How do you know if all your efforts to do with measuring organisational performance are efforts worthwhile? Do you know what impact your measurement system is having on the very things it's there to help improve (which is organisational performance, in case it's not obvious)? What we're talking about here is measuring the performance of your performance measurement process.
Yes, it probably feels a bit like your brain is bending back onto itself, but there are some very good reasons why measuring your measurement process is so worthy a cause. You can do things like:
* better convince people that performance measurement is worth doing
* improve your measurement process like you'd improve any other process
* evaluate different approaches to performance measurement to find the best
* make the accountability of your Planning & Performance team more objective
But first, you'll need to think about how you go about measuring a performance measurement process. A sensible place to start is to decide what are the results you most want from measuring performance, then design measures for these results. And to give you a head start, here are some ideas about the main types of results you should consider.
result #1: people understand their role in achieving organisational goals
Performance measurement is (or should be) connected to the planning process like your ears and eyes are connected to your head. When measurement is done properly (that is, measures are designed and not brainstormed), it makes the goals of the organisation much less fluffy and much more tangible. And it puts persuasive pictures in the minds of people of the future they're going to help make real.
result #2: people find it easy to measure what matters
You know that the best way to get buy-in from people is to get out of their way, don't you? People will only love their performance measures if they conceived them and brought them into the world themselves. To do this, obviously they need to know what steps to take to design measures and how to decide what is worth designing measures for and what is not.
result #3: the measures are used (to improve organisational performance)
A great measurement process isn't about selecting measures. It's about bringing them to life and making sure they get used. You want people using them regularly, using them constructively, using them to test their prior decisions and actions, and using them to prioritise where they spend money for the good of the whole organisation.
result #4: organisational goals are achieved faster
A reasonable performance measurement process will mean you are measuring your goals. But an outstanding performance measurement process help you achieve those goals quicker than other processes. But you want to make sure that there aren't any unintended consequences, like there often can be when you're trying to do things faster.
result #5: the measures used create more value than they cost
The return on investment of your performance measurement process is just as important as the return on any other investment your organisation makes. If you've got a fabulous performance measurement process, then use of the measures has produced more savings or other value for your organisation than the cost of creating, reporting and using them. how important is it to you to know?
If you want to know how good your performance measures are, really, a survey of staff or stakeholders just can't cut it. You have to put more elbow-grease into it than that, which means you must decide what impact you want performance measurement to have, and design measures that give you the evidence of that impact, specifically.
Stacey Barr is the Performance Measure Specialist, helping people to measure their business strategy, goals and objectives so they actually achieve them.
Sign up for Stacey’s free mezhermnt™ Handy Hints ezine at http://www.staceybarr.com to receive your complimentary copy of her e-book “202 Tips for Performance Measurement”, and make your business goals more achievable.