You're reading...
Leadership, Performance Management

Managing performance: the value of “Right First Time”

Carrot-StickI’ve had several conversations in workshops, recently, with managers whose staff are “under-performing” and they have run out of ideas to address this. Many have said they have to check every piece of work and that performance or coaching conversations haven’t made any difference.

This usually leads to a discussion of the futility of using quality checking as a way of improving performance. As soon as you start checking everything, the responsibility for delivering a quality output is removed from the person doing the work. I usually also ask if any of them are measuring Right First Time and the answer is, invariably, no.

A long time ago I inherited a member of staff who had a reputation for poor performance and for delivering work full of errors (and usually late, as well). To address this, I started to measure Right First Time (RFT) – how many outputs did this person deliver that were error-free. The usual errors had been typos – spelling that could easily have been checked by the writer in MS Word. Initially, this meant I had to continue to check every document but I’d had to do that anyway, so it was no more work for me.

At our weekly 1-1s (every Monday morning), we reviewed the previous week’s RFT. We didn’t need to set a target because the data spoke for itself. Within a matter of weeks, quality improved.

Of course, RFT is not enough; a more balanced approach to measuring and improving performance is required and a more sophisticated metric that I have used is OTIFA – On-time, In-full and Accurate. This multiplies together the proportion of outputs that were delivered on-time by the proportion that were complete (everything required) and the RFT measure. This gives you a stretching performance indicator with 3 different quality levers to pull.

It surprises me (perhaps it shouldn’t) how few managers have thought about RFT as a critical performance indicator. They seem happy to carry on checking poor quality outputs, reinforcing the associated rework and complaining about “poor staff performance” (and how HR never deal with it).

This is a simple example of “change the situation to change the behaviour“, one of my favourite Change Management Models.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Discussion

Comments are closed.

Connect with Ian Seath

Find us on Facebook Improvement Skills Consulting Ltd. on LinkedIn Follow IanJSeath on Twitter

Archives

Copyright Notice

© Improvement Skills Consulting Ltd. and Ian Seath, 2007-19. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Improvement Skills Consulting Ltd. and Ian Seath with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

%d bloggers like this: