Measure, measure, measure …. From Latin metīri, means comparing a number with a prior conventional measure. It also means having a certain size as height, weight, area or volume.
We have spent our life measuring everything: our height and compare it with our friends, our weight, our sports activities and see how far we are from the regional, national, Olympic marks….
The first question to answer is: Why do we want to measure? What do we seek? Once we are clear about it – not easy task – and we are able to determine the goal of our measurement, then the hardest part comes up:
- What should we measure?
We must clearly identify those variables that can be useful to achieve the target or goal.
- How do we measure?.
This is another important stone in the road, because it can be relatively easy to know what things we can measure, but sometimes it is much more difficult to know how we will be able to measure it.
- When are we going to measure?.
To obtain useful information of the measurements is important to set the timing of obtaining them.
And I wonder myself, Is it useful to measure? And the answer is simple: “It depends.” It depends on the properly applying of some action as a result of measurements made according to the goal to pursue, depends on the criteria you choose later to compare with other previous values of the same metric so we can assess degrees of progress, impact , …. Depend on our ability to influence this measurement with our actions, namely whether it is possible to change trends, improve processes, ….
Who we measure for? Not always have a clear answer: For our partners?, The citizens? For the Company?, To help identifying possible sources of problems? Trouble doing the job properly? Each recipient of such measurements have acceptance criteria, to satisfy a need which we measure and react.
Based on this measurement, as Godet introduced its Strategic Foresight treaties, can be rely on metrics to establish a proactive perspective foresight or proactive ie anticipating threats and preparing for anticipated changes or changes causing we may favor defining the future that suits us respectively.
Interesting, isn’t it?
“Measure” is still one of the most feared verbs enterprise level (and institutional) for at least three reasons:
- Help to assess the efforts made to achieve a goal as long as we have been honest enough with ourselves and with the environment in its definition.
- Help or justifies define protocols that will facilitate achieving the objectives set.
- And maybe not so nice, helps show us how wrong we have been to make a strategic decision that had an impact on the flow and business variables.
The measurement of performance indicators is quite perverse, here we can apply the famous quote from Groucho Marx: “Here are my principles, and if you do not like them I have others” and if we want to make sense and above all useful, we must begin by defining of the most consistent as possible.
Unfortunately, establishing parameters or performance indicators (those metrics that have associated target value to reach) does not ensure the success of a business initiative even if it should meet the objectives simply because, normally, the lights that are taken as “easily” measurable there are tangible and important component, and increasingly decisive, does not facilitate the final result: intangible indicators. Intangible indicators are those that depend on a set of variables whose value can change depending on external influences and remain valid, are associated with the brand, social relations, age-derived knowledge and are very influenced by the boundary conditions.
Dare we identify them? … thus we