Part of the Simple Checklist Series
The simple Measurement Readiness Checklist will be useful for any major measurement initiative, but is tailored toward beginning a measurement program. The checklist will provide a platform for evaluating and discussing whether you have the resources, plans and organizational attitudes needed to implement a new measurement program or support the program you currently have in place.
I have divided the checklist into three categories: resources (part 1 and 2), plans, and attitudes. Each can be leveraged separately. However, using the three components will help you to focus on the big picture. Today we address attitude.
Here we continue the checklist with the section on plans and planning. If you have not read the first three sections of the checklist please take a moment see (Measurement Readiness Checklist: Resources Part 1, Measurement Readiness Checklist: Resources Part 2 and Measurement Readiness Checklist: Plans).
When you talk about attitude it seems personal rather than organizational. But when it comes to large changes (and implementing measurement is a large change), I believe that both the attitude of the overall organization and critical individuals (inside or outside the organization) are important. As you prepare to either implement measurement or keep it running, the onus is on you as a change leader to develop a nuanced understanding of who you need to influence within the organization. This part of the checklist will portray an organizational view; however, you can and should replicate the exercise for specific critical influencers and yourself.
Scale and Scoring
The attitude category of the checklist contributes up to forty total points. Each component contributes up to 8 points (8, 4, 2, 0).
Vision of tomorrow
Is there a belief that tomorrow will be demonstratively better based on the actions that are being taken? The organization needs to have a clear vision that tomorrow will be better than today in order to positively motivate the team to aspire to be better than they are.
8 – The organization is excited about the changes that are being implemented. Volunteers to help move the program or to pilot new concepts are numerous.
4 – Most of the organization is excited about most of the changes and their impact on the future.
2 – There is a neutral outlook (or at least undecided).
-5 – There is active disenchantment with or dissension about the future.
Support Note: Measurement organizations often fall into the trap of accepting and ignoring the organization’s overall vision of the future. While a measurement program typically cannot change how an organization feels about itself, it can be a positive force for change. Make sure your Organizational Change Plan includes positive marketing and how you will deliver positive messaging.
I once believed that the simplest process change that works was usually the best approach. I have become much more absolutist in that attitude, demanding that if someone does not take the simplest route that they prove beyond a shadow of doubt that they are correct. Minimalism is important in today’s lean business environment. Heavy processes are wearing on everyone who uses them and even a process is just right today, entropy will add steps and reviews over time, which may add unneeded weight. Score this attribute higher if your organization has a policy to apply lean principles as a step in process development and maintenance.
8 – All measurement processes are designed with lean principles formally applied. Productivity and throughput are monitored to ensure that output isn’t negatively impacted.
4 – All measurement processes are designed with lean principles formally applied; however, they are not monitored quantitatively.
2 – All measurement processes are designed with lean principles informally applied.
-5 – Measures and measurement processes are graded by complexity and the number of steps required with a higher number of steps being better.
Support Note: In many cases embracing a lean philosophy is more important after the initial implementation of a measurement program as there is a natural tendency to add checks, balances and reviews to your measurement processes as time goes by. Each step in a process must be evaluated to ensure the effort required adds value to information measurement delivers to the business.
A learner is someone that understands that they don’t know everything and that mistakes will be made, but is continually broadening their knowledge base. A learner understands that when made, mistakes are to be examined and corrected rather than swept under the carpet. Another attribute of a learner is the knowledge that the synthesis of data and knowledge from other sources is required for growth. In most organizations an important source of process knowledge and definition are the practitioners — but not the sole source.
8 – New ideas are actively pursued and evaluated on an equal footing with any other idea or concept.
4 – New ideas are actively pursued and evaluated, but those that reflect the way work is currently done are given more weight.
2 – The “not invented here” point of view has a bit of a hold on the organization, making the introduction of new ideas difficult.
0 – There is only one way to do anything and it was invented here sometime early last century. Introduction of new ideas is considered dangerous.
Note: The Buddhists call this the beginner’s mind which seeks new knowledge with free eyes.
The organization needs to have a real need to drive the change and must be used to pursuing longer-term goals. The Process Philosopher of Sherbrooke argues that being goal-driven is required to be serious about change. In many cases I have observed that a career near-death experience increases the probability of change, because it sharpens focus (assuming it does not create a negative atmosphere). A check-the-box goal rarely provides more than short-term, localized motivation.
8 – The organization has a well-stated positive goal and that measurement not only supports, but is integral to attaining that goal.
2 – The pursuit of the measurement is about checking a box on a RFP response.
-10 – Measurement is being pursued for no apparent purpose.
Overall Note: Measurement programs that are not tied directly to supporting organizational direct goals should be stopped and restarted only after making sure of the linkage.
Belief in the underlying concepts of the measurement (or other change framework) provides motivation to the organization and individuals. Belief provides a place to fall back upon when implementation or support becomes difficult. Conviction creates a scenario where constancy of purpose (from Deming’s work) is not an after-thought, but the way things are done. Implementing measurement programs are long-term efforts — generally with levels of excitement cycling through peaks and valleys. In the valley when despair becomes a powerful force, many times conviction is the thread that keeps things moving forward. Without a critical mass of conviction it will be easy to wander off to focus on the next new idea.
8 – We believe and have evidence that from the past that we can continue to believe over time.
4 – We believe but this is the first time we’ve attempted something this big!
2 – We believe . . . mostly.
0 – No Organizational Change Plan has been created.
Next up: scoring and deciding what to do with the score.