Large organizations often have elaborate goals, strategies, and plans to accomplish their short and long-term goals. Whether the goal is to be #1, or whether they apply the more nuanced Three Horizons model with several goals, or something else – what this really boils down to is they are very clear at a high-level what outcomes they would like to achieve. But speaking of boiling, like the metaphor of the boiling frog, what has happened over the years is that the tools and methods these organizations are using to track and manage these outcomes, which in many or most cases are still valuable, they are no longer sufficient to predictably and consistently achieve those outcomes. This is in large part because when they learn that one or more things that puts their outcomes at risk, they find out too late to do anything about it. Worse still – their tools lack the ability to establish, across all groups in the organization, where critical dependencies exist, so they may miss an outcome, and not even know why. Too often, organizations use lagging indicators – things that have already happened, to track performance – this is in large part they lack proper leading indicators that can be a far better indicator of what is going to happen.
A simple example is a goal would be to increase revenues. Here are two real examples of outcomes that resulted for different organizations.
Disney’s Magicband. Disney made a significant investment in truly innovative software and hardware because they knew it would pay off in terms of revenue. A key to that was extending the average guest stay at Disney World from three days to four and a half days, a 50% increase, and the way they did that was largely through education (of course, in a magical way) to help the guest plan their visit through the My Disney Experience portal. So what are some outcomes that you could foresee from this revenue lift? Well, one of the most obvious if you are having people stay 50% longer, is that occupancy of their on property resorts would change dramatically, and if you failed to foresee that outcome, that could be a disaster for both guests (customers) and cast members (employees).
Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay. With a similar goal to lift revenue, Starbucks chose to also invest in software to change the customer experience by allowing them to order their food and beverages from their My Starbucks Rewards app before entering the location. With a long list of foreseeable outcomes, one of the most glaring is that at certain times of day, the employees they call partners are already at 100% productivity and lines can be long, so adding any additional orders into something that is already at capacity could be an employee and customer experience disaster. So leveraging from the learnings of restaurant reservation app OpenTable, Starbucks constrains the number of mobile orders they will take in five minute increments so as not to overload the system.
Shared Performance is an organization specializing in Outcome Management and they enable an organization to track all organizational goals and outcomes in one software platform, from the most strategic to the most tactical. Shared Performance is the key missing piece organizations need to know in advance when or if any of the short or long-term outcomes is at risk. No other solution enables an organization to track their outcomes in real time in a way that alerts them when an outcome is at risk – with plenty of time for them to decide how, or if, to respond, confidently keeping all other outcomes on track.
Back to the boiling frog – what specifically is caused even the best and brightest leaders to come up short in aligning and managing outcomes across their business today? There are five key reasons for this.
- Something is needed to pull it all together. With various spreadsheets, project management tools, even complex enterprise software such as ERP, nothing is able to connect everything like the patented approach used by Shared Performance. Leaders may think they have things connected, but if that were true – they would not be missing their outcomes. The Balanced Scorecard is a fantastic overall method, but without Shared Performance, organizations cannot get the linkages and dependencies that deliver confidence in achieving outcomes.
- Issues surface too late – if at all. No one wants to miss a goal, but if it is discovered that a goal is at risk – and the notification comes too late to do anything about it, that is the bigger issue. What is needed is signal with sufficient lead time to act on it. With sufficient lead time, leadership can assess how critical the outcome is, as well as the best use of resources to address the risk, if any. The bigger and more common risk that relates to #1 above, is when there isn’t the proper linkage to outcomes, so there is not even a chance of getting signal in time. Shared Performance on its own helps to solve this issue – adding what is now commonly available AI will make it even more powerful.
- Information is two-dimensional. Leveraging the tools in place today, especially something such as ERP, which when first introduced was transformational for organizations – still amounts to management by looking in the “rearview mirror” – with no ability to look forward for context about trajectory/telemetry data on trends. Further, because current systems lack the ability to be forward looking, absent Shared Performance, everything amounts to a one-off report rather than a forward-looking three-dimensional view of all outcomes unfolding over time.
- They are data rich and information poor. While most organizations are collecting mountains more data than they used to, given the points mentioned above, they are ultimately lacking the information they need. In many cases this leads organizations to have a false sense of security – and they are surprised when they miss another outcome.
So, that’s an overview of what Outcome Management is, and why organizations need Shared Performance – what’s to stop every organization from lining up to buy Shared Performance today? Outcome Management is a new category of software. This is a case of “we have seen this movie before” where what happened with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and ERP is likely to resemble the adoption curve of Outcome Management, for these four reasons:
- No budget for it. While CRM and ERP were especially difficult because they emerged when enterprises were still buying software compared to the SaaS model more common today, still organizations need to have budget to roll something like this, and the cost of consulting to deploy the solution can be item
- Threatens something already in place. As much as you might like to think people always do what’s best for the business, the reality is that someone will probably be threatened by Outcome Management, either because it exposes a flaw in their approach, or it means shifting resources from their team to an Outcome Management team.
- Don’t need it until competitors use it. There are countless examples of products where organizations clearly see the value, but unless there is some clear competitive pressure to change, they can delay moving forward with this, a quarter, or even a year or more.
- Leaders who already feel the pain of lacking Outcome Management need to be the early adopters. As you look at the three previous bullets, what this really means is that for short term – this has to be a CEO decision – and for all practical purposes they have already realized all of the “boiling frog” issues above, and they also understand only they can get the budget and drive this. While Shared Performance already has referenceable customers, more are needed to really move the so-called flywheel in this new category.
So, if you know a CEO who fits this description – you should reach out to them.