Don’t Let Your Measurements Mislead You


Don’t Let Your Actions Fool You There are few words that can inspire as much fear and revulsion in the hearts of your internal customers, and sometimes your own employees, as the words “operational actions.” Operational measures often get a bad rap because they are abused by well-meaning but ill-informed executives. And it’s easy for your people to see operational metrics as some kind of cheap gimmick to force them to work harder while you’re constantly trying to squeeze more and more performance out of your team. Meanwhile, your sales team thinks you will use operational metrics to mask the customer satisfaction problem by pointing out your “big numbers” and leaving the customer very dissatisfied.

The truth is that you cannot run an operational organization successfully without the right actions. Any attempt to run an organization without them is doomed to fail as you lack the crucial information you need to run your business. Coach Dave is a strong believer in operational metrics because he knows that the right metrics, when used consistently, allow him to continually improve the performance of the organization and the
. Yes, operational metrics are good, except, of course, when they are bad. .

In simplest terms, operational metrics are progress indicators that give you insight into how well or poorly your group is doing. The key to successful operational metrics is making sure you’re managing and measuring your key processes. It all starts with the goals of your department or company. Depending on the size and scope of your organization, you should have 2-3 main goals. The key is to focus on what you are actually being asked to do and then p>

Set your goals and operational actions in a way that lets you know if you’re succeeding or not. If your goal is production-based (i.e. produce 50 widgets per month), make sure your metrics track the number of widgets produced. If your measurement is time-based (ie finished widgets within 10 days of receipt), double check that your measurement meets the target.

You’ll be surprised how easy it is to create actions that sound important but have nothing to do with your stated goals. For example, if your goal is to paint 10 houses every month, a metric tracking how many brushes you use might sound important for cost control purposes, but it really has nothing to do with the goal. By focusing on the number of brushes you use, you can actually hurt your ability to hit the 10 house goal. Make sure your goals and
measurements are in sync so you and your department can focus on price.