Know How to Use Measurements


The classic business quote from Drucker is "you can't manage what you don't measure". He is spot on. I also like to reserve that statement to managers in the form of a question.

"How do you use your measurements to manage?"

Certain measurements are given to you by the organization. These are usually bigger measurements (sales, revenue, profit, etc.). As I mentioned in other posts, those are also lagging measures - meaning by the time you get them, you really can't do anything to change.

However, many other measurements you and your team control. So the question becomes - when you see them, what will you do about them. If you can't think of an effective way to manage to the measurement, then it may not do any good. For example, if you collect course reviews from people, but have no way to track them or compare them in any way, they are of limited help. You may be able to indicate them on a performance review somewhere, but that is it.

However, if you can track course reviews by date, course, instructor, location, and time, you may be able to gather valuable feedback. Do people at the location A always grade courses lower than location B? Why? What can you do to raise the grades at A without impacting B?

This also helps you avoid over measuring something. If you have 2 measurements, one very helpful and one that isn't so helpful, you can get rid of one of them (and justify doing so).