Management Observation Program Best Practice 16 – Don’t Tolerate Substandard Observations

StrategyDriven Management Observation Program Best Practice ArticlePeople, processes, and technologies are not perfect. And if they were, you’d still have something to write about.[wcm_restrict plans=”41990, 25542, 25653″]

Management observations are performed to reinforce leadership’s expectations and identify opportunities for meaningful organizational improvement. Consequently, observations that fail to identify either those exceptional or deficient performance attributes rob the organization of the opportunity to improve safety, reliability, and efficiency.

A critical component of an effective observation program is the review and grading of the observations themselves. Such reviews seek to determine whether a quality observation that will meaningfully contribute to organizational improvement was performed. Key characteristics of high quality observations include:

  • Criteria scoring across a spectrum from excellent to needs improvement (See StrategyDriven Management Observation Program Best Practice article, Criteria Scoring System)
  • Substantiating comments captured for exceptional and deficient performance such that replication (excellent or above average performance) or corrective action (needs improvement) can be taken
  • Observations performed across a diverse set of activities/individuals, documents, and technologies and are not focused on a singular subject by a particular observer or workgroup
  • Observations perform for activities, documents, and technologies important to the organization’s operational safety, reliability/continuity, efficiency, and compliance (See StrategyDriven Management Observation Best Practice article, Selecting an Activity to be Observed)
  • Observation feedback provided to the individual observed or responsible for the documents and/or technologies observed (See StrategyDriven Management Observation Program Best Practice articles, Immediate Feedback and Documented and Signed Observations)
  • Condition reports written for those deficiencies meeting that program’s reporting criteria (See StrategyDriven Business Performance Assessment Program Best Practice article, Capture Improvement Opportunities with the Corrective Action Program)

Should an observation not meet the organization’s minimum quality standards, it should be either improved or rejected. Improvements should be performed in cases of missing details that do not require a material recollection on the part of the observer and are performed within a short period of time following the initial observation. More significant deficiencies should result in the observation’s rejection and not being counted against the organization’s established observation schedule and/or quota. Consequently, the observation will need to be reperformed.

Final Thought…

Leaders who maintain consistent, rigorously applied, high standards for the performance of management observations communicate the program’s importance to observers and the workforce. They further reinforce the organization’s commitment to continuous improvement rather than showing a dedication to ‘checking the quota box.’ The result of this reinforcement is not only the achievement of ever improving performance but also the establishment of organizational accountability that helps ensure performance meets and/or exceeds expectations even when individuals are not being watched.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember plans=”41990, 25542, 25653″]

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About the Author

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.

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