How You Measure = How You Manage

You cannot claim success if you do not have validation through measurement, plain and simple. But measurement is also the key to ongoing management. All measures should supply accurate information usable for making good decisions.

“If you don’t know how to use the answer to improve you process, the calculation(s) were a waste of time.” —W. Edwards Deming.

Sometimes, managers and employees consider measurement techniques fads because the value and methodology are misunderstood. Many of the discarded tools would work if they were executed properly.

So, how do you check the measures themselves? Start with consistency, so the information can be read and understood. Keep in mind that the measurements need to evolve so the users can absorb more information as their experience and profound knowledge grow, and the measurements can be more finely tuned as you better understand your results and learn how to ask better questions – and capture more refined data.

Measurements are subordinate to the attitudes and perceptions of those in charge. How management perceives the people involved in the organization greatly impacts the future of the whole operation. The boss needs to understand what could occur in the future if they take a certain approach.

For example, hiring people who only do what they’re told and who do not see the opportunities in each day will likely force the boss to become a “micro-manager.” On the other hand, hiring staff that clearly understand the goals of the organization and the daily opportunities will force the boss to readjust his or her thinking on numerous daily issues; the boss will need an open mind, because the employees will discover new paths to the goals as they interact with each other, customers, and competitors.

Summing-up: A decision maker must understand the origins of the data AND how it was manipulated. Each method of calculation has implications and limits, as does the source of the data. To be relevant, the measures have to be understood by those using them.

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