Performance Perspectives Blog

The 7 Habits of highly effective … performance measurement professionals

by | Jul 28, 2014

7 habits of highly effective performance measurement professionalsGive credit where credit is due: the late Dr. Stephen Covey did a masterful job with his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It became a well-deserved international best seller. Surely we can adopt the concept and apply it to our industry; specifically, habits highly effective performance measurement professionals should employ. These are, of course, my views on this subject, and, as always, I’m open to your thoughts on how the list can be improved.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Performance Measurement Professionals …

  1. Have passion

    Be passionate about the field you work in. Granted, this should apply to whatever one does. I had a conversation with a 40+ year veteran United Airlines flight attendant on my return trip from Hong Kong last week. She told me one of her colleagues has been doing this work for over 50 years (meaning she’s in her 70s). They both obviously love their job. She asked me if I have plans to retire, and I said “no.” I love what I do. And you should love what you do, too (this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have retirement plans; not everyone needs to be as crazy as I am about this notion of not retiring). TSG is passionate about performance measurement; we think you should be, too. Enjoy your profession. If you don’t, perhaps you should move on and find something better; life’s too short.

  2. Get involved – contribute your time to the industry

    Participate in industry groups, be they at the local level or part of a broader group, such as the Global Investment Performance Standards. If you’re a CIPM, look to get involved with the program. This volunteer work is a good way to help improve what we’re doing, it allows you to meet new folks in the industry, and can benefit your career. There are other industry groups, too, such as the Performance Measurement Forum, that allow for both personal growth and the opportunity to learn ideas to benefit your firm. In addition, let people know what you think when ideas are put forward. If your firm is compliant with GIPS, then don’t miss out on the chance to offer your views when new ideas are put forward for public comment. In addition, when surveys are offered, share your thoughts.

  3. Write articles

    One of The Journal of Performance Measurement(r)‘s top contributors is Tim Ryan, CIPM, FRM; I suggest you look at his LinkedIn page to see how much he’s written. As the recipient of now TWO Dietz Awards, his views are obviously well received. Not everyone can or should be a Tim Ryan, but you can occasionally pen an article. The Journal of Performance Measurement is always on the lookout for submissions. They can be practitioner-oriented (speaking about the way your organization does things, for example) or creative, in demonstrating new ways to do things. Writing articles is one way to enhance your standing in the industry, too!

  4. Speak at conferences

    It’s been said that public speaking is the #1 fear, with the fear of death being #2, meaning most folks would rather be in the coffin than to give the eulogy. But speaking isn’t that difficult. There are loads of ways to develop these skills (e.g., Toastmasters, which is a membership group, open to anyone who’s interested in improving their speaking). By speaking at conferences and events, you’re given the chance to express your thoughts on an important topic. It is a great way to enhance your confidence, to get to know more folks, and further benefit your career.

  5. Add letters to the end of your name

    We’re obviously huge fans of the CFA Institute’s Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) program. To us, everyone involved with performance measurement should strive to earn this designation. They’re difficult exams, for sure, but if it was easy, what would the point be? In addition to the CIPM, the CFA, CAIA, and FRM are worthy pursuits. These designations mark you as someone who has achieved a certain level of expertise. Well worth the effort.

  6. Increase your knowledge of your craft

    Several years ago I coined the “three Cs of performance measurement”: change, confusion, and controversy. I won’t dwell on all of them now, but will emphasize the first: change. Our industry is forever changing. And how best to keep up? By attending conferences and participating in webinars. If you’ve never had formal training, we suggest you invest the time to do so. By enhancing your knowledge, you’ll also be in better shape to avoid confusion and controversy!

  7. Be indispensable to your firm

    The role of performance and risk measurement  has grown considerably over the years. Its importance will only continue to grow. Help your firm take advantage of all the opportunities it offers. Provide the best information possible. Offer ideas and insights. Conduct appropriate analysis to help your organization understand what’s going on. Be the “go to” person when issues or questions arise regarding rates of return, performance attribution, risk, and the GIPS standards.

Covey added an 8th habit, so we will, too (suggested by my colleague, John Simpson, CIPM):

Read, read, and read some more!

This is taking the 6th habit to “the next level,” by committing to study it regularly. Read The Journal of Performance Measurement and books. There is so much knowledge available, waiting for you to take hold of it.


Last week I blogged about the sudden and unexpected death of our friend and colleague, Sandra Hahn-Colbert, CFA, CIPM. In many ways she was the epitome of these habits. I could list several more individuals, but won’t, because I’d no doubt leave many names off.

If you consider yourself to be a performance measurement professional, we believe these are habits you should strive to develop. What do you think?

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