Andy Neely’s Performance Management in a turbulent World, PMA 2014
The first day of the 2014 PMA Conference, brought on a keynote presentation, delivered by Andy Neely, Professor and Director at the Cambridge Service Alliance, of the Cambridge University and PMA Chair.
Dubbed “Strategic Performance management: Past, Present and Potential” the presentation brought on a practical example, that of the British Airways’ implementation of their customer satisfaction program and suggested a new framework for performance management, in what Professor Neely calls a “turbulent” chapter in the development of mankind.
Pointing out to the fact that designing and deploying an efficient performance management system is hindered by instabilities in the world, as we see it today, the following invitation for reflection became the discussion’s starting point: “do today’s systems help with turbulence?”
Given this challenge, Professor Neely went on to highlight the fact that “performance management systems are becoming too complicated”, and advocated for simplicity, for easiness, as quoted here:
“In a turbulent world- keep it simple! Every activity is not equal! Realize that easier is better.”
With reference to a case study, on British Airways’ customer satisfaction system, Professor Neely shared a framework for performance management, comprised of:
- modelling performance;
- managing performance;
- measurement programs;
- which subsequently lead to more decisions.
Another industry to which attention was drawn is the IT sector, namely IT companies, due to the fact that, according to Professor Neely, they are currently one of the most dynamic environments.
Giving a few key pointers on how to attain an agile, efficient performance management system, the following suggestions arose:
- regard projects as the drivers of change in organisations;
- when managing projects, keep in mind that initiative alignment is essential;
- use “measurement as a learning system, not a control system”;
- look to the execution management cycle and explore the drivers of performance.
Thus having highlighted the need for an alternative approach to modelling performance, in order to attain a “simplified model of performance management”, Professor Neely introduced leadership as the key driver for progress in this direction.
The presentation concluded with a call to action, where participants were prompted to:
“Think and design systems that are much more agile and able to cope with this turbulence.”