One of the easiest things to lose sight of in the business world is where we want our business, group, or team to be or what goals we want to achieve. This concept may seem quite obvious, but whether your perspective is as a supervisor or as a direct report you should be asking the question, “What are we measuring against?” As a direct report, you should know what you are being measured against to know what you should be doing every day to achieve, and to help your colleagues and supervisor achieve, those goals. As a supervisor or manager you should certainly be asking yourself, and your leader, what you should be measuring your people against and understand how those things impact the overall organizational goals. Having this information impacts much more than awareness. It essentially feeds every other performance impacting systemic component in the macro-system of the organization.
Some other important components (although by no means all inclusive) in human performance improvement are things such as communications and feedback loops, coaching, learning events, information and resources, physical systems (hardware/software, technology, etc.), environment, and work processes. Keeping in mind the concept of asking what we are measuring against, every single other component of human performance improvement is impacted directly by that. Think of it as reverse engineering. As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there? Once you know what you are being measured against, and what you are measuring your team against you can adjust other performance management and performance improvement components to help reach that end goal.
When we look at what makes the concept of human performance improvement effective, an important focus is on making the small changes and correcting the small mistakes or finding solutions to even the smallest challenges. Think about this: Employees find that a software program is cumbersome and slows them down in completing a particular function. It is decided that the team can simply find ways to work around it and make it work, and that funds and time should be allocated to a different focus. As the new focus begins to grow, more time is needed from the employees that currently work on the myriad things that they were before. The software that was once a slight annoyance is still costing time, albeit potentially somewhat less, as it was before and makes it even more difficult for the team to provide the support for the shiny new product that has come out and is positioned to make the organization more revenue and to gain more market value. Now because of the launch of the new product, it is decided that there is a change that needs to be made to the software to meet the demand and the software change becomes a priority. However, now the team has become ingrained in the way they have adjusted their workflow to using the inefficient software which will require a serious behavioral change to the new way. The workflow will potentially need to be redesigned, the software will need to be redesigned, the group will need to learn the change to the new software, and all of this while learning a new product and adjusting to the new responsibility of supporting the new revenue generating product that needs to be on the market and supported (and in most cases, that product and support was expected yesterday!).
What challenges do you see here? How much more complicated is the process later down the line? This is truly death by a thousand cuts. To be a truly agile organization there needs to be a focus and attention to the small things that can be improved and the small problems that can be fixed before they become big things. Awareness of issues in the present and focus on improving them as close to immediately when found creates an environment that drives to the future. Throughout this process, focus needs to be maintained on the initially defined measurements which will create quantifiable evidence that all of the improvements being made are helping to move the organization toward the overall goals.
- Sales Performance Improvement Is More Than Just Sales Training (davesteinsblog.esresearch.com)
- Enterprise Agile: 3 characteristics (theenterprisearchitect.eu)
- Where Agile Development Fails: IT Operations (informationweek.com)
- Components of Effective Performance Management Systems: (learniversalism.wordpress.com)
- How to do Agile performance reviews (scrumology.com)