Measurements get crazy when the leader tells everyone to identify the three key measurements for their department and to manage around them. Life gets even crazier when the leader says, “As part of our monthly staff meeting, we’ll review our measurements.” Imagine the meeting. To discuss a measurement can take at the minimum 2-3 minutes. Now imagine 8 departments with 3 measurements each being discussed for 2-3 minutes each. We’re talking 1 to 1-1/2 hours just to discuss measurements. And we still have all the other stuff to discuss in the staff meeting. No wonder they take all afternoon!!! Go through one of these staff meetings once, and the leader realizes it doesn’t work so he or she decides to review one departments measurements per month. All of a sudden, everyone want to be the first to go next month. Why? because if I can go first, nobody will talk about my measurements for another 8 months. Bottom line is this still doesn’t work.
What good leadership needs to do here is come up with no more than 3-4 measurements that everyone can understand, understand easily, and tie everyone together. Make sure they support the company’s overall goals, and second, make sure they don’t conflict with other measurements. (We shouldn’t be telling our purchasing agent to never run out and never have more than 30 days worth of inventory if the lead time for the item is 16 weeks)
I like the following as measurements everyone can understand and support.
Are we making money?
Are we keeping promises to our customers?
Are we doing new things to secure our future?
Everyone can understand these and everyone can look at their job and connect something they do to one of the three above. In addition, they are just vague enough to allow us flexibility in dealing with individual situations that arise out of the norm.