Having set up your team on Inspirometer, there are three main aspects to driving improvement in meeting effectiveness.
- Ensuring people are using the tools to gather and review their data
- Ensuring the basic disciplines in terms of objectives, agenda etc.
- Supporting your team members in responding to feedback
The shift from ‘ensuring’ in the first three aspects to ‘supporting’ in the third is deliberate. The Inspirometer tool is very intentionally about providing learning metrics – data which encourages, informs, and guides people to adopt new ideas and strategies to improve the effectiveness of what they do (see ‘Principles of managing people through metrics’ below).
Click on the headings below to understand how to use Inspirometer to effect progress in these areas.
Principles of managing people through metrics
Metrics can serve one of two purposes, but not both together. Metrics can be used to support learning, in which case they should be designed and applied to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses; or they can be used to demonstrate competence, in which case they are designed and applied to highlight strengths (and often to conceal weaknesses).
In respect of item 3 above, Inspirometer works best in an environment where people are happy to expose their ‘learning opportunities’ and feel that they will not be disadvantaged by being open about their current weaknesses. Therefore feedback data is deliberately excluded by Inspirometer’s terms and conditions from any use in appraisal, incentive or employee evaluation systems – either from a positive or a negative perspective.
However, to create that opportunity for learning, the basic disciplines of standard practices and using the tools are essential, and within everyone’s grasp to apply effectively. ‘Weakness’ is not a relevant concept in this regard, but ‘resistance’ and ‘indifference’ are. Therefore items 1 and 2 should form an active part of appraisal and incentive structures.
The steps to get Inspirometer up and working are very simple and take very little time to action. In favourable situations, with good links to the internet, people can be fully installed and ready within minutes.
However, people are busy, and things slip their minds, and despite the easy and effortless nature of implementation we find that without proper management of progress, it can still take weeks to have everybody on the system and thereby a complete and accurate picture of meeting time.
So how do you manage progress? How can your management levels:
- Quickly identify where any shortfalls lie?
- Use this information to ensure the shortfalls are addressed?
Personal implementation status is reported in the form of RAG traffic lights on all users’ dashboards. On manager’s dashboards they can see both their own status, and miniature pie-charts for the status of their team members. The meaning of each component and the colours used is explained in the personal section on status.
The composition of each pie, and how it breaks down to teams and individuals, can be seen by delving into the status (RAG) page on the User Stats which they can access via the left hand menu:
> Manage My Team > User Stats (See the image on the right)
This will open up a page of the people within the department being viewed and, by default, show their connection status. This can be changed to RAG status by clicking the Current View drop-down (where it says ‘Connection’) and selecting one of the two RAG views.
- RAG By Individual will show you the individual RAG status for each person reporting to the selected level of the department (providing they have accounts set up in Inspirometer)
- RAG By Department will show you a series of Pie Chart indicators for the next-level sub-departments (as shown below)
The people outlines shown on the right of the department name indicates that individuals report into this level of the structure, and clicking this icon will open up the ‘RAG By Individual’ view for this (sub)department.
The ‘+’ symbol shown on the left of the department name indicates that the (sub)department shown has a further level of sub-departments, and these can be accessed by clicking the + symbol.
In previous implementations (of both this tool and other similar tools) the following approaches to using this data have proven very effective:
- Present the User Table in the management meeting and ask for comments. Develop a shared agreement on what the table should look like at the next meeting
- The prominent position of the status indicators on the dashboard will serve as a reminder of the need to do something for those who are using their accounts
- Where people are not using their accounts and/or are not making progress, the manager should enquire as to the reasons for this and agree a strategy to help the individual move forward
The ability to see the user table broken down into teams and departments, and to see the pie charts for these helps more senior managers to focus on the progress of their management team in driving implementation.
Adoption of basic disciplines
Having ensured that everybody is on the system and generating meaningful data, the next step is to ensure the basic disciplines of meeting effectiveness are in place and being utilised appropriately.
Information on the adoption of basic disciplines are available in two ways:
- A tabular analysis of your team’s progress can be found in the User Stats section
- A graphical overview of team progress can be found in the Meeting Stats section
The User Stats table is a record of every user in your system, and their key data in terms of status, activity, progress etc. It is updated from live data every 24 hours, and reflects the position from midnight last night. The records displayed may extend over multiple pages (1) but you can search for specific users using the search box (2).
Accessing the User Stats is via the left hand menu, under ‘Manage my Team’. Clicking User Stats will present you with an initial (Connection) view with columns set to reflect the progress of people in installing the Inspirometer into their systems
The data available is very comprehensive, far too much to display on one table, and so the columns displayed are user-selectable. Clicking the blue button with the grid icon (3) enables you to tick or untick the column options and choose specifically what to display on your table. A list of the column options available to you can be found in the User Stats Column Options page.
However, there are a number of predefined views which can be accessed via the ‘Current View’ button (4) above the left side of the table, which presents standard views as follows:
- Connection provides a clear picture of how your people are faring on installing their Outlook add-in, any problems they may be encountering, and whether they now have meeting data in their account.
- Driving Phase 1 tracks their progress in the steps required to fulfill the ‘Awareness‘ phase of the standard implementation programme, including adoption of basic meeting disciplines and basic feedback.
- Driving Phase 2 tracks their progress in the steps required to fulfill the ‘Insight‘ phase of the standard implementation programme, in regard to using feedback to drive improvement.
- RAG by individual, and by department, are covered under Usage Status above.
The User Stats enable you to sort your team by any particular aspect of progress, and to identify those who most need support (and also those who may be best placed to support them). To sort the table by a particular column, simply click on the header for that column and the whole table will reorder itself, first in descending order, then in ascending order.
The table also has the ability to perform comparisons (5) with the wider community and to colour code values according to their percentile in the population. This provides the ability to recognise your progress in the wider context, and to either build confidence, or to encourage learning from contact with others.
The Meeting Stats page, which reflects Inspirometer’s analysis of your personal meetings, can also be used to display the same analysis but for your entire team, or for any part of it (providing you have the appropriate permissions). To do this, go to ‘Report Data Source’ toward the top left corner, click on the dropdown box, and select ‘Team’ instead of ‘Personal’.
Once you have the team view, a new ‘Team Filter’ panel opens up in the header of the page. Here you can drill down into your team structure, layer by layer, viewing different areas, and then drilling down into those in turn, right down to individual members of your team.
It should be noted however, that in team view, meeting titles on the histogram are suppressed for reasons of privacy and confidentiality, and meeting/travel timespend is averaged across the team as a proportion of the working day.
To develop a view of what is happening across your team, we suggest you start at the top level (marked ‘all’ on the team filter) and look through the donut charts to see the overall picture, and in particular the donuts for enabling feedback and the application of basic meeting disciplines.
In the Team view, it is possible to drill down into the data using the small pink 3 line icon in the bottom right corner of each chart. This presents a summary of how the data for that chart breaks down into the next level of the hierarchy and thereby enables the user to see how the data builds up and identify the next focus for their investigation.
Clicking the name of the sub-department or individual in this view has the same effect as clicking that name in the ‘Team Filter’, but it makes it easier to chase down exactly what you are looking for.
Nurturing improvement is all about supporting a general upward trend in the data that reflects progress. Individuals can see and take personal responsibility for their own progress via the meeting trends and meeting effectiveness charts in their own accounts. The leader’s role in supporting this is to recognise and appreciate where progress is being made, and to provide assistance and insight where where progress has stalled.
To enable this, leaders can go to their own meeting stats, meeting trends and meeting effectiveness charts, and can change their perspective from their own results to their team’s results. This can then be used to display the value-add charts and meeting trends for your entire team, or for any part of it (providing you have the appropriate permissions).
To do this, go to ‘Source’ toward the top left corner, click on the dropdown box, and select ‘Team’ instead of ‘Personal’. This will make a number of changes to the header area as shown below.
- A team filter panel will be created which enables you to select specific areas of your team to view. The drop-down box allows you to select different areas from your first level structure. If you select an area which has further sub-divisions, these can be selected through a second drop-down box, and so on. Select ‘All’ to see all of the data (including sub-departments). Select ‘1st Level’ to restrict your data to the immediate team.
- An affiliations filter panel will allow you to restrict the data shown to those members of the group defined in the team filter panel who are also members of a particular community as defined in the affiliations column of the team members list.
By these means you can look at the trend of meeting effectiveness for any part of your organisation over any timescale. The boxes on the right of the graph will continue to show the spread of responses and word-clouds associated with the trend lines shown.
Furthermore, clicking on the Meeting Metrics tab in the top left panel will provide the option to graph trends in the other key data available in the User Stats table. In this way you can easily see the progress of any part of your organisation, on any aspect of meetings, and can use this to initiate dialogue with people who may need coaching support or other help with their improvement strategies.