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True Measurements

Reflect on how the day went. What did you measure today? We all know about measuring effectiveness. The question is: are you measuring what’s truly important?

Take social media. Social media giants train people to measure effectiveness by the number of likes, comments and shares a post gets. Those measurements mean nothing for your organization. “Liking” doesn’t mean they are mailing in a check. Getting comments doesn’t keep the lights on and the staff employed. And your organization doesn’t need people to constantly tell it “I like you.” What are good measurements for social media? Revenue generated through sales and donations. When people prioritize your organization with their hard-earned money, you know it’s working.

Another example: a staff member who often rolls into the office later than the others. You may want to call the person into the conference room to have a word. But the number of hours they sit in their desk chair, and when those hours start and stop isn’t important. Are they meeting their objectives towards the mission? Creating marketing need that creates revenue? Measurably deepening customer relationships? Improving the organization? There you go. I’ve been engaged as a consultant with hundreds of organizations, from those with zero money to those with budgets in the billions. I’ve never once had a late staff member hold up an assembly line.

Here are a few other mis-measurements I see often:

  1. Measuring the number of meetings you hold, or measuring the length of those meetings, instead of the success of accomplishing meeting objectives in the least amount of time.

  2. Measuring what something costs instead of the return on investment it will bring you.

  3. Measuring the number of tasks completed instead of the progress made toward actual goals and objectives.

  4. Measuring how much you make instead of how much you keep.

I most often see people measure from two or three layers away from the true measurement for three reasons:

1) Someone else tells them to measure this way. 2) They haven’t identified the true measurement. 3) The faux measurement is easier.

We can use these to inform your explorations of measurements this week.

This week’s mission:

Let’s do a visual this week. I want you to write “What’s the true measurement?” on a Post-It note, and place it where you’ll see it each day this week. Let the note remind you to look beyond the obvious measurement and uncover what’s important. See where it takes your decisions.

For accountability, take a pic of the note and email it to me.

Stuck on identifying the true measurement? Just reply to this note with your best guess and I’ll give you feedback.




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I'm Ron Evans. I dramatically improve individual and organizational performance. If you found today's topic intriguing and want to apply it to your situation, I'll brainstorm with you. The few who follow through and take me up on my offer will benefit greatly. Strike while the iron is hot! 


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