Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Measuring the Team - Part 1

“What gets measured gets managed,” my boss told me as he leaned back in his chair, imparting the wisdom of the ages on me. “That’s all you need to know to be successful in this area. If you don’t measure it, it won’t get managed. And I’ll tell you something else. Everything that is important can be measured.”

This was music to my ears. I had already built a reputation for getting results. (See A Little History and Background). With my background in accounting and finance, measuring things was pretty easy for me. I was far better than most at creating measurements of our success because numbers had a way of just speaking to me. Over the years, I created metrics in a variety of areas to measure our progress and success. In a number of ways the metrics were instrumental in helping us uncover bottlenecks, identify challenges, and improve our performance. It’s safe to say that my utilization and understanding of metrics furthered my ability to get more results than my peers and distance myself from them in terms of our managerial abilities.

Over time my ability to manage the business led me to get promoted into areas where I was not a technical expert. For some people, that can create a huge problem as they can be very insecure about an area where they lack detailed knowledge. In my case I was fortunate to have a boss who taught me how to ask questions, how to do detailed analysis of processes, and the advantages of not being a technical expert. Using these skills, I continued to get results in areas that were far removed from my accounting and finance background. I often found myself being put in charge of areas that were performing badly, where the metrics were far below the company’s expectations. I became a kind of “turnaround specialist” inside my own company. I moved from department to department reversing the numbers and improving productivity. In doing so, I learned the first fallacy of managing through metrics.

While it's true that what gets measured gets managed, not everything that can be measured matters. In case after case I found that organizations were measuring the wrong things. They measured what was easy to measure instead of what they should be measuring. So, while what they measured was getting managed, the things that they should have been measuring were left languishing because they couldn’t figure out how to measure them. Much of my success was the direct result of my ability to ascertain what SHOULD be measured and managed.

We’ll discuss this in more depth in our next posting.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC, we are dedicated to helping companies get the greatest return from their most valuable asset: their employees. We work with you to align 3 key organizational factors:

• Your Company Culture
• The Leadership Styles of your key managers
• The Expectations of your Employees

When these 3 factors are aligned, you create an energy in your company that improves productivity, reduces absenteeism, increases creativity, and positively impacts your bottom line. Contact ECI Learning Systems LLC today to get your free Workplace Evaluation.

Until next time.....

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Dave,

    I read your post with anticipation for the next installment. I think back t a book that i think you recommended Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni. In it he too wanted to find a way to measure the things that make a difference and in fact he succeeded in measuring the impact of a smile.

    Looking forward to the next one.