Make Way for Effective Performance Management

Follow these 11 tips to translate your business intelligence metrics into management processes for optimal success


  1. Start with the answer—Be clear about how you compete, the specific financial outcomes you are looking for and the operational capabilities required. Then, determine which metrics are required at the strategic, operational and tactical levels in the organization. If you don’t know how to do this, get help. Good metrics are really important to the success of your process.
  2. Reporting is overrated—Most metrics packages are heavily oriented toward what happened (results indicators), as opposed to what is happening or will happen (performance indicators). Lean toward managing proactively versus reactively—that's where the money is.
  3. Balance is overrated—There’s no doubt that trade-offs have to be managed and the best organizations excel at it. But know what matters most to your performance and drive it home. Too much emphasis on balance can result in stasis at suboptimal performance levels.
  4. Metrics are not results—Many organizations do not incorporate metrics into their daily management practices to the degree that they could, especially performance indicators. Additionally, they also don’t know how to use metrics effectively. If you are going to implement performance management, spend enough time on training to ensure that your people know how to use the information and that the process is effectively embedded in your organization.
  5. Don’t boil the ocean—Implementing enterprise-wide performance management can be a bear, especially if your data is not readily accessible or accurate. It’s usually necessary to walk before you run and there’s no need to wait to get started. Figure out the areas that matter most and begin there. 
  6. Be realistic—If your enterprise system data is not highly accurate or functioning effectively, hooking a BI solution up to it is only going to add to the problem. The foundational data and processes are key.
  7. Use the right tools—There are some great BI solutions available. Find the one that meets your business requirements and make sure it works in your system’s environment.
  8. Use what you have—There is definitely a place for BI solutions but don’t underestimate the enterprise systems you already have. Know your capabilities and gaps before spending big on new solutions.
  9. Prove the prototype—Make sure the process works before rolling it out. This includes not only the system and data but also the metrics, processes, behaviors and results. If you get good results, performance management will sell itself, which makes it a lot easier to implement.
  10. Focus on the business—BI solution providers know a lot about their applications but not always as much about your business. Technology is a performance management enabler, not the complete solution. Make sure those responsible for the project understand the business as much as the application.
  11. Don’t sweat the culture—There are a lot of factors that influence the culture of an organization. While an increase in visibility, transparency and accountability is often met with some resistance, the friction doesn’t last forever. Performance management is one of the most practical and effective tools available for aligning effort to purpose, and that—regardless of cultural differences—is what any organization is all about.

 

David J. Nape is the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Centris Consulting Inc., Scranton, Pa. With over 30 years of operating consulting experience working with Fortune 500 companies and the United States Military, Nape’s primary expertise is developing and implementing management solutions for complex organizations.

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