I probably could have written the word metrics 100 more times in the title of this post and still not have been emphatic enough about the need for metrics. Everything that is done in business should be tied to metrics so that you have a clear understanding of success. I often tell people about the “live, like, love” principle as an easy way to talk about metrics. Basically, it is this – there are always three numbers to look at when you measure things – the number that will let you live longer, the number by which your client will be happy and like you, and the number by which your client will be ecstatic and love you. In financial terms, these are the baseline numbers, the budget, and the goal.
It is interesting to me that in most other parts of our life we talk about metrics all of the time – in sports, in education, in training our children, in comparing different opportunities, in almost everything. Yet, in business people fear metrics. They fear being measured.
I remember once speaking with a senior executive for a client and telling him how we needed to meet with his clients to understand their definition of success such that we could measure it and make sure we were achieving it. His answer was – “I prefer not to do that – it is their job to measure it and determine success”. What he was really saying was that he feared the metrics and being measured. Not surprisingly, shortly thereafter the largest client pulled out of the program, claiming that success metrics were not met.
The lesson – forasmuch as you think you can hide from it, metrics are there whether you acknowledge them. To that end, rather than avoid them, embrace them. Force them to be stated, clearly understood, and engage around them. With this, you are clearly in charge of your own destiny and the destiny of your organization.
Sound simple? Maybe. Sound critical? Definitely.