Are You Doing Things Right, or Doing the Right Things?

Run Your Program Investment Effectively and Efficiently

You are doing things right when you make use of your resources well. For instance, your project is on schedule and within budget. The measures for “doing things right” are efficiency measures.

You are doing the right things when the things you do get you to your goals. For example, your project delivers outcomes of time, cost, quality, and quantity, or intangible measures of a brand, innovation, and employee satisfaction. The “right things” are visible with effectiveness measures.

An Example Using Human Capital Measurements

A manufacturing company is unable to retain women leaders in middle management. In general, mid-management employees are hard to replace. Their departure hurts team morale and performance. Additionally, there are negative downstream impacts on leadership diversity and employer brand.

The CEO has made this a priority for Human Resources. Henceforth the organization will offer a program to one hundred mid-level women leaders. Participants will access career and promotion opportunities by availing of mentoring, personal development workshops, and other support mechanisms.

Simply put, the target of covering one-hundred women leaders is an efficiency metric, whereas engagement, indicators of pro-active career management, and promotions are effectiveness metrics.

The CEO has requested a progress update from HR in six months. Four results scenarios could occur, which will profoundly shape the progress conversation. It is essential to realize that the organization should measure efficiency and effectiveness to know where they are and what to do next.

Scenario one: The program is neither effective nor efficient

Things are not on track

In this unfortunate scenario, six months in, things are not on track. Although participating leaders reported liking the program, their average engagement levels have stayed low, as have leading indicators for promotion. Furthermore, the roll-out needs coordination. Consequently, just thirty women leaders completed the program.

The program will only meet its goals with a course correction.

Scenario two. The program is not effective, but it is efficient

As before, the engagement, pro-active career management, and promotion metrics have stayed put. However, implementation has been quick, reaching an impressive 70 of 100 women leaders.

At first, this situation seems better, but it has more downsides. The program is already not producing the results it should. Implementing an ineffective project at scale will add to costs while failing to deliver benefits. The organization will have to improve its effectiveness urgently.

What Peter Drucker once said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all,” explains this scenario well.

Scenario three: The program is effective, but it is not efficient

Doing the right things, but sub-optimally

Six months in, participating women leaders are engaged, five leaders have asked for more opportunities within the organization, and at least one leader is up for a promotion.

Unfortunately, implementation was complex. Only thirty women leaders experienced the program.

Even though the program is producing the right results, the organization will still fall short of its retention and promotion targets at this pace. The program owner should focus on improving the reach without sacrificing effectiveness.

Scenario four: The program is effective and efficient

“Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

As in the previous scenario, the leading indicators look promising. Moreover, the program is on track to cover all one hundred women leaders this year.

If the program is in this state after six months, the organization would apply the learnings in other areas and continue to look for improvement opportunities.

So-what, and Now What?

All organizations want their program investments to be efficient and effective. It is possible with a fit-for-purpose design, balanced metrics, and results tracking. A great first step is to setup the human capital measurements that will keep your strategic investments on track.

Please contact us to discuss how you can make your program investments both efficient and effective.

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