Monday, 16 December 2013

Music to My Ears - Measuring the Behavioural Competency Beat

I was at a Bruce Hornsby concert recently and there was a line in a song that got me thinking: “20/20 vision and walking ‘round blind”.  It turns out the line is from an old Jimmy Martin song. 
You should feel sorry for me as a human resources consultant that in such a moment, struck by such a poetic line, the first thing that came to mind was a question: “How do you measure behavioural competencies?”
Perhaps it’s because performance reviews are around the corner. Many performance reviews I have had experience with use a scale akin to the traditional five point Likert Scale with the high point being “Exceeds expectations.”  That should be a red flag. After all, how can you exceed expectations when it comes to the demonstration of desired behaviours?
On LinkedIn you can find a spectrum of comments on this debate that range from: “Why bother trying to capture the behavioural performance since it is totally subjective?” to “Use a tool like 360˚ feedback as a means of getting ‘meaningful’ feedback.”  Neither of which are helpful. Everyone who thinks they have the answer has 20/20 vision, while those who say there is no answer believe it is impossible to see.
So how do you measure behaviour and can you measure it objectively?