May 2, 2011
Principle Four, Step Two: Measurement
“The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor; he took my measurement anew every time he saw me, while all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Measurement is an extension of alignment. It is the next necessary step to keep passion in perspective and egos in check. It is often said that if something cannot be measured, then it isn’t truly real and without measurement, the clarity and alignment you have achieved through step one will be ineffective if useful at all.
The ability to measure your How in a startup is effectively how you will gauge your successes, failures and learnings. In this case what you will be looking to measure is your What. In other words, what do you do, and what will you be doing to accomplish your How.
In businesses finances and goals are generally tracked on a quarterly basis and we don’t for a second suggest deviating from that. Quarterly reporting and tracking of goals allows for companies, managers and team members to understand what they are doing while at the same time seeing how it is important to the company. Taking the time to measure goals on ninety day cycles allows team to compensate and alter their directions when they discover something isn’t working or when new opportunities present themselves.
Measurement however isn’t just about reporting and gauging at the end of ninety days, it involves an incredible amount of diligence. To effectively measure yourself and others you need to know specifically what you will be working on or towards and be comfortable measuring your progress on a weekly basis. A method we have found effective for doing this is to complete the following process twice, once for setting the goals of the team and a second time to set the individual goals of the team members to have them effectively work towards accomplishing those set for the team.
1: Write it down
As you should with all brainstorming sessions, get it written down. Whether this is for setting team or individual goals, start writing. The easiest way to get ideas flowing, especially ideas that fall in line with the company goals is to start writing and brainstorming.
By doing this you are not only increasing your understanding of the direction the team or individuals are going, but they are helping themselves as well. The important thing to remember is to always set a measurement guideline with every action.
If your action is to “Give Funding Presentations” there has to be a measureable quality to the action. Whether that is “Give Ten Funding Presentations” or “Give Ten Funding Presentations by May 1”. If you are proactive in your measurements and meet on a weekly basis, these types of quantitative measurements allow you to track and gauge your progress.
2: Vote it through
This isn’t to say all the tasks and goals you’ve written down aren’t important, but the vote it through process will allow you to determine what will be the top three goals you’ll be working toward over the next quarter.
This process of voting through (done either with the entire team or as individuals) helps to determine the focus of your goals. By selecting and voting as a team you are allowing the clarity and alignment practices you’ve done earlier to come to fruition.
For setting team goals, have each member of the team select which three goals they believe are the most important, by attaching point values to them (3 for most important, 2 for second most important and 1 for third most important). To determine the top three goals, add up all the votes and the goals with the three highest point scores become your objectives. For Individuals, have them select their top three goals from all those listed. This allows individual team members to suggest and hopefully decide their goals for the next ninety days, goals that should fall in line with the goals set by the team, for the team.