Leaders at every level often ask me, “What should I be measuring?” This is an area where frankly many leaders feel inadequate. You are measuring stuff, but have the sense that the metrics are not giving you the full picture, or the most important part of the picture. It makes you nervous. You think, I need to know how we are doing. I need to reduce risk. To be an effective leader, I need to make sure that we are measuring and tracking progress, but I don't feel satisfied with the information I have.
It's hard to figure out what to measure, so you can feel confident you are tracking progress and risks, but not spending so much time tracking and measuring everything that you are micromanaging.
I'm not sure I fully understand the strategy, but I do understand my measures, so I will tune my work to optimize what I'm being measured on. I'll keep delivering and reporting on these measures unless someone tells me otherwise.
The right measures are so important. If you can get it right, you can achieve the holy grail of being confident about progress without getting overly involved in tracking detail. But just like there are end goals masquerading as good strategy, there are often bad measures standing in for truly meaningful ones. At a top level here is how I classify good and bad measures: