Well it is Wednesday morning and the confetti has finished wafting to the floor in campaign headquarters all across America. The headlines are peppered with words like "historic" or "unprecedented" for a result that no one saw coming. But is that true? Clearly someone saw it coming and they are working at creating a transition team for the Whitehouse.
What To Measure?
Yesterday I shared some fun musings on whether there is a new way of measuring things around elections? The premise being that perhaps the current models are missing things. In the measurement business which is at the core of operational excellence and continuous improvement one must constantly be alert as to whether you are measuring the right thing. It is not enough to just collect reams of data and measures. It must be the right data and measure and it must give you the information you need.
The idea of measuring is at times off putting to folks who wonder if something can actually be measured. Because of this many times measures never get done. The reality is that anything can be measured but you must be clear about what you want to measure.
In a school I worked with they claimed that they had a program that created leaders. They wanted to know if this was true. But how do you measure something like leadership? They came up with a list of types of leadership behaviour that could be surveyed. Things like how many students volunteer in programs not connected with the school? How many students are involved in school related activities such as clubs, student counsel and sports? Once they had their list they surveyed the student body and actually began to measure these things and create a baseline. Soon they could answer their own question with reasonable certainty.
How Can You Measure A Hidden Demographic?
In yesterday's election it was very much the same thing. Was there a demographic of "shy Trumpers"? If so how could that group be measured? And as wrote yesterday one polling group, Trafalgar Group, came up with a really interesting approach. "How do you think your neighbour is going to vote?" was the measure that they used to tease out actual intentions for that group that was resistant to revealing how they would vote. They collected the data around that measure and made their prediction. Yes, it flew in the face of all of the other conventional polling results. Yes, they correctly predicted Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and a host of others. I suspect someone at the Trump campaign must have been paying attention based on where they focused their efforts in the last few days.
Anything Can Be Measured
What is the take away from all of this? When you want to drive performance. When you want to drive improvement don't let uncertainty around how to measure something stand in your way. Anything can be measured if you really know what you are looking for. Performance Leadership - Think About It!