Benchmarking and Performance Measurement – Moving Beyond The Collusion of Mediocrity


About the Course

The collusion of mediocrity occurs when we seek to avoid being honest in order to keep things “nice” and “comfortable. We try to avoid awkwardness by maintaining the status quo rather than challenging it. The result: mediocrity. “

When we collude with mediocrity we opt for the “comfort zone” because it can be too uncomfortable to be honest about what is going wrong and too scary to really go for what is excellent. So we play it safe. Many organisations so this. Event our tenants may pretend things are better than they are are fear to give honest feedback, especially if they feel vulnerable. The result is that performance is less than it could be and that real conversation and feedback is stifled, in staff and in tenants. When tenants are honest and open, they can be labelled as troublemakers.

When managers intervene at levels below them in clumsy ways, attempting to stimulate performance increases, they usually end up looking stupid or engendering fear and defensive responses. Styles of coaching, group working and empowerment work better. A culture of self-management is often more effective

People are motivated very differently. A diversity-based approach to motivating staff is the more effective approach. Everyone is different.

Jargon ridden, buzz-word based, patronising motivational efforts usually lead to cynicism. Employees are much more word-wise than in the past, do not like to be talked down to, tend to laugh at superficial jargon and clumsy attempts to motivate them. Briefings can motivate but need to be genuine, open and practically focused.

So, this course takes a challenging, fresh and practical look at performance measurement. Measurement can create collusion and enhance fear. It can also improve the awareness and consciousness of our organisation if people see performance measurement as a useful and helpful tool for honest conversation about how to improve systems, processes and service to our tenants. T do that, we have to break that collusion. How do we do that? That is what this course is all about. The course will demonstrate, with live examples how, when collusion has gone, tools such as benchmarking (measuring against a different standard) can actually empower and inspire us to seek innovation and improvement.

Course Approach

This workshop-style course takes a very hands-on and practical look at what performance is really about and how we can create organisations and conversations that really deal with performance honesty and safely. How can we improve performance in ways that authentically motivated us?

Participants will explore and try out a range of successful approaches to:

  • defining performance and identifying areas for improvement

  • working with aims, goals, objectives and targets

  • redeeming performance indicators from being a hated management control tool

  • breaking collusions of mediocrity and developing open and honest conversations

  • reducing fear of, and resistance to performance management

  • ensuring performance is driven by tenant care

  • applying benchmarking as a real-time and genuinely helpful tool for improving performance

  • creating pride in our work and the skill to use numbers and measures when they are really needed and beneficial

Course Outcomes

By the end of the workshop participants will have drawn on their own experiences of this particular topic, laid to rest some of the “darker” views of performance management, and become more aware of how it can really be used to improve how we deliver tenant care.

We’ll have practiced some hands-on skills in performance measurement and management, done some benchmarking and recognised why and how performance management can really improve our service, as long as we become engaged and honest, and finally laid collusion to rest.

About the Facilitator

Paul Levy has worked on customer care with over 30 housing associations in recent years, as well as leading workshops all over the world exploring how to ensure customer service is authentic and effective. He is director of CATS3000, a change consultancy based in Brighton, UK. Paul is the author of the book Digital Inferno. He works closely with organisations, often n crisis or difficult, helping them to have the real conversations needed to solve their problems. Paul is often referred to as a collusion-breaker!



About Paul Levy

Paul is a writer, thinker, facilitator, theatre-maker, and conversifier. He is the author of the book, Digital Inferno.
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