Search

Keywords
4 September 2009 • 7:00 am

Perception Is Reality: Why Subjective Measures Matter, and How to Maximize Their Impact – Part III

This series of posts (in three parts) is adapted from an article of the same name that appeared in Harvard Business Publishing’s Balanced Scorecard Report in 2006.

In Part I, I asserted that perception matters very much to the strategy of an organization. Perception of external stakeholders, of customers, and of employees. Often, the change program requires measurements of customer and employee perceptions. How organizations go about gathering these perceptions is a key factor in the success of the change program. In Part II, we examined the challenges of survey design, and its impact on the effectiveness of the strategy-driven perception research. Here, we conclude with consideration of alternatives to surveys, and an examination of how to use perception data in the context of the change program.

Consider Focus Groups or Interviews

While most perception measures come from surveys, focus groups and interviews are also valuable tools. Focus groups can be a component of a survey (answering the complex question, “why are employees unhappy?”), or can simply serve as a way of capturing the perceptions of a small group when surveys would not be effective or practical. A focus group can reveal complex root causes for perceptions that may not be anticipated in a set of multiple choice responses.

more

3 September 2009 • 7:00 am

Perception Is Reality: Why Subjective Measures Matter, and How to Maximize Their Impact – Part II

This series of posts (in three parts) is adapted from an article of the same name that appeared in Harvard Business Publishing’s Balanced Scorecard Report in 2006.

In Part I, I asserted that perception matters very much to the strategy of an organization. Perception of external stakeholders, of customers, and of employees. Often, the change program requires measurements of customer and employee perceptions. Here, we consider how organizations go about gathering these perceptions, which is a key factor in the success of the change program.

Ensuring Survey Success: Skillful Research Design is Vital

A survey program is the best way to regularly monitor stakeholder perceptions. E-mail and Web-based survey tools enable faster design, execution, and analysis, and have reduced the cost considerably. Many enterprises already have e-mail address lists from the Web sites and customer databases they maintain for direct communication and marketing purposes. Wireless telephony and text messaging enable nearly real-time data collection and analysis. Technology, however, is no substitute for good research design, and in amateur hands, such tools amplify the risk of getting unactionable results or even causing adverse consequences.

more

2 September 2009 • 7:00 am

Perception Is Reality: Why Subjective Measures Matter, and How to Maximize Their Impact – Part I

This series of posts (in three parts) is adapted from an article of the same name that appeared in Harvard Business Publishing’s Balanced Scorecard Report in 2006.

When helping organizations design measures for their change programs, the moment comes when I float the idea of surveying employees or customers. Invariably, there is an uncomfortable silence, followed by protests that surveys are expensive, that they don’t tell them anything new, and that a steady diet of them annoys people and thus defeat their purpose. An unspoken source of resistance is leaders’ fear that survey results will challenge the comfortable fictions they may be sustaining to support their decisions.

more