Today’s post is the feature article  from the December 2003 issue of  The Front Porch Newsletter.  If you would like to automatically receive The Front Porch e-newsletter on the last Thursday of each month just click here to sign-up for your complimentary subscription.

blumbergface1Conventional Wisdom would say that “you get what you measure.” Seventy percent of you agreed, in last month’s survey, that measurements drive performance and choices. Sixty-five percent indicated that the measurement theory also holds true in your personal life. The reality is technology can provide us with enormous amounts of data which permits the measurement of many things. Yet, like so many things that we CAN DO, random measurements in a systemic world can create unintentional cause and effect. As a speaker, I am reminded of the genuine value of an audio-visual technician who knows what they are doing. At major events, the mixer boards they use to fine-tune sound and lighting can be quite complex. They know the relational impact that each adjustment can make on the environment. Measurements in organizations and in our personal lives can be just as complex as those mixer boards. There is a systemic impact, intentional or not, with each measurement. They need to be constantly fine-tuned to create the environment of success we hope to achieve. A great measurement system sits on the foundation of clearly defined values and vision. In our survey, only about one-third indicated that their organization’s measurements were tied directly to values and/or vision. Unintentional systemic impact and incongruence are certainly two risks in the world of effective measurement. The biggest risk we may face, however, is that we measure what is easily measured – — yet, often, some of the most important things still aren’t easy to measure. In the words of our survey respondents: commitment, insight, honest communications, pride, feeling of purpose, depth of the difference you can make, potential, trust, passion and gratitude may be just some of those critical, but hard- to-measure items.

Action Idea: As we prepare to enter a new year, take a substantive look at your organizational and personal mixer boards. Analyze your measurement criteria for intentional and unintentional systemic impact and congruence. Think about the things you don’t measure or assume you can’t measure. Be creative in finding ways to measure the more intangible, but critical factors. Maybe most important of all, take a hard look at what is rewarded beyond the measurements. Make the necessary adjustments. Then get ready for the sights and sounds of a great 2004!