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Are you measuring what matters?

Cultures of involvement 1 May . min read

As leaders, it’s easy to measure what we're comfortable with, instead of what will actually have the greatest impact on the success of our business. 

We might measure something that we already understand well, like the CFO-turned-CEO who uses the most in-depth financial reporting tools available. Or we might simply measure a particular area because that’s the way it’s always been done, and it’s easy to continue. The prime example of this is the employee engagement survey - a tool that most large businesses have been using for decades, despite a lack of evidence for its impact on business success.

Whatever the reason, without a systematic approach to measuring what really matters, your business is unlikely to reach its true potential. 

The danger of whitespace

The fact is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Businesses are complex. As a leader, it’s your job to be across everything, not just what you’re most comfortable with. But it’s virtually impossible for any one person to have their finger on the pulse of every area of the business, and this is why a commitment to measuring everything that matters - not just the areas of the business you're closest to - is so important.

The good news bubble

There’s a tendency of some people in leadership teams to tell you only what you want to hear. Naturally, this tends to be the good news. However, what you really need to hear about are the areas of concern that need your input and expertise. The only way to pop the bubble is to go beyond the leadership team and directly assess both the high- and low-performing areas of the business.

The busy fool

It’s easy to be a ‘busy fool’ as a leader: To spend our time on things that aren’t going to have the greatest impact on the overall performance of the organisation. It’s especially tempting to spend time on things you know well, or things that are already going well, but it’s very likely that your organisation needs you to spend time elsewhere. This challenge extends to directing the energy of the people you lead.

So what should we be focussing on?

Deciding where to direct our energy and the energy of our team is probably the most important function a leader has. At AskYourTeam we set out to build a system that would take the guesswork out of leadership by measuring how your business is doing in the areas that really matter.

We conducted an in-depth analysis of every Harvard Business Review article on organisation and leadership performance from the past five years in order to understand what the world’s most successful businesses have in common. Then we distilled those commonalities into thirteen organisational success factors. These cover everything from strategy and project planning, through to business processes, customer focus and leadership. We’ve committed to repeating this review process every two years, to ensure our methodology is always based on up-to-the-minute research. 

Next, we designed a system that allows you to measure how your business is performing in each of these areas, in real-time. Our approach has been independently validated by New Zealand’s leading business school, the University of Waikato’s Institute for Business Research

By using AskYourTeam, you can be confident you’re measuring what really matters to your business’ success.

Chris O’Reilly

Chris co-founded AskYourTeam as a way to make it easier for leaders to ask their teams the most important (and the least-asked) question in business: “How can I help you do your job better?”