In an earlier Blog we discussed the need to establish workplace performance measures that mapped upon the strategic outcomes that the client business sought. To do this, it is obvious that we must understand what the strategies mean in really simple terms. It is unfortunate that strategic statements rarely are sufficiently clear and unambiguous to base accurate workplace performance measures against. The difficulty is that most publicised statements are liberally scattered with “weasel words”. These are words that can be interpreted in many ways. To assume that we can understand these without any challenge is to run the serious risk of devoting time, cost and effort into setting erroneous performance measures that could lead to wrong decisions. So what are these weasel words?
Well, there are lots and you will no doubt be familiar with many. Stacey Barr who specialises in Performance Management in her website lists these she has encountered.
…accelerate, accessibility, accountability, active, adaptive, advocating, affective, alignment, balanced, barriers, basic, benchmarked, benefits, best practice, brand (image), capacity, centrality, challenges, change, client-driven, collaborative, compelling, competence, competitive, connectedness, considered, consultative, continuing, core, delivery, demonstrated, deployable, dis-established, diversity, drive, dynamic, effective, efficient, embedded, empowered, enablers, end-to-end, end-user, evidence-based, focus, foster, empowered, engaged, enhancements, excellence, fit for purpose, flexibility, flourish, forward-looking, fundamental, going forward, gold-plating, governance, ground-breaking, growth, harness, harvested, high-value, holistic, implications, improvements, inclusive, initiation, innovative, input, integration, integrity, interdependent, interface, issues, key, lean, leveraged, livability, mandated, needs, network, opportunities, optimised, outcomes, outputs, oversighting, ownership, pathways, participation, performance, priority-driven, proactive, processes, productivity, products, progression, progressive, quality, reanimate, recognition, re-energise, reform, reliability, renewal, responsibility, responsive, rich, rigourous, roadmap, robust, significant, solution, special, standards, strategically, streamlined, strengthened, strong, successful, supported, sustainable, synergies, targeted, transformation, translational, transparent, underpinning, uniqueness, utilised, value, value-added, vanilla solutions, vibrant, wellbeing, winning, world-class, zoomify….
We all are guilty of their use but what all these have in common is that they don’t tell you what is exactly required. For example what is meant by efficient? Is it cost efficient? Resource efficient? Sustainable or Green? It could be used in a number of contexts and the measures would be very different. Without fuller definition nobody knows what each one means and they are open to each person’s interpretation.
The only way to resolve the intent is to question the understanding of the goals that the business is seeking in the context of its operations. It really does need to be simple enough to describe to a child, and not to be put off resorting to sensory measures of performance. For example, if the workplace goal was to improve collaboration, ask oneself what physically and emotionally would it feel like or look like? What business results would be affected? What behavioural changes would we see? What use of workplace features and services would be indicative of increased collaboration?
Create a better workplace strategy by getting the foundations right. For more information on workplace performance measures, contact a AWA workplace management professional on +44 20 7743 7110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your inquiry. Advanced Workplace Associates are based in London, United Kingdom but now work internationally across the United States of America, Asia and Europe.