to get a few new, meaningful performance measures, and get your team aligned more strongly to your goals, then come sign up for our first PuMP training program. It will be 5 half-days, we’ll all meet online, and we’ll not only learn the PuMP techniques, but we’ll also get to apply them to measure one or two of our own goals.

ACTION: Reply to this email and I’ll add you to our upcoming PuMP program!

***

Performance measurement is one of the hardest management practices to get people to buy into. To buy into it, people need to appreciate why it matters, what will be better this time, and how it will happen. And they need to know exactly what to do to get started. We can only invite people’s buy-in, we cannot demand it.

Inviting people to a new performance measurement method needs a strong why, a concise what, a
convincing how, and a clear call to action. [tweet this]

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