At Christopherson Associates, it is usual for us to work with our clients on their Business Plan; the document forms the touchstone for many decisions faced by Directors on a day to day basis. However such plans are not fully exploited if they remain the preserve of only a handful of people in the business.
“How many of your employees are aware of the business plan, aware of how they contribute towards it and aware of the progress being made in achieving it?”
Being able to answer an unequivocal “Absolutely everyone” to the above question is the very essence of performance management, and a likely characteristic of businesses successfully achieving the targets set out in their Business Plan. A wise man once said “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”, this is of course very true, but what is often forgotten is that measuring the wrong things can do much more harm than good. Identifying and encouraging teams to meet the wrong targets is likely to drive the wrong behaviours and decisions, as will the wrong approach to measurement and management, both likely to manifest themselves as de-motivation, in-fighting or “cheating” the results.
At Christopherson Associates we have experience working with both manufacturing and service sector businesses to ensure that their measures and management system will encourage the right behaviours and inform the right decisions. Key to this is asking the question “Why will people want to do this, what is in it for them? Good performance management systems help insomuch as they ensure that the teams are well informed, involved, listened to and their views at least responded to if not acted upon. Good performance measures focus on the reasons for the change or variation rather than ticking the box when an output measure is met (or worse still pointing a finger of blame when it is not). It is understanding variation which is key to Continuous Improvement
Continuous Improvement is a philosophy that encourages teams to look at their processes in a way that helps them really understand the causes and effects, the better these are understood the more stable and predictable the process becomes. Stability means no more fire-fighting, midnight crises, and irate customers. Being able to predict, gives us control over performance that is sustainable. The virtuous cycle of improvement, once initiated is highly engaging to teams, improvements invariably mean there working lives are made more predictable, are less frustrating and much more rewarding.
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MANAGING PERFORMANCE & CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
“How to get the teams in your business motivated about performance”