Why You Must Set Performance Measures To Achieve Results

We know what gets measured gets done. So, who decides what gets measured? It might surprise you, but most leaders set objectives but not performance measurements. This can be a costly mistake.

If you don’t determine what performance gets measured, people will make up their own. And those things may not lead to your objectives.

Where’s The Bullseye?

People are intelligent and want to do meaningful work. If left to themselves, people will do their work in the ways that are most interesting and meaningful to themselves.

Think of someone shooting an arrow but with no target, no bullseye. What do they aim for? They aim for wherever is interesting. A tree. A spot on the side of barn. Or a bale of hay. Any of these becomes the target.

In your organization, where the metaphorical arrows hits, people will draw a bullseye around them. These become the performance measures. The more they use those performance measurements, the more convinced they become that these are the most important. Yet, these measurements might make no scense to the health of the organizations and its objectives. [Tweet “If you don’t set measurements, others will. Those measurements may not lead to your objectives.”]

The difference between the bullseye that people set for themselves and the one you wish them to hit, is a gap of misdirected energy and resources. That gap is costly.

We can eliminate that gap by setting clear objectives and helping people set clear measurements to reach those objectives.

4 Steps To Setting Performance Measures

  1. Set important, clear objectives. Make them SMART.
  2. Agree on meaningful performance measures that will logically contribute to the success of the objectives.
  3. Monitor, or ask supervisors to monitor these measurements.
  4. Occasionally test the validity of each performance measurement and change them as needed to sharpen the results toward the objective.

It’s not enough to set organizational objectives, leaders must also help people to set performance measurements that will be meaningful and contribute effectively to those objectives.

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    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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