By Skip Reardon, Performance Excellence Program Director at Six Disciplines

Not So Obvious

The need for measurement seems obvious. However, more often than not, it’s overlooked as being too much work and unnecessary by many leaders of small and mid-sized organizations.

The Top Ten

Let’s look at the top 10 reasons why your organization needs to measure results:

  1. Measurement clarifies expectations. Measures are the most transparent and clear means to communicate expectations to your employees.
  2. Measurement directs behavior. Most employees consciously or unconsciously operate on the following assumption: “Tell me how you’ll measure me, and I’ll tell you how I’ll behave.”
  3. Measurement increases objectivity. Measurement is essential to “managing by fact” – otherwise you are left to lead with charm and personality.
  4. Measurement makes performance visible. If it’s not being measured, it simply can’t be managed.
  5. Measurement focuses attention. When people are faced with so many competing priorities for their time and activities, what is measured tends to get their attention – particularly when it is linked to a recognition/reward system.
  6. Measurement promotes consistency. Unmeasured systems tend to be highly variable systems, with all the negatives for quality that are implied.
  7. Measurement facilitates feedback. Feedback in the form of timely, relevant measures is the basic navigational device of any individual or organization.
  8. Measurement improves decision-making. One of the major causes of failure in decision-making is poor or non-existent use of data. One accurate measure can be worth a thousand opinions.
  9. Measurement promotes understanding. Quality guru W. Edwards Deming thought that systematic process measurement led to the “profound knowledge” that was essential to top quality outcomes.
  10. Measurement improves execution. As former Allied Signal CEO and co-author of Execution, Larry Bossidy, has remarked “When I see companies that don’t execute, the chances are high that they don’t measure.”

The Bottom Line

Measurement is both an art and a science. Fortunately, we’ve taken the complexity out of measurement, and we’ve built it right into our program, so you’ll see measures as an everyday occurrence. Whether you’re measuring the performance dimensions of results from processes, products, services, initiatives, or people, the Six Disciplines’ approach to measurement will help you focus on results.

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