Who Needs Performance Measurement Skills In Your Organisation?September 6, 2010 by Stacey Barr
It’s obvious to most people why people who work in the strategy office, or even in quality or process improvement roles, need to have some degree of performance measurement skill. But that’s not sufficient if your goal is to have a consistent approach to selecting performance measures throughout the organisation that keep everyone focused on what really matters in achieving the organisation’s strategy.
Most organisations do quite a few performance measurement activities poorly, without even knowing. They look for measures before they’re clear enough about the performance results worth measuring. They brainstorm measures or just measure the easy stuff. They use silly dashboard dials and gauges instead of meaningful time series displays. They knee-jerk react when this month’s performance differs to last month.
And outsourcing performance measurement isn’t the solution, because you’ll never (and I mean NEVER) get people to have ownership and buy-in and deep understanding of what really matters to the performance of the organisation.
The performance measurement skills that are needed are not part of the typical management and workplace training on offer, so it’s not safe to assume people already know what they’re doing when it comes to measuring.
So… Who needs performance measurement skills, what skills exactly, and why?
Executives need skills in making strategy measurable, designing meaningful measures, interpreting those measures validly and using them to drive strategy achievement. Executives aren’t going to be involved in data collection and reporting, so they can do without these skills.
Managers need those same skills, but also an appreciation of what it takes to bring performance measures to life – the data collection and reporting – is useful.
Strategic Planning Officers and Performance Measurement Officers need skills in all the steps of the performance measurement process: making strategy measurable, designing meaningful measures, defining and implementing the measures, designing good performance reports and dashboards (not necessarily building them!), interpreting those measures validly and using measures to improve performance. And they need to have quite advanced skills because they’ll often be facilitating teams throughout the organisation to do each of these steps.
Business Analysts usually have fairly good quantitative skills, but they need to understand the organisation’s chosen performance measurement methodology because often they’re very much involved in the data collection, analysis and reporting of performance measures. It’s important that they have skills in clearly defining and implementing measures, and presenting them to support valid interpretation.
Quality or Process Improvement Officers will no doubt have learned more about performance measurement than most people, because of the nature of their training which is heavily measurement based. But they need to understand the organisation’s chosen performance measurement methodology and how to apply it in their work of measuring and improving the operational processes throughout the organisation.
Business Intelligence Officers absolutely need to have skills in performance measurement, but the emphasis for them as the developers of performance reports and dashboards, is on displaying measures in a way that encourages valid interpretation. They’ll benefit from a basic awareness of the overall performance measurement process, too. It’s so much easier to appreciate what you’re doing when you know the bigger picture.
Everyone else needs performance measurement skills too, but these will be at a more basic awareness level. They need to understand the organisation’s chosen performance measurement methodology, and how to use performance measures to keep monitoring and improving the results of their work and the impact on the organisation’s strategy. Some staff will be involved in data collection and reporting, and should therefore have specific skills in sampling, form design, data collection process design, and report design too.
Who needs better performance measurement skills in YOUR organisation? Which approaches to get these skills do you think will suit them best? One option to consider is your own in-house, tailored Performance Measure Blueprint Workshop, which will give your colleagues a great opportunity to learn a consistent performance measurement approach, and start using it immediately to develop more meaningful measures in support of your organisation’s strategic direction.
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