Measure up now!

Evidence underpins our very civilisation. If someone allegedly commits a crime, we convict (or otherwise) based on the evidence, not on hearsay.

Hard evidence is what our civilisation has come to accept as something we all agree on - as opposed to opinion - which is all very well and may influence people - but evidence wins at the end of the day.

It's no different in business. The ultimate hard number your business is measured on is the bank balance. It's not a matter of opinion. When your bank account doesn't contain enough to pay your bills on time, you've got a serious problem - no matter what your opinion.

So it will come as no surprise then that as much as possible in your business needs to be measured and ideally turned into numbers. Things brings me to my first great little line:

"You can't manage what you don't measure".

So go ahead and measure everything you need to manage. If you don't like doing this, no problem, make it someone else's job. Just make sure you read the numbers and know what they mean.

Which brings me to my next point - which can also be expressed in a natty little line:

"You get what you inspect, not what you expect"

Employees will perform to what they're measured on. This has been proved millions of times over - but businesses still get it wrong. The benefits of properly measuring the outcomes of what your people are responsible for is amazing. Let me convince you…

  • Firstly, the very fact that the outcome is measured and you're watching means that they are far more likely to perform

  • Secondly, if they're not achieving the outcomes, at least you're going to know - because not many employees will tell you quickly enough (if at all)

  • Thirdly, if an employee is not achieving their numbers (often referred to as KPIs), the conversation you inevitably have to have with them becomes a lot easier. You get to play the ball, not the man. The issue is depersonalised. People get less defensive and emotional because the numbers are what they are, so a more constructive conversation is had

  • Fourthly, in the event an employee is simply unable or unwilling to make their targets - a good deal of the time they will simply resign rather than wait around for you to fire them (people would much rather control their exit)

  • And finally, in the event you have to fire them, you are in a very good position to defend an unfair dismissal claim should one arise

So are you convinced? The benefits make it a no-brainer. I didn't say it was easy to define the measurements and carry them out, but it is essential.

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