33The Power of Metrics:

How Measuring the Important Things Helps Us Be the Best We Can Be

How often does your company measure the items that make up its performance? Many businesses, especially newer or smaller ones, would have to answer sporadically, rarely, or in some cases, never. Maybe we just assume we’re doing okay because we keep getting new customers or keep making payroll. Or maybe we think measurement is something we will get around to doing eventually. Or we just aren’t sure what and how to measure.

The challenge is that when we can’t see ourselves objectively, we don’t realize what needs to change. And we can all get better in some area. This almost always requires measurement.

In my first book, Hardwiring Excellence, I shared nine principles that when followed produce great results. The first is a commitment to excellence. The second (a very close second) is “measure the important things.” Don’t measure just to measure, but measure what is most important to help you, the team you lead, or your company or community to be the best it can be.

Years ago, when I worked for an organization, a man named Clay Sherman taught our leadership team to measure. We did a great job of measuring finance items. That’s not unusual, of course, because dollars and cents are easy to measure. However, we were lacking in measuring customer service and quality as well as the most important capital we had: human capital. I learned from Clay that we can tell a company’s values by what they ...

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