The Magic of Numbers
TUESDAY, AUGUST 18TH, 2009
One of the best quotes I recall from Michael Gerber’s book the E-Myth Revisited is, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and what you don’t measure you don’t understand.”
Several of my clients are taking this seriously and working diligently at improving their individual and company performance by concentrating on the numbers. One of the most important principles to keep in front of you as you look at improving performance is that you must start by putting all blame on the system. The lack of a system, the execution is the area to focus on first. Blaming your people is usually a bad place to start especially if you expect them to help you improve the system and be motivated to start measuring their results.
Measuring performance is simply the art of asking questions. What’s the outcome you wish the system to produce? How will you measure whether or not you’re achieving that outcome? What are all the indicators that will quantify that activities are being conducted to gain the specific desired outcome? Here you are looking for leading indicators as well as lagging indicators. Leading indicators tell you whether or not the activities and tasks your people are expected to perform will most likely produce the expected outcome.
One of the reasons we enjoy sports so much is its competitive nature. How many of us would enjoy sports as much if they didn’t keep score. Ask yourself know, how many of your people really know what the score for their job is at the end of the day? Think about that. Absent a pat on the back from you each day, your people should be able to review their performance and know whether they won or lost. If you think of it in those terms you can begin to understand why our people are not motivated at times. How many of us would enjoy coming to work if we didn’t want to win and have an idea how to win at this game.
Of course the opposite can be true when you are losing, yet knowing the score at least sets us up to know we need to improve. In many cases we’re not even providing that to our people.
Whether it’s a computer support team, a car wash detail person, a service tech in a music repair position or an order entry position for a promotional company, every person would like to know how they are performing. If you disagree with that, I’d suggest then that you hired the wrong person. Perhaps that was a possible problem when unemployment wasn’t at 10%, but it certainly can’t be an excuse now. Even then I’d have suggested you look seriously at your hiring practices.
suggests that when performance is measured performance improves. It goes on to state that when performance is measured and reported back performance improves dramatically.
Where would you like to see the performance in your business improve? Repeatedly, without exception, every business we work with sees a marked improvement in performance when they begin to measure and report it back to their people. Take the step now to determine where you want to improve, ask the questions about what to measure and begin reporting what you quantify and you’ll begin to see measureable gains.
What’s the cause of all that stress you are facing each day? We’ll explore and answer that question in our next blog.
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