Management by fact is a Baldrige core value. Organizations struggle with this to the point that the average scores for Category 4 in Baldrige applications—Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management—have traditionally been lower than any other Category.
Performance measurement has improved over the last decade with the proliferation of balanced scorecards, but individuals continue to struggle with measuring performance. Part of it is a natural resistance to measurement, the fear that, if I measure my performance, somebody is going to use the results of those measures against me. That’s a justifiable concern, but it ignores the opportunity to use the results of those measures to demonstrate your value to the organization. If you are lucky enough to have a boss who understands performance measures and how the results of those measures can be used to improve and not to punish, then identifying personal performance measures can help you do your job better. If you have a boss who will beat you over the head with them, save yourself the aggravation unless you can keep your personal measures private.
Remember that it’s hard to personalize Baldrige without a little learning and effort, and the Baldrige model is not designed to prescribe an individual’s role, so we’re taking some liberties in doing so. We welcome your feedback on whether you think we’re on track.
Here are steps you can take to create a personal performance measurement system:
- Determine your areas of focus. You measure what you want to manage and improve. Start by identifying your key customers and their requirements (see My Personal Baldrige: Customers). Figure out how you support your organization’s strategic/business plan. Identify which key processes your work is part of (see My Personal Baldrige: Process). Determine the requirements and key performance indicators (KPIs) of your department, work unit, and/or team. If you have a performance appraisal and/or career development plan, list which areas you can measure your performance on.
- Identify what is required of you for each area. Most requirements fall into one of four areas: quality (defects, error rate, etc.), delivery (speed, cycle time), cost, and service. What do your customers, managers, and coworkers require?
- Select key performance indicators. How can you measure your performance on each key requirement? As you select KPIs, consider: (a) how you can link your KPI to the KPI of your team, work unit, department, and organization; (b) whether improving performance on the KPI will accurately reflect your performance; (c) your ability to collect the data (for example, getting satisfaction data from your customers may help you evaluate service but it can be difficult to acquire); (d) your ability to compare your performance to relevant benchmarks; and (e) the correlation between improving your performance and improving performance on the KPI.
- Set goals. For each KPI, set goals for the next six months and year.
- Collect and plot data. Develop processes for tracking performance on your KPIs. Make sure the data are reliable, accurate, timely, and easy to collect. Create charts to plot your performance.
- Analyze data to identify and act on opportunities to improve. After a few months of data collection, start looking for cause-and-effect relationships and other correlations in your results. As the Baldrige Criteria note, “Individual facts and data do not usually provide an effective basis for setting…priorities.” Once you’ve nailed down an area for improvement, develop a 90-day action plan to improve performance.
- Refine your system. Set times to review your personal performance management system to assess how well it is working for you and to make changes to improve it.
As legendary football coach Vince Lombardi said, “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” That’s something you can measure.
For more about measurement, click on one of the following articles: