Results, performance and accountability in commissioning
- 11 April 2019
- Posted by: Helen Nicol
- Category: News
One of the consultants from Easier Inc has been blogging their thoughts in response to the RSA’s NextStageRadicals event (held in March of this year). The following snippets respond to the Radical Models of Commissioning thread of the event, and in particular the presentations of Toby Lowe (Senior Lecturer in Public Management & Leadership, Newcastle Business School), Kathryn Caley (Operations Director, SK Nurses) and Jeremy Cox (former Director of Quality at CQC):
Nowhere do [the pernicious effects of accountability on the psychology of work] loom larger than in the spheres of commissioning and regulation (and the trickle down effect they have on how performance is managed). Organisations (and individuals) should be accountable and, for many types of work, regulation should exist but leading from these places creates fear, which has predictable and undesirable effects on behaviour.
For too long our organisations have laboured under a tyranny of results – so much so in fact that we sometimes forget the difference between our performance and our results. In reality, performance is an emergent quality that exists beyond the results we use to describe it — or better, that we use to help us make sense of it.
Accountability — so often operationalised as accountability for results — is destructive because it makes people and organisations responsible for their results but not for their performance. This has two effects: 1) it leaves them constantly off-balance and fire-fighting; 2) it engages our fear response, inhibiting our ability to think clearly, learn and improve.
Here are videos of the talks given by Lowe, Caley and Cox:
(If you were thinking that Jeremy Cox was a familiar name, that’s because he was closely involved with the Collaborate CIC report “Exploring the New World”, which we mentioned here not long ago.)