I believe that to be a very true and a widely accepted concept. People understand that if something is important enough for you to measure its success, they had better pay attention to it too. But just as important as the measurements and accountability is the understanding. Do your employees truly understand what is important, what is your organization's vision, what are your goals, what's their role, and how they will be measured?
So I'm saying that although measurements are incredibly important to the success of all of our organizations, there are a lot of foundation steps to be completed before you start that process. Measurement is just part of a cyclical process, not an end in itself.
Today I am going to tell you the story of my company, Retcar, and how we have implemented a process, which we call performance alignment. I'll share the history of the implementation and the results that we achieved. But, in the process of developing my presentation, I did a little research to help support the Retcar processes and to validate some of our fundamental theories about which I'll speak.
We at Retcar have developed some unique tools and methodologies, but they are based upon concepts subscribed to by many forward-thinking companies. In other words, we didn't originate any theories or create new ways of doing business. We simply developed a process to drive and manage what many successful companies are trying to achieve, the performance alignment of the entire organization.
In doing my research, I came across some articles on Indus try Week's annual competition called "America's Best Plants." The articles explored the winning entries and endeavored to find common traits shared by these very successful organizations. The articles obviously talked about measurements, but there were an amazing number of powerful quotes, talking about the importance of the organization's understanding of the vision, the goals, and then the measurements.
Here's a good one with which to start: "Effective and open communications play a huge role in creating a trusting organization. It's amazing what people will do, if they just know why they are doing it." (Porter-Cable Corp.)
I have personally found this to be a very accurate observation. If employees understand your vision, in other words, you've communicated your strategies and translated them to meaningful "line-of-sight" goals; you've empowered them to achieve and to act independently.
We at Retcar have found that communication of our vision and our goals, that which will ultimately be measured, cannot be overemphasized. It has to happen effectively, often, and not just in a traditional top-down fashion. This belief is shared by Halliburton Energy Services, another quoted winner from the IndustryWeek competition. "Whatever form communication takes within your company, make sure it is 'multidirectional'— that is, up, down, and through all levels of the organization. Open lines of communication develop trust, encourage new ideas, eliminate intimidation and skepticism, and aid in building a brigh ter fu ture for employees and the company."
At Retcar, in addition to traditional communications, we have also added a software tool that acts as both a broadcaster of organization goals and a repository for translated versions of those goals as they apply to each group and individual. In other words, we have a goal warehouse in which individuals can view, manage, and share goals throughout our organization. So our efforts to communicate goals through this mechanism actually evolve into an alignment process.
"Communicate frequently, personally, and through multiple vehicles to ensure that the message gets across andthatyou obtain understanding...but don't forget that listening is the more importan tpart ofcomm unication." (Alcatel Network Systems—IndustryWeek winner)
To Be Continued
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