Run New and Old Performance Measures in Parallel

The outcomes of substantive change can seldom be fully anticipated; and changes to organizational performance measures are no exception. Performance measures drive executive and managerial decisions and personnel actions and, over time, shape these behaviors to achieve optimal results relative to the established measures. Thus, changes to performance measures serve to change behaviors in predictable and sometimes unpredictable ways.[wcm_restrict plans=”41599, 25542, 25653″]

New performance measures challenge an organization and its members in several ways. First, individuals need to understand how their behavior will impact the new measure’s reported results for better and for worst. Second, they must identify ways to modify their behavior, consistent with company values and policies, so to achieve improving outcomes relative to the new measure without diminishing performance in other areas. Third, those developing and authorizing the new performance measure must validate the appropriateness of the measure itself; ensuring the new indicator accurately reflects the performance to be measured and modifies behaviors in the desired manor.

Overcoming these hurdles can be challenging, particularly because the modified performance measure may itself be defective. One way to drive positive and deliberate organizational change through an organizational performance measure update is to maintain and publish the old and new performance measure for a three to six month period of time. Although requiring additional effort, maintaining the old performance measure provides a reference point from which new behaviors and results changes can be assessed, communicated, and understood while also providing performance measurement continuity should the updated indicator be identified as defective.

Running the new and old performance measures for a period of time helps ease the transition to the new performance standard when the following principles are followed:

  • Make only one change to a performance measure at a time – reduces the complexity of the change; making the new measure easier to understand and the needed behavioral changes easier to identify (see StrategyDriven Organizational Performance Measures Best Practice 8 – One Change at a Time)
  • Run the new and old performance measures in parallel for at least three to six months – provides an adequate amount of time to ensure the new performance measure is valid and the resulting behavior changes consistent with those desired
  • Broadly communicate (executive and managerial performance review meetings, workplace publication, department briefings, tailgate meetings, etcetera.) the new performance measure’s definition, results, and differences with the old indicator – helps individuals within the organization understand and more quickly adapt their behaviors to the new standard
  • Scrutinize the new indicators reported results and associated behavior changes – validates the desirability of keeping the new performance measure long-term

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