In the 1996 movie Jerry McGuire, actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. made famous the phrase, “Show Me the Money!” Fifteen years later, a variation of that command, “Show Me the Data!” rings in conference rooms throughout the country. Managers far and wide, at least the successful ones, are looking at the data. Don’t tell me your opinion—show me the data. Can you back it up with data?
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Companies may be able to survive for a while if managers aren’t using data to make decisions, but they will eventually see their demise, likely sooner than later. Those companies to benchmark off of are the ones who are not only surviving, but also thriving! Pick your favorite phrase: TQM, Process Management, Quality Circles, Improvement Teams, Standards and Measurement departments, or any other title you prefer. The function is the same… look at baseline data: percentages, dollars, hours, quantities, and continuously monitoring the performance.
There should not be any task that a supervisor or staff members performs that cannot be measured. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Take a fast food restaurant for example. There are a plethora of areas that can be measured such as days without an accident, customer wait time in line, length of time burgers are in the warmer, amount of money off in the drawers, customer complaints, etc. Graph it out and keep a spreadsheet of your figures. Clearly you are looking for improvement. If there was a decline, brainstorm, find the root cause, and then fix the problem.
The process is the same no matter what industry you are managing. Whether you manufacture widgets, if you are the CEO of an internet marketing firm, or if you sell cookies, take a look at all of the steps involved in day-to-day operations. Assign values to the process. Set goals. Review the results on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Remember, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Charts and graphs are an excellent tool to visually remind you of where you have been and where you plan to go.
In the midst of measuring your subordinates’ performance, don’t neglect to measure and manage your own operations. Don’t think for a minute that your boss isn’t looking at your performance. And if you are the top dog, you had better be managing yourself well, or you will never succeed at managing others.
Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.