Measuring Performance to Gain Strategic Business Insights

I am always amazed by some of the answers that I get from managers when I ask them these questions;

• Why are you measuring your organisation’s performance?
• What do you intend to do with the results?

Some managers are just measuring performance for the sake of measuring. In such organisations, performance measurement has become so routine and is a “not to be missed” process quarterly, half yearly or annually. What these managers are failing to get is that performance measurement is a continuous process that should inform business decision making to drive enterprise performance.

In my own analysis, I feel there is need for considerable shift in the mindset of management and their employees. In order to fully reap the benefits of performance measurement, organisations and their respective management and staff should heed the following factors:

• We measure performance to get insights of what has happened in the business, what is happening now and what is likely to happen in the future. This is where enterprise performance management technological solutions such as predictive analytics come into play. Because of their predictive nature, business intelligence tools have the capability of helping managers analyse a sea of data and make informed decisions.

• Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be aligned to the strategic direction and processes of the business. Many managers still make the mistake of relying on lag indicators when it comes to decision making. It’s high time they should make use of leading indicators. Performance measurement is not about copying industry or competitor KPIs and apply them to your own organisation. In fact they should come from your organisational vision and mission and then cascaded down the organisation. I like the idea of asking Key Performance Questions (KPQ) before monitoring any KPIs.

• Measuring performance for the sake of measuring not only will waste your resources and time but it’s also costly. A culture of measuring performance should be instilled in staff. The exercise should not be seen as a “carrot and stick” approach of punishing those failing to meet targets but rather help them develop. Performance measurement allows you to locate problem areas within your business and devise appropriate solutions/strategies that enable you meet your desired objectives.

• Buying and installing the latest performance measurement/management software in the market is not going to solve all your problems. You need to be sure that the software meets your needs.

So next time before you start measuring performance, ask yourself the two questions above. It could be that you’re measuring your organisation’s performance just for the sake of measuring.

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