What Gets Measured Gets Managed

Audio Blog

Peter Drucker is one of the most often quoted business management guru’s. He has been referred to as “The founder of modern management.” I have learned to appreciate his wisdom over the years and often look to his work in order to help me “Get things done”. 

This week I want to unpack the following quote that often gets attributed to him.  

“What gets measured, gets managed”.

Peter Drucker

As someone who is not much for budgets or plans and who often will “wing it” more than I “plan it” I want to tell you how I have found this phrase to be useful in my business. 

If you have followed my work you know that I am absolutely not a fan of goal setting in the traditional manner. In fact I think that much of the challenges we have as a society stems from putting the wrong things on the scorecard. With this in mind I will add the caution that needs to come with the “What gets measured gets managed” statement. 

Before we start with any program of improvement we need to make sure we are measuring the right things!! 

Trust me that I know full well that many of the important things in life are incredibly difficult to quantify. However, when you marry “What gets measured gets managed” with Eckert Tolle’s “With awareness comes choice” you get a powerful combination. 

I have long maintained that in order to achieve success you need to be more committed to the process than you are interested in the outcome. This means that when I set my measures I set them based on how well me and my team have committed to, and executed on, the process rather than how well we have achieved our desired outcome. 

I certainly need to make sure I am paying attention to the outcomes in order to be able to tweak the process if needed; however, my primary focus is on tracking how well me and my team adhere to the process. Outcomes are not always under our control, our process almost always is. 

In my 25+ years of business, more often than not, any failure to meet outcomes came as a result of a lack of adherence to the process rather than a flaw in the process itself. Understanding that this is the case, it became clear that I need to spend more time measuring the process rather than the outcomes. 

In order to ensure that I am measuring the right things I always make sure that all of these measures are weighed against the organizational (or individual) purpose. I also make certain that they are always aligned with the core values. 

One of my biggest challenges is a struggle with focus. Another quote I am quite fond of is one from Steven Covey. Covey says: 

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Stephen Covey

With this in mind I have created a weekly scorecard that I use for myself as well as share with my clients in order to ensure that what matters gets measured and that I have a clear direction at any point in time to understand what truly matters. Below is a breakdown of what I put on my weekly scorecard. This is always an evolution and I would encourage you to find your own measures. You can use this template I created as a starting point. Simply fill in the form at the bottom of this page and I will send you a copy.

Here is a brief summary of what I put on my scorecard. It may be useful to follow along with the template. 

Date/Period: Understanding that the measures on these scorecards are point in time measures and they do not become part of my personal or organizational identity.

Purpose: What is my/our bigger purpose as an individual or as an organization?

Why do we exist as an organization?

Having this front and center on every scorecard is paramount. When we stay true to our purpose it makes it that much more likely that we continue to measure the right things.

Values: Our values give us the foundational “how” we achieve our purpose. They provide us with our north star, our guiding light. They are the measuring stick against which all of our processes are held up against.

The Main Thing: For me this is a weekly objective. Often the current ‘main thing’ is one of many various projects that need to be accomplished. When I clearly identify what the “Main Thing” is then it actually gets done. As a guy that struggles with focus and in fact thrives on variety it can be challenging to finish projects. I am an excellent starter! Can you relate? I am great at getting things 90% complete, however it is that final 10% that I really need this section for.

Process Score: This is where I will list the actions or activities that need to be done on a regular basis to ensure success. While the specifics of the tasks may vary from week to week I generally know the type of thing that needs to get done. 

Humanity Score: These are the things that all of us as human beings need to thrive. These can be as simple as a happiness score from 1-10. Asking the question “Was I happy today?” can be incredibly powerful. If I look back at my scorecard and see that I am consistently answering this question with a ‘2’ then it is clear I need to make some adjustments.

What am I grateful for today? This is another question that I have on my scorecard as it allows my mind to search for the things that I am truly grateful for. Gratitude is the antidote to anxiety, worry, envy and fear. What good is a “high score” on the scorecard with no peace in our life or business. 

Reflection: 

Meaningful Connections: Here I spend a little time and recap any and all meaningful connections. Whether personal or business. This allows me to catch any action items I may have committed to out of those connections and ensure that I schedule appropriate follow up actions if I have not already done so. 

Start/Stop/Continue: The last thing I keep on my scorecard is the good ole start/stop/continue exercise. Simply having a placeholder for this on the weekly scorecard ensures that I am always taking a look at what is working as well as what may need improving.  

Conclusion

I remember when I worked for one of the big banks and every year we would host our TEL/TOL (Team Effectiveness Lab/Team Organizational Lab) events. It struck me that in the 6 years that I worked there the same issues were raised every single year. This clearly demonstrated that there was a disconnect between what employees were saying and what management was actually doing. We left these events with scorecards in hand, feedback given, yet somehow there was still a gap. 

Today I keep these scorecards simple and actionable on an individual level. If we want performance at the organizational level it ultimately comes down to how well each of the individual team members execute on their objectives. If you are a solopreneur these scorecards can help ensure that you focus on the main thing while you continue to execute all of the little pieces you need to daily.   

Get the template here

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