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Making the Numbers, But Are You Missing the Mark?

By Judy White, President, The Infusion Group, LLC

It’s imperative that managers and human resource leaders seize the opportunity to proactively intervene before there are any spikes in voluntary turnover, low productivity and/or the derailment of projects.

Business intelligence software is growing by leaps and bounds, providing organizations with greater efficiencies and keen insights into data-driven processes and practices. Reportedly, these tools are helping many business and financial leaders improve overall decision-making capabilities based on a number of relevant factors, including key performance indicators (KPIs) that display vivid colors of robust data points on intelligent charts and graphs.

Having a summarized view of the organization’s KPIs in real-time allows for broader visibility into overall business performance. These tools not only provide sophistication and rich analytics for business leaders to zero in on the “yellow” and/or “red” light status indicators pointing to strategic initiatives at risk, they also provide unexpected opportunities to engage employees and project teams in meaningful ways.

Addressing and prioritizing interventions for at-risk initiatives may be intuitive for seasoned managers. However, savvy leaders who seek to drive higher engagement within the organization also drill down into “green light” status or “on-track” mentality and take the valuable and critical time to explore the reasons contributing to the initiative’s success and the people behind it.

Study the Dashboard

By implementing disciplined action into the “dashboard review” process and asking the right questions, leaders may discover key opportunities to connect with people across the organization and identify critical information that may improve areas such as:

  • collaboration
  • learning
  • talent deployment
  • leadership
  • team effectiveness
  • employee retention

This kind of review may also uncover unexpected areas where managers have been so intent upon achieving results and accomplishments at all costs that they’ve lost sight of the greater cost: team members feeling undervalued and mistreated.

If these undercurrents begin to create an environment where team behaviors are compromising personal and company values in order to keep a project on-track, it’s imperative that managers and human resource leaders seize the opportunity to proactively intervene before there are any spikes in voluntary turnover, low productivity and/or the derailment of projects.

Dashboards often serve as a useful tool in assessing initiatives such as employee engagement survey results. For larger organizations, they provide a way of ensuring accountability by management and the organization, and that action planning and providing feedback to the respective departments does occur. But while survey feedback may have occurred and the dashboard shows a “green light,” companies cannot take these findings and results to indicate that the entire project was a success.

Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced business environment, insecure managers who are required to deliver survey feedback may communicate in a manner that undermines the intent of the survey by punishing their team for participating honestly in a company-wide survey process. It’s this type of behavior that contributes to the ultimate undermining of projects and the team as a whole, often resulting in resentment and higher turnover.

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Gauging Effectiveness

By giving proper analytical attention to “green-light” status, savvy leaders can take hold of opportunities to assess communication effectiveness, reinforce company values, recognize people and teams and allow for the flexibility to correct the course of the company prior to top talent seeking new opportunities where they feel more valued and their work is acknowledged – as it rightly deserves to be.

Whether your organization uses reporting or sophisticated analytic tools, implementing a disciplined approach in the review process may go further in preserving and building your “people portfolio” and avoid any flashing red lights down the road.

In doing so, you minimize the risk of being blindsided.

Judy White is President of The Infusion Group, LLC, a people management consulting and executive coaching firm. For more information, go to www.theinfusiongroupllc.com

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September/October 2010

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