A common myth is practiced by many organizations. It is that measurement for measurement’s sake will produce the widespread organizational changes needed to achieve high-performance organizations that realize greater impact and excellence. Yes, when implemented correctly, outcome measures will lead to increased revenues, positive press, organizational efficiency, staff morale, and client impact. Yet, too many organizations try to fit outcome measures into a system that is not designed to support them.

Most attempts to implement performance measures fail miserably. Leadership teams decide that managing to spreadsheets is the way to become more efficient and effective. They do this without including any front-line staff in the development of measures, and they mandate the measures without much explanation. The leaders do not focus on how these new activities would help employees serve the client better and achieve organizational goals.

As a result, employees become jaded and understandably want to run the other way when they hear the mention of the term “outcomes.”  The institution of data-driven management activities is critical, but it is imperative for organizations to align measurement and leadership  first.

Before implementing a measurement system, take inventory of how well leaders and others in your organizations engage in the following behaviors. These five particular behaviors are predictors that an organization will have tremendous success with outcome measures.

  1. Leaders intentionally align staff’s activities and team efforts to the mission of the organization.
  2. Leaders listen to employees, clients and partners, using the information they gather to start from where they are and work toward a solution to an identified problem.
  3. Leaders value feedback loops that monitor status on progress.
  4. Leaders view measurement as a tool for growth and improvement instead of punishment.
  5. Leaders anticipate sources of fear and conflict and create a plan for dealing with these when moving forward with organizational change.

If you find your leadership lacks these specific behaviors, take a pause in your development of an outcomes measurement system. First, invest in personal development, leadership training, or coaching to engage staff with these behaviors. These efforts can lead to important culture changes and practices that will allow for a powerful measurement culture that is guaranteed to result in success!

Want more information on how to increase funding, morale, positive press, and organizational impact? Join the Achieving Excellence Community and receive our free eBook, Ten Tips to Open Doors to More Grants (and Other Funding):  Overcoming Common Mistakes of Outcomes Measurement.

Are you interested in an assessment of your organization’s culture and leadership and assistance on how to align your measurement efforts with these critical components? Measurement Resources is here to help! Contact us today for your free 20-minute strategy session to learn how to align measurement and leadership.

Sheri Chaney Jones, President
Measurement Resources Company
February 2013