Organizations continually try to measure performance and bottom line results. It is common to hear someone make the comment, “We can run a report for that,” or “We can pull that data and take a look at those number.” While data can be helpful in making calculated decision and generating volumes of helpful statistical information, the reality is that those terabytes of data stored electronically do not equate to measurement. Data is data. Data is not measurement.
Data however can be useful in helping to identify and create measurements by taking a look at the past so to better understand where to go in the future. Bottom line measurement is about looking at our effectiveness in real time. How are we doing today (measurement) as compared to yesterday (data), the past week (data), or past month (data). They key is to identify a measurement of effectiveness that adds value and contributes to the overall bottom line performance of the organization. Measurement is about keeping track of the things that are helping us win at work.
People tend to associate measurement as a negative process; measurement of defects, number of safety violations, etc. However, effective measurement helps us grow and become more effective. As results based leaders, it is critical to make measurement positive. If measurement is negative, it becomes one of the quickest paths to demotivating your people. Measurement needs to encourage more of the same positive, results based behaviors.