!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Vexations of Performance Management

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Vexations of Performance Management

Continuing discussion with my colleague of the assessment surveys mentioned in a previous post has included how best to evaluate a manager's implementation of his or her company's performance management system.

Thus, Michael Hammers article, "The Seven Deadly Sins of Performance Measurement (and How to Avoid Them)," (pdf) in the Spring 2007 issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review is timely for me.

Hammer's seven sins, cast as you can see in provocative terms, are:
  • Vanity — setting the bar low, so just about everybody looks good.

  • Provincialism — using measures for different departments that exacerbate a tendency to work at cross purposes, as opposed to measuring all departments against objectives that have organization-wide relevance.

  • Narcissism — measuring from the organization's point of view, rather than from the customer's point of view.

  • Laziness — deciding on measures without thinking carefully about all the important implications of the various possibilities under consideration.

  • Pettiness — measuring only partial outcomes, rather than using measures that are broad enough to capture individuals' contributions to achieving desired outcomes at the organizational level.

  • Inanity — choosing measures that elicit counterproductive behavior.

  • Frivolity — letting performance measurement devolve into bickering, rather than using it, as intended, to monitor and improve performance.
To avoid (or overcome) the above sins, Hammer calls for choosing performance measures intelligently, assessing these measures accurately and precisely, avoiding overly complex measurement systems, and paying due attention to the results of the measurement.