Brett is a long-time thought leader in the Strategy Execution space for high-tech organizations, beginning in the late 80’s while teaching at Harvard and being involved in the initial Balanced Scorecard research and books. His client work has been published in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fortune and countless other business publications.
Hawthorne Effect - the act of observing a system, impacts the performance of that system (Wikipedia)*
“The Hawthorne Effect” is a term referring to the tendency of some people to work harder and perform better when they are participants in an experiment.
There is no question that Objectives and Key Results enable huge performance gains for organizations, but I cannot find any research around what actually causes those performance gains - logically, options are:
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OKRs focus activity on the things that matter - and the right activity drives performance.
Porter says (roughly) "strategy is more about what you stop doing" - OKRs take focus away from things that we should stop doing, and that reduction of waste, in turn, drives performance.
The fact that we have a higher focus on performance - on-going reporting, more conversations, better performance meetings, and solid follow-up (the fact that we are closely observing performance) drives performance (the Hawthorne Effect).
More and better performance conversations teach everyone about performance and how to look at on-going activities in light of desired outcomes, and that performance knowledge drives performance.
Our (non-scientific) observations indicate that all four options are in play at every client, but the last few organizations have definitely enjoyed some benefit from good ol' Hawthorne.
The lesson here is - take advantage of Hawthorne. Widely publicize OKRs and the more frequent, less formal, performance conversations. Make sure everyone participates and understands and contributes.
This not only makes these meetings one of our habits, but it also makes performance everyone's everyday job - and enacts the Hawthorne effect.
What do you think of the mix across these four options?
The HR department usually works non-stop looking for ways to improve work performance and help managers help their own employees. Organizational strategies are not always so easy to plan, but we hope you’re able to take advantage of what you’ve found here and unlock your company’s potential.
Remember that here at Hirebook, we want you and your organization to thrive, and empower your employees towards bigger and better outcomes!
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Note: The Hawthorne Effect (From Wikipedia) The Hawthorne effect (also referred to as the observer effect) is a type of reactivity in which individuals modify an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed. This can undermine the integrity of research, particularly the relationships between variables.