Our featured book for March is Transforming Performance Measurement: Rethinking the Way We Measure and Drive Organizational Success, by Dean R. Spitzer, Ph.D.  Which you can purchase through our bookstore here:

Most organizations are drowning in data and few of them are using measurement well. While there have been enormous advancements in the technical methods and technology of measurement, almost nothing has been done to improve the social and organizational enablers to make measurement accessible and productive for all the people in the organization—from those who ultimately determine what to measure and how to measure it, to those who interpret the data, communicate about it, and learn from it.  What differentiates this book from others is that it is primarily about the social and organizational issues that will determine whether performance measurement will be successful. This book is not so much about doing measurement as it is about creating an optimal environment for doing it well.

No organization can achieve high levels of performance in today’s intensely competitive marketplace until it transforms its measurement capabilities.  In his book, Dr. Spitzer proclaims that a transformation is needed in how performance measurement is viewed and used. This book is a manifesto for the transformation.

The book advocates four keys that are essential for transforming performance measurement: Focus, Integration, Interactivity, and Context.

Focus is the need to measure the right things, not just what is easiest to measure. Changing what and how we measure can help us see things that we were previously blind to.  For example, Activity-Based Costing enabled organizations to understanding profitability to a much greater extent than was previously possible with traditional perspectives.  Dr. Spitzer shows how relative minor changes in measures can make huge changes in perspective.  The book also provides 34 Transformational Measurement Action Plans that suggest both well-accepted and “emergent” measures (in areas such as marketing, sales, human resources, customer service, knowledge management, productivity, information technology, research and development, costing, and much more) that you can use right away to start transforming performance measurement in your organization.

Integration is about breaking down functional silos that lead to isolated metrics, organizational conflicts, and rampant sub-optimization. Dr. Spitzer explains how measurement frameworks and cross-functional measures can promote collaboration and improve line-of-sight from drivers to results, and foster a better integrated organization.

Interactivity is the socialization process that turns data and information into knowledge and wisdom.  Very few employees (or managers, for that matter) know what to do with measurement data.  What does the scorecard or dashboard really mean?  Unfortunately, there are currently too many disconnects between those who measure and those who use measurement.  While data collection and analysis are very important, the ultimate value of measurement information depends on interpretation and how the information is used for insight and decision-making. Dr. Spitzer explains the importance of building communication around measurement into the social infrastructure of the organization.

Context includes all the enablers and constraints to effective performance measurement. Among crucial contextual factors discussed in this book are measurement leadership, culture, technology, and many other factors that impact measurement and organizational performance more than we realize. Dr. Spitzer shows that, in the
right context, measurement can be empowering and motivating while, in the wrong context, it can be disempowering and demotivating.

Most of this book covers topics that are glaringly absent in most books on performance measurement. Performance measurement is a dynamic process that calls for an awareness of the balance necessary between seemingly disparate ideas: the technical and the social aspects of performance measurement. You need technology to manage the flood of data, but you must make sure that it supports the people who will be making decisions and taking action crucial to your organization’s success. This book shows you how to design the right technical-social balance into your organization’s measurement system.

Transforming Performance Measurement presents a breakthrough approach that will significantly reduce measurement dysfunctions, promote alignment with business strategy, maximize the cross-enterprise integration, and help everyone in the organization to understand and work collaboratively to leverage the most important value drivers. This book is full of stimulating ideas and insights on how to affect the transformation and is indispensible for anyone who is concerned about how performance measurement can become a more powerful and positive force in organizations.  It also provides assessment tools to gauge where you are now in terms of measurement maturity and a roadmap for moving to a more “transformational” measurement system.


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