Proven Strategies Measurable Results

Measuring & Judging

February 04, 2014
Measuring & Judging - blog post image

As an accountant by training, my tendency is to attempt to measure everything in business and make decisions based on those measurements. Measurements… like how many calls came in, how many were converted to customers, how much did each customer spend, how long did you work, and how many widgets did you produce, etc…you know…counting things!

In fact, we have been known to say, “What you can measure, you can manage”. In the world of repetitive tasks, such as an assembly line process, this perspective may be very successful. But the business world of today has many fewer repetitive, factory worker type, tasks and many more unique selling and production opportunities. The environment has changed to a knowledge worker dominated work force as opposed to a factory worker dominated work force. In an environment such as this, measurement in and of itself can be difficult at its best and yield worthless information at its worst. Managers should take note, as managing a knowledge worker is much different than managing a factory worker.

Measuring how long a knowledge worker, someone who thinks for a living, sits at his or her desk, though relatively easy to do, will not necessarily assist a manager in assessing the productivity and value of this type worker. Sure the workers are there, but are they productive? You then may think, “Let’s measure the knowledge worker’s output.” Again, on the surface, this sounds pretty good… and easy…but what if the output is of great quantity but poor quality? Will the customer be happy?

I hope you are beginning to get the picture that judgment in the world of business management is beginning to take the place of pure measurement. A rather silly example is that measuring the efficiency (how many operations performed) of a brain surgeon is not nearly as relevant as judging his effectiveness (how successful were the ones that he did perform). I don’t know about you …but give me effective in this case every time!

Because our firm is totally comprised of knowledge workers, I have given up all together on certain measurements as a management tool. In fact, we have
adopted, what we call, a Results Only Work Environment (a ROWE). We do not complete time sheets, we do not have set office hours, we do not have set holidays, we do not have “overtime”, and we do not measure our value by how long we are at the office. But what we do track is how effective are we in completing a task in a timely manner and in the highest quality fashion. We judge how happy our customers are with our deliverables and services. We also hire quality people who are very well capable of knowing the tasks they need to accomplish, the associated timetables, and the quality expected. We treat them like adults (though sometimes we play like children) and judge the quality and effectiveness of their output.

In the business world today…judgment trumps measurement every time!

Richard Harris
"After founding and managing one of Nevada’s largest personal injury law firms for over 30 years, and teaching law practice management, I didn’t think there was much a consultant could do for me. I initially asked Vista, “Why would I pay you to tell me what’s wrong with my firm – when I already know it?” Their response was, “We’ll help you fix it.” That had actually never occurred to me, which showed how much I needed them. Beginning with the onsite visit and comprehensive Needs Assessment, the Vista team not only helped fix what I already knew needed attention, I’m pleased to admit they revealed and helped us resolve several problem areas I previously didn’t know about. Not only that, through consistent coaching conferences and initiation of dynamic reporting of key performance indicators, Vista trained and transitioned a new management team to take our firm to the next level. I’m completely satisfied with Vista and recommend their services to any firm, large or small."
- Richard Harris
John Michael Bailey
"From operations to accounting, from marketing to income production, the team at Vista has done it all and seen it all. They bring all of the experience and commitment to excellence to bear and work with you to achieve the results that you have dreamed of, but been unable to reach. I know it works, I am living it."
- John Michael Bailey
Jerry Parker
"Vista has been a consultant to our firm for almost 2 years. One of the best business decisions I made was to retain Vista. They know plaintiff personal injury firms A-Z. And that's how they analyze your firm, its efficiencies (or lack thereof or worse), office design/flow, reception procedures, telephone procedures, equipment of all types, etc. If you think your office is running at the top of its game and you don't need them, you're probably wrong. I can't imagine Vista not being able to improve even the best run firms. The payback from what they do is likely to be realized within the 1st 3-6 months."
- Jerry Parker