I heard this saying years ago. “You can’t manage it if you can’t measure it.” Fundamentally I took it to mean you need to monitor important things so you can tell if actual performance matches expected performance. Most people would agree that we should measure things like sales, safety and quality, but there are other important things that are much harder to measure, but we should still try.
Three really important parts of any organisation are its culture, the engagement of its employees and the satisfaction of its customers. With all three you should start by determining what your expectation is. State what sort of culture you want, how much you want your staff to care and how much you want your customers to love you. These kinds of things may be captured by what your organisation’s vision is, but this is not essential.
Next, do your best to take stock of each one. Try to get a handle on how you are performing, even if it is hard and not perfect. In terms of culture, ask your staff to list three words that they would use to tell an outsider what it is like to work at your place.
With regards to the engagement of your staff, look at absenteeism and staff turnover and observe morale. Another idea is to conduct an exit interview (usually done after a person resigns), while they still work for you! Ask what is good about working for you and what could be better.
When it comes to customer satisfaction we should be monitoring repeat business and asking questions like “would you recommend us to others?”. There are formalised approaches like the Net Promoter Score (Google to find out more) or just be bold enough to ask your customers how you are going.
Measuring the things that matter, comparing actual to expected performance, means that you can recognise and praise the good stuff and take corrective action on the not so good.