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Jul
15 2012

The More We Measure…

Syndicated from: balance-AND-results

It’s odd to contemplate what will happen when we get deeper into social media measuring and reporting of individuals’ performance. Of course at first blush, we might think this is easy to figure out, but the actual use of social media to do it will immediately demonstrate otherwise. Take the idea that we’ll measure sales-team members by their success in closing business. I mentioned the demo by salesforce in an earlier post, where the top achiever registered a ‘green’ with 100% achievement of target and someone else showed up on fairly public page in a red frame labeled ‘missing target.’ Now let the games begin. Since these systems also allow customers and teammates to post kudos (another dubious concept touched on before), what happens if it happens the seemingly 100% team member churns up resistance and isn’t getting positive feedback and the ‘red’ member is loved by all? That question alone should be fodder for a long essay on how different people are. Maybe the negatives about the 100% member are just carping, irrelevant issues we’d be best to ignore. or maybe not, maybe future customer relationships are going out the window. Maybe the red member is loved by all because they’re so blissfully unfocused that no pressure to sell and no productivity will ever result. or maybe they’re sowing seeds of loyalty and improved performance for the future that will bring far greater paybacks. Clearly each should be measured against the objectives they set – but were those established in conjunction with a knowledgeable manager who understood the corporate goals or simply approved by an abdicated manager who hardly read them over or dictated by a manager who didn’t understand the employee’s strengths? Were they worked out jointly or simply handed down from on high, which we know generally no longer works? Who will arbitrate the disputes and misunderstandings that arise and will the results of those lead bosses and team members to improve their use of these tools for the future or simply throw up their hands in disgust that once more some stupid system doesn’t work and should be ignored. We can lead the troops to the system, but we can’t make them like it. or truly use it. Like annual performance appraisals, anything where humans fill in the blanks to try to manage each other can be faked, mishandled, abused and ultimately avoided or worked around. Alternatively there are always a few people who make it work between them to improve communication and focus and get coaching into the picture to improve results. Of course the ideal is that those using the system properly excel and those who aren’t learn they should. Unfortunately there are typically conflicting factors that foil clear proof. The more we measure, the more we’ll notice that we’re missing things. Human behavior and ingenuity is truly boundless, so any set of systematic efforts to keep track and put them in a digestible form is fraught with difficulties. One of our most respected trainers used to advocate doing performance appraisals on a blank sheet of paper – meaning: no boxes, lines, guides, instructions, measures to set out – no limits on what you and the employee could write, agree to, say to each other during the process, etc. That way no one would be constrained by any sort of system or limits. Just pure common sense!? Until Nirvana arrives in the office, be prepared for a struggle to define what to measure and a continual evolution and change of emphasis on what’s important. I suspect HR will become more important, not less, at the front line level as the parties to goals and evaluations plough through the learning curves. Bookmark and share this post More »

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