Monday, 3 October 2011

If you want to grow, measure - Measure for Success Series #1

Measuring what you do is almost as important as coming up with ideas, strategies and action plans in the first place. When you monitor how your organization is performing, you are looking at how efficiently you do the work. You are perfecting your repeatable model which enables long term and sustainable growth.

When you measure your business you are able to answer important questions. Do you work cost-effectively? Are you duplicating work? Are you communicating with each other? Are you hitting your targets? When you review an individual programme, you are looking at the impact and effectiveness of the work you are doing. Is it making a difference to users, customers and other stakeholders? When you measure your marketing activity you are looking at what is helping you attract customers (and what isn't working so well) and whether your money is giving you a good return.

Without measuring you don’t know if you are achieving what you have set out to achieve.

Measure the stuff that matters

If you have gone through the effort of planning, setting objectives and strategies then make sure you spend time tracking this. By not tracking your activity you are demonstrating that what you are doing doesn’t really matter. Tracking reinforces the idea that what you are doing is important to meeting your goals. It signals to everyone in your business what you value in the business.

Respond to the measures

There’s nothing more frustrating than putting together facts and figures that no-one does anything with. If you are going to measure something there has got to be a clear understanding of what you will do with the results. This is key. If you have no intention of changing (or cannot change) a part of your product or service then don’t measure that part. It will simply frustrate you and your customers.

So think about what activities are essential to track, why you are tracking them and what you want to do with the results. Act on the information you receive. If a certain customer service level or performance parameter is not meeting target work out a strategy for improving it.

We think that making sure what you are measuring is working for you and not against you is so important that we are spending the rest of October focusing on what, how and when to measure your business. Look out for next weeks’ installment. Start with measurement don’t end with it - the importance of planning.

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