Why Measuring Matters
I am in the process of loosing my "oil patch" weight. This is the weight I accumulated after spending time consulting on performance improvement at all the various locations around Alberta, B.C. and Texas. I started this process a year ago and for one year I lost no weight at all and in fact gained weight. The problem was that for that first year I thought I could just "eyeball" it and gauge my intake and weight without measuring anything. Boy was I wrong!
I should have known better, after all it is exactly what I teach my colleagues regarding performance improvement; if you don't measure it you can't change it. I didn't bother to measure and as such I did not change anything, at least in terms of the direction I wanted to go.
So I got an app and started using it rigorously. And guess what? Yup, already down 5 pounds in just one week. The only difference from before is that I started measuring intake, exercise and weight and the results tell the rest of that story. I know I have a way to go yet but I did some research and found a paper done by "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." In it they did a study on long term weight loss and maintenance and the study found that those who "self monitored” (that means measured) their intake and weight were far more successful than those who did not.
The lesson here should be familiar to all of us in leadership; if it is important to your business or your role, measure it! There is literally no role that does not have performance components in it that cannot be measured. And those measures should point to behaviors that need to be modified to increase performance.
In one instance I can recall a company started measuring motor vehicle incidents (MVI’s) and after a couple of months they realized that most of their MVI’s were happening right in their own yard! The measure did not provide them with the answer but it pointed them in the direction in which to look. When they studied the issue further it was concluded that these MVI’s were taking place when crews were coming back from a job and were typically fatigued or eager to get home and as such were not as careful to monitor their driving in the yard. On a go forward basis the Supervisors had to develop the habit of alerting everyone to this danger when returning to the yard and the crews had to develop the habit of watching out more carefully for themselves and others. It wasn't a tough fix but it would not have happened without the measures to point them in the right direction.
Ask yourself the question; what is important to your company, division, group or area? Are you measuring it? If not why not? Continuous Improvement - Think About It!
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