[October 19, 2018] Last week, I attended a strategy meeting with a local college to discuss innovative and, presumably, better ways to accomplish its mission. With declining enrollment and resources drying-up, they were interested in what others outside academic life had to say. One of my questions was what were the college’s Measures of Effectiveness.1
I was assured the college had a Strategic Plan already in place, although only one administrator knew of it and no one knew if it were up-to-date. I was given the college’s Strategic Plan and several associated documents later for review (they were up-to-date). What surprised me was that there were no Measures of Effectiveness either outlined or any attempt to tie any kind of measure to how the college could be successful. For example, there was nothing in the plan that addressed teaching or learning.
Leadership at large organizations are remiss if they don’t have measures of Effectiveness (MoE) clearly listed and how those tie into the college’s mission, vision, and core values. Yet there is a basic questions that must asked before MoEs can be determined. “What is most important to the organization?” This must be answered openly and honestly.
The biggest single mistake made in any organization trying to establish MoEs is measuring the wrong thing. Such mistakes drive poor decision-making, undermine performance, misalign priorities, and frustrate employees. They haven’t asked the basic question.
Good leadership means having useful MoEs in one’s leadership toolbox. It doesn’t mean they all have to be written down. Some are simple. For example, if we are working on earning a graduate degree from an Ivy League university, the initial measure will be whether we are properly applying to those universities in the first place.
Baseball teams do this all the time. They track a long list of statistics on each player; batting average, runs batted in, times at bat, etc. In fact, batting average is often the main measure of success when recruiting new team players. It turns out, however, that the ability of a player to get on first base is a much better predictor of how many runs are scored and games won.
Leaders are frequently confronted with this problem and should take great care in selecting their Measures of Effectiveness.
- As a side note, sometimes companies use the concept of Performance Measures (PeM) or Measure of Success (MoS). Typically, the means the same thing. The U.S. military uses PeMs for individual performance and MoSs for unit performance. Boring stuff, I must admit, but don’t worry about that here. Regardless of what it is called, there should be clear, concise measures that are on-target with what is successful.
[Note:] I have a small mini-series on Leadership Toolboxes here at theLeaderMaker.com.
- The Reconnaissance – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-the-reconnaissance/
- Best Practices – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-best-practices/
- The Checklist – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-the-checklist/
- The Standup Meeting – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-the-standup-meeting/
- The SWOT Analysis – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-swot-analysis/
- The Planning Cell – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-planning-cell/
- Investigations – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-investigations/
- The Stand-down – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-stand/
- Rehearsals – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-rehearsals/
- After-Action Reviews – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-action-reviews/
- Terms of Reference – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-terms-reference/
- Leadership Conferences – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-leader-conferences/
- Targeted Indicators – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-indicators/
- Keeping Things Simple – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-keeping-things-simple/
- Leader Courses – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-leader-courses/
- Email and Texting – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-email-and-texting/
- Awards – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-awards/
- Personal Coaching – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-personal-coaching/
- Formal Evaluations – https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-toolbox-formal-evaluations/