Can evaluation help your career?

Can tracking your performance really help your career?

If the tracking can do any of the following, then probably it does:

  • It provides evidence that your personal performance makes a contribution to business success
  • It guides your future activity to help improve performance over time
  • It helps you get buy in to expand budgets, team and activity
  • It helps you hire good talented people attracted to a successful team
  • It helps you in discussions about your next role

Looking at the opposite side of the coin for a moment, if there is an evaluation program, what if this is poorly designed or uses confusing metrics?

This could lead to:

  • Undermining credibility within the business for using poor performance metrics
  • Claims of success being disputed by other teams such as sales and marketing
  • Comms function is trivialised or ignored in decision making due to lack of impact
  • Allowing that good data and insights enable better decision making, then poor data is likely to decisions based on mistaken understanding of a situation and increase risk of unnecessary cost and reputation damage, both commercial and personal

Simply, poor measurement may actually be worse than no measurement!

If you had to choose: change or irrelevance?

The US army general Eric Shinseki once said “If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less”.  Though he wasn’t talking about communications measurement and planning, it still rings true here.

The tide is turning against those who insist that good communications comes from gut feel, instinct or simply knowing what works.  Investment decisions are increasingly asking for more evidence of methodology or success.

But are there other reasons to insist on good quality measurement and research?

The argument that KPIs, evaluation and research get in the way of creativity is also wearing thin.  Most recently Adam Morgan and Mark Barden challenged this approach to creativity in their recent book Beautiful Constraint: How To Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It's Everyone's Business.

The fact is that insights into your target audience enable stronger campaigns which are more relevant and engaging, tapping into knowledge about competitive and sector context. Good evaluation helps identify the key elements of success for a campaign, and makes it easier and simpler to repeat that success with future activity.

Evaluation can facilitate innovation and experimentation with new comms approaches.  It can help with product and service development.  It can highlight what works and what doesn't and most importantly provide some evidence as to why.

Article by Colin Wheeler, Director Consultant in Research and Insight at The Measurement Practice.