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Business Improvement and the Dangers of Measurement

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An old business adage warns: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” However, obsessing over metrics often does more harm than good.

Indiana-based business consultant Joe Dager provides a classic restatement of this premise in one of his blog posts:

Identifying, gathering and leveraging the right mix of metrics adds value to a project. Metrics provide a more factual and quantitative basis for describing how you are doing and what you can do better. Without at least some basic metric information, all discussions on performance and improvement are based on subjective evidence, perceptions and guesses.

This all sounds reasonable. After all, having a ruler which tells you how far you’ve come and how far you have yet to go provides perspective and incentive. Shouldn’t we use hard figures as much as possible?

Suppose you wanted to become a famous, fabulously rich movie star. Part of that success is choosing roles in top-grossing films. You might want to note the films of the biggest box office stars of all time, like Bruce Willis (ranked #11), Tom Cruise (#7) or Harrison Ford (#4). But you probably wouldn’t be interested in emulating the movie-making career of the number one box office star of all time. That’s because it’s a actor you’ve never heard of: Frank Welker, whose films have brought in nearly five billion dollars.

Indianapolis Speakers: The Frank Welker Story

© Flickr user Incase

Welker is successful because he’s a voice actor, and has done bit parts and vocal sound effects in countless motion pictures. These include jobs in films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Independence Day.  If you want  to do voices in Hollywood, he is the man to follow. Frank Welker’s success, however, demonstrates that there is more to winning than having the right measurement. Acting requires craft as well as sound decisions. The same is true in your business. Here at AccelaWork, we’re always working not just on hitting our numbers, but on making sure those numbers actually matter.

Whether you are trying to conquer the movies, survive marketing budget cuts or just trying to finish routine tasks, measurement is important. However, that famous quote is usually interpreted incorrectly. We must not forget that the most fundamental aspects of our ability to work cannot be measured: passion, talent and creativity. Leverage these qualities in your stakeholders to conduct measurement, workflow redesign and continuous improvement. Reach out to the Indianapolis speakers and consultants at AccelaWork to learn more.

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
Robby Slaughter


Troublemaker and productivity/workflow expert. Slightly more complex than 140 characters will permit.
Your employees aren't likely to be more disciplined than you are. And if they are, they aren't likely to stay. - 11 hours ago
Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

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