The Right Result
Fri, 29/06/2018 - 11:33
Diane Dibley, Service Delivery and Member Experience, discusses why organisations need focus on relevance, performance and confidence to secure the right result.
Everywhere I go at the moment, people are talking about results. Hardly surprising when right now we have World Cup Football, Wimbledon Tennis, Cricket, Formula 1 and, I suspect, a whole list of other sporting tournaments and competitions. There’s no doubt everyone is fixated on how England have picked up their momentum during the World Cup so far, overjoyed with pride. If they get the right results, they might just reclaim victory for the first time since 1966…
But what is the right result for a business? Or even a good result? The Results elements and attributes of RADAR can help us to think about this in a meaningful, useful way.
Let’s start with relevance. In the world of sport, just as with organisations, the results we look at need to be linked to a strategy or project. For example, if the funding committees put more money into a certain sport, or a club invests in building its team, you would expect there to be measures that show a return on investment.
We also need to consider whether we are measuring or monitoring everything that we need to manage our business or inform our decision making. Looking at the scope of the measures e.g. performance during practice and competition, income streams, supporters etc. Of course, results also need to be reliable and accurate to be useful, hence the need to consider the integrity of the data.
And what about segmenting our data to help us pinpoint particular areas of concern or strength? So while we measure the team’s overall performance and medals and matches won, we might also consider looking at the performance of individuals within the team or from particular sports/matches to review who has contributed and how.
Deciding what we need to measure and why is the place to start, and during EFQM Excellence Model assessments these are exactly the questions we would ask. Why are you measuring that and how does it help you manage the business? Having established the relevance though, we then need to look at performance.
Trending our performance allows us to track how we have been doing and spot the peaks and troughs that we need to do something about. In sport, trending happens all the time: last season’s race position, goals scored, tournament exit-point. Commentators also use this trend information to pass on their public advice about what they think needs to be done next. I have often worked with organisations that suddenly realise that trending information gives them all sorts of useful insights and helps them to decide, and prioritise, where action is required.
Having targets gives us something to aim at. However, targets need to be appropriate. Making it to the top of football’s Premier League in one year is not realistic if the team is currently bottom of League 2 (although it might be a very good vision), but aiming for promotion to League 1 might well be. While targets need to be realistic, they also need to provide some challenge as well. When organisations set their targets, performance is likely to improve because the target provides a focus. This doesn’t mean that they are always achieved, but if no targets are set at all, you’ll never know whether you can do that well or not.
While trending and targeting tell us about our performance, we also need comparisons with others in order to put it in context. The world of sport is peppered with league tables both for teams and individuals. Knowing how others are performing can help you set targets and strategies for the future. How many people have a vision to be number one in the market or as a service-provider but then have no comparators to show where they are at the moment?
Confidence is the last attribute in the Results RADAR table. This is all about learning how your results are achieved so that they can be sustained into the future; for example understanding how the introduction of a new manager and changes to the team have enabled better results, or how investment in training and development has led to more achievements. If we understand the linkages we are more likely to be able to replicate and improve the results in the future and not just rely on good luck.
So, whilst I’m probably the least sporty person I know, the summer of sport is a useful reminder to always think about results in context and remember that the right result will be different depending on the organisation. Just remember that what might seem like the right result for one won’t necessarily be the same for another because their aims, strategy and vision are different.