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Follow-up, Metrics and Performance Improvement

February 06, 2009

In the last blog I talked about how important follow-up is to the employee feedback and review process.  In fact it’s possibly more important than much of the review.  And without a follow-up process, the value of the review seems to evaporate like a water on my windshield on a hot day.  Today, I just wanted to share a quick thought in parrallel as it applies to performance management.

If you think about it, follow-up is critical to employee reviews, but it’s just as important to strategic planning, and certainly to performance management.  Follow-up, buttressed by some type of assessment or measuring process is key to anything we expend significant resources on to produce a change .  That’s true whether the follow-up is a general assessment of “What worked” and “What didn’t”, or if it is tied to specific outcome metrics (ex. Improve % of customer retension, increase % of website activity, etc.)

Stephen Gill, in a blog this week – Describes an apt metaphor, characterizing our approach to measuring the impact of training and other “improvement” activities to playing golf in the dark – can’t accurately tell where the pin is, don’t know how close the ball you hit is to the pin, after while, you don’t care…  http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/2653383/39418883

I do see that regularly in training efforts.  And on a broader scale, the analogy of investments in business and performance improvement look like playing golf without a clear assessment of the changes we make in swing or clubs.  As long as we are still on the fairway and the game is still ongoing… we keep playing, and hoping for the best. 

If there’s money in the bank, we keep playing.  Actually as the game rolls on, whether there’s more or less money in the bank, we in fact do develop theories about what “made the difference.”  The conclusions usually aren’t based on measurements, but on a perceptually based (not fact based, but much much less work to construct) opinions. 

This puts us at risk to look like story of the blind men describing the elephant by their immediate experience.  Notice how strongly we all react to others having conclusions that aren’t fact based… the conflict over the stimulus package today being one good example.  Assessment, and the facts that come out of it, can save you time and money, not to mention face.

Bottom Line:

Performance Management needs follow-up, which needs metrics in the worst way, otherwise it’s subject to false conclusions, inactivity or just expensive, poor return on investments in “performance enhancing” activities. 

Do yourself a favor, limit the performance investments to what you’re willing to invest in following-up and measuring in 2009.  I bet you’ll like the results.


Performance Management & Metrics Technology

1 Comment. Leave new

Performance Management for You and the New Administration
February 17, 2009 12:59 pm

[…] Follow-up, Metrics and Performance […]


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