Managing Consequence

Ramesh Jude Thomas
President & CKO, EQUiTOR Consulting

Some time in March, I was in the middle of some performance management workshops around India. The introductory session is always about how to capture progress and performance. And to bring home the point about measuring how we are doing, we choose the ubiquitous fitness program as a classical model. How do we know its working? “Simple", they say. "I check my weight …inches … muscle mass on a regular basis”

A quieter HR type once perked up and suddenly asked “Does it have to be only in physical change? “Explain please”, I ask.

She quips “I go to the gym regularly, but I measure my progress in the number of compliments I receive.”

Think about it. The funniest thing I find about management as a practicing science is the widely held belief that many things cannot be measured and better still, that some things should not be measured. Things happen because of instinctive managerial talent that abounds. “She will do it. She is a brilliant manger”

Usually it’s only the standard measures like sales and profits that finally get captured, because that’s the stuff that goes into the books, determines increments, promotion and bonuses. Not very different from the stock market, what?

But how do we manage the bits that get us results? E.g. How do we know people might come into our shops? How do we know whether they will buy? How do we know that they are willing to spend on us?

It’s worth reminding ourselves that any shareholder commits capital to a business for an appreciation in its value. And real changes in shareholder value can only happen through performance that can be sustained. Sure there are earthquakes and meltdowns. But those are exceptional.

We keep wondering how the behemoths meet their massive targets. They don’t actually see big targets. They break it down into smaller bits, smaller geographies, smaller time-frames and smaller customer groups. And we have an interesting dinnertime phrase for it: “manageable portions” implying, that consequence happens when we can predict and manage causes and effects.

Simple enough. Then why don't most of us? Because we are usually managing a boss or an expectation or a budget sheet, rather than a consequence.


Managing Consequence

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