GartnerSym – Operationalising Performance Management

Operationalising Performance Management – Mary Mesaglio
A suprisingly interesting session about Performance Management with Gartner Analyst Mary Mesaglio – who was engaging and a good presenter – the session was interesting because it actually hit a wide range of current challenges that we are looking at Devon. A huge amount to take away from this session especially related to the work we are doing around Corporate and Directorate Business Application and Solutions Strategy as part of the Corporate ICT Strategy.

I made some random notes as i was actually listening more tham note taking (for a change) but i’ll share the notes below which may or may not make sense.

  • How to make IT align to the conversations about Performance Management
  • Reassuring to hear that the lessons and observations referred to apply equally to the public sector
  • Between 10-15% of Enterprises have effective Performance management evn though enterprises who do have effective Performance management systems and processes perform better.
  • The process of aligning IT into Performance Management needs to be connected and integrated into business systems to avoid silo views of issues, performance metrics and investment decisions
  • There is a critical shift in IT – moving from monitoring activities to monitoring outcomes – This is where IT starts to align and demonstrate value
  • Look at capabilities to help understand the mission < value proposition
  • “Companies which are good at mergers and don’t lose operational performance are good at dependency mapping.” I thought this comment by mary was interesting in the sense that as Local Government enter a period of divestment and Strategic/Intelligent Commissioning – I feel that dependancy mapping will provide a good tool to help these projects maintain current performance.

A few of the recommendations from the session

  • identify measureable, value based goals
  • give all participants equal accountability for ultimate results
  • facilitate collaboration through processes, management systems and people practices
  • manage the change – develop change competencies at all leadership levels

Have you asked yourself “What is the point?”

Many times over the last 3 months I’ve asked myself  – What is the point – I mean really what is the point to what we do?

Prompted by a number of things going on in my work life, outside work life, blog posts, research and a range of other external factors – I seem to be focusing on the underlying issue of Value. I’ve also started to apply this to myself in a self evaluative way to ensure that should the situation arise and my employment be terminated I know for sure what my value is and even who would benefit the most from it.

I won’t go into the details of all the contributing factors but lets just say that the current economic situation is also a major driver in why I am looking at this – personally and professionally.

So the issue of Value is an interesting one in Local Government and the wider Public Sector right now, as many councils embark or are embarking on consultation exercises to find out what the general public think about services and what is important to them.  We will get many perspectives on value and what is important and people will ask many times throughout the next few months “What is the point of that service?”.

When that question is asked  – do we really know what the point is? I mean over and above the set of indicators we are or even used to be measured by? or the numbers of people who use the service? I’m sure most service managers will be very aware of the outcomes they are trying to deliver and what objectives drive there work. But can they answer the simple question – What value do they offer?

For me once we get to the answer we can start to have conversations about who is best placed and has the capabilities to deliver that value – I think Big Society is sort of focusing in this area but isn’t looking at the right thing in my humble opinion.

If we get to a point where a community agrees to the value of a particular service and understands what capabilities are required to deliver that value then we can consider options for delivery. Lets just suggest for a moment that “Private Business” has the right capabilities to deliver a particular service, but the values are compromised due to the type of business. We have a number of further options to consider at this point:

  1. Do we compromise the value created and go for the Private Business based on its ability to meet the capabilities – we would end up asking ourselves even more “What is the point”
  2. Do we suggest that the Private Business changes it business model to deliver social objectives  we actually refocus the organisation and become a Social Enterprise.
  3. In Big Society Style – Do we create our own organisation with the right capabilities and the right values – set up a Social Enterprise.

So when it comes to asking “what is the point?” ask yourself instead – What value is being created here and am I best placed to create it.

No more excuses – A commitment to be better at what i do

For reasons i will keep to myself at this point in time I am entering a period of personal reflection and learning. I have started to look back more proactively and make sure that i take notice of my observations and thinking as i go along. The reason is, quite frankly, to help me improve the way i do my job. Part of me feels that i am failing to do my job properly and part of me thinks i do a good, no great job. The truth is i do both at the same time.

I found myself humming a song the other day when i thought about how we might mainstream the wider use of web based technologies including social software. I noticed that i was humming: Rufus Wainwright – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.

The particular part i started to sing was the start:

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when

It pretty much sums up the mood around social media “professionals” in government at present, but i think the issue for this is partly down to the people who are promoting it and becoming by default social media gurus. I am sadly one of those people so before anyone shouts me down i am taking responsibility myself here as well for a failure to really engage the people in my own organisation who can actually help enact change at an organisational level. This stuff really needs to go deeper into organisations. It simply isn’t just about Communications and Marketing.

BUT isn’t this what the social media gurus are all about, new ways to communicate and engage with people, social connecting and reaching out beyond traditional boundaries etc? So why are we not very good at doing it in our own organisations and becoming frustrated at the lack of progress. If this is you, i would suggest you also take some time to reflect about how you have or have not engaged with people and what value you have presented to them?

Well the fundamental flaw in this approach is that –  what change and value am i adding into my organisation if i all i do is network and influence people outside the walls and boundaries of my own organisation?

Now i know am being overly critical of others and myself and there have been some amazing examples of good practice and learning that needs to start getting deeper inside our own organisations to really make that learning valuable.

I do have to acknowledge some major successes here in Devon that i have been involved in: Chief Executive as Social Media/Social Networking Champion, Youth Participation using Facebook and Bebo (this was mainly Katie Bacon), Social Media Policy and Guidelines developed and agreed by key business stakeholders (we have just updated these, so i must post them up to share) and an Internal Social Networking pilot using Blue Kiwi.

But i have failed to realise the benefits of the above and i want to change that. So i am creating a personal charter for business change and i’d like to extend it to others as well.

  1. I commit to engaging and involving key Council stakeholders internally and externally in the design, development and implementation of innovative solutions including the use of social software and social media for increased business value and business change.
  2. I will only do so where a clear connection to business outcomes and objectives can be demonstrated.
  3. I will ensure that a plan for realising the value and benefits is in place.
  4. I will ensure that appropriate risks are acknowledged and mitigated and any successes and failures are shared so that others can learn from the experience.
  5. I accept that technology on its own offers no value and that i must ensure that there is clear ownership of the business change.
  6. Value is a set of measures and is whatever the organisations strategies and operating plans say it is.
  7. I must not refer to myself as a guru of any kind, my role is to guide, support and influence.

None of the above is rocket science and you will probably find similar ones around the web, but i feel that i have to revisit my purpose and question what value i am creating in the organisation. The moment i stop creating and adding value, is the moment i decide to leave. (I hope that is some time in the future if i’m honest, but you never know)

I hope that those of you who are engaged in this agenda are doing and demonstrating some of the above, as that is the only way we can stop seeing social media as a “special set of tools” and mainstream the opportunities and innovation into the heart of Government (Local and National)