You hear a lot about the importance of metrics in organizations. When it comes to behavior and performance, as the saying goes, you get what you measure. It's also said that you can't manage what you can't measure.
While it is important for leaders to make "evidence-based" decisions that are based on facts, some organizations go overboard when it comes to metrics.
The popularity of the Balanced Scorecard a few years back, was partly due to its ease-of-use. An ideal Balanced Scorecard, though, should be a one-page, easy to comprehend navigational tool. Many organizations ended up creating binders full of "critical" metrics that were anything but balanced.
When a leader is beholden to a million different metrics, he or she will spend too much time generating reams of data and management reports. And when a leader's own performance is judged against a million different things, it's hard to suss out what the leader should focus on most. When all metrics are deemed important, all metrics become trivialized.
There is one metric that matters above all others. It is the metric that shows whether an organization is growing, progressing, and evolving, or whether it's doing the opposite. It is a simple metric that is easy to grasp and communicate. Ultimately it is the metric that defines whether or not a leader is being successful.
The metric is - drumroll please...
Best Year Ever (BYE)
At the end of each year, a leader needs to assess whether the completed year was the Best Year Ever. If it was, the leader is doing a good job. If it wasn't, the leader's new goal is to make sure the next year will be the best year ever.
When you as a leader wave goodbye to the year that was, you should be able to loudly proclaim BYE!
The BYE metric is based on the first rule of leadership: The best days of your organization should always be in front of it. People are most motivated when they are working toward a worthwhile future, not when they are reminiscing about the glory days of the past. When leaders and workers are in perpetual pursuit of better, they keep complacency and overconfidence at bay. Having a really good year is respectable, but having a BYE trumps all!
Now, not every year will be a financial BYE. So when closing out a year, a leader should consider multiple BYE categories, including:
*BYE for Overcoming Hardship
*BYE for Capitalizing on Opportunities
*BYE for Making Smart Mistakes
*BYE for Improving the Workplace
*BYE for Closing New Business
*BYE for Delivering Quality Work
*BYE for Upholding Quality and Safety
You get the idea. As a leader, you should sit down with your team and define a small list of BYE's that matter most. Rather than have a million metrics, focus on the BYE's that show how you, your organization, and your workforce is progressing forward and upward.
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