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Use meaningful measures to deliver a successful strategic change

Organisational & Team Performance 27th August 2018

Covey[i] once said ‘Begin with the end in mind’ – the second habit of highly successful people. Such a quote has a strong correlation with articulating the rationale for a change as it focuses on results and demonstrates the value of a change. This consequently creates an early-focus and buy-in for that change.

Unfortunately, the reality is many organisations fail to focus on the results of a change, falling foul of some common pitfalls:

  1. Teams focus on the milestones of a change – treating these as their measures e.g. “if I complete this project that is a measure of success”.
  2. Leaders often jump straight to measures – defining a dashboard that doesn’t reflect the measures that are most meaningful to the desired outcomes.
  3. Everything is measured, rather than the most important things that determine the success of a change.

It is essential to have direct feedback on the impact a change is having on performance, and what else needs to happen in order to achieve the result that a change is looking to achieve. To do this, we recommend using a methodology such as PuMP – a formal performance measurement process that develops and selects the most meaningful measures and supports leaders and teams to:

  • Translate the most important goals into results that can be measured
  • Design measures that feedback on a change, and inform decisions on what to do next
  • Creates buy-in across an organisation so ownership for a strategy is created
  • Quantifies the value being added to an organisation – evidenced by measures to support learning for future changes

How to apply the PuMP methodology

Implementing PuMP means leading a team through eight deliberate steps to measure and reach the desired goals:

STEP 1: Create understanding around the purpose of measurement. Begin by helping your team to understand what good measurement means and how to do it properly.

STEP 2: Map measurable results. Get the team to translate their goals or objectives into measurable performance results, and link them to the organisation’s strategy.

STEP 3: Design meaningful measures. Apply the PuMP five-step measure design technique to carefully craft measures that are the most relevant and offer evidence of performance results:

  1. Begin with the result in mind: decide how to measure a result and write down what the result is. Make sure to focus on one result at a time.
  2. List sensory evidence: write down the sensory evidence that you and others would see, hear, feel, do, taste or smell if your result was happening.
  3. Create potential measures: look to define how you could count those sensory specific statements that could evidence your result. These must be written quantitatively.
  4. Check the bigger picture: assess the level of control you have in achieving your potential measures – ask yourself some fundamental questions: What might the unintended consequences of measuring the result be?; What behaviour would the measures drive?; Are there other areas of performance that may be sabotaged or limited?
  5. Name the measure: naming your performance measures marks the point at which you know exactly what you will be measuring. Be succinct and informative and deliberate, as you need to be able to continually and easily identify each measure. And remember: don’t choose too many measures – the ideal is between 1 and 3 for each performance result.

STEP 4: Build Buy-in for Measures. Before implementing measures, involve the team to build buy-in and excitement, both for measuring performance and for building new measures in the future too.

STEP 5: Implementing Measures. With a set of well-supported measures, detail and document exactly how each of them should be implemented.

STEP 6: Reporting on Performance Measures. To communicate and monitor measures, produce performance reports that answer key questions and make priority insights jump off the page.

STEP 7: Interpreting Signals from Measures. Look to define how measures should be interpreted so the true signals of change in the team’s performance are obvious, statistically valid, and insightful.

STEP 8: Reaching Performance Targets. Choose and implement performance improvements that target root causes, and move performance to its target.

 

Covey[i] once said ‘Begin with the end in mind’ – the second habit of highly successful people. Such a quote has a strong correlation with articulating the rationale for a change as it focuses on results and demonstrates the value of a change. This consequently creates an early-focus and buy-in for that change.

Unfortunately, the reality is many organisations fail to focus on the results of a change, falling foul of some common pitfalls:

  1. Teams focus on the milestones of a change – treating these as their measures e.g. “if I complete this project that is a measure of success”.
  2. Leaders often jump straight to measures – defining a dashboard that doesn’t reflect the measures that are most meaningful to the desired outcomes.
  3. Everything is measured, rather than the most important things that determine the success of a change.

It is essential to have direct feedback on the impact a change is having on performance, and what else needs to happen in order to achieve the result that a change is looking to achieve. To do this, we recommend using a methodology such as PuMP – a formal performance measurement process that develops and selects the most meaningful measures and supports leaders and teams to:

  • Translate the most important goals into results that can be measured
  • Design measures that feedback on a change, and inform decisions on what to do next
  • Creates buy-in across an organisation so ownership for a strategy is created
  • Quantifies the value being added to an organisation – evidenced by measures to support learning for future changes

How to apply the PuMP methodology

Implementing PuMP means leading a team through eight deliberate steps to measure and reach the desired goals:

STEP 1: Create understanding around the purpose of measurement. Begin by helping your team to understand what good measurement means and how to do it properly.

STEP 2: Map measurable results. Get the team to translate their goals or objectives into measurable performance results, and link them to the organisation’s strategy.

STEP 3: Design meaningful measures. Apply the PuMP five-step measure design technique to carefully craft measures that are the most relevant and offer evidence of performance results:

  1. Begin with the result in mind: decide how to measure a result and write down what the result is. Make sure to focus on one result at a time.
  2. List sensory evidence: write down the sensory evidence that you and others would see, hear, feel, do, taste or smell if your result was happening.
  3. Create potential measures: look to define how you could count those sensory specific statements that could evidence your result. These must be written quantitatively.
  4. Check the bigger picture: assess the level of control you have in achieving your potential measures – ask yourself some fundamental questions: What might the unintended consequences of measuring the result be?; What behaviour would the measures drive?; Are there other areas of performance that may be sabotaged or limited?
  5. Name the measure: naming your performance measures marks the point at which you know exactly what you will be measuring. Be succinct and informative and deliberate, as you need to be able to continually and easily identify each measure. And remember: don’t choose too many measures – the ideal is between 1 and 3 for each performance result.

STEP 4: Build Buy-in for Measures. Before implementing measures, involve the team to build buy-in and excitement, both for measuring performance and for building new measures in the future too.

STEP 5: Implementing Measures. With a set of well-supported measures, detail and document exactly how each of them should be implemented.

STEP 6: Reporting on Performance Measures. To communicate and monitor measures, produce performance reports that answer key questions and make priority insights jump off the page.

STEP 7: Interpreting Signals from Measures. Look to define how measures should be interpreted so the true signals of change in the team’s performance are obvious, statistically valid, and insightful.

STEP 8: Reaching Performance Targets. Choose and implement performance improvements that target root causes, and move performance to its target.