Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

People Data – getting the wrong end of the stick.

I've become a bit worried about how we use people measurement tools of late - too often I think we confuse measuring something with changing something. Anyone who has been on a diet knows that the scales don't make us thinner ... even if we'd like to pretend it does. 

This issue was brilliantly illustrated by a Global team I worked with recently who were struggling to find more effective ways of working together.

I'd used a team 'climate' survey with them to provoke conversations about how they worked together. Each regional sub-teams were tasked with setting up a meeting to discuss their particular slice of the data. Most managers grabbed the opportunity and were able to have a very different (and better) conversation with their teams resulting in some really helpful changes. However one manager sent out the data in an email to his team with a directive to improve the lowest scores. Any coincidence that this was the group with the poorest overall scores in the first place?

So how does your organisation use ‘people data’? As a tool to provoke constructive dialogue and change or incite recriminations and yet more measurement?

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