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Public Sector Performance Roundtable Discussions at Cranfield

The last Public Sector Performance Roundtable focused on two main areas:

  1. Mindfulness and its relationship with organizational performance
  2. Designing strategy maps and performance measures and linking them to outcomes

In the afternoon we focused on a core performance management topic: how can we design and implement effective strategy maps and performance measures? Stuart Crawford from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Agency (RQIA) in Northern Ireland took us through the work that they have conducted over the past five years, looking at both technical and behavioural aspects, and stressing the importance of working across functions and linking performance measures to outcomes.

The morning session – run by Dr Jutta Tobias from Cranfield – looked at the role of mindfulness in organizations. Mindfulness is a very ‘hot’ topic these days, yet unless we can distil its sustainable bottom-line impact, it may become a fad people will only vaguely remember in ten years’ time, as so many other concepts and approaches in management have shown. Instead, Jutta showed us why mindfulness matters and why it has a good chance to stick.

The main reason why mindfulness could play an important role in organizations is that it can help us tackle issues that all of us experience on a regular basis: lack of attention, stress, low resilience, and bad decisions made because of rigid mindsets. Mindfulness is not an easy fix to all these problems, but it is a way to respond to events in an open, non-judgmental and compassionate way. Mindful people tend to be more resilient and manage stress more effectively. This is why corporations such as Apple and Google have been embedding mindfulness practices in their workplaces, and there is an increasing amount of evidence suggesting that mindfulness is linked to high performance in organizations. Importantly, while mindfulness requires exercise, it can be learned fairly easily. And from an organizational point of view, we now know that there are certain kinds of organizational settings and practices that are particularly conducive to benefit from mindfulness – from open work environments to more open and participatory meetings, from encouraging people to collaborate within and between organizations, to learning-oriented performance management practices.

Please also view the video where Jutta is interviewed by Dr Pietro Michei after the roundtable event.

Mike Bourne

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