People + Strategy Journal

Winter 2022

Message from the President

It is essential for organizations to identify what workplace performance matters most and build their metrics around it.

What You Measure Tells Me What You Value

Manifesting culture, an organization’s identity, arguably surpasses strategy as the chief driver of productivity. Organizations should always be concerned with the reality of who they are in relation to whom they envision themselves to be. Achieving and maintaining identity alignment is critical in the pursuit of success. Culture acts as the operating system for the entirety of an organization. All organizational functions run through culture; and periodically culture needs updating or tweaking, but once you get the baseline culture right, it’s easier to diagnose other problems. Culture then serves as the ultimate measuring stick to gauge performance and identify lapses.

Leaders must be well informed to make the best possible decisions for their organizations. Leaders require robust, impactful and meaningful data and insights to generate thoughtful decisions and build consensus among stakeholders. The best leaders are the best decision-makers. The reality is data alone does not dictate good decisions. Leaders are able to process data and employ instinct and insight to drive their decisions. These skills are derived from the sum of their career experiences, everything they’ve internalized from the anecdotal data of their past failures and successes. How leaders interpret data and formulate decisions is as much an art as it is a science.

More importantly, what we measure is highly indicative of what matters to an organization. What an organization chooses to measure should align with its objectives and priorities. For instance, if we say pay equity is a priority and we enact initiatives and training to support it yet fail to measure it, can we really evaluate our progress? According to a study conducted by SHRM and Harvard Business Review, organizations rated “very successful” in DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) were more than twice as likely to track all three aspects of DE&I as those rated “not very successful.” Not surprisingly, the “very successful” organizations tend to measure progress across a wider range of metrics. So, the best performing organizations not only track performance, they also do so in greater detail. The same survey reports that efforts to improve DE&I fail when organizational leaders and managers are not held accountable for implementing DE&I practices. Metrics validate performance and become the basis for accountability and course correction.

It is essential for organizations to identify what workplace performance matters most and build their metrics around it. For the organizational ethos to accurately manifest itself in workplace performance, metrics must be designed with clear intentionality to validate performance and align to organizational objectives. The right metrics provide leadership with proper insight on organization effectiveness and enable course correction as required. Properly using metrics to measure what you value will help steer your organization toward success.