Treating measurement as your best friend

There is little point spending hours trying to win the knowledge game if you do not evaluate your efforts. This is a glaring weakness in current business strategy in all industries and countries across the world. The fact is that managers rarely take evaluation seriously or invest their time in it.

This observation has been consistently backed up by industry studies for several decades. The American Society for Training and Development again highlighted this conclusion in the 2002 State of the Industry Report with only 6 per cent of businesses surveyed evaluating the business impact of their learning and training initiatives.

If only managers took a little more effort to evaluate and measure the impact of their investment in learning, businesses would be much better placed to capitalize on their strengths as well as address their weaknesses in winning the knowledge game.

The good news is that the theme and importance of evaluation has been with us as we have travelled through this book. For example back in Chapter 1 we initially discussed the importance of each business knowing the gaps between its vision for knowledge and how it is actually performing. Then we discussed the importance of review in faster deeper learning in Chapter 4, while in Chapter 6, we noted how, by measuring productivity, increased talent retention and higher levels of customer value, managers will have a better measure of how they are tracking.

Of course, the discussions of evaluation and measurement did not end there! In Chapter 10 we introduced the business imperative of calculating and listing your proprietary knowledge and intellectual capital in financial records. Then, as we shifted our attention to leveraging digital technology, customer loyalty and e-learning, the importance of critical review and evaluation were also addressed.

This observation of the recurring theme of evaluation should not be of any real surprise! Evaluation is about continuous improvement, knowledge enhancement and learning. It has the potential to be a trusted friend for life, if you only give it a chance. It is the cornerstone of personal and business growth. If you are serious about making a difference and achieving your goals, you must make a commitment to review and audit your commitment and success in innovation, learning and knowledge enhancement.

Not all measurement and evaluation is good. In fact, if you are not careful, what you produce can be inappropriate, meaningless or inaccurate. Just because you are getting great scores, great numbers on a balance sheet or you feel good does not necessarily mean you are discovering what you need to know. You have to have a discipline that stretches your boundaries of the known and unknown to reveal the truth.

Excellent evaluation must be backed up with careful planning, transparency and consultation. Management must be prepared to deploy a range of measures without being guilty of producing bad or misleading information. Deploying the right spirit is vitally important. Treat the process of evaluation seriously and you will discover the insights you need to help provide the services and products you desire in a smarter , faster and better way.

To help you get the best out of evaluation of knowledge, learning and innovation, here are five tips to help steer you on the right course:

  1. Avoid measuring everything. Spend your evaluation efforts on the big projects or mission-critical business processes. Carefully isolate the data and measures that will give you the best and most accurate picture of the truth. These could include performance measures as well as contributing factors such as customer expectations, work environment and the level of management support. Wasting time on trivial matters and ˜squeaky wheels is a serious waste of your resources.

  2. Be wary of accepting benchmarks or standards from other businesses without first studying their suitability and relevance. Just because someone else has reached a certain standard does not mean it is achievable or relevant in your business. Consider the constraints and idiosyncrasies of your business. Make sure you are clear on what you are trying to do and measure.

  3. You need to be clear on your real needs and hot spots. Do your homework before venturing elsewhere to find the answer. Make friends with financial and industry experts who can help you argue a business case based on facts and the right evidence. Then be prepared to back up your discoveries with testimonials, unsolicited kudos or stories that help build your picture of success, progress or failure.

  4. Dig below the surface and question assumptions, beliefs and taboos. Be prepared to ask different questions to map out the next practical step. Your evaluation may tell you how you are going, but it may not tell you what to do next . Ask only those evaluation questions that you are prepared to answer yourself. Encourage the sharing of important knowledge and unbiased feedback. Be ethical and preserve confidentiality and trust.

  5. Review how well you are conducting the evaluation process itself. Explore how successful you have been in communicating the intention and purpose of your study or review. Remember the process of measurement must sound both interesting and important, otherwise people will not help you out.

Winning the Knowledge Game. Smarter Learning for Business Excellence
Winning the Knowledge Game. Smarter Learning for Business Excellence
ISBN: 750658096
Year: 2003
Pages: 129 © 2008-2017.
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