Tagged: measurement

Sixty seven


The biggest process transformation so far relates to the structural changes I described above. We’ve got quite a bit of it licked fairly rapidly because our technology partner had anticipated some of our needs – it seems we’ve not been the only ones thinking hard about social business.

Obviously we have a very long road ahead of us. The idea that we might collate and synthesize insight and knowledge from all influence flows in combination remains little more than that, an idea. We have greatly expanded our social analytics, measurement and workflow capabilities though, and we’re using our enterprise social network much more aggressively.

In particular, we are tweaking mechanisms for identifying expertise that might have been under-appreciated to date; making communication more open and accessible; seeing if teams might assemble organically; and making it all more searchable (looking for an answer) and discoverable (maintaining awareness).

John is heads down in some vendor communities teasing out best practice that should get us in better shape to execute our vision in the coming years. It should prepare us to take full advantage of the new components as they emerge, and to do so quickly.

He talks a lot about resource description frameworks and linked data, if these mean anything to you. Ask your IT people. Actually, buy them a coffee – they’re your new best friends so make it a good one.

Forty five (iii)

“We have to re-gear ourselves, and that’s where measurement comes in. Sensitivity. Our performance can be defined and guided by new frameworks such as the Influence Scorecard, helping us orient our business around influence flows in order to become a social business.

“We’ve reached some incredibly valuable conclusions in recent weeks and months and crystallized them today. Now we just have to execute. We must move our talent, our energy and dedication to execution – to investing in the human, information and organizational assets with the appropriate balance needed to knock this opportunity out of the park.

“The prize is valuable. We will be more open, more relevant, more productive, more profitable, and we will sit squarely in the modern world. Every one will benefit – well except the competition!”

Pleasingly for everyone, our combined insights and efforts garnered a little round of applause.

Forty one


People perform as they are measured. Measurement is as much a management and communication approach as it is a yardstick. Measurement should be part and parcel of designing a strategy and preparing the business to execute it, rather than something that’s slapped on a few months down the line.

Poor measurement leads to poorer decision making which leads to poorer performance. Sometimes it’s not obvious. For example, on the face of it, when the trail of clicks links an online promotion to an uptick in sales, whether directly or so-called “assisted”, it’s tempting to assume straightforward cause and effect. But whereas simplistic measurement would attribute the revenue with the cost of the promotion, effective measurement also recognizes the contribution made by the years of activity contributing to reputation / brand building and everything else of value that precedes and supports sales.

This last bit was my two penn’orth following my chat with Rachel about her new watch. The conversation then addressed a fairly new perspective as far as we were concerned.

Despite all the innovations in information and communications technology in recent decades, the modern organization almost serves to isolate the individual from aspects of organizational life beyond their immediate domain. Regular, good old-fashioned eye-to-eye interaction and feedback is restricted to those sitting at nearby desks who, as we’ve grouped people together by function, are typically doing much the same job while being exposed to much the same environment and people.

Distilling a well-rounded picture of things from an email inbox is near impossible. Perhaps surprisingly, beyond the efforts of the internal comms team, it’s quite possible that people in large organizations are numbed to what’s happening, to what’s changing, to what’s working and what isn’t.

Modern measurement and analytics serves effectively as a form of real-time sensory feedback, digitally reconnecting the individual to the day-to-day realities.

I’ve talked about measurement enough already, so let’s get to influence…

Twenty five

“Ninety percent of what you’re saying isn’t coming out of your mouth – Hitch, 2005.”

Saket, the BPM consultant with a love of movie quotes, was back on site. It was apparent that everyone considers him one of the Attenzi team, albeit one who isn’t around all the time. He was meeting with Tom (HR) and Yvonne (PR) to discuss internal communications and performance.

Most people consider the role of measurement in the most straightforward terms, to tell us how well we’re doing what we’re doing. But this is just part of the equation according to Saket.

The quote from Hitch was Saket’s way of highlighting that what you decide to measure and how you decide to measure it communicates your expectations. It ranks alongside other such non-verbal signals as attitude, behavior, presentation, process design, culture etc.

People perform as they are measured, so if you want them to perform individually and in groups in particular ways – and which organization doesn’t – then define your measures diligently.

Measurement is important communication that guides performance that delivers strategy that pursues the vision.

Saket was keen to stress the importance of such multi-faceted communications, and wasn’t particularly charitable to leaders who believe people always want to hear them spouting off as if that’s the only and sufficient way to point the organization in the right direction and get it to move that way. “Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking – The Wizard of Oz, 1939.”

Twenty one (ii)

It’s sort of a modern day equivalent of measuring column inches in the press; both are flawed metrics as both grow when something goes really badly as well as when something goes really well.

Let me be totally clear, the Goorooz are not grifters. They’re not quacks. They’re exploring this new media and new technology sincerely and trying to make a living out of helping others understand and get to grips with it. But sincerity doesn’t mean effective.

On sharing my conclusions with Michelle and Yvonne after the Goorooz had guru’d their way to their next meeting, I underlined my commitment to social media. I underlined my commitment to our values. I underlined my intention to continue interweaving the undoubted potential social media represents into the very fabric of the business.

I’ve heard the opposite referred to as lipstick on a pig. Attenzi is no pig. It requires no such lipstick.

I could see Michelle wasn’t happy. With me. After all, I guess I had just shot down her initiative to invite these guys in. She left the room quietly. Yvonne was more upbeat.

“I can see where you’re coming from Eli. I’m reading a book at the moment that describes social media as bringing radical transparency on an organization.”

“Radical transparency? That’s quite a strong expression.”

“Yes” she continued, “And there’s more. If ‘perception is reality’ was the saying that characterized our approach to marketing and public relations before, we now have to consider that reality is perception.”

“Goodness.” My brain got knocked and I felt myself thinking hard. It must have been visible as Yvonne went with the silence.

I, like many others, had witnessed examples of citizens around the world using the social media and mobile phones to record and communicate the day-to-day realities they had to live with, until this had helped catalyze uprisings, which had in turn been documented post by post, tweet by tweet, photo by photo, video by video.

Authoritarian regimes could no longer project one image to the world, or maintain a façade to its people, while governing quite differently.

Hang on. What am I saying? This doesn’t just apply to authoritarian regimes, this applies to all government. And all business. All organizations.

Information has been set free.

I concluded our conversation: “It’s like a big oil gun has been taken to the machinery of the world, lubricating its workings. We’re taking out the friction in the system that for so long frustrated the spread of information and knowledge.”

Twenty one (i)

I mentioned the Goorooz got me thinking about what they didn’t say as well as what they did; their disagreeable omissions. Perhaps they were just hoisted by their own platitudes.

I must have heard “facebook strategy”, “twitter strategy” and “social strategy” four or five dozen times during that meeting. I believe I was the only one to mention our business strategy in the vain hope there might be a connection. The hint garnered a brief nod but was by and large ignored. (I was tempted to ask if this meeting had been won on the back of a “telephone strategy”.)

Examples of “radical social success” came thick and fast – in confectionery, music, consumer electronics, retail and travel. Apparently we’re all the same people (agreed) and we all want the same “social engagement” with all kinds of brands (not as far as I’m concerned).

By the way, if engagement means the action of occupying or attracting someone’s interest or attention – and it does, I looked it up in a dictionary – what’s the difference between “social engagement” and plain old “engagement” exactly?

Can you tell my feathers were ruffled?

And I know I have a tendency to bang on about an organization’s mission (why we exist) and vision (what we want to be) a lot, but if social engagement is the be all and end all wouldn’t we expect more annual reports to feature Chairman comments like:

– “We’re totally stoked to have grown retweets 220% this year.”

– “Our brand ‘Likes’ are up significantly. Now I’m liking that.”

– “Our customer service platform coped successfully with a three-fold increase in social engagement this year.”

I’ve not seen a Chairman’s report with such apparently unmoored information, unmoored from the vision the organization is pursuing. And potentially flawed.

Take the ‘Likes’. It seems to me there’s real confusion here. I get the idea that brand owners think the ‘Likes’ come for one reason – “they love us!” – and Joe Public another – “thanks for the discount coupon”. Actually, make that: “Thanks for the discount coupon; now would you mind not getting in my face so much else I’m going to have to ‘Unlike’ you.”

And what about the engagement measure; is it necessarily a good thing? Might it not indicate the possibility that something was causing problems out there in the marketplace?