When You Need to Improve — Measure!

Are you ever frustrated because your ideas for implementing change in your company fizzle or at best lead to mediocre results? Here is an easy to utilize tool that often gets overlooked, but almost always yields results.

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 9.46.47 PMHave you ever heard the statement, “what gets measured, gets improved”? Setting and communicating specific, measurable objectives of success is a key element for improvement in a company.

All employees in your company at all levels should have no doubt as to what the goal is, what the current status is, and what’s being done to improve the situation.

Employees in many companies are confused because the objectives and the company’s progress toward those objectives are not clearly and frequently communicated. Employees want to see the numbers onthe scoreboard; they want to know how they can help win the game. It’s not enough to simply proclaim an objective such as “100% on-time delivery,” “100% quality,” or “zero defects.” Your company must establish a system of accurately and regularly measuring the company’s progress toward reaching its objectives — and continually improve on that system.

Measurement Improves Performance

Measurement encourages employee performance. This became evident with the Western Electric Company, Hawthorne plant studies conducted in the 1930’s. When the company made adjustments to plant illumination, rejects decreased and productivity increased. However, the improvement continued even after the researchers reversed the changes and brought the conditions back to the original levels.


The favorable results were attributed to the additional management attention. To the employees, it was clear that somebody in management cared enough about the job that they were doing to measure the results and make improvements so they could be given what they needed to do the best job possible.

William Thomson, better known as Lord Kelvin and famous for proposing the Kelvin scale as an absolute measurement of temperature, in 1883 had this to say about measuring: “When you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind.” If you don’t have numbers or a concrete measurement, it’s just an opinion.

[box border=”full”]See a pdf example of Management Review Measures that are included as Excel spreadsheet metric tools »[/box]

But Measurement Alone Is Not Enough

But measuring progress is also not enough; you need to review those measurements and work on any problems that are hindering the company from reaching its goals.

Clearly, measurement can be excellent for morale, as long as a system is established which recognizes progress and addresses any obstacles to progress – but with a learn-from-our-mistakes approach rather than a finger-pointing attitude. You create a positive environment of measurement and accountability.

ISO 9001 Survival Software Templates
We have established several effective measurement tools, such as our metrics tools in our ISO 9001 Survival Software Templates and AEM’s new DashBoard for rolling out measurement results to all employees.

AEM’s new Dashboard



By AEM Consulting Group, Inc.