InetSoft Seminar: Performance Management System Workshops

This is the continuation of the transcript of an in-person customer seminar hosted by InetSoft on the topic of "Ingredients for a Performance Management System to Succeed." The speaker is Christopher Wren, Principal Consultant at TFI Consulting.

But it shows a long way from up here which is where we want to be which is why doing performance management system workshops with cross functional teams in an organization is crucial to this process. Why? Because you get dialogue, you’re building buy-in as you’re building the planning and management system.

And there really isn’t any other way to do it. You cannot take a team of senior guys and go off to the resort for a weekend and expect any of the rest of us to follow them when they come back and throw down the tablet from the mountain, right? That’s the way we used to do it, 10, 20, 30 years ago.

I know, I used to do it that way. I always had a strategic planning for the advanced nuclear energy research and development program in the department of energy, energy research and development administration before that. That’s the way we did strategic planning. It was really sort of cool.

Here’s how clever we were, and of course all of our strategic planning guys had really fancy titles, and they made a lot of money. Essentially we were the creators of the programs, right, because we didn’t have any money. We didn’t have any budget control, and budget is the ramp to the White House. So who really controls strategy? It’s the people in the programs and the projects office.

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So here’s the vision, and here’s the mission. Your government agency mission comes first because that’s your charter by executive order, by legislative fiat, by some agreement. If you are a nonprofit, mission comes first, too. Your members decide what business you’re in.

Then comes vision, and then what we used to do is develop a bunch of strategic goals, very clever of us. We would break the vision into strategic goals, usually, somewhere between six and ten. Great so far.

Now, here is where it fell apart. The next thing we do, is say, well, what’s all the stuff we’re spending our money on currently? All the programs and projects and services, let’s find a home for this stuff. All right. Strategy is not the sum of everything we’re currently spending our money on. This isn’t strategic planning, folks. Number one is done by a couple of people. Number two, it assumes that everything you’re doing is good stuff.

In our experience when we go into an organization, we find that that’s a poor assumption because most of them had not done the soul searching that you need to do, to ask yourself, what? Whether you are doing the right things? So it’s really instructive to do that. When you’re building your management system, your planning system celebrates success.

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Make it a big deal. Celebrate success. When you build your planning and management system, it’s part of the buy-in process. It’s part of the reason people get excited about this stuff because they can empathize with the success. In a typical engagement it will involve somewhere between 20 and 40 people to build that first balanced scorecard. That’s 20 to 40 people in an organization.

Folks what happens is, people very quickly figure out this is a different train than the one they remember. This is not flavor of the month performance measurement or performance management. And the people who are not on those teams are wondering what’s going on behind the secret door and why wasn’t I invited to the party.

This is the way of saying your part of the party is coming as we get ready to cascade your involvement, so it’s expanding the circle. When you build one of these systems, think of it as a pebble in a pond. That first 20 or 40 people is that first pebble.

Then what you are looking for is the ripple effect right as you are adding people and building the new planning and management system and talking about the results that we want. What are we trying to accomplish with this? Right? Always it’s about results.

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Okay. Continuous improvement, it's an eternal journey. First we start with awareness. Then we try to build understanding. Then comes acceptance, take ownership, and then finally commitment. And you really have to go through these steps to build the kind of commitment that is needed for continuous improvement. Our goal, make sure that the change effort sticks. Right, that’s what we are trying to accomplish.