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Measuring What Matters

by Rod Napier and Rich McDaniel

Davies-Black © 2006, 386 pages, $39.95 (ISBN 0-89106-211-4).

Simplified Tools for Aligning Teams and Their Stakeholders

Managing work teams and increasing their effectiveness can be greatly improved if the right measurements are tracked and acted upon. To help front-line managers and team leaders get the most from their teams, author and international consultant Rod Napier and management expert Rich McDaniel have created a guidebook brimming with the tools and techniques that make teams more effective.

At the root of Measuring What Matters are better ways for managers to help their teams stay more closely connected to their core stakeholders by defining and measuring value delivered and value received.

The authors write that there are three stakeholders who must be taken into consideration when assessing and measuring the effectiveness of teams: customers, employees and owners. The customers are the recipients of the goods and services produced by the team. The employees are the individuals working together under a common supervisor, sharing resources, and pursuing a common purpose. And the owners are the founders, investors, and their representatives, including the corporate chain of command. For each of these stakeholders, the authors present a process for defining and measuring the value exchange that takes place with the company.

Begin With Stakeholder Value

The authors write, “By beginning with stakeholder value in mind and taking priority steps to clearly define and measure effectiveness in delivering it, one brings new perspective to measurement; it is the perspective of the team’s core customers, employees, and owners.” That perspective is what informs the measurements and analysis, and empowers those who are working toward continuous growth and improvement. The most important part of this, the authors add, is that priorities can be acted upon immediately by any leader at any level in the organization.

In the first part of Measuring What Matters, the authors explain how managers, human resource professionals and team leaders can apply this process to a team’s stakeholders. Using informative case studies to illustrate each stakeholder’s perspective, the authors present models and exercises that demonstrate how their ideas can be used.

The authors offer many informative vignettes that describe the dilemmas that crop up along the road to effective change. After detailing the importance of purpose, process and people, they show how work-team value can satisfy all stakeholders. They write, “Managing the exchange of value between a work team and its stakeholders requires measuring both stakeholder satisfaction (with value delivered) and stakeholder contribution (i.e., corporate satisfaction with value received).” Informative graphics demonstrate how these values can be visualized to help teams work toward common goals as well as measure their progress.

Case Studies

The extended fictional case studies found in each chapter of Measuring What Matters walk readers through the entire process of determining stakeholder expectations and aligning a team’s actions around its purpose. Ways to identify, document and evaluate key processes are illustrated through the interactions of team members and graphics that describe the details of the scenario. Chapter summaries make the learning contained within them easy to reference and recall.

The second part of Measuring What Matters, “Power Tools for Management,” presents the vital elements that combine to create team effectiveness. Trust, leadership, teamwork, performance and profit each receive extensive attention and are enhanced with case studies and manager tools. For example, a trust survey helps leaders calculate the level of trust that exists in their group or organization at a particular time. The authors explain that this information can be used as a general check of the overall climate when undertaking a change management or strategic planning initiative. Although it is not a definitive analysis, it can help team leaders focus on areas that need to be addressed.

Other tools, such as a leadership development assessment and a group management questionnaire, also provide leaders with valuable information that can help their organizations gain insight, set goals, and achieve agreed-upon results. By removing arbitrary assumptions from evaluation, the authors help stakeholders get a better grip on reality. ~

Why We Like ThIs Book

Measuring What Matters presents a well-rounded philosophy that dismantles teamwork and reassembles it to include useful metrics that chart its effectiveness. By including the underlying human issues that must be considered when improving the effectiveness of teams, the authors have created a hands-on workbook that can help any team leader. ~

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