Kibosh: word of unknown origin meaning “red-flag”, “stop”. Kaizen: Japanese for “good change”, “continuous improvement”.
Corporate assessments to demonstrate compliance, have become more. More frequent, more structured, more demanding.
Some are promoted by international standard bodies with wide remits, like ISO, others by industry consortia focused on particular areas, like the EDM Council for data management. There are also firm-specific frameworks that the companies adopt, for example, to evaluate their vendors.
This proliferation of diligence creates a tension between Assessors and Assessed. A tension that the former would like to think as positive -a source of motivation – but the latter often perceive as negative – a source of stress and frustration.
Like at School
Remember when you were a student? Whether you enjoyed it or not, you certainly experienced the tension of being prepared at all times. The rules were clear: pupils must study, teachers will periodically test them.
Harsh? No, justified by a universally understood mission: “continuous improvement through incremental learning”.
Those who embraced the kaizen attitude found exams an attestation of their skills. For those who did not, assessment time would mean, at best, long nights and a good dose of stress; at worst, the realisation that a bad result would put the kibosh on their dreams.
In the workplace
Surely the workplace, in this respect, should not be that dissimilar to School. Surely the Mission of most companies, however stated, is predicated on “continuous improvement”.
And yet, periodic reviews or audits are often perceived as a disruption from operational duties if not a right nuisance.
Why? Bad Tech.
The technology of corporate assessments is all too often aligned with the persona and processes of the assessor – but what about the assessed?
Short-changing the “assessed”
Auditors go from one review to another all the time. They don’t mind starting from scratch, with new templates, with new tools.
The individuals and teams assessed, however, are on the receiving end of the same type of compliance review year after year, and would find it very helpful to start from where they finished… we are talking about reviews that may involve hundreds of control points, where each point requires the submission of evidence as backup.
Starting from a clean slate
every time can be frustrating!!!
For years, assessments were mostly carried out using emails to exchange “Q&A spreadsheets” and zip files. Today, many companies have moved to more robust systems.
These systems are mostly commissioned by or designed for the people who run the reviews, the assessors. As a result, the assessed can end-up short-changed.
The LiveDataset perspective
What can you do to help the assessed?
At LiveDataset we believe that the most important point is to do with company culture:
periodic compliance assessments should be
seen as part of a kaizen vision – not a kibosh nightmare!
The assessment shouldn’t be an annual chore that one must pass in order to send the auditor away, or a panicked exercise fearing for one’s career… It should be a natural checkpoint of a continuous improvement cycle that everyone, starting from the top, is committed to.
Design for continuous improvement
If the culture is kaizen, assessment tools should be designed accordingly. The table below illustrates the key differences between kibosh and kaizen.
LiveDataset Assessment “kaizen” Framework
LiveDataset offers an assessment framework that can be configured to support any template which itemises and categorises a structured set of controls. The template may be the product of either internal or external standards.
The framework enables a “submission-review” iterative workflow where:
- the templates are made available to all the organisational units / functional areas / locations being assessed, and submitters from each may self-assess anytime on any of the controls;
- when a review is due, reviewers can flag, score and close (or re-open and iterate) each of the self-assessed items until the review is complete;
- after review completion, the system takes a snapshot and reopens the assessment; from then on, any changes from the snapshot are monitored in real-time until the next review;
- dashboards enable the monitoring of all the reviews in progress, aggregating information to provide average scores for benchmarking and to visualise historical change.
This way, in line with a kaizen approach, the framework caters for both the assessed, the linchpins of continuous improvement, and the assessors. If the first are “good students”, their reviewers will be presented with most of the required evidence before even starting.
Have you been struggling with kibosh assessment tools? Contact us!
This piece is part of our Digital Fire Drills series.