Tag Archives: performance

Inclusion: diversity from a strategic perspective to get to high performing teams


InclusionIs diversity in a team really contributing to your results? Or is your team composed out of differing individuals for the sake of statistics. Get a high performing team by thinking about the composition of the different profiles. They named it inclusion and it will lead to challenging solutions, vibrant discussions and high performing teams. Read further to see what’s the difference between diversity and inclusion.

Today we had an interesting discussion about the difference between diversity and inclusion. If you don’t know the latter yet, don’t worry: we’ll explain it shortly and I’m convinced that you’ll hear it more in the coming year as it’s becoming a buzz word.

The fact that diversity is needed at the work floor (and anywhere else) is probably not so surprising to you. But diversity only looks at the numbers and combination of different individuals. You probably understand that combining different individuals can lead to sparks at the work floor, both in a good and less good way. Much diversity on the work floor does not guarantee a high performing organization.

Inclusion goes one step further though. As with diversity you would combine an unplanned mixed of individuals, inclusion looks at it from a strategic point of view: which combination of different profiles do you need in your team to be successful? For diversity to be successful, the leader must team carefully when composing his/her team.

Next to making a team high performing, inclusion is also about respecting each other as a person. A different person with underlying beliefs and values that might seem strange to us, but which are an enrichment to the team.

Leaders that are aware and self-conscious of the need for a diverse team, probably have been using inclusion before by thoroughly combining different profiles via screenings like Myers-Brigss Type Indicator (MBTI)the Big 5 personality traits, Belbin team roles, etc.

According to “Beyonders”, leading a diverse team can make an average leader insecure. Having this specific mix of individuals implies a guarantee for healthy conflicts and (more) heated discussions. In a successful team, composed via inclusion, it will be harder to get to consensus which results in more diverse solutions and paths to solutions to be found.

Managing and participating in an inclusive team can require more of your energy. It’s always easier if everybody agrees with you and you don’t have to convince others and fight for your solutions.

The b

Is your team inclusive?

How do you know that your team is composed inclusive? Take these small tests to see for yourself:

  • Outsiders look strange at your team having a discussion and think you’re having an argument, while the discussion seems everyday normal to you (there’s no fight going on).
  • You have the feeling that you complement each other.
  • Do a short test and ask for 3 solutions to a stated problem. Take a look at the different answers you got from the team.
  • Ask your leader why you in particular were selected for the team.

Thanks to my colleague Isabelle for making the difference clear to me and Katleen Destobbeleir of Vlerick Business School for inspiring Isabelle!

Additional information

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Training for Performance Management


Performance managementHow would you give a Performance Management training for a very diverse public in an evening course? You better avoid too much one-way traffic and better add some interaction. This exercise uses the PDCA-cycle to build and manage their own small company.

I was asked to deliver a training in Performance Management to a very diverse public who volunteered for it in evening school. The challenge lays in creating a course that is interesting, but challenging enough for participants who just worked a full day. Participants who have experience with Lean, but also participants from other sides of the organisation.

Introduction – 15 minutes

Theory: To get everybody on the same line, give a short recap or introduction of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. What is the concept behind it? Emphasize that they actually already know and probably practice it (implicit) in their daily lives.

PDCA cycle

PDCA cycle

Exercise: To get their minds warmed up, give them 10 minutes for a small assignment: create the PDCA cycle of your own diet. You can find this exercise described here: “The PDCA cycle applied to your diet“. Ask following questions if they’re stuck:

  • Plan: How much do you plan to loose/gain in weight? What is your ideal weight? Can you make it to that in one iteration?
  • Do: What will you actually do or do different for reaching your diet goal?
  • Check: How will you check if you’re doing fine? With what frequency are you checking?
  • Act: What will you do if you make it? What if you don’t? How will you celebrate success?

The main exercise – 120 minutes

Preparation for the facilitator

As preparation, go to the Kickstarter.com website and find a few projects which look fun. Create a mission and vision for them. I advise to make such a company for each 3 to 4 people in your group. So with a group of 10 participants, you would have 4 groups (two of 3 participants, one of 4).

PLAN – The start-up (10+15+5 minutes)

Theory: Explain the Voice Of the Customer and Voice Of the Business concept. Explain that VOC and VOB need to meet each other. Avoid going to deep into details like interviewing techniques.

Exercise: Divide up the group in smaller teams and explain the start-up company concept to them. Explain that you already created the mission, vision and value proposition (as CEO) and they are your management team that needs to deliver results. Each participant gets a different role: CEO, head of Sales, Production and Quality.

The first job of the management team is to create a strategy. For this they need to:

  1. Determine who your customers are, customers’ wants and needs, how you are going to capture these wants & needs, how frequent and when. Also, you need to find out how to get customer feedback.
  2. Determine what your business needs are. What does your management want?
  3. Determine your short-term (1 year) and long-term (5 year) target.

Optional: The facilitator acts as customer and CEO, but is are not direct available: the companies have to ask their question on paper to you (explicitly addressed to the customer or CEO). The facilitator processes the questions in First In First Out (FIFO) mode and responds in person to the team.

Reflect: After the round, let the subgroups explain to the rest with an elevator pitch what they got and what they learned.

DO – The action (10+15+5 minutes)

Theory: Explain the roles and responsibilities matrix (RACI), the need for processes and process owners.

Exercise: Let the subgroups think about what actions they need do to realize their short and long-term strategy.

  • How will you sell and deliver the end product to their customer? Eg. produce the product, distribute the project, sell the product, etc.
  • Which profiles do you need?
  • Who will take the decisions?

Reflect: After the round, let the subgroups explain to the rest with an elevator pitch what they got and what they learned.

Check – The check-up (10+15+5 minutes)

Theory: Explain the performance indicators (KPIs), leading en lagging, the link with the roles and responsibilities matrix and KPI trees.

Exercise: Let the subgroups think about what they need to monitor the realization of their strategy.

  • How will you measure if they are successful?
  • Are the measurements in line with the VOC and VOB created earlier?
  • Who is responsible for the measurements?
  • Who is accountable?
  • Make sure you have result indicators and early warning measurements.
  • Create an example measurement chart.
  • How will you use these measurements to motivate the work floor?
  • Which measures does management need, which the work floor?

Reflect: After the round, let the subgroups explain to the rest with an elevator pitch what they got and what they learned.

Act – React on measurement (10+15+5 minutes)

Theory: Explain the need for giving feedback, problem solving techniques, rethinking the strategy, and meeting structure.

Exercise: Let the subgroups think about how to act upon problems.

  • Which problems could occur in your company?
  • Which problem solving techniques do you know?
  • Check again your measurements, are the measurements indicators for the problems that might occur?
  • How will you report to the CEO?
  • Which meeting structure do you need?

Reflect: After the round, let the subgroups explain to the rest with an elevator pitch what they got and what they learned.

Wrap-up – 15 minutes

At this point, your participants are trained in (the basics of) creating a performance management culture. It’s impossible to handle every related topic, but they made time to reflect about the subtopics.  Make sure you give them handles for follow-up: documentation, tutorials, websites, etc.

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Ecopolicy game – Coaching at performance review meetings


Ecopolicy game

Ecopolicy game

In June we did the Ecopolicy game as an exercise for coaching at performance review meetings (or also: steering meetings).

The game was done in two phases and the goal was:

  1. To lead or attend a performance review meeting and have a similar experience like the management of your organization has each week, month, quarter, …
  2. To coach an attendee of the performance review meeting and practice your coaching skills.

Game contents

You and your team are the leaders of Cybernetia, a cyber state that needs a government to survive. Politics, production, environmental stress, quality of life, education and population are the measured sectors of human life and are expressed in KPIs. In the game these KPIs are all interlinked in such a way by mathematical relations that each decision results in a chain of effects and repercussions just like in real life.

Lead or attend a performance review meeting

In a 20 minute long performance review meeting the ambassador decides together with his 5 ministers on the policy of Cybernetia. Some and certainly not all KPIs are under the influence of the government.

You get 5 attempts of 20 minutes to lead your nation, Cybernetia. In one session, the goal is to take at least 12 decisions in up/down grading the KPIs which you can influence.

If the quality of life for your population is getting worse, your population will question your policy. When it escalates, the population does a coup d’etat and you loose.

What did I learn as board member?

In the first round I was the ambassador of Cybernetia and together with the board, we determined the policy.

  • A performance review meeting can be very stressful! The first round went almost completely to trying to understand the tool.
  • When all board members are coached individually you see strange behavior and changes in behavior between the board meetings.
  • Because you are also coached individually, the board sees your behavior changes and reacts on it.
  • Group dynamics are always happening. I repeat: group dynamics are always happening! Even if the team work moments are very short, the group will go through the forming, storming, norming and performing stages. Be aware of it.
  • After each performance review meeting there is a recap session. Use it as ambassador to give feedback on people behavior. But don’t wait to the recap session if the behavior is not acceptable during the PRM.
  • Use your dashboard. Look at the facts. When emotions take over, our rationality stays behind.
  • It is not needed as team leader to know all the details.
  • It is not needed as team leader to facilitate the discussion. If somebody else is better, let him do it.
  • It is needed as team leader to take decisions based on uncertain elements.

What did I learn as coach?

In the second round I was the coach of a minister of Cybernetia. I watched my coachees behavior, the group interaction and the process.

  • Write down facts and observations, not interpretations. Interpretations are assumptions that you have the right answer.
  • Coaching on behavior and facts is a hard job. You need to be observing and writing at top speed to get everything right.
  • Giving feedback is not always easy. You coachee can go in resistance. Use a much facts as possible. Pick your battles.
  • Try to ask questions during feedback talks. Challenge, but try to understand. Why did he do that? Did it have the wanted result? What could have gone better?
  • If your coachee doesn’t do anything, he still doing something! Don’t fall in sleep when your coachee remains below the radar. Why is he doing so? What does his body language see? How is the group interaction?
  • Observe the process of decision making.
  • After the coaching talk, make a summary. What is the most important thing he learned? What will he do different next time?

More information on the game

Flyer

http://www.vandewijnckel.com/images/stories/pdf/Ecopolicy_Flyer.pdf

News message

http://www.vandewijnckel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=86%3Ahogeschool-zeeland-ecopolicy&catid=45%3Aprojecten-systemics&Itemid=130

The inventor

http://www.frederic-vester.de/eng/ecopolicy/

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Improve team flexibility and continuity with skills matrix analysis


A skills matrix (also refered to as knowledge matrix) is a map or index of the team skills, listed by each team member and cross-referenced with the different areas or expertise.

The skills matrix is used for mapping the current skills, identifying potential harmful situations and taking action.
Uses for a skills matrix:

  • A skills matrix comes in handy when a new member joins the team and you want to get him up to speed.
  • When a team member leaves the team, the skills matrix can be used to identify possible knowledge gaps.
  • The skills matrix can be used proactively to guarantee team continuity.
  • Identify knowledge sharing and development needs between team members.
  • Installing cross-functional teams (in cross functional teams, team members have no specific speciality only, but a more generic profile).
  • Check the impact of key persons leaving the team: will it be a problem?
  • Increase team strength & flexibility, but also team spirit (eg. during the huddles team members will know each others areas better).
  • Create a RACI for the different areas of expertise: who are the SPOCs? Who are the experts to be consulted?
  • Identify which roles in the team need which skills (eg. soft skills vs. technical skills).
  • Set development targets.

Why do you need a skills matrix?

You need a skills matrix when you pick up following signals:

  • Estimations for new assignments are not made when key persons are not available.
  • Estimations for new assignments need to be approved or checked by key persons.
  • Permanence is difficult to arrange.
  • Statements like “if person X leaves, we will be in real trouble”.
  • Difficult arrangements for team continuity during the holiday periods (eg. summer vacation, Christmas).
  • Single Point of Confusion instead of Single Point of Contact.
  • Unclear responsibilities.
  • During a huddle, team members have no clue whatsoever what the other team member is talking about.

Skill matrix analysis

To score skills you can determine the criteria yourself:

  • None, insufficient, basic, good, expert
  • None, trained, coached, lead, training given, coaching given
  • Scoring on behaviour types

You can also use weights for both a horizontal and vertical analysis:

  • Horizontal: the extent to which every area is covered by different team members and expertise levels.
  • Vertical: the extent to which each team member is covering different areas and taking on different expert roles.

What can we learn form a skills matrix:

  • New team members will color red over the whole line. Use the skills matrix to set priority and focus for training purposes.
  • Identify key persons which are dominant in certain areas. Make sure these areas are also covered by more team members.
  • Identify knowledge gaps in certain areas.
  • Which team members have certain expert knowledge in areas which we don’t have (eg. Java knowledge in a .NET team).

Ready, set, go!

Setting up a skills matrix without taking further action is like creating a risk matrix without a mitigation strategy.
If you invest the time & effort to create one, don’t just hang it on the wall, but use it to take action and improve your team strength!
Next to each skill assessment you can add a target for the team member in that expertise area. Not all team members will have/need the same targets.

Further, the skills matrix is outdated from the click you use to close the file. People learn all the time.
So plan a recurrent update and action time slot in your agenda to check the progress.

Additional reading

http://management411.net/skills-matrix-scoring-a-simple-management-tool-to-move-your-organization-in-the-right-direction/

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The time and place to coach


How would you coach your coachee during a performance review meeting?
I was taught to observe the PRM, take factual notes, record the interaction and participation.
With this feedback, and effect it had on me, i plan a feedback talk with the coachee after the meeting.

This approach has following advantages:

  • I have the time to overview the notes I made and compose the feedback talk (read: pick my battles).
  • There is more time to give feedback.
  • My coachee has the time to reflect on the meeting himself.
  • I can give the feedback in a personal coaching moment instead of in front of all participants.
  • I will never be in the position were I put the coachee for a block, which has advantges for both of us.

This time however, my coachee insisted that I would give feedback during the meeting and also interrupt the process when I found it was running not at it’s best.
So suddenly my mandate changed from coach to process intervener and I was about to be pushed out of my comfort zone.

The coach during the game

Immediate feedback during the game

Immediate feedback during the game

We use the analogy of the coach at a soccer game a lot, so let’s take a look at it.
The coach here doesn’t wait with giving feedback. He’s all involved during the game: coaching, intervening, supporting, …
Imagine the effect of coaching only after the facts: it would be far less effective.

But there stays use for coaching after the game too and that’s what we also see with soccer. The players and coach look at the video images of last match and see what went well and what could go better. They use this information to improve upon themselves to play a better match next time.

I guess there’s no silver bullet here too.
You can combine both types of coaching: during and after the game.

Make sure you get the mandate for coaching during the game.
The referee might kick you out.

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The PDCA cycle applied to your diet


For the readers that got here searching for an approach for their diet: please read further and work out your plan!

Explaining the need for installing a performance management culture in your organization is not an easy job. There are many approaches for it and each has its disadvantages. The key is that you’ll have to attune your approach to your audience.

Following metaphor has worked good for me when explaining the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, the base for a performance management culture, to people on the work floor.

PDCA cycle

PDCA cycle

The PDCA cycle applied to your diet

It’s January first and you decided in your new year’s promise that you want to lose weight. It’s the same promise as the year before, but this year you’ll make it stick.

Plan

First of all, you plan for results and pick an ambitious target: by the end of the year I want to weigh 10 kilograms less. The target is ambitious, but not unrealistic.

Do

How are you going to do it? For losing so much weight, you need some adjustments to your diet. No more sugared soda drinks, only one time a week French fries and no whipped cream, except for at celebration parties.

Check

To make sure you are on track to losing 10 kilograms by the end of the year, you need to check upon your progress. There are two types of measurements here:

  • Lagging: after the facts. These are history and cannot be controlled anymore.
  • Leading: predictors. These can be monitored and controlled.

As a lagging KPI you can follow-up the grams and calories you have eaten every day in your diary. Other measurements could be the number of “good” and “beat” food you have eaten that day and a smiley face with your personal perception on the day (I have actually seen this in practice!).

Because the lagging KPIs cannot be controlled anymore, you also need a measurement you can influence. As a leading KPI you measure your weight every week. But wait, isn’t this a lagging indicator too? Indeed, the facts have already taken place, but measuring and checking up upon your weight is a predictor for you making your target in time: 10 kilograms less by the end of the year.

To make sure you reach the target, you can create a plan for your weight with milestones along the way (during the year). For setting out this KPI, you need a base (starting point) too: your current weight.

Create a realistic plan for your weight loss: the summer holiday period is probably not the best time to lose much weight.

When you have a base (starting point), target and plan (intermediary milestones), you have your plan for action! (see figure)

Diet plan

Diet plan

Act

Time to follow-up and act upon your progress. When your measurements are not according to plan (see February), it’s time to act. What is the reason you’re not making your target? It could be many: wrong KPI, wrong base, your diet is not strict enough, too ambitious target, too ambitious plan, defect scale, … Do a Root Cause Analysis and find out the real reasons why.

If you know the reason why, you can adjust can take the lessons learned along in the Plan and Do steps of the PDCA cycle. You can adjust the Plan (less weight loss, other deadline) or adjust the Do (more strict rules for not eating unhealthy food).

PDCA cycle for your diet

PDCA cycle for your diet

Lessons learned from positive formulation

The careful reader has probably noticed that it’s difficult to pick to items in the “Do” list of the PDCA cycle. The way is formulated now, it’s an exhaustive list that needs to be adjusted every time again when we see the diet is not working.

If we use the power of positive formulation then the Do step can be reformulated in such a way that it triggers our brain in the right way and is more durable.

Do-step positive formulated

Do-step positive formulated

Much success for the readers actually on a diet!

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Change the way your team reports


TeamNot every team runs its huddles on the same way. This has some implications on the amount and type of information that is received.

Let’s focus on acquiring status information from the team.

The facilitator leads the huddle

The facilitator (not regarding if this is a hierarchical lead or not) runs a tour-de-table and ask every team member about his specific tasks.

Jane, how is it working out with assignment X?
Is assignment Y still on track?
John, how is it working out with assignment X?
Is assignment Y still on track?
etc

This advantage of this approach is that the facilitator has control of the conversation and is able to acquire the needed information to steer upon in a fast way.

The disadvantage is that the facilitator is asking closed and specific questions. There’s no room left for non-result oriented feedback. The danger also exists that tasks that the facilitator is (becomes) not aware of other tasks the team member is working on. Underlying frustration and stress could not get to the surface and get the attention it needs. Further, the facilitator can also be experienced as controlling the work too much or checking up on people.

The facilitator hosts the huddle

When the facilitator doesn’t lead, but hosts the huddle, the facilitator makes sure that everybody is heard, but the type of questions is different.

Tell me, Jane, what were your three most important things you did last week and how did it go?
What are your three most important tasks planned for this week?
Do you see any impediments? If so, how can we help?

The advantage of this approach is that the team member can reply what he wants. It could be that assignments X and Y were planned, but he didn’t have the time due to another unplanned assignment Z with higher priority. Further, there’s more room for team interaction and discussion.

Are you working on that too? I got the same request by mail!
Last week I had the same problem. Let’s discuss the solution after the huddle.
Don’t wait for a reply of John: he called in sick for this week.
Can you gives us more details about…
etc 

After the feedback from the team member, the facilitator can check upon himself to verify if the team member has the right assignments scheduled for this week. Taking into account the team priorities.

The disadvantage is that you need strong facilitation skills to make sure your huddle doesn’t last too long (because of the increased team interaction). There’s also more preparation of the (content of the) huddle needed to make sure the facilitator has the overall view on team priorities.

Conclusion

The first approach, leading the huddle, will feel most natural because that’s what we’re being taught all our lives: checking if everything is fine and on track.

The second approach will require the facilitator to give control more out of hand, but will make problems and priority issues surface earlier in the process.

There is no one approach, no silver bullet. Check your current situation and see what fits best.

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Work fascinates me, I can watch it for hours.


Werk fascineert me, ik kan er uren naar kijken

Werk fascineert me, ik kan er uren naar kijken

“Work fascinates me. I can watch it for hours.” During a gemba, I came across this statement at the back of a Hoegaarden beer mat which was attached to a whiteboard.

Sometimes we are so absorbed by our work that we forget to take a step back once in a while. A step back to observe the process, to observe the work delivered, to look for improvements, to adjust the strategy, …

The disadvantage of not being able to take a step back is that it’s perfectly possible to start working very efficient, doing non-effective (read: non-value contributing) work. Like they say: doing the wrong things in a very efficient way.

Toyota

The rumor is that the ability of taking a step back is one of Toyota’s criteria for acquiring people. During the job applications they leave the job applicant waiting somewhere in the production line/hall for half an hour. Afterwards they ask him what did he see during the waiting time and what could be improved.

Step back, look forward

Step back, look forward. Start, pause, stop. Evaluation. What’s in a name? It are all initiatives to taking the time (and courage) to take a step back and evaluate the current situation and progress.

The challenge is that when times get hard, it’s extra difficult to take the time for this review moment. Nobody has time for a step back moment when shit hits the fan. However, it could help that to build in review moments into your calendar and into the process.

Let’s take a look how Agile did this.

Agile and retrospectives

Agile is an iterative and incremental method used to develop software. (More about Agile in “GAP analyse: Agile projectmanagement en de PMBok aanpak voor kennisgebieden Project Integration, Scope en Time Management”)

In contrast with the familiar waterfall approach, Agile works in bursts. Short sprints of 4 to 5 weeks after which a working piece of software is delivered.

Agile has it’s step back moments build into the process in the name of retrospectives.

After each sprint, the team and customer get together to evaluate their last team effort. What went well? What could go better? It doesn’t matter which technique they use: brainstorming, root cause analysis, … The principle of taking a pause to observe the current efforts and see how the team can improve will positive effects on results, commitment and team mood.

Plan – Do – Check – Act

There’s no use for a step back moment when you’re not taking action. So design a method for assign and follow-up on actions and progress. Use the action list in your next retrospective. See if you made any progress (see also blog entry “A daily sense of measurable accomplishment”) and act upon it when it’s not working.

So, when are you planning your next step back moment?

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Working with targets: the high vs. the far jumper


Result planning is a technique that is used for planning financial and other results (what’s in a name?!). For doing result planning you need certain elements:

  • A goal: why are you doing result planning as such?
  • A measurement: what are you measuring? Why?
  • A baseline: from where on do you start measuring? What is your starting value?
  • A timeline: when do you start measuring? When do you end?
  • A target: which results do you want to reach (by the end of your timeline)?

And last but not least:

  • A plan: what are the intermediary steps to your results? Is your progress linear or are you growing in steps (eg. release related in ICT environments)?

When you doing result planning for cost savings or financial benefits, we can recognize three types of people:

  • People doing no result planning at all.
  • People who do result planning like far jumpers.
  • People who do result planning like high jumpers.

Since we are now in the spirit of the Olympic Games of 2012, let’s look at the jumpers.

Far jumpers

Far jumpers are athletics who try to jump as far as possible. There are no explicit targets set for them. They just try to jump as far as they can. For them, there’s only the run line, the jump line and the sand. It doesn’t matter how far they get, as long as they get the most far of them all.

In business environments, far jumpers don’t plan for results. They just try to achieve as much as them as possible. This has some advantages and disadvantages.

The advantage is that the sky is the limit: why set limits when you’re doing actions regarding cost savings or financial benefits? Just try to reach as much as you can!

The disadvantage is that without planning, results are only a matter of luck. When you don’t plan for results, you have no guarantee that results are made. Ever.

High jumpers

High jumper Tia Hellabaut

High jumper Tia Hellabaut

High jumpers are athletics who to try to jump over a preset (high) bar. High jumpers don’t try to jump as high as possible: before they jump, they tell the referee how high they are going to jump. 2,02 meters, 2,04 meters, …

This is actually result planning: they set a target in advance and do their best to reach it. If they didn’t reach it, they missed target. If they did reach it, they can raise the bar and go for a next attempt. So, when setting new targets, the term “raise the bar” is used. Now you know where it’s coming from when your superior tells to raise it.

The advantage of high jumping is that it’s clear for everyone what the target is and what you have to do to make it. Just like in the Olympic Games, it’s probably not possible to reach your end target in just one attempt: you need intermediary targets.

Here’s where result planning comes into place: determine your end target, determine the steps to reach it and don’t be afraid to raise the bar when you make your targets too soon.

Thanks to my colleague Bart for the metaphor!

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Work is like a horse race


Racehorse runs with blinders

Racehorse runs with blinders

In a previous blog entry, we discussed the difference between a plan and steering board. The plan board is used for planning and balancing work for your team. To set focus. The steering board is used for measuring if your team is doing fine and reaching their objectives.

We can use the metaphor of a horse in a horse race to elaborate on the concept.

A team plan board is used to plan team effort on short team. You can compare it with the horse in the horse race: blinkers are used to focus its attention to the track and avoid the horse is distracted from the screaming audience all round.

A team steering board will contain measurements, KPIs, to see if the team is still on track. In the horse race you can compare this with taking off the blinkers and taking a step back. Where are we now? Are we doing good? How’s the rest doing in the race? Are we still on the right track? Almost like you would set the race on pause with your TiVo and taking a different camera angle.

To measure is to know, but don’t forget to plan for success! If you want to reach your team target, you have to plan for results. A KPI goes further that an actual today and a target value in x months: you need result planning. Plan small steps during the available time period that will lead you to your target.

If you’re not working with result planning, it’s like riding the race with the blinkers of your horse closed. Every round you open the blinkers for a second and then close them again. You are only measuring the actuals and not planning for the future, nor for success. You don’t know how you are doing in the race and what you were supposed to do, but only taking note that you are still on the race track.

Don’t limit this metaphor to planning and steering of day-to-day work! The same is valid for your Voice Of the Customer approach: take a moment to step back and see if you’re still on track.

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