loren Eric Swanson: Measuring What Matters

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Measuring What Matters

Leaders identify the metrics that matter most to them that help them identify if they are getting closer to accomplish what they are in business to do. In a May, 1999 article in Fast Company entitled “Measure What Matters,” leaders of twelve organizations were asked to identify the metrics that matter most to them. It was interesting that no two answers were alike.
Scott Neally of Sun Microsystems measures “system uptime”—how often Sun systems are up and running at customer sites.
Barbara Cassani, CEO of Go Fly LTD, measures the cost to make a seat available for sale. “I monitor costs because being low-co0st is the core of our business strategy.”
Jerre L. Stead, CEO of Ingram Micro Inc. measures customer delight—quality of service against their competition worldwide.
Gary White, CEO of Gymboree Corp measures employee satisfaction as the key to long-term success.
Reuben Greenberg, Chief of Police in Charleston, South Carolina measures the number of complaints that they receive from citizens. “Complaints provide a window into your overall performance.”
Val Ackerman, President of WNBA tracks the number of tickets sold. “Game attendance…is not the only measure that we look at…but it’s relevant, its quantifiable, and it lets us evaluate how we are doing from year to year.
Gerry House, Superintendent, Memphis City Schools, is in the business of educating children so she looks “closely at scores from the state’s standardized test. Every year, the test compares how well our children are performing with the performance of children across the country.”
Charles Digate, CEO of Mathsoft Inc. measures how many PHDs they have on their staff and the percentage of revenue that comes from e-commerce. The first indicator measures how smart they are, the second indicates “how fast they can grow.”
Ron Wolf, Executive Vice President and General Manager Green Bay Packers. “My job is to develop metrics to tell us how close we are to [winning the Super Bowl] and whether we’re moving closer to it” (This guy have taken one too many shots to the head).
John A. Quelch, Dean London Business School. “We’re not in the education business, we’re in the transformation business…. We are in the process of developing… ‘transformation-benchmarking questionnaire’ that we will give to students who have taken a program at the school.


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