Research is not a friend of mine. Nor is measurement. When we began reading Katie Delahaye Paine's, Measure What Matters, I was kind of dreading it. The more I read however, the more intrigued I became with what Paine had to say about measurement.
I find that sometimes the hardest part of measurement is deciding what to measure. Every program or strategy needs to have measurable objectives.The objectives must be easy to measure and give a clear definition of the outcome of the measurements. Paine offers six steps to help choose and reach measurable objectives:
Step 1: Understand your background
Step 2: Assemble everyone on your team, including staff, boss and boss's boss. Ban all jargon from the meeting.
Step 3: Ask them what they mean when they say "Damn, we just got our butts kicked!" Write down the responses
Step 4: Ask them what they mean when they say "Congratulations, you really kicked butt last week!" Write down the responses
Step 5: Ask everyone what their objectives are and keep asking "Why?"
Step 6: Have the group vote on the objectives and associated metrics
Step 5 stood out to me the most. As a young kid, when a parent or friend asked a question did you ever respond with "Why?" When the other person responded, did you just keep asking "Why?", over and over again? I actually did it just the other day. That is how Step 5 should be. When you ask the group for their objectives, as them "Why does that matter?" After they answer, write the response and ask again, "Why does that matter?" Keep writing down their responses and asking "Why?" until that person or group can come up with a measurable objective that can relate to the bottom line. Once you have found a measurable objective, choose a metric to go along with that objective.
This process can help you gain a clear understanding for what it means to "really kick butt." It also helps with finding clear objectives with measurement, which can really make a difference in a program or strategy. By having the team agree on a definition of success, it will be easier to judge performance and the sucess of the program or strategy!