Alliant Consulting Aligning people, processes and metrics to meet your business goals.

“…not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

1963, Informal Sociology, a casual introduction to sociological thinking by William Bruce Cameron, Page 13

Truer words were never said.  The ability to determine the right metrics, track them accurately, and distribute that information to the right parties in a format and with timing that make it a useful tool rather than a postscript, falls somewhere between a statistical discipline and a management art form.  Even when you have the metric right, the recipients of the information must respond to it appropriately, using it to form the right questions, make decisions, and take action.

Perhaps these challenges are the reason organizations so often fail to use metrics as a catalyst to delve deeper and learn rather than to “grade” performance or worse, ignore it completely.

Some assert that everything can be measured.  I’m not so sure about that, but I do know that even in this age of big data, a surprising number of operating units are not using performance metrics effectively to increase their operational and business success.

I am amazed that we continue to find organizations that have no success measures in place within functional operations.   People with the title “Manager” have no reporting tools with which to manage anything.  They can cheerlead and praise or punish at the end of the “game” or business cycle, but they have no objective data to help them determine how to best use their resources, or what resources they need to meet business goals.

Okay, nearly every customer contact center of size has measurement in place and sales organizations have long tracked performance.  Manufacturers have been measuring productivity, quality, and safety but there remain many operational areas that do not track performance- service, quality, productivity, nor safety.

Less surprising, yet no less problematic are those who spend energy measuring data that provides no meaningful value to the teams and leaders striving to improve performance.  They measure everything.  I mean everything!  You’ve heard the term analysis paralysis?  We see stacks of reports delivered, emailed or placed on a SharePoint that are never looked at by the recipients and if they are reviewed, little meaningful action results.

This raises several questions:

  • Why are we measuring the things we do measure?
  • What should we be measuring?
  • Are we measuring the right things?
  • Are we measuring them at the right time?
  • How do we know?
  • What is the difference between measurement and reporting?
  • Can one be effective without the other?

We hope to cover a lot of these questions on this blog, but let’s start with this. There are basically three valid reasons for measurement:

  1. To improve performance real time
  2. To improve performance in the future
  3. To meet regulatory obligations

If your metrics are not helping you to meet these three objectives, you should be thinking hard about the energy used to track and report them.   Before you throw them out however, determine whether the metrics are not helping because  they are not worth tracking or because no one is using it to improve performance.  If worthwhile information is not being used, there could be timing, format or training issues to address.

The right metrics and timely, well-designed reports along with solid understanding as to how to use them can empower a good supervisor or manager like no other tool.

Is it time to update your performance metrics and reporting in order to “up your game”?

When is the last time you evaluated the value of the metrics and reports in your operation?  Do you have the right metrics in place in your work area to help you achieve the objectives above?  Is it tracked in a format and on a schedule that is useful?  What questions do you have about your current performance reports?

Talk to us….

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