2F11 How Is Your Performance Measuring Up?


Happy New Year! Hopefully you have all returned refreshed from the festivities. I am returning to my blog series based on the Flow & Feedback (2F) Diagram. Remember that we had started to Study what is actually happening before taking action to improve performance.

Some business people count and scrutinise every little thing and every last penny but don’t know what is truly happening. Some just wing it and eventually end up with nasty surprises. There are some who understand why, where, how and what to measure to understand performance. This means they even know when it is the right time to take action based on a proper understanding of the numbers they get. These people become the highest performers in their field over the long term. If there is such a thing as an Anglo-American business disease it is short-termism.

Are you measuring your business performance properly and drawing the right conclusions before taking action? Are you seriously interested in reaching the highest levels of performance over the long term?

If you are serious about sustainable high performance there is a critical thing that you should know. The required effective decision-making and the action taken as a result must be based on a proper understanding of how our brains work. As we saw in the last blog, there is the ever-present danger of biased intuition that psychologist Daniel Kahneman has highlighted. To counteract this, if you seek the highest performance from your business, it pays to have facts like measurements of performance, upon which you can base effective decisions and actions.

The trouble is that too many people who do use data from measuring business performance don’t get the best out of it. Here are three critical questions for you about performance measurement. Assuming, of course, that you are doing it…

  1. Are you measuring the right things in the right place at the right time?
  2. Are you measuring them the right way?
  3. Are you interpreting the data the right way so that you take the right action at the right time?

Some final thoughts

OK, in answer to those three questions you might be saying, ‘How would I know?’ I am not proposing here to give a whole workshop on this topic. That is either the job of my book Simply Manage or my workshop Hands-on Measuring Performance.

Instead, as a here is your ‘Starter for 10’. Here are two tips that link to points above:

  • It really helps to understand what work is being done to deliver value to your customers
  • It also helps to really know who does what before whom

Swim-lane flowcharts (below) map out the activities, decisions, sequence, people and relationships of work processes more powerfully that written purely procedures.

They help you understand where, in addition to any outcome measures, there are the powerful places to make in-process measures that can help you make improvements and so get higher performance.

In the next blogs we'll continue to look deeper into good data and performance measurement as I continue to expand on the 2F diagram, drawing from my book Picture Your Business. This is available from me priced £12.00+P&P. The latest version of the companion 2F Worksheet is now available free in MS Word or PDF on request from me either via a Linkedin message or by emailing alanclark@keybiz.com.