By October 25, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Manage Performance, Don’t Just Measure It at the IMEC Conference

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I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the 2009 International Maintenance Excellence Conference recently. ( Here is the blurb:

Do You Want Better Results? Don’t Just Measure Performance, Manage It!
Performance isn’t just about measuring results. You must implement management techniques that use performance measures proactively to drive behaviour and improve results. Start with measurement data and KPI’s, understand their impact on employee and subcontractor behaviour and implement a management approach that influences behaviour and drives results.

The conference is hosted by the University of Toronto’s Centre for Maintenance Optimization & Reliability Engineering (C-MORE) and organized by the publishers of Maintenance Technology Magazine.

My topic was a little different for the conference, which has an emphasis on technology, statistics and science to improve reliability, often for production facilities, factories and other organizations where high reliability and minimal unscheduled downtime are critical.
In my seminar, I shifted the focus from the measures and the technical approach to maintenance reliability & analysis to managing resources, including staff and suppliers, based on the information you collect.

Using measurements and reliability techniques, you can measure results and adjust a manufacturing process when you see the tolerances getting out of range before they are out of range and cause a failure.

This is the same general process you can use with staff and subcontractors to improve results and reduce the chance of failure. The principal is that you are only as good as your supplies and staff – when they succeed, so do you and your organization.

I discuss traditional performance measurements and the potential negative results of a poorly developed approach that focuses only on reward or penalty. The can drive the wrong behavior. The prime example is the financial crisis in the United States, largely created by people in the financial sector who were richly rewarded for taking risks and doing things that were on the margins.

The better approach is to manage results, not just measure them. Don’t use them as a pass/fail process, which is very backwards looking – like managing from the rear view mirror.

You need to change from measuring to managing, using a partnership approach rather than an adversarial approach. Prevent failure, rather than simply measuring it, using a pro-active process that includes several tools and approaches such as:

  • Establish Clear objectives and goals
  • Measure supporting processes that achieve the goals, not just the end product or KPI’s
  • Track the results and discuss trends to get corrective action and identify isuses or roadblocks
  • Communicate regularly and share all performance results and information
  • Hold supplier and staff meetings that focus on improvements, using the results as a basis.
  • Track problems and use a process (i.e. Corrective Action Request) to establish solutions and changes
  • Require Performance Management Action Plans from your staff or supplier when trends suggest results are moving towards failure.
  • Work with your staff or supplier to identify changes you may need to make to ensure success.

To get the best results from your staff and suppliers, you should develop your measurement and management approach with the following in mind:

Effective Performance Management focuses behavior, practices and processes on achieving strategic objectives through proactive management of measured results.

You can read a longer article on managing performance on our Strategic Advisor website here

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