Friday, March 5, 2010

Measuring - Digging Deeper

Last week I mentioned that you "cannot manage what you do not measure." While this is a fairly simple and even intuitive statement, once you think about it, it is often "out of mind" for leaders. Every time I share this in a seminar or other training situation everyone's pens begin moving. This is one of those nuggets people take home from seminars.

But, there's more to the adage that I almost never see. I was privileged to get it at a seminar I attended many years ago. Here is the next part.

  1. You cannot manage what you do not measure.
  2. You cannot measure what you do not define.
  3. [Come back next week]
Once again, a pretty simple statement. The catch, again, is that this is typically deeper than most leaders are willing to dig.

To really get a hold of the performance of your people, a particular group or the organization as a whole you need to spend some time thinking through exactly what you want to measure and state it in very clear terms. Then, and only then, can you develop the appropriate process and/or tools for getting consistent, meaningful data collection.

There is one pitfall that I have experienced with this (too many times). If you do not clearly define, clearly document and clearly communicate (is that clear?) what you want to measure, you will get people measuring all kinds of different things because they are measuring what they think you meant by what you said. Do not leave it to people's imaginations, or your data will be meaningless - GIGO.

What do you want to measure? How clearly have you defined it? How have you validated people's understanding of it? More later...

Seize the day!

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