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Performance Measurement
Preparation & Management is the first of six thrusts in The Change Playbook methodology

The change project must have performance measures. These are the goalposts for change management to prove the project’s change is being adopted. And, of course, solution performance, readily identified as performance metrics, is ultimately the most important measure of success or failure. Meanwhile, change implementation performance measures adoption volume, pace, persistence, and user “fluency” to answer the question: Do people adopt the change and alter their behaviour?


It should be a safe assumption that whatever your organization is proposing and implementing that will force noticeable change on somebody, it is being done to make an empirically positive impact. If so, the change project must have measures of performance. These are the goalposts for change management to prove the project’s change is being adopted.

Objective performance metrics of two distinct varieties—project (change) performance assessment (i.e., situation) and change implementation performance—will probably look like:

  1. Solution performance – Readily identified as project performance metrics and, ultimately, the most important measure of success or failure. These metrics are for the underlying project change. Part of the change management task is to ensure that this goal becomes part of the Why, What, and How of the change.
  2. Change implementation performance – Typically measure adoption volume, pace, persistence, and user “fluency.” This performance is also important to track if making change management itself more effective is desirable.

Measures of performance

There are broadly two measures of change implementation performance. The first measure work being done. I tend to refer to these as administrative or status measures and, if I’m being candid, don’t value them that highly. They track activity such as the number of employees trained, or the number of contacts with targets. They justify time invested, but shed little light on the value or impact of change management. (What does it matter if everyone has been trained if they don’t behave as needed?)

I favour performance metrics measuring change that indicate how well change management is contributing to the project’s success. Change management’s primary value and impact is in getting people to adopt new behaviours (and attitudes). While you could see change management impact in other metrics, there is only one that proves change management’s worth: Do people adopt the change and alter their behaviour?

Metrics to measure performance

It is reasonable to go farther down this path to seek more sensitive behaviour-relevant indicators:

  • How fast do people do this?
  • How readily do they do this?
  • How permanent is the behaviour change?

It’s also reasonable to measure change in attitude. In the absence of an objective measure for feelings, we substitute proficiency or how able/capable these converts become post-change.

Performance Measurement

Performance measurement and metrics should be fundamental part of change management. It is imperative that stakeholders understand how change performance metrics are determined, what and who they measure, why those measures are being taken, how individual actions affect the performance metric(s), and the consequences of not performing. For any of these metrics to be usable, objective underlying data must be available and the method for turning them into measurements transparent.


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