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    « Dumb Contact | Main | HR Southwest - Do I have to talk about my feelings? »

    Deliver the Wow

    Cleaning up my trusty travel backpack from the last several weeks of traveling to events like HR Florida, HR Technology, and this week HR Southwest, and I found a small slip of paper in one of the pockets that said simply, 'Deliver the Wow'.flickr - wiedmaier

    The phrase sounded familiar, but I could not remember why I jotted it down.  I dug into one of my vendor-branded notebooks from one of these trips (my favorite swag),  and discovered the source of the 'Wow' quote.  

    At the HR Technology Conference during one of the vendor 'shootout' sessions, (where vendors are asked to demonstrate live their solutions to several common and important talent management processes), one of the vendors, (I honestly can't remember which one), was running through the steps and functionality around performance management and appraisal processes.

    The demonstration highlighted the application's ability to assign and rank the importance of key competencies to a given role, and allowed the manager to evaluate the employee on their degree of demonstrated mastery of the identified competencies.  It was solid, if not spectacular functionality, pretty much all the performance management solutions provide that kind of capability today. 

    But what caught my attention was that in the demonstration of manager assessment of employee competencies for a role in a Customer Service position, one of the specific competencies that was being rated was called 'Deliver the Wow'.

    Tucked neatly right alongside some standard competencies like 'Demonstrates Integrity' and 'Customer Focus' was this sort of out of place seeming competency called 'Deliver the Wow'.  It seemed to me that it really did fit though.  So many of the traditional competencies that get assigned in performance management processes are really hard to measure and assess effectively and objectively.

    How exactly do you rate someone on 'Ethical Behavior?' By noting the employee did not steal out of the till 98% percent of the time?.  By taking careful inventory of the supply cabinet to make sure no one nicked a ream of paper for their kids middle school book reports? I guess we just assume most people are behaving ethically if we don't catch them not behaving ethically and leave it at that.  But when performance management processes force the manager to give a numerical or some other ranking on an 'Ethics' competency, then what really justifies a 3 or 4?  It is kind of an all-or-nothing thing I think, and then it becomes sort of irrelevant.

    But something like 'Deliver the Wow', that has some potential. The successful demonstration of delivering 'Wow' moments, whether to external or internal customers seems easier to assess, and likely a better mark of differentiation across employees in a given role. How does the manager know which employees are really successful in 'Wow' delivery? 

    Well, they probably already know. There probably is a paper trail of 'Wow' moments. Unsolicited email testimonials from enthused customers, internal or external (LinkedIn?) recommendations from colleagues and partners, or even special recognition at holiday time from vendors (warning, do not use for folks in Purchasing). It is not so easy to 'know' about focus, ethics, and other more nebulous concepts.

    In fact, Delivering the Wow is probably a competency, if you are a believer in identifying and assessing these kinds of things at appraisal time, that should be on everyone's performance plan. 

    The HR Technology Conference vendor shootouts are really all about the solution, and this particular solution, like all of them, was tight, capable, and effectively demonstrated the required functionality. But to me, the most interesting aspect of the demonstrations was 'Deliver the Wow', and it to my recollection was not mentioned by the presenter or anyone in the audience. 

    The technology on display was fantastic, awesome even.  But 'Delivering the Wow' is more awesome. 

    Any solution you buy for Performance Management these days will let you evaluate any competency you like, but not all of them will make it easier for you to Deliver the Wow.

    That is if you are trying to measure for Wow in the first place.

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    Reader Comments (2)

    Any solution you buy for Performance Management these days will let you evaluate any competency you like, but not all of them will make it easier for you to Deliver the Wow.

    That is if you are trying to measure for Wow in the first place.

    October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSEO keyword

    My point exactly.

    October 15, 2010 | Registered CommenterSteve

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