I was educated as an industrial engineer. Engineers are not perceived as very worldly or sophisticated. They are often pictured with a shirt-pocket protector stuffed with pens.
But some engineers, like me, do have appreciation for the performing arts. For example, I admire and am in awe of the great classical music composers. How did Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn transcribe such beautiful music as notes from their brains to a page of musical score for so many instruments?
So, where’s the connection between classical music and analytics-based performance management?
I believe that in the next few years the adoption rate for analytics-based performance management (as I have been broadly defining it) will accelerate and have an effect similar to the one Ludwig van Beethoven’s masterpiece – his third symphony, “Eroica” – had on the future of classical music. Beethoven followed “Eroica” with his universally memorable fourth to ninth symphonies, and other great composers emulated him.
Breaking Free from Tradition
Do you ever hear much about Beethoven’s first or second symphony? Few people have. That is because it was with “Eroica” that Beethoven is quoted as saying, “I will now take a new path.” It was a radical change in music composition.
“Eroica,” inspired by Beethoven’s admiration for Napoleon as a world leader, had true melody. Prior to “Eroica,” Beethoven’s compositions followed a tradition where melody was rare. He complied with the conventional rules of what tasteful music for the elite should sound like. His prior music was influenced by masters who dared not change from tradition, such as Bach and Haydn. But Beethoven had a strong urge to break free from convention, and with “Eroica,” classical music was changed forever.
Are we now at a point where the implementation of analytics-based performance management’s suite of integrated methodologies, like “Eroica,” will also take a new path? I believe we are, because tradition increasingly gives way to change, and organizations are gradually learning to not just manage change but drive it.
The Future of Performance Management
People are what it’s all about, so I honor and respect the importance of applying the principles of behavioral change management when considering increased adoption of analytics-based performance management methodologies. However, my love for quantitative analysis influences me to conclude with a short narration by the great Princeton University mathematician and Nobel Prize winner John Nash. Nash introduced a theory describing how rational human beings should behave if there is a conflict of interest. In the Academy Award-winning movie about Nash’s life, “A Beautiful Mind,” he is quoted as saying: “I like numbers because with numbers truth and beauty are the same thing. You know you are getting somewhere when the equations start looking beautiful. And you know that the numbers are taking you closer to the secret of how things are.”
Executive management teams with the courage, will, caring attitude and leadership traits to take calculated risks and be decisive will likely be the initial adopters of a fully integrated analytics-based enterprise performance management system. They will achieve its full vision, and other executive management teams will follow them.
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