But teach him how to fish…well, that’s a different story. That man will eat for life.
We’ve all heard that adage before. Yet few of us in the performance management arena put this simple principle into practice. In fact, this was so much of a frustration to me, that it was one of my main drivers for forming ePerformance Group, the company I co-founded nearly five years ago. We built an entire business on the simple premise that executives and managers do not need more data or performance reports. They, and their staffs would be far better served by tools that enabled them to more quickly glean insights from the data, and begin putting the information to work. That shift in thinking led us to develop a host of valuable products and services aimed at achieving this end. And with practice, that change in thinking can help you do the same thing.
Give some real thought to the value you deliver to the organization. I’m not being rude, believe me. I’m just trying to help you do some real introspection into what value you’re adding to the process of performance management. How much time do you spend preparing data? Formulating reports? Answering data questions? Telling management what they already know?
Now ask yourself how much time is spent on putting the data to work? Acquiring and sorting through best practices? Correlating data to glean insights? Observing trends and performance drivers? Driving implementation? Those are better questions, but we’re still not there yet.
Now, ask yourself how much time you spend enabling management? Helping them see the insights themselves? Come to conclusions quicker? Implement faster, smarter, and cheaper. Now we’re getting somewhere.
Management does not want to be spoon fed. And even if they did, spoon feeding them isn’t really going to get them past their next meal. Instead, make sure the services you provide go well beyond just reams of data. Provide meaning full analysis. Pose critical questions. Let the data tell a compelling performance story. Help the executive see different ways of looking at the data. Provide different views of the information that will highlighting different insights from the same data, by observing it from different angles. That’s value in the performance management world.
Some would say that’s working ourselves out of a job. I say, it’s the best test of whether you’re actually doing your job! Executives aren’t stupid. They will see and value your efforts to enable their leadership. Most likely, you’ll be rewarded heartily for it. If not, you’ve acquired a valuable career skill…one that you should be able to use in an organization that values performance over the production of “administrivia”.
So let’s become teachers, rather than reporters of data. You’ll not only enable your customers, but you’ll really make a dent in creating a real culture of performance management.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org