Tell me how you measure me and I’ll tell you how I behave

I have listened this sentence from a CIO with regards the behavior of his organization. He was complaining about how people forget to improve things and focus on do the things in the right way. In some way, when the individual targets are set, the people focus on them and forget about the rest of the things.

This is pure human nature, just a survival principle.

The situation commented was related to help-desk support where people have to attend customers. There basic ingredients of a successful service are the quality of the service and the time response. The right balance of these ingredients need to be adjusted to to fulfill the required volume of calls at the end of the week are key.

If you say to the people the target measures you have: number of calls for each week, or average seconds each call should have, etc you will find that so many of them will be able to reach the numbers in a very accurate way.

What to do then?

Define your metrics, define your targets, and measure.

Once a week do an extraction of the picture by person, and study the people who are out of the average:

  • Those who attended too many calls in a week.
  • Those who took so much time to attend the calls.
  • Those who took so much time to attend the next call (time between call).

Have a  1 to 1 meeting with the ones who were out of the picture (those who were out of the average figures you have measured).

And ask them what have been they doing last week, ask them about details of how the week was. Try to understand the reasons, do not accept excuses and repeat the message of the principles you have defined about “how to deliver an excellent service”.

And never, never: tell them how you are measuring them.

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