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Objective Measures: Knowledge and Contribution

December 22, 2010 Leave a comment

The last post in this series will focus on objectively measuring a consultants knowledge and contribution to the team.

Knowledge really has two facets:  What you can immediately demonstrate and what you can really do. 

Measuring the first is easy:  certifications.  These mean one and only one thing (and its the same thing that a bachelor’s degree means):  you are sufficiently motivated to put yourself to some trouble to let other’s know that you potentially have a good skill set.  Its kind of like taking a shower and dressing nice for a date – doesn’t mean you are going to knock ‘em dead, just that you were interested enough to go out of your way.  Reporting is dead simple:  put out a publicly viewable list of everyone’s certification and testing levels then advertise the heck out of the folks that are getting it done.  Do a good summary by cert for the sales and marketing teams so they have a brag sheet.  Then go onto other things (like meeting the new MPN requirements).

Its the second category that really causes the issues.  Having a certification on Exchange is one thing; knowing how to deploy the SMTP Gateway is a whole other beast.  Unfortunately, I haven’t come up with any silver bullets on this.  However, I’ve been exploring some ideas as follows:

1. Create a self-assessment scorecard for everyone that is part of their periodic coaching or reviews.  Let them fill it out and let their boss independently asses them.  Meet quarterly to review and let the ensuing conversation unfold.

2. If you are going to do the above, spend lots of time training your managers on how to have good conversations.  Talk to Tim Johnpress at Ascendte or review Catalytic Coaching for more info.

3. Do project implementation reviews/punch out assessments/lesson learned meetings at the close of each project including the business unit director, sales rep, PM and consulting team.  If you have a culture that supports admitting and correcting mistakes, this will really help flesh out areas of improvement.

Most importantly, strive constantly to create an environment where folks can say “I could have done this better” without fear of penalty.

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