Seven Tips to Prepare Your Measures Team For SuccessJanuary 31, 2011 by Stacey Barr
The people who make up your Measures Team aren’t in it for the glory or the glamour. No, performance measurement can be a dirty job, particularly when you’re faced with an organisation that stills sees it as threatening, boring and a bureaucratic waste of their time.
So you must keep your Measures Team focused on the real prize: the pride of leading others to successful organisational or business performance transformation. And here are a bunch of tips to prepare them for that kind of success:
Tip 1: Don’t fix what ain’t broke.
Encourage your Measures Team to focus on measuring only the performance results that they should, can, and will improve. We measure to improve performance, not just to monitor it (and most certainly not just to have something in the KPI column in the business plan).
Tip 2: Focus like a laser beam.
If there are dozens of things your Measures Team is trying measure they won’t succeed at measuring anything at all well. If there are a handful or two of things your Measures Team is trying to measure, they might succeed at measuring one or two of them well. But if you can focus your Measures Team on just two or three important performance results to measure and improve, they’ll likely succeed at all of them.
Tip 3: No measurement by moonlighting.
No Measures Team will really succeed at measuring what matters if they just try and squeeze in measurement activities over and above a full-time day job. Help them liberate a reasonable amount of their work time to allocate to the measurement project.
Tip 4: Plan the work, and work the plan.
Measuring performance isn’t a brainstorming session. It’s a process that needs deliberate attention to a series of specific steps (if you want it to succeed, that is). We design our performance measurement projects with PuMP as the backbone, making sure we give deliberate attention to deciding which results are worth measuring, designing the best measures for those results, defining the measures to ensure they can be implemented, creating performance reports that are useful AND usable, and interpreting the measures so we know when to take action (and when not to).
Tip 5: Don’t skimp on skilling.
Performance measurement is not something that comes naturally. Those who attempt to find meaningful performance measures without any specific skill in measuring performance end up with useless crud that just adds to all the reasons why people don’t like measuring. Give your Measures Team the basic skills in recognising good measures from bad, making goals measurable, designing and defining meaningful measures, graphing them usefully, and interpreting them validly. (This is the purpose of the PuMP Performance Measure Blueprint training.)
Tip 6: Begin with the end in mind.
Start your Measures Team off with an exercise in painting the picture of their success, in all its sensory-rich detail. What will be the ultimately fabulous outcomes of having these great measures they’re about to develop? Keep the end in mind, too, to fuel motivation, focus and care.
Tip 7: Continual improvement trumps targets.
Targets can be worrisome things. They send people into a panic about not being able to achieve them, and all forms of “sweeping problems under the rug” and “fudging the figures” take over from true performance improvement. Consider doing away with targets and focusing your Measures Team instead on establishing a discipline of continual improvement over time.
Do you even have a Measures Team? It’s a group of 5 to 7 people who will work together to create and implement the right measures for the organisation, or for any team or department or process within the organisation. It might be formal, as part of the Strategy Office, but more usually it’s informal and formed by a group of volunteers who work in the area to be measured.
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