How to avoid the pitfalls of performance metrics
It's that time of year: performance reviews, appraisals, setting new objectives... and the anxieties that go with this.
The latest issue of HBR carries an excellent article by Michael Harris and Bill Tayler on the concept of "surrogation": when people get so focused on a specific metric for performance, that they forget and neglect the underlying reason for why it exists.
They risk channeling all of their energy, and anxiety, into achieving, rather than applying their expertise and judgement to what's happening with the work that should be leading to it. A classic example is for a customer service related metric: is it more important that a customer scores the work as a "10", or that we understand what we did well to deliver that service, what we could have done better, and how we can continue to improve the customer experience?
See: Are your performance measures driving the right behaviours?
.. to find out more about Harris and Tayler's suggestions for avoiding "surrogation" and how we can apply their insights to make objective setting at all levels (organisational, team and individual) a focus for the positive discussion that it could be.