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The Essential Accountabilities for Successful Performance Measurement and Management

by Sandy Richardson, Owner/Partner, JETrichardsonThursday, December 19, 2013

So you’ve taken that big first step – you’ve got a dashboard or balanced scorecard. Congratulations! And while you can propel your performance measurement and management efforts forward for a little while on pure enthusiasm and energy alone, the novelty of your new management tool will wear off soon. Then what will you do?

Since successful performance measurement and management is really about culture change, you need to be prepared with a sustainability plan – one that implements the structures AND accountabilities necessary to enable your people to actually behave in a new way that leverages your dashboard or scorecard for better decision making and successful business management.

This is what this essential accountability structure looks like:

Let’s look at each layer in this structure more closely.

Your Balanced Scorecard and Strategy Process Management Structure – The Engine of Your Strategy Management Efforts

Your business strategy and performance measurement and management tools will not work in a vacuum – they need to be embedded within an end-to-end strategy management process and supported by a group of strategy management process owners. Roles here include:

Executive Strategy and Scorecard Sponsor: Usually the head of the organization - assumes executive ownership of the business strategy, and enables executive and employee engagement with the strategy and in performance measurement and management tool use, expansion, and improvement.

Executive Strategy and Scorecard Lead: Provides oversight for the strategy management process, and focuses on facilitating executive engagement with the strategy and in performance measurement and management tool use, expansion, and improvement.

The Office of Strategy Management: The hands-on strategy management and performance measurement process owner with deep subject matter knowledge who also provides organizational transformation leadership to all employees and executives.

BSC System Administrator: Manages the dashboard or scorecard – ensures that the system meets the information needs of executives and employees, and provides required user training and support.

Strategy/BSC Ambassadors: An informal community of employees who are passionate about sharing their organization’s strategy story and who feel empowered to play an active role in taking the strategy to the grassroots of their organization.

Your Strategy Performance Management Structure – The Key to Performance Results Achievement and Strategy Improvement

Why do you implement performance measurement and management tools such as dashboards and scorecards? Ideally it’s to (1) collect performance information that tells you whether your organization is moving forward in the right direction, and (2) leverage that information to course correct, when required, quickly and effectively. To deliver on these promises, your dashboard or scorecard needs two things – results data and results commentary (including root cause analysis and corrective action plans). Successful organizations rely on the following roles to provide these valuable inputs and enable the right kinds of organizational conversations:

Indicator Data Owners: Gathers performance results data for their assigned indicators and submits it to the dashboard or scorecard system. Ensures the quality of assigned performance data on an ongoing basis.

Indicator Commentary Owners: Leveraging performance results data for their assigned indicators, completes root cause analysis for underperforming results areas, designs appropriate corrective action plans and mitigation strategies, and enters commentary into the dashboard or scorecard system.

Subject Matter Experts (SME’s): Provides advice to/collaborates with indicator owners, on request, regarding investigations related to root cause issues and corrective action plans for specific indicators.

Strategic Objective Owners: Monitors the “health” of strategic objectives on an ongoing basis on behalf of the organization, writes commentary when indicator performance suggests strategic issues, facilitates strategic conversations about performance and improvement, and oversees the organization’s implementation of corrective actions and mitigation strategies.

Your Accountability and Support Infrastructure – The Foundation for Performance and Strategy Management Success

How can you be sure that all of the roles and responsibilities required to support and sustain your performance measurement and management efforts will be effectively implemented? You can’t – unless you build your expectations right into the day to day work accountabilities of your employees. To do this effectively, you must formalize them in three ways:

Through Job Descriptions: While it’s obvious to build performance measurement and management role accountabilities right into the job descriptions of those associated with your Balanced Scorecard and Strategy Process Management Structure, be sure to also write these accountabilities into the job descriptions of roles that will have strategic objective and indicator ownership responsibilities. Doing this formally builds time for performance measurement and management duties and activities into people’s day.

Through Personal Accountability/Goal Plans: Once included in job descriptions, performance measurement and management role expectations and performance targets can be outlined in personal goal plans and agreed to between employee and manager.

Through Performance Appraisals/Evaluations: Recognizing and rewarding the execution of performance measurement and management accountabilities by employees encourages the behaviors that support sustained business performance success.

A Distributed Model of Accountability - The Linchpin of Performance Measurement and Management Success

Did you notice just how many employees can become involved with your organization’s performance measurement and management efforts when you implement this structure? There are many benefits of taking this distributed approach - it:

  • Shares the work,
  • Provides an opportunity for employee learning, development, and growth,
  • Gets more people actively involved in/engaged with your strategy and your strategy management process, and
  • Facilitates breaking down silos and encourages people to work together across the organization in a more integrated way.

All of which helps accelerate the rate at which you transform your culture and company into a high performance, strategy-focused organization.

Want to achieve the business results and outcomes you desired more quickly and easily?

Investing in implementing the essential accountabilities and supporting performance measurement and management infrastructure outlined here is the key to getting the most out of your dashboard or scorecard efforts, and ensuring that desired business results are realized AND sustained over the long-term.

About the author

Sandy Richardson, B.Sc., M.Ed.

Sandy Richardson is the President of JETrichardson, and author of the book Business Results Revolution: 3 Critical Questions and the Conversations that Transform Business Performance Every Day” (now available at www.businessresultsrevolution.com). Sandy is a business performance management professional who believes that every organization deserves to be the best that it can be and has a true passion for working with visionary business leaders and engaged employees to achieve their business performance objectives.

Sandy has over 20 years of business performance leadership experience, including 7 years of hands-on strategy creation and execution, and balanced scorecard management leadership at companies such as the Canada Life Assurance Company and Barrick Gold Corp, and 12 years as a strategic planning and strategy execution advisor in both the public and private sectors. She is currently focused on helping business leaders and their teams achieve exceptional business performance results by helping them pinpoint and overcome their strategy execution challenges quickly, effectively, and permanently.

Sandy is a frequent conference speaker and regular blogger, commenting on the process and benefits of strategy execution excellence and building a strategy-focused organization.

Visit Sandy on the web at www.jetrichardson.ca

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