For a business to continually improve, it needs to be constantly evaluating its operational and financial performance data. The challenge is however, ensuring those measures are aligned to drive performance and achieve the business’ strategic goals. Too often we see managers focused on departmental goals rather than the goals that will support business improvement and the best financial returns for the business.

Very often, you can’t blame the managers because that is how they are measured and even incentivised to achieve. Yes, part of a manager’s performance evaluation should focus on how well they run their department, but a larger proportion should focus on the business itself achieving corporate goals, after all that is what the shareholders want.

Now let’s get back to the measures. Once the executive team have developed and had approved the business’ goals for the next 12 months, these goals need to be broken down into departmental and personal goals. As these goals are defined, the important question is: Do they support your corporate goals?

This alignment of evaluation is critical before goals and targets are decided. As they say, “what gets measured gets done”.1 All departments and employees need to work together to maximise the business’ potential and stay ahead of competitors.

Implementation

Implementation is often the biggest challenge for businesses. Now that we have developed the strategy and key outcomes, how do we take this back into the business and give ourselves a chance of delivering it?

Today, many workforces consist of generations that crave communication and require a different management style. These are Generation X, Generation Y and the Millenials. We know it’s more important today than ever before for management to develop a communication plan that will involve and engage all employees. Your employees want to know where the business is going, what challenges and opportunities lie ahead, and what they and their department need to contribute to help the business be successful.

During implementation, we have found it helpful to use a visual workplace management process that is set up at all levels in the business and measures key outcomes along the supply chain. There is a much higher level of employee engagement and responsibility if outcomes are presented for each department and if performance is shown visually, both as actual results and as trends.

1 Dennis, P. (2007). Getting the right things done: A leaders’ guide to planning and execution. Brookline, MA: Lean Enterprise Institute.