Winter is almost over and the seasons are changing. People are getting ready for summer by going to the gym and setting some fitness goals. From measuring waist sizes to jumping on the scale, people looking to get that summer body are employing a system of metrics to track their progress and inform their fitness decisions.
Executives are looking to do something similar for the health of their companies. They have set goals for growth and improved performance but need a system to measure the company’s progress. That’s where you come in: like a personal trainer with a workout plan, you approach these executives with a means of recording data and providing insight into the future decisions they need to make in order to reach their goals.
However, it is easy to get too enthusiastic about the technical nuances of developing a metric system. In order to keep the system user-friendly, it’s important to keep things SMART.
S – Simple
Let’s relate this back to the theme of losing weight. If a person had to pull out a measuring tape, calipers and set an appointment with their trainer every time they wanted to check their weight, it would be too cumbersome to continue for long. Business metrics need to be elegant and non-obstructive to the employees in order to work effectively.
M – Measurable
This might seem like a no brainer, but in order to track progress towards a goal, there needs to be a system of quantifiable progress. Anyone going to the gym with the goal of improving their self esteem is going to have a much harder time measuring their progress when compared to someone looking to lose 10 pounds of weight.
A – Achievable
Losing 30 pounds over a few months, that’s achievable. Losing 30 pounds overnight, that’s dangerous. While it is important to set goals that push the company to grow, it is just as important to understand its limitations. Setting unachievable goals can lead to dysfunctional practices that wind up doing more harm to the company than good.
R – Relevant
Just as every body is different, so too is every company. One person’s need to build muscle may be completely inappropriate to the next person. It is dangerous to just use a blanket, one-size-fits-all approach to setting goals and developing metrics for companies. Look to understand what the company specifically needs to measure and how it can be used to project growth.
T – Time-Based
Finally, a goal without a deadline can be put off indefinitely. This is true for both people at the gym and companies looking to grow. Goals need to have appropriate deadlines and the metrics need to have a consistent system of recording progress. Stepping up on the scale can vary dramatically before and after a meal. In order to see consistent progress, measurements need to be recorded systematically.
The goal of developing a system of metrics is to offer executives a look into the performance of their company. Taking all of that data and making it understandable for everyone involved is critical. Keeping things SMART will help prevent your system from being unapproachable.