Thursday, March 28, 2013

My #4 Change Management Principle - Measure!

While we all have opinions about various and sundry things, in business, medicine, research, education and science, measurement trumps opinion.

Everyone has ideas, thoughts, concepts, and words, but when the time for change comes, we must measure.

In point of fact, we all have internal systems of measurement we use every day ... for example:

"I think I've lost a few pounds."
"It seems like Jim has changed."
"Have you noticed how different the downtown area looks?"
"The manufacturer of those jeans seems to have cut back on quality."

We all evaluate things ranging from the mundane to the critical.  It's part of human nature to see how things transform ...

And thus the need for measurement in change should not surprise us, but it often does.

Why measure? 

  1. For correction.
  2. For celebration.
Correction - when a change is underway, we need to take checkpoints along the way to assess whether the change is truly taking hold in our organizations.   Clearly, with the heavy investments we make in change, a checkpoint is critical to assess whether we're truly making a difference in the fabric of our organizations, or if we simply appear to do so!

Celebration - teams work their hearts out when introducing new change.  If you measure the impact of the change, you can demonstrate the value of their effort and reward them accordingly.  Teams like recognition much better when they can see results.  (And so do executives!) 

What reasons do people give NOT to measure?

  1. It takes too much time.
  2. We don't really have anything we can measure.
  3. No one agrees on what to measure.
  4. We don't have good data.
  5. We don't have a simple system for measurement.
Now think about each one of those excuses (because that's what they are ... ) and ponder this.  Don't good managers measure performance?  And since they do, they have found ways to assess what's happening with people.  Each of those excuses can be answered and resolved.

Measure for correction and/or celebration.  You'll be glad you did!

My # 1 Change Management Principle

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