This is the most important part of the performance management process in terms of significance to, and relationship with, business results. Get success with these and the rest is a natural occurrence. Once agreed and set into the performance plan for the coming period, focus everything on the achievement of the each objective’s measurable tasks.
Measurable tasks are the activities that are defined as necessary to carry out and complete in order to support achievement of the objective to which they relate. In proverbial terms, look after the tasks and the objectives will look after themselves.
Where an objective may set a requirement to control stock in Room 201, the measurable tasks will set out what actions are deemed necessary in order that the objective is achieved.
Treat objectives as a project and measurable tasks as the activities to be carried out, the project milestones to be achieved along the way. For example:
Determine and execute a disposal plan for obsolete stock in Room 201 by 31 March next year.
- Carry out a full inventory of the stock in Room 201.
- The Inventory Report will include type of stock, value, date last used, on which process used.
- Determine with your manager the stock in Room 201 that can be disposed.
- Publish, to the Finance Manager, a proposed disposal plan and schedule.
- When authorised by the Finance Manager, execute the plan, reporting progress and results.
Now these are clear measurable tasks assigned to an individual and which also involve the manager. If all of the measurable tasks are completed, the objective must be achieved. However, there is a challenging requirement to ensure that the Finance Manager authorises the disposal plan within the schedule you set, but that is a task for you to manage.
A difficulty arises in determining how to assign a definitive figure. For example, in a Customer Support Centre, the objective could be set ‘To improve call answering from 10 to 3 rings’ which could result in failure if it improves from 10 but only to 4 rings! But if the objective is set ‘Improve the call response to better than 10 rings’ and the measurable task is set as ‘strive to achieve a call response of 5 to 6 rings and no longer, through the deployment of xyz hunting technology’, the objective is likely to be achieved (an improvement) and the team will find out what level of improvement was actually attainable and in the process will have determined what prevents them from attaining even better results.
It must be a success because it is an improvement over the previous 10 rings and also because if 7 or 8 rings is achieved, you have still been striving for 5 to 6.
Nobody has reason to feel demotivated because next year the team will continue to strive for 5 to 6 rings and maybe there will be an additional objective to determine and remove stumbling blocks that prevent 5 to 6 rings being achieved.
However, it is important that the manager accepts his objectives as being realistic to achieve, before translating them for his people.
Wincy is a freelance business consultant who has brilliant clientele. She also writes on business start-ups and business ideas.Her approach comes from William Lauder, the renowned business leader.