Accountability for business results requires that measures be two things: aligned with strategy, and available to those who can take action to affect changes that will have impact over the long haul.
Our work with clients in the measurement and accountability area is based on the following premise:
If people throughout a process are given measurable targets they can affect, the tools they need to affect them and they are consistently held accountable for achieving those targets, then improvement will occur.
This premise may seem straightforward, however it is difficult to implement. If any one of the three requirements isn't met, then improvement, in our experience, is far less likely to occur.
We help clients do the six things necessary to
meet these requirements:
- Define measures on which people and teams can act
- Align measures and measurement systems to strategy
- Connect those measures to a well defined process
- Assign accountability for results to those indivduals and teams who can take action to improve results
- Develop targets for improvement to which responsible people can be held accountable
- Build the tools to enable consistent accountability
The result of this work with clients is an integrated measurement system designed not only to report on what has happened, but also identify where improvement is needed as well as who in the process can make that improvement happen.
How to Measure Marketing: An Age-old and Ongoing Question
Our client, a mid-sized technology firm, was developing, with our partner, plans for substantial growth. Many of the alternatives being considered would require significant overhaul of its go-to-market strategy and increased emphasis on marketing strategy and tactics. As part of their considerations we were asked to help them think about what appropriate measures of the new strategy would be and what it would take to put them in place.
We worked with the client and our partner to gain a thorough understanding of the strategies being considered. In addition, we conducted over 25 interviews with executive leaders and mid-management across the organization. These interviews were designed to help us assess attitudes about measurement, current measurement systems, practices and measures and how the results of measurement were used.
We found that, although measurement took place, there was no systematic approach being used in marketing or across the company. Because of this underdeveloped measurement environment accountability was poorly defined.
With this relatively blank canvas and the possibility of wholesale change in strategy, we chose to introduce the Balanced Scorecard. We:
- Worked with our partner to clearly categorize strategies and strategic themes
- Identified the range of outcome and performance driver measures that would be appropriate for and consistent with the strategies
- Developed a workshop for executive management in which Balanced Scorecard theory was presented as were the client’s strategies and associated potential measures
- Drove a process, within the workshop, to prioritize measures and define implementation parameters
- Developed a comprehensive set of implementation recommendations and plan
The client was able to implement the measurement system as part of the rollout of their new strategy.