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Operational Performance, Performance Measurement and Alignment, discussed with Christoph Hoffmann, Vice Principal of EDGE Hotel School, University of Essex

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Given The KPI Institute’s presence at the PMA 2014 Conference, the PERFORMANCE Magazine team was able to interview some of the most highly skilled academics and practitioners in the field of Performance Management.

Christoph Hoffmann, the Vice Principal of EDGE Hotel School, at the University of Essex gave an interview, in which he discussed the need to measure operational performance and its implications for adjusting organizational strategy.

Discussing the main challenges in today’s Performance Management, he notes the fact that the main difficulty is operationalizing the data and acting upon it to drive performance in the desired direction.

Bringing knowledge from the hospitality industry, Christoph Hoffmann states that data availability is no longer an issue, as now, the rapid developments within the industry allow for adequate measures.

Talking trends in 2014 within the field of Performance Management, he encourages professionals and practitioners to focus on measurement at the operational level. In his opinion this would mean departing from the trend of emphasizing measurement at the top-management level.

From his perspective, especially related to the hospitality segment – there needs to be a focus on measurement, and it’s linkage to the CEO level. His advice is that it should be bottom-up driven, as that is where the information focuses.

Also, Christoph Hoffmann spoke about the importance of aligning a Performance Management System throughout organizational levels. He explains that there’s a link between what one does at the operational level and what one does strategy-wise, and there needs to be an overall strategy that ensures adequate measurement and that the organization is moving in the desired direction.

In his opinion strategy needs to be informed by what is going on at the operational level. Thus, strategy may adapt given the data drafted from the operational level, where the overall strategy is defined by the CEO level and informed by the operational level.

In his interview, Christoph Hoffmann gives 3 pieces of advice for operating an effective Performance Management system:

  • Educating the staff should be the top priority – people understanding what the measures mean and what are their implications;
  • Real time data collection – the speed with which people collect the available data is essential;
  • Using the adequate IT solution for real time data collection, especially in the hospitality segment.

He also shared his views on measuring personal performance, where he speaks about his own habit of tracking personal performance. However, he observes the issue with personal tracking systems is data ownership: who owns the data, the utilizer or the company that produces the tracker?

Giving some final remarks about what changes are taking place within the Performance Management field and what we need to give more attention to, he mentions:

  • The increasing availability of data and the ease of access;
  • The ongoing complexity of big data and its use;
  • Discerning what data is ignorable and what do we need to focus on.
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