- The measurement systems are to help teams rather than managers. Such systems help teams to evaluate their performance and see what needs to be corrected. At the same time managers having access to this information can see whether their interference is needed.
- Teams are to be key players in designing their own measurement systems. Meyer claims that this is the indicator of truly empowered teams (Meyer 96). At the same time, managers are supposed to make sure that the indicators chosen by team are consistent with company’s strategies.
- A multifunctional team is the only player to create the measurement system that will be responsible for measuring a complete value-delivery process. Although some functional excellence is to be attained, it makes a prerequisite to team excellence.
- A team should adopt only a limited number of measures to avoid spending extra time on discussing all measures rather than discussing what needs to be done. Meyer thinks that taking more than 15 measures requires team to review its measurement system and reconsider it (96).
The results measures like profits, market shares, and cost do not let multifunctional teams understand prerequisites of their poor performance and see what needs to be done and improved. Meyer argues that process measures turn out to be more effective tools in explaining results’ measures and telling how the process can be reorganized. In addition, cost and schedule costs neither show the problems explicitly, nor provide further guidance for action (Meyer 97). The Ford case study provided by Meyer clearly shows how different departments without unified vision of the situation could not come to one solution due to having different result measurement systems (Meyer 99-100). The final decision, although saved money on warranty costs, did not give Ford a competitive advantage on the market.
Trying to answer the question of how process measurement systems can be integrated with company’s goals, Meyer offers a scheme when senior managers define the strategic context of team’s performance, whereas the team is the only body responsible for measuring its performance. The managers are to provide a broad context of how innovations should be implemented providing teams the right to choose what means will be used to achieve the strategic goals. The managers also need to negotiate with team about acceptable boundaries of strategic goals’ implementation that will not result in managerial review. Whenever the team fails to comply with its performance assessment it will be contacted by manager to discuss the issue and make the necessary corrections.
Meyer’s article provides an important guidance to a completely new way of organizing the processes in the company to achieve its goals. Meyer clearly distinguishes between two categories of employees that have quite different perception of the company’s processes – managers and teams, and tries to design the best possible way of directing their potential toward achievement of the goals. On the one side, managers try to take all processes under their control and set rigid performance indicators for the teams to measure their performance. Usually, such indicators do not reflect a true state of matter and do not let to analyze the prerequisites of poor performance and non-compliance with the set goals. Meyer is right when claiming that financial indicators may be not the most efficient tools to measure team’s performance since they do not provide further guidance of what needs to be done in critical situations. Moreover, company’s goals usually consist of multiple processes that cannot be evaluated separately. At this point, team makes a much more flexible body that can combine processes into a single unity and develop a complex system of performance assessment to cover all processes. On the other side, process management can enable managers to fulfill their direct responsibilities – developing the strategic plans of the organization and controlling its performance. The shift toward more plain organizational structure does not let managers use authoritarian leadership style for the team may consider it as destabilizing and demotivating factor. Therefore, giving the team an ability to decide upon its own means of pursuing the company goals can make an effective managerial tool. The case study of Ford clearly shows that financial criteria of project may be not the most effective in achieving long-term benefits. Had the financial and purchasing departments contacted the product-development team and discussed the issue with them, they would see that new handles provide a competitive advantage to the product.
The second key point raised by Meyer is process measurement as an effective tool of teambuilding. Many companies complain for their employees’ being not empowered enough to pursue the company goals effectively, whereas process measurement makes teams responsible for the attained results and motivates team members to discuss the problems prior to project’s realization. In this case process measurement helps employees to define their own and measurable criteria of efficiency that become guidelines for their work. Previously, it was the manager’s responsibility, whereas today every team can re-establish their relationships with managers on mutually beneficial basis. If the team does not want managers to control it, it is obliged to comply with minimum performance criteria previously designed by the very team members. Such approach provides more flexibility to both managers and teams, and allows both parties to establish productive communication. In addition, the very fact that teams define their own measurement systems witnesses that there is a certain level of consent inside the team that facilitates further work on the project.
The article emphasized on the beneficial role of process measurement in team’s performance. Meyer clearly defined the key attributes of performance-measurement systems and offered to give teams more rights to define their own performance assessment criteria. The manager’s role was limited to strategic guidance and control. The offered measurement system provides many opportunities not only to companies using it, but also to team members empowered by the ability to affect the organizational processes. The key learning point here is finding a unique balance between manager and team’s scopes of responsibilities in designing the measurement tools and implementing them, and pursuing both company and employees’ interest during the whole process.
Meyer, Christopher. "How the Rights Measures Help Teams Excel." Harvard Business Review (1994): 95-103. Print.