I love the title of this program. I wish I had thought of it. This is a beautiful reminder of why we should be constantly introspective about metrics.
This is actually the title of a program or process for non-profits from Yellow Wood Associates. It’s a systems-analysis based process for determining your key indicators. I confess that I don’t know much about it, but I love the name.
“You get what you measure” has two meanings. On one hand, you have to be careful that you’re not measuring the wrong things. You will naturally follow your metrics. If someone tells you that your performance will be judged on increasing x and decreasing y, you’ll naturally do whatever you can to achieve that. In the process, you can quickly lose sight of your objectives. Increasing x and decreasing y are probably important, but they’re important as an element or part of some bigger picture.
On the flip side, this can be a good thing if you are measuring the right stuff. It’s often argued that you can’t make true progress without some measure of success. (Remember the cliche, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not likely to get there.”) But measurements are even more important as a communications tool. Even in a small organization, it’s easy to have everyone moving in different directions. If the directions are generally similar, this can be hard to detect. Clear measurements help get everyone going in exactly the same direction, and aligns everyone in the team.
We’re always focused on outcomes. This is why it’s so important that your metrics reflect your outcomes. If they don’t, you’ll quickly be chasing actions that do not contribute to your impact.