Looking forward, looking back

I’m a huge fan of performance indicators. The notion of using specific metrics to assess how well an organisation is doing and to better understand the environment in which it is operating can be incredibly powerful. Provided, of course, that we’re looking at the right metrics. But too many organisation focus on historic data. This means that they’re looking backwards, when they should be looking ahead.

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When targets miss the mark

Whether it’s government administration or corporate strategy, it’s invariably only a matter of time until the subject of performance targets rears its head. From market share to how quickly you get seen in the emergency department, we have a target for that. The irony, though, is that setting a target can actually make is less likely that we’ll achieve what we want to achieve, rather than more. It’s the law, in fact: Goodhart’s law.

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On the usefulness of measuring things

There’s something about management thinkers and measuring things. They just can’t get enough of it. They have a congenital need to count stuff. In fact, they just don’t seem to be able to get through the day without quantifying something. But there’s a reason for that. It’s because they’re right. Continue reading “On the usefulness of measuring things”

Developing an academic workload model

I wrote recently about the benefits – and challenges – of developing academic workload models within higher education institutions. Somebody asked me subsequently what a workload model could look like in practice, so I drew them the diagram below. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not pretty, but it does hopefully give an indication of how such a model could be developed and what information it could provide.

Workload Model

Just click on the image to get a PDF version. And if you’d like to know more or to discuss how workload modelling could help your institution, please do feel free to get in touch.

Measurement is good, but measurement plus action is better

Finding ways to measure your organisation’s performance is important. It gives you valuable information on what is happening, what is working and what is not. But measurement is only the first step. It is what you do with the information that can make all the difference. Continue reading “Measurement is good, but measurement plus action is better”