26 Jan 1997

Performance measures and learning

From: “John Zavacki”

Ethan J. Mings, Replying to LO12140 —

I often wonder if managers really understand the linkage between systems, measures and generating results? Just an outloud questions.

Even “enlightened” organizations could use some help on this one. Metrics are established to gauge performance to customer requirements, stakeholder requirements, standards, award criteria, business plans, strategic plans, and more. As the system changes, some of these metrics become counter-productive. That is, they consume resources to produce information which is of no value to the organization.

Sometimes, a few of these measures conflict, e.g. improving A may hinder other effort at improving B. This is not surprising, since we live in a “systemic” world. But when A and B are deemed crucial for the organisation, what do we do?

Do we prioritise such conflicting measures? B is more important than A.

Or the fact that A and B conflict says that there is an incoherent vision or strategy that needs to be revisited?

IMHO, both are valid and applicable. Sometimes we need to prioritise, sometimes we need to revisit, and sometimes both. :–) I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this one.