Looking in the Mirror: Why Does It Matter?

“In business, the idea of measuring what you are doing, picking the measurements that count like customer satisfaction and performance… you thrive on that.”

Bill Gates

In January, we introduced this year’s theme of Looking in the Mirror (https://mailchi.mp/5f69c0941fc6/lookinginthemirror2024). As we begin our discussions on this, let’s initially focus on why this is so important to the ongoing success of any organization. This includes:

  • Identifying areas of strength and improvement opportunities
  • Providing a formal and objective methodology to routinely assess the performance of your organization
  • Establishing the baseline for creating operational effectiveness
  • Positioning an organization for continuous improvement, which is the process of making regular, small changes and improvements that reap long term results

As we look at the importance of Looking in the Mirror, begin with establishing what needs to be assessed and the measurement for that success. In other words, the method in which to “look in the mirror” to identify how the organization is performing.

Think about baking cookies or building a deck without utilizing specific measurements to create the desired results. Adding too much or too little to the cookie batter or not having specifications for the design of the deck can almost guarantee failure.

In the same way, defining the measurement for assessing successes or failures is critical to evaluate how your organization is performing and position it to achieve desired improvements. These measurements should be as quantitative as possible! A danger is establishing incorrect measurements that do not reap desired results. EXAMPLE: If the Customer Service Department’s success is defined based on how quickly they can close an open item may result in quick turnaround. However, if the turnaround does not actually resolve the issue, then the result only creates Customer frustration and continued follow-up with Customer Service.

These are some hints as those measurements are defined:

  • Identify when a process or task is being performed well: As the example above summarizes, a common mistake is not measuring the outcomes that produce excellent performance. Ensure performance is measuring the desired results.
  • Consider expectations of results: Ensure assessment includes timeliness, quality, expertise and knowledge of Staff, and other KPI’s. These KPI’s (key performance indicators) define what is being assessed and why they matter.
  • Establish monitoring and reporting methodologies: These should be designed to effectively assess the established KPI’s.
  • Determine frequency of review: Consider the timing based on frequency of processes or tasks performed, those that require more frequent review if it is a process that has been identified as an area of improvement, etc.

Over the coming months, we will discuss action to take based on this Looking in the Mirror process.

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