At a conference recently the speaker was Sir Howard Davies, who we hear about most often as the Chairman of the UK Airports Commission, looking at options for Heathrow, Gatwick and Boris Island.
In the 1990s he was also a Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, sitting on the Monetary Policy Committee which sets interest rates.
He is a hugely informed and engaging speaker, and he certainly didn’t hold back from voicing his opinions on the current direction of the Bank of England, his former employer. He was particularly critical of aspects of the policy of ‘forward guidance’, where the new Governor, Mark Carney, has committed to give advanced warning of any future changes of interest rate.
He wasn’t so critical of the idea of giving advanced warning in principle, but rather the measure chosen: the bank has stated that interest rates would need to rise when the employment rate falls below 7%.
Davies’ view was that employment rate was a very poorly chosen measure for this purpose. He stated that historically the Bank of England has been very poor at predicting this rate. (Indeed this has turned out to be the case in the early months of the policy.) By very publicly hanging the policy on only one notoriously tricky measure the Bank, in his view, has made a grave error.
Listening to this it highlighted the importance of how essential it is for leaders to choose the right control measures to track and to steer their businesses by. This behaviour is called ‘Quality Measurement’.
Quality Measurement is one of the leadership behaviours that we rate and coach at my360 plus. It is a behaviour that has a proven direct correlation to performance. There is a specific focus on measuring things that lead to better value for the customer, and therefore greater long term organisational success.
Here are some of our ‘top tips’ to help improve your Quality Measurement:
- What can you do to better monitor the current project or work you are doing?
- How can you make sure you are making progress?
- Do you ensure individual, team and divisional objectives are regularly set?
- How can you improve the monitoring of your activities over the coming week, month and three months?
- What will success look like from this point over these time periods?
- How can you have a conversation with your key customers to understand how they really measure you?
- What can you change that will improve success against these measures?
- What are you measuring ‘because you always have’ that doesn’t really add any value?
- How might you replace these with measures that really matter especially to a customer?
- Do you value performance measurement – is it part of your everyday language?
So what typically happens when you receive your feedback report or appraisal? You read it through, finding some parts interesting, some parts flattering, and noting some areas you could improve on. Intentions are good.
However, all too often, the report is then put to one side. Within days it is buried, forgotten, and no further action is taken. There is no impact from that.
This is what sets the my360plus feedback tool apart from a plain old 360. As an online leadership development system, you get your report, you read it, it makes sense and it clearly explained what happens next. Development areas are highlighted and actions to change behaviours are then made immediately ‘live’. The language used is plain, clear and you are put into the driving seat of your own development.
There is now a wealth of resources and development material made available at your fingertips. You move forward with developing key behaviours using live social feedback. This is achieved by sharing your goals, and selecting a few key peers to act as your mentors. They are told by the system what to look out for and how they can support you to improve your use of the high performance leadership behaviours. Real world research show that this approach maximises the chance of you reaching your development goals, and in the process encourages and develops a coaching culture.
There is no requirement to take additional time out of the office to attend training courses. You develop ‘on the job’. You steer your own development, feedback continues to be live and you can track your progress. It really is a very straightforward and easy tool to use.
“I am really excited that something so simple will have such a large impact on our leadership population and the effects will then ripple down all levels of the organisation.” Alina Sandell, Head of Talent and Transformation
My360plus is a rounded tool, focussing on strengths as well as limitations. Alina Sandell also said “One of the things about this tool is that it also highlights what people are really good at, the things that energise them, that motivate them. Helping people to build on that is going to bring huge returns of investment to the individual, their engagement, but also for the organisation”.
If you would like to organise a demo to see in just a few minutes what our innovative, robust and proven 360 feedback tool can do for you, for your team, or for your organisation please book one now at a time to suit you.
“I phoned my grandparents and my grandfather said ‘We saw your movie.’ ‘Which one?’ I said. He shouted ‘Betty, what was the name of that movie I didn’t like?’”
‘Constructive’ feedback happens to even the Brad Pitts of this world! The impact of social media is transforming our society into a community where we more readily share news and invite opinions. This more open environment also means that both giving and receiving feedback is becoming the ‘norm’. We have commented before in how to give feedback effectively, but here are our top ten tips on how should we act when we are on the receiving end:
- Be prepared. If you feel emotional, cool down before you sit down.
- Be receptive. Make it as painless as possible for the other person. Assume good intentions.
- Clarify. If you don’t fully understand the point that is being raised, question it and ask for more examples. Summarize and reflect what you hear.
- Be open. Don’t shut down and stop listening. If the feedback is given correctly it will be constructive. If feedback is objective, appropriate and useful, and you act upon it, it will help you do your job better.
- Listen! Don’t argue with the feedback or defend yourself. Understand that the comments given are someone else’s perspective. You don’t have to agree with it, but you do have to understand the reasoning.
- See it as an opportunity, not a threat. Good feedback is based upon behaviours that can be changed or improved. Seize the opportunity for behavioural development.
- AID: Be specific and remember
- ACTION: what did I do?
- IMPACT: what impact did it have?
- DO DIFFERENTLY: what needs to be done next time?
- Focus on the future. Ask for specific advice on what to do differently/ less of/ more of going forward. Ask open questions: “How could I have done this better?” “What could I do differently?”
- Review. Agree actions and timelines. Focus on the way forward and let them know you are committed to improve. Follow up and review progress.
- Thank the person giving you feedback. Let them know you valued their thoughts.
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” John Wooden (UCLA head coach)
I was just listening to the radio as they were discussing with bemusement a costly £40.6m blunder by French train operator SNCF. They have discovered that 2000 shiny new trains are actually too wide for many station platforms and subsequently work is now underway to chip away at the platforms so the trains will fit. Ouch.
Costly mistakes are fortunately quite rare, but an article by the BBC today discusses this SNCF tale of woe as well as some other embarrassing stories where a little error proved very expensive, or even fatal…you can read the article here.
I think my favourite is the story about how a bridge was built between Germany and Switzerland, but both nationalities used different benchmarks with relation to mean sea levels. Germany, for its part, measures height in relation to the North Sea, while Switzerland opts for the Mediterranean Sea. As two halves of a new bridge grew closer to one another, it became clear that, instead of being at the same height “above sea level”, one side was 54cm higher than the other!
One of the high performance leadership behaviours that we rate and coach is ‘information search’. The essence is that your information should be “rich and broad”. It is vital to gather a rich variety of information from many different sources about events, issues and situations occurring internally and externally to your environment. The importance of this behaviour should be ingrained throughout your organisation so that you always have a broad set of data in a continuously changing environment.
With this rich data at your fingertips, red faces can, hopefully, be saved!
My daughter is revising for her ‘A’ levels at the moment and I was struck by this colourful essay that I saw on the kitchen table – she had carefully studied the exam board marking scheme and had marked up her essay against each of the marking criteria to ensure she would maximise her grade.
This is a simple example of measuring the right things to maximise performance. As a high performance leadership behaviour we would call it ‘Quality Measurement’, which is all about making your measures outcome focused. This often includes setting interconnected goals, targets or measures to improve performance. Wherever possible in an organisational context, the focus is on making things better for the customer, whether they be external or internal. It is one of the leadership behaviours rated and coached in every my360plus profile.
What do organisations tend to measure?
Companies tend to measure what is easy to measure or what has traditionally been measured, without really considering whether the measures are appropriate and will help them towards their goal. Often, organisations have far too many measures, where reports are produced every month, but no one really reads them and very little action results from the review of the data produced.
Questions to consider when developing Quality Measurement:
- What can you do to better monitor the current project or work you are doing? How can you make sure you are making progress?
- How can you improve the monitoring of your activities over the coming week, month and three months? What will success look like from this point over these time periods?
- How can you have a conversation with your key customers to understand how they really measure you? What can you change that will improve success against these measures?
- What are you measuring (because you always have) that doesn’t really add any value? How might you replace these with measures that really matter, especially to a customer?
The key to Quality Measurement is to set meaningful measures that have a significant impact on your performance.
Let’s hope my daughter has pinpointed the correct measures for her exam success!