The 8 Steps to Build Buy-in to KPIs

November 17, 2009 by Stacey Barr

You’re not truly implementing performance measurement – nor getting the gains it will deliver – if you don’t have your staff, your colleagues and your managers engaged. Nor do you have to wait until they are engaged before you get started!

Adapting John Kotter’s process for leading change, which he details in his book “Leading Change”, here are 8 steps you can follow, as the performance leader that you are, to engage people in measuring performance:

STEP 1: Find an Urgent Performance Problem

Usually people won’t give their time to measuring performance because it’s never seen as urgent enough, even if they do think it’s important. So create a burning platform: find, point out and fan the flames of a performance problem that needs fixing, like NOW!

STEP 2: Create a Powerful Measures Team

Don’t try and lead it alone. You need a support team of influencers in your company organisation to give the performance measurement initiative credibility and fuel.

STEP 3: Describe Your Vision of Performance Measurement Success

People don’t care about measures, they care about results. So what are the results you want to get by measuring? How will yours and their world be different if you succeed?

STEP 4: Sell the Vision of Success

You cannot succeed as a performance measurement practitioner unless you have marketing skills. It’s one of the most challenging topics to excite people about, and marketing is the means to reframe it to something more enticing than just numbers and graphs.

STEP 5: Expect Resistance, and Be Persistent

You won’t get everyone engaged, and there will be people and circumstances that try to slow your progress. Tenacity and persistence (with a smile) is what you’ll need along the way. Don’t give up!

STEP 6: Start Small & Punchy

Don’t aim for a complete corporate performance measurement system if the vast majority of people don’t feel engaged in measuring. You’ll move faster if you start smaller, on individual performance problems or goals. Momentum will build exponentially as you make progress.

STEP 7: Sell the Performance Wins

Marketing again: and this time it’s to make sure you keep showing people the benefits of performance measurement. Talk about the real (measurable!) improvements that have been made by measuring and focusing on what matters. Create hunger for more.

STEP 8: Make Measuring Performance Business-As-Usual

Measurement is actually everybody’s job, so make it easier for that to happen. When engagement levels pick up, start making training and templates and other time-saving resources available to support people to measure and improve performance for themselves.

TAKING ACTION:
Look our for a new course coming up soon, where we’ll go deep into these steps so you can develop and implement your very practical and very realistic performance measurement engagement plan. Post a COMMENT on this article, to share your experiences with building buy-in.
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  1. Amalia says:

    Dear Stacey,
    It's so good to know more about change management-related with performance measurement's tips from you.
    I Thank you for sharing lots of your experience & knowledge.
    As a consultant I use to face 2 kind of group in each of my clients'employee: (1)Enthusiast group & (2)Resistance group. Most of the enthusiast group's
    member realize the importance of performance measurement (PM) & feel the urgency, while the resistance always find excuses for refusing or doubting the
    PM project successful implementation. But just as you said, let's face it with smile..(Tenacity and persistence). The other thing that its important
    for driving the successful PM implementation is by communicating the benefit of PM which related with reward system. When reward system aligned with
    PM implementation, the employee engagement may effectively be accelerated. (Amalia Nuraini, Indonesia)

  2. Yuvarajah says:

    Hi Stacey,

    I am a retired soldier turned HR practitioner and competency professional.

    I have reached a level experiential wisdom to realise where the problem lies in the corporate sector when it comes performance measurement.

    I really don't think Kotters' 8 step or any other change model is going to work, if the TOP do not buy-in. I am at the group level and I have failed over the 5 years to enthuse and affect the "urgency". I tried using the Gleicher model, which says the cost of change has to be greater than the resistance.

    The way I see it, the most urgent performance problem is an "incompetent" top. By top, I mean at the Boardroom level. I am currently reading an interetsing book by Bob Garret, "The fish rots form the head".

    I have reached a point in taking a rather "unconventional" view on many of the workplace paradoxes and oxymoronic practices. I think perhaps it's time to take a "serious" and professional perspective on the subject of accountability for Organisational Performance under the purview of Good Corporate Governance and put the Internal Control Audit role under microscope.

    I am writing an article on this "top down" leadership accountability on PM that should probably open up more doors.

    Cheers
    Yuva
    Malaysia

  3. Boago says:

    Dear Stacy,
    I agree with Yuvarajah to the extent that the silent lessons projected from the enthusiasm or lack thereof of the top brass impacts greatly on one's ability to create mobility at lower levels. Nothing is more challenging than the leadership being in the resistance group (Amalia). But the turnaround, as you have said, hinges on our ability to market the success.

    My greatest challenge has been the two faces approach by the executives. One moment they play the eager buyer and the next they are too busy to be engaged in the measurement process. In a sense its a blessing because I find myself changing my selling strategies to meet the challenge. That is growth. I am convinced I 'll get there.

  4. Stacey says:

    There's no doubt that the single most powerful force behind measurement success is Executive team passion and steady commitment. John Kotter refers to this ingredient as "Guiding Coalition" – and you do need the majority of the leadership team as part of this coalition.

    I notice in my own consulting work that when the leaders are passionate and give their time to the measurement effort (in fact my current client is the Deputy CEO of her organisation and she's stepped up as the owner of the whole performance management system), then things move so much faster. This current client has done so well we are ahead of our schedule, after only 2 short months, the strategy has been developed, cascaded, all the strategic measured chosen and defined, and the lower level measures currently being developed! Over the next couple of weeks we'll have a draft strategic performance report ready. They are amazing.

    When you don't have the leadership team engagement, it takes much much longer – a client from a couple of years ago did have passive commitment from their Director, but not active commitment, and it took them 9 months to get to the same point.

    This is an area we certainly need more skills in, as performance measurement practitioners: engaging the leadership team to engender their passion and active commitment. And failing at that, we need to know what else we can do to work from within, and plant the seeds to engage the future leaders.

    Smiles, Stacey.

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