The Linkage between Measurement and Improvement

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As a judge for the 2020 International Business Awards®, I was impressed by the amazing technology solutions available. Many tackle long standing business problems. Others focus on needs that few companies have taken an interest to address. To score each entry, judges were asked to evaluate each entry based on their own experience and achievements presented.

Responding to a short list of questions, companies described as fully as possible the product/service, differentiation from competition, and achievements. The information that drew my most attention is the achievements section. In my mind, an awarding winning solution is one that solves a problem people care about and delivers impactful results. Entries that presented clear and quantified impacts earned high scores from me.

Without the measurement to prove results, it is difficult to gauge whether any improvement has been delivered. Measurement and improvement are tightly linked. Measurement without improvement is an exercise that wastes time and effort. Improvement without measurement is an investment that has little proven impact. Share on X

Hence, it is essential for businesses to make measurement an integral part of decisions they make. When measurement is an afterthought, you have two problems.

  1. Subpar investment choices

A common criterion businesses use in screening funding requests is alignment with the strategic goals. At the high level, it is easy to associate an initiative with the broad goals. However, association is different from causality. Investments with a causal link to business goals is critical to building competitiveness.

Causality can be verified when the investment’s anticipated impacts are clearly articulated. This requires defining the specific results and linkage to goals, which in turn establishes the metrics to be used for monitoring results.

Without going through the rigor, businesses often end up investing in too many initiatives. Many of them might be a distraction instead of moving the business forward.

  1. Perpetuating inability to verify performance

Without explicitly requesting and building the capability to monitor results, businesses could only rely on anecdotal evidence. It is inadequate.

When an initiative spans over several phases and involves significant changes to the status quo, it is difficult to gain trust and buy-in when there is little evidence of improvements.

To prove there is improvement, measurement is a must. This takes commitment from the leaders that measurement is at the forefront of every investment.

By establishing a discipline to incorporate measurement as part of every decision and process, you exercise objectivity and provide visibility to the work involved. This means you make full use of the data presented by your measurement effort to reflect what is working and what is not working. You determine when and what action to undertake for course correction or reinforcement. You make improvements that enlighten your customers and employees. When you build a culture that acknowledges the important linkage between measurement and improvement, you have a systematic approach to verify decisions and act prudently to accelerate success.

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