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Metrics Make a Difference—And Money, Too

Every enterprise has important numbers that should be monitored—and they’re not all financial.

If you operate a business, you’re required to maintain certain financial records in order to properly report your income and pay taxes. But most of these financials are too historic to really make good management decisions.

What’s needed are good metrics related to the most important things that affect our desired outcomes. By tracking the right metrics we can affect the changes we need to make in order to be successful.

You can’t change what you don’t measure and understand.

Interestingly enough, the simple act of measuring things seems to alter the numbers in the right direction. What we focus on expands and if we focus on the right things, we’ll start to see those numbers change the way we’d like them to.

Every business is different and it’s up to us to determine what needs measuring and how best to do it. Try brainstorming about what activities could be measured and then select those you think would be the most meaningful. If they prove not to be so valuable, try some others.

In a small business, paying people based on metrics rather than profits is usually much more effective. If you buy a new Mercedes and it’s a business expense, your incentives based on profit sharing are adversely affected. But if you base bonuses on agreed upon metrics, the payoff and increased performance for employees occurs sooner. And it’s usually more fair.

Even if you’re not a business owner, you can find the best metrics to monitor what you do in your job. In doing so, you’ll be able to track things better and make changes that impact those numbers in a positive fashion. You can increase your own productivity as well as that of your department and everyone becomes more valuable.

Here’s an acrostic to help remember what good metrics can do for us:

Clarity and

Clarity leads to power and the right metrics will gain that clarity for us.

Keep it Simple
Keep your metrics simple and easy to record and you’ll do more of it. I like to make a game out of it. The easier it is to do and the more fun it is, the more likely we are to follow through with this powerful process.

Programs like Excel and Access enable us to easily chart and graph our numbers so they become more meaningful and allow us to spot important trends.

You can even develop important metrics for your personal goals. Create ways to track the action steps needed to achieve your goals, and you’ll achieve them more easily and consistently. Monitor your income, outgo, net worth, your exercise program, your diet, your weight—anything that moves you toward your objectives.

Metrics work. Metrics matter. Metrics will make a difference if you use them. Because you CAN change what you measure and understand.


"Blessed are the
flexible, for they shall not
be bent out of shape."
—Dr. Michael McGriffy



"One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful."
—Sigmund Freud







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Last Updated 01/30/2004