"If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it !"

An old adage that has become my guiding principle as I work with organizations on performance management in the workplace. It’s only logical, then, that we start this discussion from the standpoint of performance MEASUREMENT…which I believe is the foundation of good Performance MANAGEMENT. To me the measurement challenge occurs in two separate, but related spaces:

1. THE INTERNAL: How am I doing vis a vis internal goals and targets. To me, that involves first establishing a baseline and taking an inventory of where you stand vis a vis that baseline. Then, armed with that information, begin the process of time oriented goals and milestones, which can be trend-tracked over time

2. THE EXTERNAL: How am I doing vis a vis external indicators (aka- benchmarking). Assessing yourself against peers and competitors (desireably against best in breed, if that is your goal), and using that information to set goals and guage progress.

As I stated earlier, these are separate but related disciplines. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that without the external benchmark, the internal targets would only be a shot in the dark. Yet most every organization I’ve worked with has some degree of internal targets that guide their strategic plan, but many do this absent credible external benchmarks. That’s not to say you develop and govern your whole plan based on the performance level of some other competitor. Rather, companies should use the competitive benchmark to INFORM and CHALLENGE the goal setting process. For example, is the goal that I’ve been setting reasonable and attainable? If I implemented xyz, how far ahead of the competition would it propell me?

To me, this is where most organizations fail to see the real value in external benchmarking. They use it to see if their performance is “in line”, rather than using the information to challenge their strategic planning process.

We’ll have lots more to share on both of these topics in coming weeks. But if there’s one thing I want you to take away from this post, it is that both internal and external dimensions of performance measurement are essential in building an effective performance management platform…Separate, but highly dependent on each other in effecting performance excellence.


Author: Bob Champagne is Managing Partner of onVector Consulting Group, a privately held international management consulting organization specializing in the design and deployment of Performance Management tools, systems, and solutions. Bob has over 25 years of Performance Management experience and has consulted with hundreds of companies across numerous industries and geographies. Bob can be contacted at bob.champagne@onvectorconsulting.com

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